The province’s Department of Transportation and Works will install new signs along provincial highways in 2020 to remind motorists of the dangers of distracted driving.
A news release states signs with a message that “Distracted Driving Kills” will be installed at various locations on highways with the highest traffic volumes and near entry points to the province.
The department will also begin sharing the message over social media.
According to statistics released by the RCMP, 24 people died in 18 vehicle collisions in areas policed by the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2019.
*Distracted Driving Kills* Beginning this spring, new highway signs will be installed to remind motorists of the devastating effects of driving while distracted. For more info: https://t.co/wAAWYOphXK #GovNL pic.twitter.com/KRYl4zeync— Service NL (@ServiceNL_) February 3, 2020
Fifty per cent of those collisions involved vehicles that crossed the centre line into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which could indicate impaired driving or distracted driving.
Distracting driving includes using a mobile device, texting, reading, programming a GPS, watching videos, eating and drinking, smoking or vaping, grooming, adjusting the radio, listening to loud music and talking to passengers while driving.
“Driving on our highways requires full attention,” Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker stated. “A vehicle collision caused by distracted and dangerous driving is a collision that could have been prevented.
“By installing these signs along provincial highways, we will be sending a constant reminder to everyone that we all need to pay attention to the road.”
"These distractions can kill, ruin the lives of those left behind and destroy the future planned with those killed."
Sarah Pittman and Frankie Ralph know the impact distracted driving can have on families. Both lost their husbands — Randy Ralph and Shannon Pittman — following a horrific automobile crash caused by a distracted driver.
“Nothing is more painful than losing someone in a senseless, preventable automobile crash due to distracted driving,” they said in a statement.
“As a province, we must work together to eliminate such actions. These distractions can kill, ruin the lives of those left behind and destroy the future planned with those killed. Installing distracted driving highway signage will send a very powerful message to drivers. The goal is to reduce distracted driving and save lives. No other life should be lost due to preventable driver inattentiveness.”
The new distracted driving signs will be installed when summer maintenance activities begin this spring.