6.17.14 – The current Indy Lights championship points leader, Zach Veach, made a special visit to Austin, TX Tuesday in support of Texas Department of Transportation’s (TXDOT) Distracted Driving Summit. The 19-year-old started the day before the sunrise in pit lane of the gorgeous Circuit of the Americas (COTA) facility with local media and families of those affected by distracted driving accidents to share their personal stories. Following the early morning hits, Veach was given the opportunity to tour the 3.4-mile permanent road course, even getting the chance to view the track from its iconic observation deck.
Leading off the summit was TXDOT Operations Director Carol Rawson who introduced the “rising IndyCar star” to the crowd settled into the COTA media center. The Ohio native spoke to the summit attendees about his personal story of losing a community member and schoolmate to a distracted driving accident. Veach also expressed that while driving at 180 mph as a race car driver, it’s imperative to be 100% focused, and should also be the same for drivers on the freeway even if they’re driving at just 60 mph.
In Texas alone in 2013, of the 94,943 traffic accidents that were caused by distracted driving, 459 of those were fatal, according to TXDOT. One in five accidents in Texas is caused by distracted driving – not limited to texting while driving or even talking on the phone albeit on a hands-free device. Changing the radio station, turning around in your seat to speak to passengers, cognitive distractions, in addition to phone usage are all means of distracted driving. Did you know that employers nationwide are liable for distracted driving accidents caused by their employees if the employees are operating a company vehicle, are using a cellular device provided by the company or are doing company business on their phone while operating a vehicle?
Although the driver of the No. 26 RePLAY XD Indy Lights machine may drive at speeds that are uncommon for everyday motorists, his 100% focus at the task at hand is what keeps him safe and helps him beat the competition. All operators of motor vehicles should be just as focused so they can keep themselves and those around them safe.
For more information on Zach’s advocacy efforts, please visit www.ZachVeach.com. To hear more about TXDOT’s efforts in reducing distracted driving, please visit http://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/distracted.html.