Just Drive, It Can Wait…”No TEXT Is Worth A Life!”

Meet Liz Marks

To date over 5,000,000 people have met Liz Marks via this YouTube video provided by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (USDOTNHTSA). Those 5,388,628 people have heard Liz’s story about texting and driving. Today we want our readers to meet Liz and we hope they will share this post with their spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, children, siblings, co-workers, neighbors, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Let’s talk about distracted driving

We often write about drunk driving and for sure all drunk driving is distracted driving, but conversely not all distracted driving is drunk driving. Distracted driving is not new phenomena; it has existed since drivers started talking to passengers (1886) and became more of a problem when radios were added to the dashboard (1930). From there the list of causes has grown to include the following:

  • Texting 
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone 
  • Eating and drinking 
  • Talking to passengers 
  • Grooming 
  • Reading, including maps 
  • Using a navigation system 
  • Watching a video 
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

To this list we would add: smoking and reaching for a “dropped” item, including a lit cigarette.

There is a website called disraction.gov.  When visiting this website we discovered the following facts:

  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. 
  • An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. 
  • 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. 
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. 

So what is it about text messaging (texting) that makes it so hard to not do it when driving?

This is the question that The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and AT&T posed and they developed a survey that reached 1000 participants. The survey is called It Can Wait Compulsion Survey. There were 1004 respondents, 100% of these respondent use a cell phone, respondents were solicited nationwide, the survey took place for one week in May 2014. To participate in the survey  respondents had to be between 16 and 65, own a cell phone, text at a minimum once per day and drive everyday. The bottom-line: 98% of those surveyed admitted texting and driving are dangerous, but 75% admitted they continue to text and drive! Again we invite you to review the entire survey and share it with your teenagers and young adult children.

Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut Medical School and The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, created the survey and explains to TIME Magazine: 

“There’s a huge discrepancy between attitude and behavior,” says David Greenfield, a University of Connecticut Medical School professor who led the study. “There’s that schism between what we believe and then what we do.”

The lure of text messages is actually a lot like the appeal of slot machines, Greenfield explains: both can be difficult compulsions to overcome for some people. The buzz of an incoming text message causes the release of dopamine in the brain, which generates excitement, Greenfield says. If the message turns out to be from someone appealing, even more dopamine is released.

There’s an app to help you stay focused while driving…

If meeting Liz Marks and reviewing the It Can Wait Compulsion Survey has caught your attention, then the AT&T Drive Mode® app may interest you and all of your loved ones. It is free and here’s what it offers:

  • Avoid distraction by silencing text message alerts and automatically replying to text messages
  • It turns on when the vehicle is moving and allows the driver to access music and navigation with one touch
  • Sends parental alerts if the AT&T Drive Mode is turned off, auto-mode is disabled or a new speed-dial number is added.

AT&T reminds us: No te#Xt is worth a life…it can wait. 

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