Good Digital Parenting
Blog | April 24, 2014

Take Action This Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Director of Consumer Safety and Education, AT&T

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that Old Man Winter overstayed his welcome this year. The long-overdue warmth is starting to bring people out of their homes, into the outdoors and onto the roads. Between weekend trips, spring break and wedding, prom and graduation season, it’s easy to get distracted while planning on-the-go. So we’re taking advantage of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to remind drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. 

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, many people didn't think twice about texting and driving. Now, more than 1,500 organizations and 50,000 individuals have joined the It Can Wait® movement. Working together, we’ve inspired more than 4 million pledges never to text and drive, more than half a million It Can Wait tweets, and nearly a million downloads of AT&T DriveMode® and other apps that block texts to drivers. 

To help ensure we are using effective tools to change behavior, we did preliminary research that suggests a positive statistical correlation between people sharing the Texting & Driving…It Can Wait message and a projected reduction in crashes. By taking several years of crash data from Florida, Illinois and Texas and projecting the number of crashes expected from June 2012 through May 2013, AT&T built a statistical model that correlated specific It Can Wait activities with the actual number of crashes day-by-day during that period. 

Social media sharing, pledging and downloading an app appear to have the most impact. Sharing the It Can Wait message through social media had the highest apparent correlation to crash reductions, supporting earlier AT&T-sponsored research that indicated a word from a friend can be a powerful influence on someone’s decision not to text and drive. Twitter activity, including celebrity posts, correlated the most to lower crash rates. We are still working with safety officials and experts to perfect the model, but these initial results look promising. 

And, as the It Can Wait campaign continues to grow and evolve, we’re trying to make even more of an impact in driver safety. Since last Distracted Driving Awareness month, AT&T has added parental controls to our DriveMode mobile app. As you may already know, an activated DriveMode app can sense when you’re driving more than 25 mph and will send a customizable automatic response to incoming texts. 

Concerned your teen will turn the app off? Thanks to the new parental alerts feature, parents are now notified when their teen turns the app off and has full access to the phone. Check out this video to learn more about how the app works. 

Maybe this spring can bring more than April showers: Maybe it can grow distraction-free driving. If you, a family member or a friend have trouble staying focused on the road, download the DriveMode app and pledge to never text and drive at ItCanWait.com. With your help this Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we can make our roads safer, allowing everyone to enjoy the excitement and fun spring has to offer.