FOSI Supports AT&T’s "No Text On Board Pledge Day"
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated that using a wireless phone while driving degrades a driver’s performance, whether it is a hands-free or hand-held wireless phone. Drivers under 20 report the highest proportion of distraction; in fatal crashes involving those under 20, 16% reported distracted drivers were involved. Forty-eight percent of teens between 12 and 17 report that they have been in a car while the driver was texting. The rising statistics of injury and fatality in cases of distracted driving, particularly among youth, has pushed the issue to the forefront of the mobile safety discussion, where it has been addressed in a number of recent forms throughout industry and government.
2009’s “Distracted Driving Act” and “ALERT Drivers Act” has been an important foundation leading to the most recent developments, such as the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other government officials and experts continue to create and release public service announcements about distracted driving, including their “Faces of Distracted Driving” (http://www.distraction.gov/content/faces/index.html) series which shares the stories of individuals whose lives were changed forever because of texting while driving.
FOSI has committed to the issue by joining AT&T’s “Texting & Driving…It Can Wait” campaign (http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2964), which is designed to raise public awareness about the risks of operating a mobile device behind the wheel. AT&T has expanded the outreach of their message by creating PSAs, available on YouTube, emphasizing that no text is worth dying for, offering support to other safety-oriented organizations, and using social networking sites such as Facebook as a platform to reach younger people. Additionally, they provide personalized resources on their website, which people can use to share the message with their families, friends or coworkers, such as safety tips, a printable brochure and safety contract. Most recently, AT&T has released a documentary called The Last Text featuring stories of the repercussions that can follow texting while driving (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DebhWD6ljZs).
FOSI is thrilled with the active and responsible efforts of many of our members in the area of distracted driving, such as CTIA – The Wireless Association’s “On the Road, Off the Phone” campaign which features public service announcements on TV and radio to help prevent distracted driving. (http://www.ctia.org/media/press/body.cfm/prid/1964) Additionally, Sprint’s “Thumb Wars” campaign encourages teens to “DRIVE NOW, TXT L8R”. (http://www.dosomething.org/thumb-wars) Verizon Wireless also has a long history of support for initiatives that discourage texting while driving, released numerous materials and promotions in support of mobile safely, (http://aboutus.vzw.com/wirelessissues/driving.html) and strongly endorsed legislation that prohibits texting while driving and continues to work to ensure that teens especially remain safe on the road.