By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Pictured (L-R) Bevely Lowe, Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation and Bianca Watkins of the Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha look on with smiles as Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz and Snellville Council Member Mike Sabbagh support the Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation Life Is Beautiful: W8 2 Text! pledge against distracted driving.  The nonprofit launched their inaugural awareness campaign June 1 and were able to encourage over 100 citizens join the fight against distracted driving.
100 Citizens Join Fight Against Distracted Driving in Snellville

The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation launched Life Is Beautiful: W8 2 Text!, an awareness campaign designed to discourage distracted driving, at The Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter Community Health Fair at the Snellville Senior Center on June 1, 2013. Citizens who signed the pledge include Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz and Snellville Council Member Mike Sabbagh. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.  Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving, and can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.  There are three main types of distraction:

·         Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
·         Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
·         Cognitive: taking your mind off what you are doing

textphoto1GPS members strive to educate the community on the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. 

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. Further, 31 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.

To that end, GPS is working to discourage distracted driving- and help save lives. Members want to encourage citizens to turn their smartphones into smart tools.  Representatives of the organization will be on hand at the Community Health Fair to encourage the use of safe texting apps- apps that can make the difference between life and death, and ask the community to pledge not to text and drive.   Members will also assist community members with downloading safe texting apps to their smartphones.

 The best way to end distracted driving is to educate the community about the danger it poses. That said, The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation is driving forward with Life Is Beautiful: W8 2 Text!. Members are supporting other end distracted driving awareness campaigns, and also plan to extend their campaign beyond the Community Health Fair by also connecting with families via churches, schools, universities, and other organizations.
For more information about the Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation log on to  http://www.gwinnettpearlsofservice.com/ or email mailto:info@gwinnettpearlsofservice.com .

About Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation:
The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation, Incorporated is the non-profit 501(c)(3)affiliate of the Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation was established on October 13, 2005 in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The purpose of the foundation is to focus on education, health, youth development and mentoring.  CaSandra Smith serves as President and Natalie Lewis serves as Vice President.