This is a guest post by Sandy Spavone, the Executive Director of National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS).
Many years ago my brother lost a child in a drunk driving crash. The pain of losing someone we loved to the careless actions of one was a tragedy that could have been avoided. In those days the laws were weak and the penalty was as well. Educational efforts were starting but had a long way to go. Now through the work of MADD, fewer families are impacted by drunk driving crashes and the cost of taking a life because of drunk driving has more penalty. In my position with NOYS I now hear a new outcry from parents who are losing their children in texting while driving crashes. NOYS is honored to have MADD as a member of the NOYS Coalition and we encourage all to follow the success model of MADD to see continued success on issues that impact road safety. To that end, the NOYS Coalition is proud to support AT&T’s efforts to end the deadly habit of texting while driving.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called texting while driving a “national epidemic.” AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign seeks to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, and to encourage Americans to remember that no text is worth a life. The campaign is especially focused on teenagers, who are most likely to text behind the wheel. According to a recent survey commissioned by AT&T as part of the campaign, while 97 percent of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 43 percent of them admit to sending a text while driving, and 75 percent say their friends text and drive.
But it’s not just teens who are texting while driving – their parents are doing it too. While almost nine in ten teenagers report that their parents are good role models against texting while driving, they also note that they see the “hypocrisy” in adults between warning against texting while driving and then texting while they’re on the road. These alarming statistics underscore the need to create a nation where texting while driving is as socially unacceptable as drunk driving—and to make sure both teens and adults are getting the message.
That’s why the NOYS Coalition is glad to see that AT&T, its employees, and supporters of the no-texting-while-driving movement are urging Americans to pledge to not text while driving, and is holding events nationwide on September 19 to punctuate those efforts. NOYS encourages everyone to take a moment to visit www.itcanwait.com to take the pledge, and then share your promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook.
The NOYS Coalition is always looking for new ways to make our roads safer, to eliminate dangerous practices behind the wheel and to set a good example for children and young adults in our communities. Together, we can work toward ending the practice of texting while driving, and help all Americans realize that no text is worth dying for.
About National Organizations for Youth Safety
National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS) is a coalition of national organizations and federal agencies who serve youth and focus on youth safety and health. Through this coalition, NOYS influences more than 80 million young people and their adult advisors. The mission of NOYS is to promote youth empowerment and leadership, and build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth.