Recently, I've been pleased to note a promising trend in the fight to end distracted driving.
We're now seeing more and more stories featuring everyday Americans reaching out to their peers and communities to help raise awareness about the dangers of texting or using a cell phone while driving.
Zits, by Jerry Brown and Jim Borgman, courtesy, zitscomics.com
This week, for example, the comic strip "Zits," which runs in more than 1,600 newspapers, features a texting-and-driving storyline produced in partnership with AAA. When the strip's 16-year-old Jeremy Duncan is involved in a texting-related crash, creators Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman hope it will remind the strip's readers--largely teens and parents--about the dangers of this deadly epidemic. I hope it will, too.
And in Fremont, Ohio, high school students at the Tech Center took their safety message to the state legislature. Morgan Bauer, Taylor Ingram and Mariah Olvera have already proposed a municipal texting ban in Fremont. This week they testified before the Ohio House's Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on behalf of a proposed state texting ban. As Taylor Ingram said, "After researching the factual information we realized just how dangerous texting while driving really is. Seeing these horrid facts led our group to take this one step forward and take it to a state level."
In Houston, a group of even younger students have taken public education into their own hands at Longfellow Elementary School. Budget problems prevented the City of Houston from posting signs near Longfellow alerting drivers to the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving in a school zone. So, safety-minded students, parents, and area residents joined together to create and post their own signs.
And that's just a quick sample of the safety message ordinary Americans are spreading through their communities across the country. There are many, many more.
Here at the Department of Transportation, we've been on a rampage to end distracted driving for nearly two years. In public service announcements, through summits, on Distraction.gov, and with our Faces of Distracted Driving videos, we have been beating the drum constantly for safer driving. But lately--thanks to the strong support we've seen across America--that important work feels a lot less lonely.