Manager’s Message – August 2023

Practice Back-to-School Safety

August is Back-to-School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, it is a good time to remind folks, including myself, of the dangers of distracted driving.

Using a phone while driving creates enormous potential for injuries and fatalities. Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects and cues, potentially leading to a crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every 10 fatal crashes in the United States involves distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths annually. This statistic is heartbreaking, considering how many accidents could be avoided if we simply put down our phones while driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts our attention, including texting or talking on the phone and adjusting the navigation or entertainment system. Texting is by far one of the most dangerous distractions. Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

In addition to refraining from texting while driving, we can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. If you see utility crews conducting work near the roadside, I encourage you to move over when possible and give them extra space to perform their work safely.

In our area, this time of year signifies the beginning of the harvest season. Trucks, tractors, harvesters and other agricultural equipment are commonly found on roadways as they move from field to field. United Electric encourages all members to use caution and be courteous when encountering these vehicles. In addition, everyone should be aware and careful of overhead power lines.

At United Electric, safety is foremost in everything we do—for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews to drive safely, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your friends, families and neighbors who may be new to the roadways. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: That text can wait, and waiting just might save a life.

Michael Darrington