Maryland Delegate James Malone, Jr. joins student drivers to test-drive MAIF’s new Interactive Distracted Driving Simulator
Annapolis, MD – August 21, 2012 – Today, the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) unveiled its newest weapon in the fight against distracted driving.
MAIF Executive Director M. Kent Krabbe was joined by Delegate James Malone to announce an education campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and to unveil the Fund’s new interactive distracted driving simulator.
“As Maryland’s home-grown insurance agency, we can help. We take the responsibility to keep Maryland roads safe very seriously. This is an issue that puts Maryland drivers at risk, particularly our youngest and least experienced drivers,” said Krabbe.
While this effort is aimed to raise awareness among all Marylanders, it is particularly targeted at drivers aged 16 to 20, a group that is most at risk for distracted driving deaths. “Getting to these drivers early, before they get develop the habit of texting behind the wheel is key to making sure the next generation of drivers makes better driving decisions,” Krabbe said.
In support of this goal, Mr. Krabbe unveiled an interactive driving simulator, which was demonstrated by local teen drivers. The simulator, with scenarios for both distracted and impaired driving, will make its public debut at the Maryland State Fair this weekend, and will be the focal point of MAIF’s Community Outreach efforts going forward.
Delegate Malone, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee, as well as the Chairman of the Motor Vehicles & Transportation subcommittee, and who has sponsored numerous bills aimed at cell-phone use and distracted driving, welcomed the addition of the driving simulator, “I am so happy that MAIF has this (simulator). People think it won’t happen to them, but it only takes a second to look down and look back up and ‘Boom’. This device teaches that.”
Delegate Malone shared valuable advice for the teen drivers in attendance, “Set a good example. If you’re in a car with somebody, make sure to tell them, “Give me the phone.” I tell my son to put the phone in the glove box. You can get it when you get there.”
Following the comments, teen drivers demonstrated the simulator in both distracted and impaired modes and gave their reaction.
“It was still kind of hard to pay attention to both (the phone and the road),” said Jennie Dodd, 17. When asked what she’d do if she was in a car with a distracted driver, “I’ll text for them, and they can focus on driving,” she said.
Sixteen-year old Kameron Williams echoed Ms. Dodd’s thoughts on riding with a driver who was texting, saying that he would tell them to, “put the phone down and wait ‘til we get where we’re going.”
“Whether it’s filling Marylanders’ insurance needs or helping to teach their young drivers the dangers of distracted or impaired driving, we’re here to help,” said Krabbe.
Distracted Driving Statistics/Facts:
- Distracted Driving is the number-one killer of teens in America.
- 3,092 people were killed nationwide in 2010 in crashes involving distracted driving.
- 416,000 people were injured in the U.S. in 2012 in crashes involving distracted driving, which made up 18% of all accidents involving injury.
- Reading or sending a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.
- At 55 mph, that’s equal to driving the length of a football field without looking at the road.
- A texting driver is 23-times more likely to be involved in an accident.
(sources: NHTSA, Distraction.gov, StopTextsStopWrecks.org)
MAIF was created by the Maryland State Legislature in 1972 for the purpose of providing automobile liability insurance for those residents of the State of Maryland who are unable to obtain it elsewhere in the private insurance market. MAIF receives its operating funds from insurance premiums paid by policyholders, and receives no funding from taxpayers via the Maryland General Fund.
MAIF Communications Specialist