Everyone knows the dangers of texting while driving. Currently, 39 states have laws against this growing problem, and anti-texting campaigns can regularly be seen and heard on radio, television, social media, and in print ads. These ads have become increasingly graphic in an attempt to discourage drivers from texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel.
But do they work?
According to a recent report, there are 660,000 drivers looking at their phones at any given moment. Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 account for the largest percentage of offenders. Unfortunately, this is the same age group with the highest risk of fatal crashes. Young people are less experienced drivers, and have a tendency to engage in riskier behaviors (not wearing a seatbelt, speeding) than their older counterparts. Combining these risk-factors with the added risk of texting while driving proves fatal for thousands of young people every year. Obviously, something needs to be done.
Anti-texting Campaigns Are “Missing the Mark”
Unfortunately, reports show that the surge of anti-texting campaigns is proving largely ineffective. A recent survey found that 97% of teens already know that texting and driving is extremely dangerous. With the dangers of texting and driving being the main focus of just about every ad campaign, it seems as though the campaigns are simply telling people what they already know.
So how can these ads get to the core of the problem?
As part of its anti-texting campaign, AT&T conducted a survey of teenage drivers. It found that 89% of teenagers felt obligated to respond to text messages within one minute or less. With young people, the fear of “missing out” basically wins over the fear of being injured or killed in a car accident. However, this knowledge may be a useful tool for future anti-texting campaigns. If campaigns focused less on the dangers of texting and more on the tendency of young people to be at the beck and call of their text messages, maybe we would see a decrease in texting-related car accidents.
As parents, it may be helpful to have a conversation with your teenage children about their “need” to respond to texts within seconds. Here’s one good analogy – immediately answering every text message is like showing up early to a party. It’s not cool. If it takes you a while to respond, the person on the other end will automatically think you’re doing something more important – talking to someone else, exercising, shopping, or (even better) that you just can’t be bothered with responding right now. Try to convey to your children that not responding right away is cooler than immediately responding. This may sound like an over-simplified solution, but if you have teenage children, you know the undeniable force of peer pressure. Tell your kids to leave their cell phones in the glove box whenever they are driving, and to pull off the road if they absolutely must take or make a call or text. Similarly, you should model the same behavior to your children. If they see you texting while driving, chances are your anti-texting speeches won’t go very far.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys Serving Boston and Surrounding Areas
For nearly 50 years, Altman & Altman, LLP our Boston car accident lawyers have helped victims of accidents recover physically and financially. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damages. Motor vehicle accidents can result in a flood of medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You shouldn’t have to deal with this on your own. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our team of highly skilled, experienced personal injury attorneys will evaluate the details of your case to determine the best way to move forward. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.