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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid