If you live in Arizona, you have probably seen the banners on the freeways reading, “Drive hammered, get nailed.”
As a nation, there has been a significant effort to stop drunk driving. It is looked down upon as an extremely reckless and foolish act. What many don’t know is that texting and driving is now the leading cause of death for teens. According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, “Texting while driving is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated.”
Many people are aware that texting and driving is dangerous, but there is a certain pressure to respond in a quick time frame, and it’s extremely tempting to look at your phone while waiting at a stoplight. In a statistic mentioned on dosomething.org it was reported, “According to AT&T;’s Teen Driver Survey, 97 percent of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43 percent do it anyway.”
Recently, there was a campaign launched in San Francisco to end texting and driving with the help of Brian Singer and his website called “Texting While in Traffic,” or TWIT. He started the campaign with money out of his own pocket in order to increase awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.
Singer, who became outraged over the number of people he saw texting while driving, began snapping photos and putting them up on 11 billboards throughout San Francisco.
According to an article by Lakshine Sathiyanathan on cbc.ca, Singer states, “If you drive (101 Freeway) every day, and you look at the freeway, and you see photos of your fellow drivers who are driving 101 on a billboard, that’s just a really fascinating moment of recognition and hopefully awareness for people.”
While the ads could violate the texters’ privacy, many feel it will be an effective campaign. No one wants to be caught in embarrassment over doing something stupid and maybe others will see how foolish it looks to be caught in the act. It is a message to others that there are people out there watching and their behavior does not go unseen.
The campaign will hopefully be able to change the behavior of the people of San Francisco to make them think twice before sending a text while driving. If the campaign is successful, other states may start to use the same kinds of strategies to prevent texting and driving.
For now, our society and especially young adults need to learn to unplug from technology in order to save themselves and others around them from being put in a potentially life-threatening situation.
People in general are overly obsessed with checking texts and social media and answering calls, and it is high time that we start taking texting while driving as a serious offense.
Reach the columnist at Kassidy.McDonald@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @kassmcdonald