Does your teen son or daughter text and drive? Do his or her friends?
According to a survey from AT&T:
- 75 percent of teens surveyed say that texting while driving is "common" among their friends;
- Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less;
- And 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.
Educators are starting to target distracted driving—including texting and driving—just like drinking and driving in their safety messages to local students.
The problem, they say, is that many students don't connect texting and driving as a dangerous combination.
Dearborn students join the message
In Dearborn, the Safe Mature and Responsible Teen Summer Driving Campaign stands as an annual reminder to local teens to make good decisions while driving—during warm weather and beyond.
County, state and local officials join together in their message to Dearborn teens, summed up by Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon: "Don't drive distracted."
At Dearborn Public Schools, the message continues. District spokesman David Mustonen said the decision of how to spread the message against distracted driving is left up to each high school and student groups—but however they address it, it's an important issue for local teens.
At Edsel Ford High School, some teens took part in the Strive 4 a Safer Drive campaign during the 2011-12 school year.
According to an article about the project in school newspaper The Bolt, "The primary goal is to spread awareness throughout the school and ensure that drivers here at Edsel know the effects of distracted driving. The goal of the project is to change the driving habits of teenagers."
Resources for parents, schools and teens
A new campaign from AT&T is hoping to change that mentality and highlight the dangers of texting and driving. The It Can Wait program, which launched in September, encourages drivers to take the pledge, promising to not text and drive.
Many schools in the area are teaming up with AT&T and promoting the campaign to students and their parents.
AT&T is also now offering a Drive-mode app which sends an automatic “I’m in the car driving” message to a user's top five contacts.
- AT&T has a kit students can download and share with their schoolmates to start an anti-texting and driving campaign. There are also school-specific programs and resources. Their It Can Wait website also has videos and other downloads to teach teens about the dangers, as well as a texting and driving simulator.
- The nonprofit Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan has a program they've developed to teach students about distracted driving. The centerpiece is "Remember Ally," which includes posters and a moving video about a local teen who recently died in a distracted diving crash. For more information, please contact TIA's Executive Director, Jim Santilli, at 248-334-4971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The national SADD website has lots of resources to help talk to teens about the dangers of distracted driving, including cell phone use behind the wheel.
- Detroit Area Honda Dealers, along with the Children's Hospital Foundation of Michigan, have just started a "Think Before You Text" campaign, and their website includes an online pledge to stop texting and driving. The Dearborn Honda dealership is participating in the campaign.
Have you taken the pledge to stop texting and driving? Enter our Patch.com/AT&T contest and tell us why.