With almost 100,000 car accidents resulting in injury or death each year due to people texting whilst driving, AT&T has taken it upon itself to raise awareness of the problem, launching a new campaign and mobile application to encourage people to stop.
One of the biggest targets of AT&T’s latest campaign is teenagers, where the practice of texting while driving is believed to be especially prevalent. According to a recent survey by AT&T, 97% of teens said that texting and driving was a “common’ practice among them and their friends. The biggest problem that teen drivers have is that they feel compelled to reply the instant they receive a message – 89% admitted that they would usually reply within five minutes of receiving a text, irrespective of whether they were driving or not.
We’re not just blaming the kids though – 77% of teenagers quizzed also claim to have witnessed their parents doing the same thing.
The dangers are all too apparent. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who text while they should be concentrating on the road are twenty –three times more likely to end up smashing into someone.
AT&T has been particularly vocal about the risks, launching “It Can Wait” back in 2009 with a series of radio and TV ads to persuade people not to text and drive. Now, the company is stepping up its efforts with an aggressive push through platforms like Facebook and Twitter to get more people to sign up for its pledge before the “No Text On Board” pledge day on Sept. 19.
To help people break with their dangerous habit, AT&T has gone one step further, announcing the launch of a new DriveMode app for Android and BlackBerry phones. The app helps drivers to focus on the road by disabling sound notifications for incoming calls, emails and text messages, and blocking the driver from making any calls or sending any texts. In addition, it also sends out a reply to anyone trying to contact the driver, letting them know that they’re on the road and will get back to them as soon as possible.