RG&E and AAA New York State Join Forces to Prevent Distracted Driving

Companies urge drivers to be always be aware of surroundings after recent accidents

ROCHESTER, NY — October 27, 2020 — For the second consecutive year, RG&E and AAA New York State are partnering together during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to remind passenger and commercial drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The companies urge drivers to take charge of eliminating distractions by focusing on the road ahead as visual and mental attention is key to safe driving.

“It’s always imperative to stay alert while driving, but this can be particularly important during the changing of seasons as weather and road conditions shift,” said Trish Nilsen, Director of Emergency Preparedness for RG&E. “Often, crashes involve vehicles striking electric poles or commercial construction vehicles colliding with power lines and other electric equipment. On average, RG&E and our sister company, NYSEG, are impacted by roughly 450 crashes per year that cause power outages lasting an average duration of nearly three hours. In total, this amounts to more than 6,200 hours of lost time for our customers over the past five years. Staying focused on the road will not only keep drivers safe, but also help to prevent this impact to neighbors and communities. We’re grateful to AAA for their commitment to help prevent distracted driving.”

According to AAA, more than 22 percent of distraction-affected crashes involved confirmed use of a smartphone. Texting and driving can have the same consequences as drinking and driving: deaths and injuries. In fact, distracted driving kills an average of 9 people and injures over 1,000 every day in America.

“Traffic safety is a fundamental part of our mission to be an advocate for motorists and to make roads safer for everyone,” said Elizabeth Carey, Director of Public Affairs for AAA Western and Central New York. “Taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds doubles your chances of being involved in a crash. This could not only cost you your life but could also negatively impact society in other tangible ways – as RG&E mentioned.”

The companies jointly urge drivers to use caution when operating motor vehicles by increasing awareness, keeping mobile devices out of sight to prevent temptation and taking advantage of the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting. They also caution operators of commercial construction vehicles to make sure the dump beds of their trucks are down before entering the roadway.

Finally, RG&E and AAA offer the public the following safety tips should a fallen power line touch your car:

  • Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down your windows and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
  • Use your mobile phone to call 911.
  • Wait until the fire department, police, or RG&E workers tell you it’s safe to get out of your car before exiting the vehicle.

If your car is in contact with a fallen power line and starts on fire, follow these guidelines:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.

RG&E is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc.

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About RG&E: Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1848, RG&E operates approximately 8,800 miles of electric distribution lines and 1,100 miles of electric transmission lines. It also operates approximately 10,600 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 105 miles of gas transmission pipelines. It serves approximately 378,500 electricity customers and 313,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region in New York surrounding the City of Rochester. For more information, visit www.rge.com

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $35 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com

Learn about the Iberdrola Group’s global pandemic response at its COVID-19 Hub.

Media Contacts

•    Sarah Warren