In our effort to get drivers to put down their distracting devices when they get behind the wheel, it's terrific to have the Ad Council, our longtime safety partner, join the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These two groups have teamed up with the State Attorneys General to launch three new very striking Public Service Announcements in a new campaign called "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks."
The good news is that, in a study released last year, 84 percent of teen drivers were aware that distracted-driving behaviors increase their crash risk. They know, for example that texting while driving pulls your eyes from the road for an average of 5 seconds per message; they know that, at 55 miles per hour, that's like driving the length of an entire football field--completely blind.
Distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, but teen drivers are already 4 times more likely than adult drivers to be involved in a crash. Combining teen drivers with electronic distractions is, quite simply, a recipe for tragedy.
The bad news is that, knowing these facts, 4 in 5 young drivers still admit to having texted while driving.
The campaign is aimed at showing teens that texting and driving is far from a reasonable way to multitask, but is, instead, a very dangerous and potentially fatal practice. “Through our Texting and Driving Prevention campaign," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council, "we are working toward eradicating the mindset among young adults that texting and driving is a safe activity.”
As we lead this fight for road safety, DOT welcomes all partners seeking to spread the message that, as Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna said, “No text, Tweet or Facebook update is worth your life.”
Or anyone else’s.