Drivers, don’t text!: New campaign

By Anne Collier

With its “Txtng & Drivng … It Can Wait” project, AT&T just joined Verizon Wireless in campaigning to stop the practice of texting while driving. AT&T’s campaign, aimed at teens, is using “television, radio, print, the Internet, shopping malls, even the protective ‘clings’ over the front of new cellphones, to target young drivers,” USATODAY reports. Verizon Wireless launched its “Don’t Text and Drive” campaign last year. Persuading drivers not to text may take time. USATODAY cites the view of Peter Kissinger of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, saying that the national Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign worked “because it has a law generally accepted by the public, a visible enforcement component and a big public awareness effort.” USATODAY adds that, in 2008, the latest figures available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “5,870 people died and more than a half-million were hurt in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver,” and “young, inexperienced drivers are disproportionately represented among these drivers.” US 13-to-17-year-olds send or receive an average of 3,146 texts a month, or 10 an hour, on average, for every hour they’re not either sleeping or in school, according to Nielsen numbers I recently blogged about. Let’s hope that includes every hour that 16- and 17-year-olds aren’t driving.

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