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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora