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NYSEG, AAA join forces to remind drivers about dangers of distracted driving

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Fri, Oct 11th 2019 06:05 pm

Companies urge drivers to be aware of surroundings after recent accidents

NYSEG, a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc., and AAA New York State, an advocate for traffic safety and security, recently announced they are working together to remind passenger and commercial drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

“NYSEG has seen an uptick in the number of passenger vehicles that strike electric poles and commercial construction vehicles that come into contact with power lines and other electric equipment,” said Trish Nilsen, director of emergency preparedness for NYSEG. “It’s dangerous for those who cause the crash, first responders and the nearby public. It may also lead to neighbors and communities losing power while crews repair the damage.

“The company extends our thanks to AAA for helping to spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving.”

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 88% of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, with nearly half of all drivers admitting to recently talking on hand-held phones and another 35% reporting they have sent a text or email while driving.

“Studies show that drivers who talk on cellphones are four times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public affairs for AAA of Western and Central New York. “When you text and drive, your chances of crashing increase eight times more than those who wait. Distracted driving can not only cost you your life, but can also negatively impact society in other tangible ways – as NYSEG has pointed out.”

The companies jointly urge drivers to use caution when operating motor vehicles by increasing awareness and resisting the urge to use devices that require one to take their eyes off the road. They also caution operators of commercial construction vehicles to make sure the dump beds of their trucks are down before entering the roadway.

•NYSEG and AAA offer the public the following safety tips should a fallen power line touch a car:

  • Stay inside the car. The ground around the car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down the windows and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around the car can be injured.
  • Use a mobile phone to call 911.
  • Wait until the fire department, police, or NYSEG workers say it’s safe to get out of the car before exiting the vehicle.

•If a car is in contact with a fallen power line and starts on fire, follow these guidelines:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep hands at sides and jump clear of the vehicle so as to not touch the car when feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up feet.

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