For anyone who has not been aware of the technological advances in the last fifteen years, here’s a news flash: Cell phones/Smart Phones/PDAs, etc., all use texting devices for people to send messages to and from one another. The technology can be extremely helpful in multiple situations; however, the habit has become dangerously epidemic because people are choosing to ‘text’ in unsafe situations. The most common one: People texting while driving their car.
Teen Mentors and other adults who work with teens, hopefully you set a good example regarding your wireless device and do not text while you are driving. On the flip side, teenagers are the worst offenders of texting while driving, and this is especially dangerous, because they are the least experienced drivers on the road. Teens do not need any more distractions while driving; they already deal with the music playing, passengers chattering and their own inexperience behind the wheel. The LAST thing teens need is yet another potentially dangerous distraction of receiving texts and trying to return texts while they are needing to pay attention to that little thing called…. Driving!
Thankfully, AT&T has come up with an entire campaign regarding people (not just teens) texting while driving and ways that the company can provide support for its clients to avoid the situation entirely. AT&T has a new APP you AND your teens can download FOR FREE on their Smart Phones that basically does this: When you download the APP, your phone is automatically programmed so that when you have your phone in your car and you begin driving, once your car begins driving at 25 mph, your phone automatically turns into a message service so if someone texts you, they receive a message that you are currently unavailable because you are driving and you will return their message when you are no longer behind the wheel. The phone also records whatever message the sender leaves, so once you have stopped and parked your car, you know if anyone has left you any messages and can return them safely.
This APP has so many benefits. The biggest is so obvious; it keeps drivers from picking up their phones to receive, read and potentially sent texts while they are driving, therefore cutting down on car accidents and other disruptive driving habits. Secondly, the program gives the sender the message that you are not ignoring their text; you are simply behind the wheel and so you cannot responsibly answer that text or respond to it until you are no longer driving.
Better yet, AT&T has an entire “Campaign Toolkit” regarding the dangers of texting while driving. It includes posters, videos, a Fact Sheet for AT&T’s “It Can Wait” program, a brochure and Parent/Teen Pledge Sheets and Teen/Teen Pledge Sheets promising not to text while driving. These resources are ALL on www.att.com .
Because we are approaching the time of New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps this could be the BEST New Year’s Resolution you and your teens could possibly make. It could save lives!
“No Text on Board.” www.att.com 12/29/12.