Traffic Safety

Distracted driving banner


Make a pledge to focus on the drive.

By avoiding distractions, drivers can saves lives and make the road safer for everyone.

Each day in the United States, 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Use of handheld devices while driving is illegal in Oregon, but studies show that hands-free devices can be just as dangerous. Anything that takes the driver's mind off driving is a potential danger.

Many people underestimate how distracted they are when texting, talking on the phone or other multitasking. Teenage drivers are most likely to engage in dangerous distractions, but few people are exempt. It is tempting to answer a call or send a text while driving, but to do so takes the driver's mind off the task of driving and reduces his or her ability to respond quickly to changing situations.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has taken up this cause by adding messages to their variable message signs, such as: "You should know better than that. Hang up. –MOM"

One message caught national attention:


Tweet from James Corden

The reference to Late Show host and comedian James Corden's popular carpool karaoke segments is a clever reminder not to text and drive – sing now and text later.

While the ODOT campaign focuses on texting and driving, anything that takes the driver's focus off the road, even belting out musical hits, can be unsafe. Use good judgement when behind the wheel - focus on the drive and don't pick up the phone.

The National Safety Council encourages drivers to pledge to be an attentive driver and commit to focusing on the drive.

More resources and information about distracted driving:

Oregon Department of Transportation
National Safety Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

What do traffic engineers, road maintenance workers, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, deputy sheriffs and firefighters have in common? A concern for public safety. And traffic safety is a huge component of public safety.

Our goal is to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage from road traffic collisions. Contributing factors to road traffic crashes are related to the driver, the vehicle, the pedestrian, the bicyclist and the road itself. 

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What officials can do…

Traffic engineers refer to the 3 E's: Engineering, Education, and Enforcement.

  • Engineering tools include road design, pavement markings, warning and regulatory signs, and traffic calming devices, along with all the engineering that goes into the design and manufacture of vehicles.
  • Education informs people through driver's education classes, media safety campaigns, signage, speed watch programs, and school and neighborhood meetings.
  • Enforcement techniques include Sheriff's Office warnings and citations, along with radar trailers, speed display signs and radar reader boards.