Fire Fighters Launch "#JustifyIt" Public Safety Campaign to Staunch Epidemic of Texting and Driving Tragedies


Fire Fighters Launch “#JustifyIt” Public Safety Campaign

to Staunch Epidemic of Texting and Driving Tragedies

Washington, D.C. – Can you justify the next text message sent from your driver’s seat? That is the question being raised by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) texting and driving public safety campaign. #JustifyIt (hashtag JustifyIt) uses fire fighters’ first-hand experience with texting and driving disasters to educate the community and keep the public safe from these violent accidents.

“Texting and driving is a big problem for drivers of all ages across the nation, and our community is not immune,” says IAFF President Harold A. Schaitberger.

More than 1,000 people are injured every day due to texting while driving. Distracted driving causes 3,000 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).

Texting while driving a vehicle has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of accidents and deaths of teenage drivers. According to the Allstate Foundation, texting while driving has the same effect as driving after four beers.

Moreover, recent research shows the texting in traffic isn’t simply a problem among teens – 47 percent of adults admit that they text while driving.

Fire fighters are using the #JustifyIt campaign to demonstrate that you or your loved one could be part of that statistic if you choose to text and drive.

“Keeping your eyes off the road for even five seconds when you’re traveling at 55 miles per hour is driving blindly for the length of a football field,” says Schaitberger. “It’s incredibly dangerous to look away while moving in a vehicle, even just to check a text.”

#JustifyIt puts accountability back into the driver’s hands. Fire fighters ask drivers to justify their behavior behind the wheel and encourage drivers to ask themselves if the text they’re about to send or receive is worth the consequences, not only to themselves, but to everyone around them.

“The collateral damage that comes with texting and driving is overwhelming,” Schaitberger says. “Devastating physical and emotional harm to family, friends, fellow drivers and others are all possible outcomes of texting and driving.”

The IAFF encourages the community to get involved in the #JustifyIt campaign through social media and by talking to your kids and loved ones about the dangers of texting and driving.

To stay as safe as possible when driving, follow these tips from your local fire fighters:

  • Never use your phone while driving
  • Put your phone somewhere you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind!
  • Silence your phone while driving. If you can’t hear your notifications, you are less likely to check them.
  • Designate a texter. Ask a friend to read and reply to your texts while you’re driving.
  • Pull over or wait until parked to check or send messages.

The IAFF urges everyone to be safe on the roads and avoid distractions while driving. Visit the #JustifyIt campaign web site at: http://justifyit.org for more information.

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About IAFF:

The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. More than 3,200 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada. The IAFF is one of the most active lobbying organizations in Washington; its Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, is among the top 25 federal PACs among the more than 4,000 in the country.