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Anti-texting documentary aims to reach drivers before New Year’s

Consumer Reports News: December 29, 2010 02:08 PM

AT&T has released a powerful anti-texting documentary aimed at reaching drivers before New Year’s Eve, which is considered one of the most dangerous days on the road.

The documentary illustrates the dangers of this issue and the real-life accounts from victims, relatives, friends, and individuals who were responsible for killing innocent people while reading or responding to a text message—many of which were simple messages such as “Where u at.” The video above is a preview of the documentary. The full 10 minute video is part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign and will be distributed to schools, government agencies, and safety organizations to get the message out on the dangers of texting and driving. See the full documentary.

The documentary comes at a time when distracted driving has been at the forefront of any discussion about automotive safety. In 2009, over 5,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents, with a large proportion of the deaths involving people under the age of 20.

Distracted driving has been the key government safety mission during 2010. In 2009, startling statistics from a variety of studies about the dangers of distracted driving were made public. 2010 started with the launch of Focus Driven, an organization aimed to bring together victims of distracted driving accidents to help increase public awareness and attitudes. Later, Oprah Winfrey joined the movement and used her influence and reach to get the word out on the dangers including her “No Phone Zone” pledge on her website for people to join the movement. In the spring a pilot campaign called “Phone in one hand. Ticket in the other” was launched in Syracuse, NY and Hartford, CT to test whether increased law enforcement and public advertising will help deter drivers from texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. The DOT held its second distracted driving summit this past fall to address the issues and discuss next steps for combating the problem. Just last month, a new initiative from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called “Faces of Distracted Driving” was launched to humanize the issue by sharing personal stories on how loved ones were lost from these tragic accidents. These are just a few of the distracted driving initiatives that took place during 2010.

2010 was also a year for new legislation aimed at curbing distracted driving. As of January 2, 2011, when Delaware institutes its new laws, there will be nine states, plus the District of Columbia, that will have hand-held cell phone bans. In addition, 30 states and the District of Columbia will have banned texting while driving. Expect more states to join in and pass similar laws as we head into 2011.

The issue of distracted driving is gaining momentum as the government, law enforcement, educators, and students work to drive home the message on the dangers. Remember: no call or text is worth a life. Drive safely this New Year.


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