Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Please Please Please Don't Text While Driving

This new campaign is from the USA, where the Ad Council collaborated with the office of the State Attorneys General and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work at Texting and Driving Prevention. I was very happy 5 years ago when Ontario put a Anti-Texting While Driving law on the books, here are the details:

Ontario's ban on hand-held devices while driving took effect on October 26, 2009. The law made it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, and drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1. 'Hands-free' use means that apart from activating or deactivating the device, it is not held during use and the driver is not physically interacting with or manipulating it. Actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device, for example, are not allowed.

In Toronto the police often do 'blitzes' where they focus on a morning to catch as many distracted drivers as they can, fine them, and send a message. I don't know how effective this tactic is, but I am happy that something is done occasionally about this very serious issue. Especially as the American campaign details that research that shows: You're 3x more likely to crash if you text while driving. The scary thing it also mentions is that a recent survey showed that 42% of young adult drivers are very/somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving. You can't! (I don't care how good a driver or texter you are - it is not safe.)

Tips to help you stop texting while driving:
- Silence is golden.Turn notifications off. The less you hear your phone, the less tempted you'll be to respond while you're driving.
- Out of sight, out of mind.When you're in the car, put your phone where you can't get it. A place where you won't even be tempted to look for it. No phone. No texting.
- Set that shit up. As soon as you get in the car, set up your hands-free and/or driving mode features and check that it is functioning properly. If your car doesn't come with Bluetooth, portable devices that attach to the sun visor are available. (Jason has one for the Yaris.)
- Designate a texter. Give your phone to a friend or have them use their own. Passengers get the privilege of texting while in motion.

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