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DELAND, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announces June as Target Zero: Distracted Driving Month in Central Florida, kicking off a month-long public information campaign.

In Florida, 9 out of 10 fatalities and 3 out of 4 injuries are due to lane departure, intersection, and pedestrian- and bicyclist-involved crashes. Twenty percent of these crash types occur in Central Florida.

The majority involve Florida residents, and over 50% of the fatalities and serious injuries involve a young male driver (ages 22-27) – who may be a distracted driver. Because Central Florida is one of the top regions in the state for young men involved in fatal and serious crashes, the public information campaign will especially target young male drivers and their families.

After conducting research through focus groups with young male drivers in the Central Florida area, FDOT learned that these drivers often engage in dangerous behaviors, such as distracted driving, due to their desire to stay connected to their families, friends, and employers via their mobile devices. With their attention focused elsewhere while behind the wheel, these drivers have an increased risk of being involved in a serious or fatal crash on the road. 

Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off driving, and can include texting, putting on makeup, reaching behind you to comfort a child in the back seat, eating, tuning the radio, or checking your phone’s navigation system.

“It can be easy to become distracted by your cell phone while driving, but all it takes is one text message, one like on social media, or one glance to change a song for someone’s life to be permanently altered in a crash,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E., FDOT District Five Safety Administrator. “Every time you’re behind the wheel, put your phone on do not disturb and ensure our roadways stay safe by keeping your attention where it belongs – on the road.”

To go beyond the traditional education of laws and promotion of safe driver behaviors, FDOT has launched an innovative campaign for the month of June that provides tools to help drivers keep their attention on the road. A kickoff event was held by FDOT and the Florida Highway Patrol on May 31 at the Regional Transportation Management Center in Sanford.

FDOT District Five, which covers nine counties in Central Florida, will host community outreach events throughout the district and reach out via local media, social media, and advertising. Law enforcement partners will distribute tip cards and share social media.

Upcoming events include:

  • June 2 – Eustis First Fridays (Lake County)
  • June 3 – Summer Safety Event (Orange County)
  • June 6 – Space Coast TPO Annual Open House (Brevard County)
  • June 10 – Teen Mock DUI Crash Event (Osceola County)
  • June 10 – Polo Season Opener (Marion County)
  • June 17 – Downtown DeLand Cruise (Volusia County)
  • June 19 – Orlando Sportsplex Pop-Up Event (Orange County)

At www.TargetZeroFL.com/Distracted, drivers can access custom “Do Not Disturb” auto-reply messages for their mobile device to let others know they are focused on driving, as well as music playlists that they can set before they start their drive.

Let’s get everyone home safely. Visit TargetZeroFL.com for more information on Florida’s target of ZERO fatalities and serious injuries.

NOTE: Campaign video, audio, and images are available for media use at TargetZeroFL.com; look for the “Multitasking (Distracted Driving)” resources toward the bottom of the page.