BOISE -- KTVB and Idaho Power are teaming up to take on distracted driving with "Just Drive." A challenge open to the public Aug. 16 will let participants to tackle a tricycle course and a simulated driving course while using a phone to see how it affects their driving and reaction time.
Idaho Power implemented a company-wide prohibition against the use of hand-held devices like cell phones and smart phones last year. Employees can only use the devices while driving if they are in hands-free mode.
"Distracted driving has increasingly become a safety threat to motorists and pedestrians in our communities. We feel this is one way to demonstrate our commitment to safer communities in which we serve, while also help keeping our employees safe, " Idaho Power President and CEO Darrel Anderson said in a statement. "We hope this event inspires other drivers to make the safe choice."
KTVB is joining the cause with an employee distracted driving policy that includes banning talking, texting or using data on phones while driving on company business.
"For years our news department has covered the severe consequences of texting or talking on the phone without a hands-free device, " KTVB News Director Kate Morris said in a statement. "In launching Just Drive, we hope to increase awareness and challenge viewers to take the pledge not to text and drive. Our entire staff is committed to this effort for the safety of themselves and others. They understand their focus when behind the wheel of a KTVB vehicle must be on the road, not on a phone."
Distracted driving is a factor in 22 percent of all fatal crashes and 30 percent of crashes that cause serious injury, according to the Idaho Transportation Department, which is also sponsoring the event.
"Nearly 1 out of every 4 multiple-vehicle crashes is due to inattention and distraction," Josephine O'Connor of the Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety said. "In 2013, 33 percent of fatal distracted crashes involved an electronic communication device."