January 4, 2012
There have been many commercials and video's circulating the major networks raising awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. In one, you hear a phone conversation between two women, asking if either has heard from their children. One woman says that she texted her son and he has not replied yet, that is not like him, so she is worried. The screen then shoots to a young women being covered with a blanket on the road, she was killed in a car accident. The next scene is the son, also killed, in the driver seat with his phone in his hand with the words "on my…" typed on the screen. The commercial is chilling. Unfortunately this is too common on our roadways. After deciding to raise awareness through our blog, we researched for more statistics and came across a documentary produced by AT&T called the "The Last Text". I encourage you to watch this ten minute video. We all recall the graphic, "shock and awe" effect of the video from the UK circulating last year. This video is different. This is showing you the after math of the victim's family. How simple the texts were and how painful the repercussion is for those that love you. AT&T announced today a $1 million contribution to help educate the public and spread the word about its "Texting & Driving…It can wait" initiative. This announcement kicks off during National Youth Traffic Safety Month – a time when many teens are hitting the roads for prom, graduation parties, summer jobs and road trips with friends.
"It can Wait" isn't anything new. California passed the No Texting while driving law back in 2008. Although it seems that we still see people texting while driving constantly. In our profession we have seen too many lives shattered from the death caused by a motor vehicle accident. Please raise awareness of the danger of cell phone use in vehicles. There have been recent studies that show texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.
Other cell phone driving statistics:
- Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands free) extends a driver's reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)
- The No.1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia Tech/NHTSA)
- Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- 10 percent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time.
- Driving while distracted is a factor in 25 percent of police reported crashes.
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent (Carnegie Mellon)
Cell phone use contributes to an estimated 6 percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. (Harvard Center of Risk Analysis)