HARRISBURG -Attorney General Linda Kelly on Thursday joined with her colleagues from all 50 states, along with Consumer Protection agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council to launch a new national public service campaign urging young drivers to stop texting while driving.
Kelly said the nationwide education campaign about the dangers of distracted driving will feature television, radio, outdoor and digital public service announcements, along with online messages using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
"Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and texting can dramatically increase those risks," Kelly said. "In a new national survey, more than 80 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 admit to reading a text message while driving an act that makes those drivers 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-texting motorists."
All of the PSAs direct audiences to stoptextsstopwrecks.org, a new website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving and tips for how to curb the behavior. The website also has an area where individuals can post, and share on Facebook, what they are doing to stop texting and driving.
"This national public service campaign stresses to teens and adults that when you text and drive, you are not multitasking, but essentially driving blind," Kelly said. "Taking your eyes off the road, even for a short period of time, makes the road more dangerous for you, your passengers and everyone else around you."
A social media program will help drive the point home on social networking sites and blogs nationwide. Non-profit partners such as NOYS (National Organizations for Youth Safety) and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) will help spread the message by reaching out to their members across the country.
"Distracted driving is dangerous, and tragically, teen drivers are the most at risk of being involved in a fatal distracted driving crash," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We hope our new ad campaign will send a strong message to teens that putting away cell phones and other distractions while you're driving is not just commonsense safe behavior, it can save your life."
"Every second matters when you're behind the wheel," said Attorney General Rob McKenna, 2012 President of the National Association of Attorneys General. "The nation's attorneys general join the Ad Council, consumer protection agencies and NHTSA in reminding young drivers to stop texts and stop wrecks. No text, Tweet or Facebook update is worth your life."
"For over twenty-five years we have been working with NHTSA to successfully address drunken driving prevention. The term 'designated driver' is now a part of the American vocabulary, but even more importantly sixty-seven percent of all adults have tried to stop someone from drinking and driving," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "Research has shown that using a cell phone delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. Through our Texting and Driving Prevention campaign we are working toward eradicating the mindset among young adults that texting and driving is a safe activity."
"I urge all young drivers, along with their parents and loved ones, to review this information and join the effort to stop texting while driving," Kelly said.