At Darke Rural Electric Cooperative, safety is foremost in everything we do – for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your families before they get behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely. This may include talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, and adjusting temperature or music volume.

Distractions take a driver’s attention off the road, which can make them miss critical events, objects, and cues, potentially leading to a crash. 

There are three main types of distraction:

  1. Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Lack of Focus: Taking your mind off what you’re doing

While all distractions can compromise safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distractions.

Since 2017, nearly 70,000 car accidents have occurred as a result of distracted driving. Of the cars involved in these accidents, 40% were operated by drivers between the ages of 15 and 24. Across Ohio, distracted driving continues to threaten the safety of citizens every day.

If you are driving or riding in a vehicle that strikes a utility pole, your vehicle may be charged with electricity. Downed lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away and, by exiting a vehicle that has crashed into a utility pole, you are risking exposure to thousands of volts of electricity.

Here’s how you can stay safe if you’re in a car accident involving a power line:

  1. Stop and assess the situation.
  2. If the car is NOT on fire: 
    • Call 911 and wait inside the car. Emergency personnel will work with utility services to deactivate the power line. 
  3. If the car IS on fire:
    • Open the door and jump out with both feet together. 
    • Make sure your body is not touching the vehicle when your feet reach the ground. 
    • Shuffle your feet away from the vehicle for at least 35 feet, keeping both feet on the ground. Lifting your feet to walk could lead to electrocution due to the ground being energized. 

*Information from this brochure was provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.