If you're a fan of our efforts to combat distracted driving, this is a pretty big week.
- Today, I was at Union Station here in Washington, DC, for an Allstate "X the Txt" rally with Jordin Sparks and Rep. Tim Bishop.
- On Thursday, we'll be joining NOYS to celebrate the release of their new teen-written PSA.
- And on Friday, I'll be appearing on the Washington, DC, segment of the Oprah Winfrey Show's "No Phone Zone" Day live broadcast.
I can't thank Jordin enough for lending her support to our fight for safer roadways. It's encouraging to see a young star using her fame to help other young people get this important message. If she can't help inspire America's youth to put down the phone and just drive, I don't know who can.
I also want to thank Allstate for the great work they do promoting all aspects of teen driving safety. I really liked what Allstate Vice President Bill Vainisi said today. First, he said that Allstate's mission is to protect people from life's uncertainties. I thought that was great because car crashes are the leading killer of our nation's youth, but this cause of death is completely preventable; it doesn't have to be one of life's uncertainties at all.
Then, he said, "We're putting a stake in the ground, drawing a line against this behavior," and my thumb-pledge on their banner means I'm with him wholeheartedly on that.
Now, Allstate's "Thumbs Up" Facebook page has tens of thousands of fans who have all pledged to "X the TXT."
This pledge may help curb the deadly epidemic of distracted driving because it's a promise to take responsibility for one's behavior behind the wheel. I hope Allstate's "TXTNG KLLS" thumb rings--I'm wearing one in the photo on the right as I add my thumbprint to the pledge banner--are a great reminder of that promise.
Accepting the responsibility that comes with a set of car keys means knowing the serious risk to others of reading even one short text message, and this leads to better common sense behind the wheel.
We need more of that common sense from drivers.
- We need the common sense to know that you can't text safely while driving--you can't do it.
- We need the common sense to know that you are not invincible.
- We need the common sense to know your own habits--if you can't resist the phone, don't just put it down; put it in the glove compartment or in the trunk.
- We need the common sense to know that text or call can wait until you're safely at your destination.
As Allstate's Teen Driver website explains, the facts on texting and driving are clear:
- It takes your eyes off the road on average of five seconds at a time. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of a football field - completely blind.
- It's like driving after having 4 beers.
- It makes us 23 times more likely to crash.
- It results in car crashes that kill an average of 11 teens each day.
- It results in 330,000 distracted driving injuries every year.
Look, the science makes it plain. If you text or talk on your phone, or use some other device while you’re driving, even if it’s hands-free, you lose focus.
"I don't text or talk and drive anymore. Because one time I did reach for the phone while driving, and I swerved. Just a little, but enough to really scare me, and I said to myself, 'I could have hurt someone--that's it.'"
She added that "It's not about protecting just your own life. It could be your brother or sister, your mother or father, a friend in the car with you or a stranger walking by. It's about protecting everyone."
It comes down to this: No matter who it comes from or what it says, that next call or text message is not worth the risk to you and to the others sharing the road with you. It's not worth a life.
So please, join Allstate's roster of common sense drivers by going to www.facebook.com/ThumbsUpPledge and pledging to "X the TXT."