Of the 2 trillion text messages sent each year, too many are sent from moving vehicles. The CDC stats on distracted driving are alarming, so much so that private corporations are stepping up to the plate. It's not just non-profits and Ad Councils promoting safer behavior, BMW and AT&T have both launched campaigns designed to curb distracted driving. Given the dangers involved and the consequences of any accident involving a motor vehicle, you wouldn't think we'd need advertising to know better. Sadly, too many of us just aren't paying attention.
One in Three Text and Drive
In this case, the stats aren't lying. But, if you claim you don't text and drive, you might be. According to a recent survey by the CDC on distracted driving, 31 percent of American drivers admitted to sending or reading an email or texting while driving in the past 30 days. Here's one example of our European counterparts outsmarting us, rates in most countries across the pond are much lower. How does that translate to accidents? Almost 20 percent of accidents in 2010 involved a distracted driver. The likelihood of getting in an accident increases 23 times while texting and driving. So, aside from the laws making texting while driving illegal, it's downright dangerous. Thankfully, automakers and phone companies are stepping up in an effort to make our drivers and our roads safer.
BMW Takes a Stand
With support from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, BMW North America stepped up with a multi-platform campaign in 2011 including TV, digital, radio and print to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. The campaign was titled "Don't TXT & Drive" and pulled on the heartstrings of every parent. It reminded drivers what's at stake with their family in the car and their attention not on the road. That's sure to make you feel better about buying a BMW. Even if you're considering a used BMW, it's nice to know they're taking action.
AT&T Has Something to Say
So an automaker is hoping to stop the danger of texting and driving, what about the cell phone companies? Data plans are growing and smartphones are as popular as they've ever been. AT&T isn't just doing an advertising campaign, they created an interactive exhibit for high-school students that toured the country. In 2010, the company launched the campaign titled "It Can Wait" asking drivers if the last text they read or sent was worth causing a serious accident. If that wasn't enough to drive the point home, they also featured parents of teens killed in accidents and injured accident survivors. It's hard to argue with the sight of a paralyzed teen or a crying parent. In 2013, they followed up by creating a simulator and taking it to high-school students, visiting Ohio to coincide with the state's new law banning texting while driving.
What About You?
Now that you've heard what BMW, the CDC and AT&T have to say about texting and driving, what's your takeaway? You're controlling a hunk of metal hurtling down the road at upward of 60 miles per hour. It doesn't matter how many airbags you have or how good your ABS is, the best safety feature in your car sits behind the wheel— it's you. Keeping your attention on the road and your eyes on the oncoming traffic is the surest way to keep you and your passengers safe. If you or someone you know or love is texting and driving, it needs to stop. For your sake, for your passenger's sake, and for everyone else's on the road with you.