Commit to Drive Distraction-Free

Posted on Apr 2, 2018

By John Sparrow

If you’ve ever had the chance to drive around the state of Kentucky, you’re well-acquainted with the natural beauty that lines our highways, city streets, and backroads. Our lush, diverse landscape is truly a sight to behold, but recently you may have also spotted something slightly less appealing during your travels: distracted drivers.

Photographed above:  John Sparrow, CEO and Executive Vice President, Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company

We’ve all witnessed examples of distracted driving, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ve probably all been distracted drivers ourselves at some point, too. I get it. Kentuckians are hardworking, busy people, and it’s difficult to resist a quick glance at an incoming text alert or social media update. But I need to be frank with you today. We can’t keep falling for these distractions when we’re seated behind the wheel. Kentucky’s families have already paid too high a price because of distracted drivers.

In 2016, distracted driving was noted as a factor in nearly 50 percent of collisions on Kentucky roadways. That accounts for approximately 59,400 crashes. What’s worse, distracted driving also contributed to 192 roadway fatalities in Kentucky that same year. These numbers might make us uncomfortable, but they are facts that we need to know and address. Distracted driving seems innocent enough, but it only takes a second for a distraction to turn into a disaster.

Most of us think of distracted driving as an activity involving our phone, but we should really consider distracted driving to be anything that takes our attention away from the road. We know we shouldn’t be taking selfies or texting while driving, but we need to be just as aware of those less obvious distractions, such as reaching into the back seat, searching through our console, or even eating. Not too long ago as I was driving into work one morning, I saw a man eating his breakfast off the dashboard with a full plate of food and a fork and knife in either hand. I’d say he was sufficiently distracted! Whenever our eyes and focus are on anything but the road, we put ourselves, our loved ones, and other drivers in danger.

Unfortunately, solving this problem is not as simple as being aware of the risks. According to a survey by AT&T, more than 90 percent of drivers know the dangers of distracted driving, yet many still choose to engage in this bad habit. Knowing about the perils of inattentive driving is not enough. We must make changes.

That’s why I want to challenge all Kentuckians to be present behind the wheel. As we like to say around our office and in our advertising, KFB loves Kentucky. What does that mean in this context? It means we want our families to enjoy safe roadways and make it to their destinations unharmed. We can’t ignore this social ill any longer — we have to make a conscious effort to be present if we’re going to truly tackle this issue. It’s up to us as drivers to make the right decisions.

Please join Kentucky Farm Bureau in our efforts to put a stop to preventable injuries and deaths on Kentucky roadways. As spring brings new life, there is so much to live for in Kentucky. Make the right choice and stand with us in our commitment to drive distraction-free.

Download a photo of John Sparrow, click here.