In an effort to address this pressing issue, at 10:30 a.m. today, Thursday, Jan. 14, at the offices of Perfect Transportation in Indianapolis, the Indiana Motor Truck Association came together with state officials and leaders, including The Office of the Attorney General, Indiana State Police, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana Department of Revenue and Indiana Department of Transportation to unveil a new campaign and a new Indiana specialty license plate aimed at increasing awareness of distracted driving in Indiana.
The new plate reads, “Put the Phone Down,” and its goal is to keep Indiana drivers’ eyes on the road and not on their phone.
Proceeds from the license plate will go to IMTA-sponsored safe driving programs in Indiana such as the Save a Life Tour, an all-day multimedia event which sheds light on the dangers of distracted driving. The immersive learning experience features “no-holds-barred” video, interactive driving simulators and speaking presentations. Since 2008, the Save a Life Tour has visited 150 military installations in the U.S. and overseas, as well as more than 1,500 colleges and universities and 600 high schools across the country.
“The Indiana Motor Truck Association exists to represent and promote highway safety for not only the trucking industry but for all drivers,” said Gary Langston, president of the IMTA. “Our industry has come to witness firsthand the dire consequences of distracted driving — and so have decided to confront it by selling a plate that alerts others of this issue and funds programs that help keep Indiana drivers safe on the road.”
Attorney General Greg Zoeller is also a strong advocate of distracted driving awareness. In 2012, The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute announced its partnership with the Attorney General and AT&T to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.
“As Indiana’s Attorney General, it is my job to protect the rights, freedoms and safety we enjoy as citizens of the Hoosier state,” Zoeller said. “The rise of technology continues to present new dangers, particular to young people. With this new license plate and the continued education and awareness efforts conducted by the Indiana Motor Truck Association, I grow more confident that drivers, young and old, will be safer on Indiana’s roads.”
“My fellow troopers and I see damage done by distracted driving every day,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “The worst part is that these tragedies are most times preventable. We’re proud to support the IMTA’s ongoing efforts, and we’ll continue doing our part to keep Hoosiers safe on Indiana roads and highways.”
Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Kent Abernathy added, “Every month, hundreds of young, new drivers occupy Indiana roads. To ensure the current and future safety of all Hoosier motorists, we must educate our younger drivers about the real dangers of driving while distracted – this program goes a long way toward accomplishing this goal, and the Indiana BMV is wholly supportive.”
Brandye Hendrickson, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, stressed to conference attendees the importance of reducing the number of lives lost in traffic accidents each year — including nearly 800 people in Indiana alone.
“By buckling up, not driving impaired, driving defensively, obeying traffic laws, sharing the road, and turning off their cell phones, Hoosiers can make our roads and highways safer for everyone. I commend the IMTA for this campaign, and look forward to hearing about its expanded programming to combat distracted driving in the future.”
The “Put the Phone Down” license plate became available on Jan. 1. Indiana motorists may purchase the specialty license plate at any Indiana BMV license branch, certified partner locations, or at myBMV.com. The plate may be registered on passenger cars, trucks up to 11,000 pounds, motorcycles and recreational vehicles. The cost is $40, with $25 being returned to the IMTA for distracted driving programs. For additional information visit http://www.intrucking.org/license-plate.