News / USA

Deadly Dangers of Texting Exposed

'Texting Can Wait' campaign sends strong message to teens

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

'Texting Can Wait,' is a 10-minute documentary that is available on the Internet.
'Texting Can Wait,' is a 10-minute documentary that is available on the Internet.


"Where u at?"

Those three words were the last text message Mariah West read before the violent car crash that took her life.

"It was the day before my daughter’s graduation from high school. She was on her way to a ball game and was getting directions," says Merry Dye, Mariah's mother. "The eyewitness report says for no apparent reason, she lost control of her car, crossed the center median, clipped a bridge, then flipped across two more lanes of traffic. No parent wants to receive that phone call."

Dye shares her story in a new documentary, "Texting Can Wait," which she hopes will send a clear message to teen drivers.

"In just three seconds, if you’re going down the interstate, you can cover the length of, I think, five football fields. A lot can happen in that amount of distance in that short amount of time. It’s not a matter of if you would have an accident, but when."

The 10-minute documentary is available on the Internet and was produced by AT&T, a telecommunication company that makes cellphones and other devices teens can use to text.

"We realized that the most effective way to actually bring the message to teenagers and adults would be to tell real stories," says Gail Torreano, a senior vice president at AT&T. "We have a young man in the documentary, Will, who was a passenger in a car and was in an accident. He has suffered brain damage as a result of that."

Studies have shown people who text while driving are six-to-eight times more likely to have an accident than drivers who are focused on the road. According to the latest available government statistics, nearly 6,000 deaths on U.S. highways in 2008 were due to distracted driving. The "Texting Can Wait" documentary, Torreano says, is one of the tools AT&T is using in its campaign against distracted driving.

"We’re trying to share this documentary so that more and more teenagers will see it," says Gail Torreano. "We actually do have employees in all states. We’ve had employees take it directly to schools. But we also have a partnership with the National Organization for Youth Safety and they have all sorts of contacts in the educational system across the country. So they too are going to do that."

Sandy Spavone, executive director of the National Organization for Youth Safety, says texting while driving is so dangerous because it demands a great deal of attention.

"The problem with texting behind the wheel is that it includes all three distractions," says Spavone. "It’s a visual distraction because many of them still glance down at their phone to either read the text or to grab their phone to see who sent them a text so they can respond. You also have the manual distraction, which takes their hands off the wheel so they can text, as well as the cognitive distraction where they are taking their minds off what they are doing, either reading the text or responding to a friend."

The "It Can Wait" campaign empowers teens to be part of the solution.

"'It Can Wait Campaign' helped us develop a teen-distracted-driving leadership team of 20 youths from across the country. These teens came to the Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Summit," says Spavone. "They have created a program of work they are hosting in their local communities."

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to make sure teen drivers get the message that texting behind the wheel is an unacceptable and dangerous behavior - one that can wait until you’re out of traffic.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid