McLean, Va. — Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins hopes to connect on a new campaign to persuade drivers to put down their cellphones.
His focus on the field apparently extends to his driving. “I don’t text or look at my phone when driving because it’s dangerous,” Cousins said at an event Tuesday to kickoff the campaign called “Phones Down, Touchdown.”
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents in the region, and cellphones are one of the biggest distractions, according to campaign organizers Transurban, operators of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, and other Virginia transportation leaders.
“No text or phone call is worth risking your life or the life of others,” Cousins said.
The problem of distracted driving is widespread throughout the region. Fairfax County police report that of the 35,000 crashes so far in 2016, 29 percent were caused by distracted driving.
The campaign will use online ads and social media, and organizers hope that the 28-year-old QB can help reach young people who are more likely than others to use cellphones while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers in their 20s made up 38 percent of the distracted drivers who used cellphones in fatal crashes.
“If you see a friend, a colleague or a family member drive distracted, speak up. Tell them to put the phone down,” Cousins said.
A distracted driver at highway speeds is risking a crash. He added, “Experts say that texting for just five seconds behind the wheel is like driving blindfolded across an entire football field.”