This week it is customary to give thanks for all that is going right in our lives, the people we appreciate, and the blessings we have been fortunate enough to receive. As I've noted recently, I am very thankful this year for the many grassroots volunteers stepping up all across America to end distracted driving in their communities.
Last week, I applauded the efforts of cartoonist Clyde Peterson in Texas--and today I want to cast the spotlight on the Hudson Youth Court in Wisconsin--which is spreading the word to their peers and helping to prevent life-threatening crashes.
The members of the Hudson Youth Court have launched a peer-to-peer Hang Up and Drive campaign asking their friends to pledge that they won't text or talk on the phone while driving. Their message is simple and clear:
"If you won't listen to your parents, please listen to us."
Says Brooke Brokaw, a member of the Youth Court:
"We just hope that the people who sign the pledges take it really seriously, and however many people want to sign it, we're thrilled. If that means 200 or 1000 or 10,000, each one is another person saying they're not going to text and drive and cause a crash."
For example, they suggest:
- Make those last-minute calls before getting in your car
- Put a reminder sticker on your dashboard, and
- Ask family members not to call you when they know you're driving.
Now, we know the pull these devices exert on us. When the cell phone rings or a new text comes in, it's difficult to resist. And even more so for a younger generation of tech-savvy teens who have grown up with cell phones and other 21st century technologies. So I think sharing these practical steps is a brilliant approach--for teens as well as more experienced drivers.
In the first few weeks of their campaign, the Hudson Youth Court has already collected more than 200 pledges from their peers. That means 200 young drivers who understand that driving while distracted is dangerous to them, their passengers and others on the road.
For the efforts of the Hudson Youth Court and other advocates for safer driving across America, I am truly thankful.