California American Water has partnered with the National Safety Council to promote “Driving While Distracted Awareness Month,” which occurs every April.
This campaign endeavors to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted with a particular focus on cell phone usage. According to the NSC, nearly 25 percent of all auto accidents in the U.S. involve drivers that were using their cell phones at the time. Utility workers are uniquely exposed to this and other forms of careless driving as they are often working alongside or in close proximity to moving traffic.
“Our field employees are on the road everyday and are often working in high-risk traffic environments,” said Al Yañez, California American Water’s Ventura County operations manager. “And while we have rigorous safety protocols in place for employees conducting street work, we cannot control the behaviors of passing motorist. That is why we support this campaign in asking drivers to turn off their phones and eliminate other distractions while behind the wheel. There isn’t a single phone call or text message important enough to endanger the lives of yourself or others.”
In service to this campaign, California American Water will outfit all its fleet vehicles with bumper stickers that read: “ur txt can w8, please drive safely.” In addition, the company has produced a video public service announcement in partnership with the California Highway Patrol that includes employee testimonials and facts about the importance of driving with minimal distractions. To view this video, please visit the company’s YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/caamwater or its Facebook page at: http://facebook.com/caamwater.
People are also encouraged to visit the NSC’s “Distracted Driving” webpage at http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/distracted_driving.aspx to find additional information about the campaign and specific tips to reduce auto accidents. Some of these tips include:
- Make a personal commitment to drive cell free; it’s the law.
- Research existing technology that prevents cell phone use while driving by holding your calls and messages and delivering them when you are finished driving.
- Turn your phone off or put it on silent while driving so you are not tempted to answer it.
- Speak up when you are in the car with someone who uses a cell phone while driving – ask if you can do it for them, or if it can wait.
- Change your voicemail message to reflect that you are either away from your phone or driving, and that you’ll call back when you can do so safely.
- If you are talking to someone who you know is driving, tell him/her to hang up and call you later.
“Working together through this campaign, we can change the culture of distracted driving and make our roads safer for motorist, pedestrians and utility workers,” Yañez said.
California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 600,000 people. California American Water’s Ventura County service district includes approximately 20,000 households and businesses and serves a population of approximately 60,000 in the cities of Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, and the community of Newbury Park as well as unincorporated portions of Ventura County.
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.
Brian A. Barreto, 626-614-2542