Take the D.O.N.T. pledge! The "Drive Only… Never Text" campaign helps spread the word that car crashes caused by distracted driving are preventable

TORONTO, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Do you text when you drive? Here's a simple message: "D.O.N.T." During the month of June, a coalition of injury prevention advocates is asking Ontarians to pledge to Drive Only… Never Text, or D.O.N.T. The D.O.N.T. campaign was launched today at a special event at Queen's Park, attended by  the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Honourable Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services.  The campaign will remind drivers of all ages that distracted driving—which includes driving while texting or talking on a cell phone—can lead to car crashes and brain injuries.

D.O.N.T. is led by the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA), in partnership with participating local community Brain Injury Associations, the Windsor Essex County Injury Prevention Coalition, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) and Southland Insurance.

"In our work, we see first-hand the devastating effects of motor vehicle collisions causing injuries and fatalities involving our families, friends and neighbours—and many of those collisions are preventable," said Ruth Wilcock, Executive Director of OBIA. "Through the D.O.N.T. campaign, we are asking people to make a promise to themselves and their peers not to drive while texting or distracted in any way."

Throughout June—which is also Brain Injury Awareness month—volunteers from brain injury associations (BIAs) across Ontario will be promoting the D.O.N.T. campaign at local events. Drivers of all ages will be asked to pledge to Drive Only… Never Text. Participants can take this pledge by signing an in-person petition with a BIA volunteer, or going to www.iDONTpledge.com. Participants can also tweet their support of the campaign with the hashtag #iDONTpledge.

"The D.O.N.T. campaign was developed by the partners of the Windsor Essex County Injury Prevention Coalition in response to Ontario's ban on hand-held devices while driving, which took effect on October 26, 2009," said Elsie Galbraith of the Windsor Essex Injury Prevention Coalition. "The campaign was truly a grassroots injury prevention initiative aimed at young adults to teach them the consequences of texting and driving. In fact, high school students came up with the name and helped the campaign grow over the last four years. We are delighted the whole province can benefit from this important message."

"The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association is proud to be the provincial sponsor partnering to spread the D.O.N.T message across the province—that brain injuries from motor vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving can be prevented," said Linda Langston, Executive Director/CEO of OTLA. "Our members across Ontario are determined to do whatever they can to help prevent these terrible injuries. Participating in the D.O.N.T. campaign, along with the many other safety initiatives we champion, means we can all work together to keep our communities safe."

"Any time someone picks up the phone while driving, they increase their chance of a collision and worse still is the risk of injury or even death," said Gail Robertson, spokesperson for Southland Insurance.  "We need to keep talking about this issue with our children, with our co-workers and our peers.  We need to change our habits and that's what we hope the D.O.N.T. campaign will do—make this a dinner-table and water-cooler topic of discussion."

Robertson says laws are important but it's attitudes that must be changed.  "No update is worth dying for and we need to keep hammering home that message and make it socially unacceptable to text and drive."

The province-wide campaign will use billboards, posters, t-shirts, social media, events, public service announcements and other resources to share the D.O.N.T. message. For information and resources about the D.O.N.T. campaign or about distracted driving, visit www.iDONTpledge.com.

QUICK FACTS

  • Brain injury is the leading killer and disabler of people under the age of 44 and kills more people under the age 20 than any other causes combined. (US Center for Disease Control)
  • Acquired brain injury is 15 times more common than spinal cord injury, 30 times more common than breast cancer and 400 times more common than HIV/AIDS. (US Center for Disease Control)
  • 40 percent of Acquired Brain Injury survivors sustained their brain injury as a result of an automobile collision (2012 OBIA Impact Report)
  • Distracted driving is cited as a causal factor in 30 to 50 per cent of traffic collisions on Ontario, but is probably much higher due to under-reporting. (Ontario Provincial Police)
  • Texting while driving is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time (VA. Tech Transportation Institute). In three seconds, at sixty kilometres per hour you travel fifty metres— that's the distance across half a football field. (Ontario Ministry of Transportation)
  • In 2012, 83 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions within OPP jurisdiction in which distracted driving was a causal factor. (Ontario Provincial Police)

About OBIA: The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) is a provincial not-for profit, charitable organization. Its mission is to enhance the lives of Ontarians living with the effects of acquired brain injury (ABI) through education, awareness and support. OBIA's services include: training programs for survivors, caregivers and professionals; industry workshops and conferences; applied research on ABI in the province of Ontario; 1-800 toll free helpline; personal advocacy; and a province-wide peer support program for people living with ABI. www.obia.ca

About Windsor Essex Injury Prevention Coalition: The Windsor - Essex County Injury Prevention Coalition is dedicated to making the Windsor and Essex County community the safest place to live, work and play.

About OTLA: Founded in 1991, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) is an organization of more than 1,400 plaintiff lawyers, law clerks, articling students and law students. Our purpose is to promote access to justice for all Ontarians, preserve and improve the civil justice system, and advocate for the rights of those who have suffered injury and losses as the result of wrongdoing by others, while at the same time advocating strongly for safety initiatives. For more information, visit www.otla.com or call 905-639-6852.

About Southland Insurance: Southland Insurance Brokers Inc. was founded in 1958.  We specialize in auto, home, business, travel and motorcycle insurance, offering expert advice for all your insurance needs. Our professional brokers work with leading insurers to deliver the best personalized coverage possible. We believe in supporting a variety of community programs and charities and are extremely proud of our role as a community partner for the D.O.N.T. campaign. Visit www.SouthlandOnline.com for more information.

Photos from the launch are available on request.

SOURCE: Ontario Brain Injury Association

For further information:

Media inquiries:

Ruth Wilcock
Executive Director
Ontario Brain Injury Association
Email: rwilcock@obia.on.ca
Telephone: 905-641-8877 x238

Maria McDonald
Communications Specialist
Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
mmcdonald@otla.com
905-639-6852 x234

Wendy Dueck
Fund Development & Public Engagement Officer
Ontario Brain Injury Association
Email: wdueck@obia.on.ca
Telephone: 905-641-8771 x242

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Ontario Brain Injury Association

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