A Hall of Fame quarterback who had 43 game-winning drives in his NFL career has some words of advice for South Carolina drivers.
Don't get distracted when you are behind the wheel.
That's the message Brett Favre is sharing in a public service announcement that will be broadcast on the airwaves in South Carolina.
Favre is asking drivers to stay off of their phones while driving. That's because distracted driving is a rising cause of fatalities.
Each day in the U.S., approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.
“As a quarterback in the NFL, if I didn’t stay focused, I ended up on my back or worse. Even the smallest distraction could make a good play or offensive drive come to an end,” Favre said in the PSA promoted by South Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Property Casualty Insurers Association. “When you’re in a car, the smallest distraction could end much more than a drive, it could end someone’s life."
According to National Safety Council estimates more than 40,000 people in the U.S. died in motor vehicle crashes for a second consecutive year in 2017. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety the number of crashes involving distracted driving resulting in injuries is up by 1,000 compared to five years ago.
“Putting down our phones and staying focused on the road can prevent accidents," South Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance spokesperson Susan Merrill said in a release.
A bill that would have quadrupled the fine for texting while driving wasn’t passed by S.C. lawmakers before the crossover deadline in the State House. That’s a disappointment for its sponsor, state Rep. Bill Taylor, the Aiken Republican who called texting while driving a “public safety emergency” in South Carolina.
The bill would have raised the texting-and-driving fine to $100 for the first offense from the current $25. Drivers would have faced fines of $300 for repeat offenses.
Taylor said police "could write 1,300 (tickets) a day in Columbia,” for drivers who are texting. But there are so many other things on phones that are distracting drivers.
“It’s not just talking and texting that are diverting our attention anymore; increasingly, drivers are surfing the web, engaging on social media, and using apps,” said Nancy Egan, PCI regional manager. "Amazingly, YouTube is one of the top 10 apps that people are using while driving, according to TrueMotion, a technology company that tracks driving habits."
Favre, whose father died behind the wheel, was blunt in his plea.
"I refuse to lose someone I love to distracted driving, and you should too,” he said.