As someone who champions AT&T’s message of It Can Wait that is part of their no texting while driving campaign, I was dismayed when I got an email from a family member who proudly exclaimed he had traded his Blackberry for an Android. I also may have flipped out a little upon reading this:
It is, however, much harder to use (impossible) when driving a car. With the Blackberry, I was able to make calls and even send texts (in either English and Spanish) while driving 80 mph on I-10 in Texas.
WHAT?!? You were doing WHAT while driving?
Making calls by pushing buttons on the Blackberry. Sending texts in multiple languages while driving. I wanted to pick up the phone, call, and lecture but I was too upset. Instead I stared at my computer, shaking my head in disbelief that someone that we love so dearly would be so very careless.
There are things that we know we shouldn’t do but do them anyways. Like using the phone while driving. We know the risks of distracted driving but it doesn’t stop us from texting, using map apps, or making and taking calls on the phone even though the statistics are staggering.
- In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.(Monash University)
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)
When reading the above statistics from Distraction.gov, do you pause to think about your actions and how they may affect others? Are you ensuring that your actions keep you and your passengers safe while not putting other motorists at risk? Because we know all it takes is a split second before life could change forever.
For this reason, my husband has offered assistance to this family member in the form of Android lessons while I am going to lead the conversation on distracted driving.
Even though this individual is far from being a teen, I’m going to make him take the pledge to never text and drive. I’m going to install the AT&T Drive Mode App after having him use the Texting & Driving simulator. We are going to have a very real conversation about the risks to him, our family, and to others on the road.
Because all it takes is a split second and your world can change forever.
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I received a Samsung Galaxy SIII from AT&T but have worked with them in the past to share the #ItCanWait campaign through mobile safety education initiatives I’ve conducted in my community and online. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of AT&T.