Texting while driving kills several thousand people in America every year. Research has found that texting while driving makes it 23 times more likely that there will be an accident. Drinking and driving actually results in slightly fewer teen deaths annually. About half of teens surveyed have said they have texted while driving. In 2011, there were over 360,000 injuries due to texting while driving accidents. All of these injuries and accidents are preventable.
Due to the rising popularity of mobile devices, texting may be increasing amongst all age ranges. Award-winning film director Werner Herzog has made an online film about the family members whose lives have been impacted by the loss or injury of their relatives from being hit by texting drivers. “I knew I could do it because it has to do with catastrophic events invading a family. In one second, entire lives are either wiped out or changed forever. That kind of emotional resonance is something that I knew I could cover,” he said. (Source: AP) Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Grizzly Man, and Little Dieter Needs to Fly are just some of the scores of films Herzog has made.
ItCanWait.com is where you can watch the film, and you can share your own stories about the issues. (The film is also available on Youtube). AT&T is behind the It Can Wait campaign, which includes having the film shown in about 40,000 high schools.
While this awareness raising is necessary and well intended, information alone sometimes doesn’t change behavior. Reducing texting while driving is probably a goal linked to recognizing that old habits need to have alternatives that are of equal allure, or people won’t be motivated to stop just because they have been presented with an important message.
Having a lock on texting that a user can turn on when they are in a vehicle, or one that is automatically turned on when the mobile device senses it is in motion might be helpful features.
Texting has been described as ‘addictive’ because of the brain stimulation, so it is hard to resist alerts from mobile devices associated with new messages. In a society where many people are lonely, their closest moment to moment connection may be with information technology via their cell phone or laptop.
What You Can Do
Do you text and drive or know anyone who does? What do think can be done to stop it?