I know that I’m reaching the point of overdoing my posts about distracted driving, but it’s such a growing problem around the country that I’m going to continue writing about it.
This post has some good news — AT&T is committing millions of dollars for a continuing campaign against distracted driving. (The bad news is that I send AT&T a bunch of money each month, and my bill might get reduced if they didn’t spend so much on advertising…)
AT&T’s campaign was detailed in a recent article in the Dallas Morning News. Here are excerpts:
Dallas-based wireless provider AT&T Inc. announced plans to pump an additional “tens of millions of dollars” into its campaign to educate people about the dangers of texting and driving.
The campaign, “It Can Wait,” uses a website, social media and television ads to discourage people from texting while driving. AT&T first started fighting against texting while driving in 2008, and the campaign launched in 2009, but now AT&T is intensifying its efforts, said CEO Randall Stephenson.
“The whole industry has done a good job of making the technology easy and simple to use,” Stephenson said. “Unfortunately, people think they can continue using it and take their mind off the road. That’s the thing we have to jar society into recognizing: You can’t do it. People are dying.”
According to the National Safety Council, at least 23 percent of traffic accidents every year involve cellphones. That’s about 1.3 million accidents, including 100,000 in which one of the drivers was texting.
AT&T is also pushing an app called DriveMode, which launched last year and is available for Android and BlackBerry phones. While activated, it blocks users from receiving text messages and sends an auto-reply that the user is driving. It is free, and Stephenson said he hopes that it will be pre-loaded onto new phones soon.
The app provides a solution for drivers who don’t want to text but may give into the temptation when they receive a text or call.
“We are conveying first and foremost the danger of this activity, and second, giving people the tools to help control themselves, control their kids behavior and encourage the best behavior,” Stephenson said.