Texting & Driving: No Laughing Matter
OMG. AITR. LOL. Adults may not quickly understand text message shorthand much less be able to use it proficiently. However, teenagers have become masters at conversing via text nearly anywhere and anytime without even thinking about it, but that’s where the problem lies.
Nearly 75 percent of American teenagers admit to texting while driving, and thus increasing their chances of being in an accident by 23 times. The unfortunate fact is that many of those accidents do not leave the drivers or the passengers AAS (alive and smiling); rather, they are more likely to be DOA (dead on arrival).
Tragedy Could Be Just a Keystroke Away
Recognizing the deadly consequences of texting and driving, AT&T recently launched a campaign to promote the message “TXTNG & DRIVNG … IT CAN WAIT.” As part of the campaign, AT&T created a documentary in 2010 called “The Last Text” to share the real stories of lives impacted by texting while driving. It seems to have struck a nerve: nearly 2.5 million views have been recorded by YouTube with thousands of viewers leaving comments.
Phone manufacturers are also taking measures to prevent texting in vehicles. Many phones now feature “car mode” which blocks users from accessing texts received or sending texts while vehicles are in motion.
On a state level, Illinois lawmakers decided to take the legislative route to discourage distracted driving in Illinois. Effective January 1, 2010, the text messaging and cell phone law (Public Act 096-0130) prohibits a person from operating a vehicle on a roadway while using a device to compose, send or read e-mail, text messages or instant messages. Fines for violation of the law begin at $75.
The efforts to prevent tragedies, such as those seen in the AT&T documentary, are noble. But will they be enough to make a change in teenage driving habits? That is TBD.