Texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Yet, even though it is illegal, it is remarkably common, especially among young people.
But some Garfield High students had the chance to see how distracting texting behind the wheel can be Wednesday morning. Councilmember Bruce Harrell gave a talk, and students had the chance to use a driving simulator that demonstrates first hand how texting slows response times significantly.
From Councilmember Harrell’s office:
In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, met with students at Garfield High School this morning to discuss the issue.
The Peer Awareness Foundation and AT&T made available a driving simulator on campus to demonstrate how dangerous it is to text and drive. Students had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a real car and experience the dangerous impact of texting while driving through a pair of virtual reality goggles.
“Driving and texting is against the law. Fatalities related to distracted driving are among the highest for people under the age of 20,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “Do not risk your life and the lives of others by thumbing lol, cul8r, ttyl, idk, gtg; no text message is worth the risk. Education is the answer for this national epidemic and we will work with teen drivers, families, and schools to stop this.”
This educational program is part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, a national effort to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving.
Below are some startling facts about texting and driving:
· Slower reaction time when required to brake:
§ Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
§ Legally drunk: add 4 feet
§ Reading email: add 36 feet
§ Sending a text: add 70 feet
· Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field completely blind.
· Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.
· Some studies indicate that texting while driving is twenty times more dangerous than drinking and driving.
· One in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day, or 3000 texts a month.
· One in three texting teens ages 16-17, say they have texted while driving.
· 48% of all teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.
I think this effort will help these young drivers get the message. It has to start with the end user, the driver…deciding not to partake in distracted driving and this will help drive that message home.
I also decided to do something about teen (and adult) distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool for teens and their parents called OTTER that is a simple, GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.
Erik Wood, owner
do one thing well… be great.