NASCAR star Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, who drives the legendary No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, is teaming up again with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) to put the brakes on distracted driving.
Distracted driving, particularly related to cell phone use, has become one of the most significant factors in vehicle accidents in the U.S. Many states are enacting tough laws banning phone use in the car with stiff fines attached.
Working with Richard Petty Motorsports partners BASF, the official paint of the team, and 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division, Wallace is sharing his tips and advice for reducing distractions on the road, especially for younger drivers.
“As a NASCAR driver, I know that even the slightest distraction that takes your focus off what is in front of you can put you in the wall,” said Wallace. “When I get in my race car, I take the time to focus my attention and make sure everything is set before I fire up the engine. And it’s the same when I get in my daily drive – I check my directions and set my GPS, line up my music and make sure my phone is put up where I can’t see it and am not tempted to answer it. Your car covers 45 feet in one second at 30 mph – that’s one quick look at your cell phone. We all need to make the effort to put down our phones and put the brakes on distracted driving!”
Wallace, who has spent more than a decade competing in a variety of racing series, offers these tips for staying safe and focused on the road:
• Don’t answer your phone or check messages while driving. Better yet, turn these devices off when you get into your car or put them in the console
• Never text and drive! Texting takes your eyes and mind off the road and your hands off the wheel.
• Deal with distractions such as eating, putting on make-up, reading, combing your hair and checking messages before you hit the road.
• Be well rested before getting behind the wheel. If you are out late or too tired to drive home, sleep over or call Uber.
• Listen to your GPS device; don’t look at it.
• Adjust the seat, headrest, seatbelt, rear-view mirror, climate control, radio, etc. to your liking before you drive – and if you’re driving a rental car, make sure you’re familiar with all the controls in advance.
• Pull over if you need to make a call, check a message, deal with passengers, eat or drink.
• Tell everyone that for safety reasons, you no longer answer calls or respond to messages while driving.
• Install an app on your phone that block texts and phone calls when you are behind the wheel.
“As a partner with the National Auto Body Council and their Distracted Driving initiative, we are proud to support this program to help educate drivers about being safer on the road,” said Daniel Bihlmeyer, director of marketing for BASF. “And, as a partner with Richard Petty Motorsports, we couldn’t have a better representative for this program than the driver of the No. 43 Petty Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Bubba Wallace.”
“It is so important for everyone, but in particular our younger people, to realize how seconds of distraction can affect your life or someone else’s forever,” said Vicki Eggleston, global marketing operations manager for 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “It’s definitely an important message and we are happy to partner with BASF, NABC and Richard Petty Motorsports and support this initiative.”
The National Auto Body Council’s Distracted Driving initiative, a business advocate partner with AT&T’s It Can Wait program, cites AT&T research in highlighting the severity of the problem:
1. Distracted driving is a pervasive problem:
• Nearly 9-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving
• Some 97% of teens say texting while driving is dangerous — yet alarmingly 43% admit to doing so
• Nearly a quarter of people don’t see distracted driving as a major problem
• Nearly 5-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving
• Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And almost 3-in-10 video chat!
2. Habitual behaviors play a strong role:
• Nearly 1-in-10 drivers call distracted driving a habit
• Habitual distracted drivers have a false sense of security in their actions. Only 58% feel that using their smartphone behind the wheel is “very dangerous,” compared to 78% of non-habitual distracted drivers. Ironically, they’re also twice as likely to have been involved in a near crash or a collision
• Some 57% of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger encourages them to
3. When drivers are alone, they behave differently:
• Only 36% of drivers look at their smartphone with passengers in the car, compared to more than 6-in-10 (64%) without a passenger
• People look at their phone even less when the passenger is a child
1 Source: Online survey with 7,505 respondents (total distracted drivers n=6,438) conducted by Kantar Added Value. Ongoing survey, data represented here were collected January 2017- December 2017. National panel sample (ages 15-54, drive, and have a smartphone).
2 Source: Online survey with 61,325 respondents (total distracted drivers n=5,766) conducted by Added Value. Ongoing survey, data represented here were collected June 2012-July 2016. National panel sample (ages 15-54, drive, and have a smartphone).
3 Source: Cellphone survey with 1,003 respondents conducted by Braun Research. Survey fielded August 18-23, 2015 Nationally representative sample (ages 16-65, drive and use smartphone apps).