In an effort to raise public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has joined forces with the renown Ad Council to create three gripping television PSAs called “Stop the texts, stop the wrecks.”
The campaign specifically targets teens, which studies have shown are the group most likely to be affected by distracted driving. The idea is to contrast how texting outside of the car can go wrong to embarrassing results, but texting while driving will have tragic consequences.
The choice to make clear when texting is and isn’t appropriate is important. Unlike the self-evident risks of drinking and driving, texting is not an inherently dangerous activity. Though it’s clearly distracting, texting is legal and increasingly omnipresent.
But where texting doesn’t belong is in the drivers seat. It’s a point driven home by the hair-raising final moments of each ad, which show a distracted driver realizing he or she is about to crash into another car or unprotected pedestrians.
Here are two of the ads:
“The Average text takes your eyes off the road for nearly five seconds…”
“Not everyone should text and walk….No one should text and drive”
The ads are great, but I wonder whether education is really the problem.
A troubling study recently conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic reported that 95 percent of surveyed drivers recognize that texting behind the wheel is a serious threat. A full 88 percent feel the same way about cell phone use. Clearly, driver education and advocacy work to bring this danger to light has been wide-reaching.
But even though nearly everyone knows the life-threatening dangers associated with distracted driving, more than a third of those same respondents also reported that they had read or sent a text message while driving in the last month, and two-thirds said they’ve talked on their phone in that period.
Hopefully these new, powerful PSAs will help people connect the danger of distracted driving to their own behavior.
Learn more by visiting StopTextsStopWrecks.org