Most people think they are excellent drivers but others on the road are not. Teens are no exception. Probably because they know it all, yes?
The problem is that if everyone is right about their own exalted driving abilities, it likely means that everyone else on the road is a lesser driver. Which means that you must drive defensively, even if you’re an A+ driver. Which means that you cannot be distracted. But not because you’re not a good driver. It’s because others on the road are bad drivers. Make sense?
Whatever the reason that you need to drive on high alert even if you’re a good driver, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still wants to bring heightened awareness to the fact that, in 2012 alone, 3,328 people died in the United States in distracted driving crashes. That’s why they’ve made a new public safety announcement in the form of a commercial called “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”
Texting and driving knows no age limits, although teens get the brunt of the blame. Of course teens aren’t the only ones guilty of texting and driving, but they do an awful lot of it, with the NHTSA saying “71 percent of teens and young people say they have composed/sent SMS messages while driving” and “78 percent of teens and young adults say they have read an SMS message while driving.”
In most states, texting and driving is an offense that will earn you a ticket. Many drivers get irate for getting a ticket for distracted driving, but Distraction.gov aims to educate people exactly why they should and will get a ticket for texting and driving. Looking down at your phone and sending even a one word response or reading a quick text can be the difference between life or death. Maybe you won’t die, sure, but what if you kill someone else in the process? Consider yourself lucky if you get away with only a ticket in hand and not someone’s blood on it instead.
This is the ad that got me to put my phone down when I’m behind the wheel. Seeing the lifeless baby in the backseat and the terrified preschooler was enough to make my heart skip a beat or 20. To think that something is so important that I must respond via text at that moment I’m driving — while putting another mom’s children at risk of being orphans in the process? And to think that my children are in harm’s way every time they get strapped into their car seats because another driver has to look at their phone at that moment? No. Nothing is that important.
Everyone needs to put their phones down when they’re in the driver’s seat. It’s literally a matter of life or death. Spread the word to all the teens that you know. They know they’re invincible, but what they don’t know, perhaps, is that my children are not.
Will teens get the message in this new PSA? For my kids’ sake, I sure hope so.
Video credit: USDOTNHTSA/YouTube