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Attorney General Schneider Joins National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State Attorneys General and Ad Council on Inaugural Stop the Texts Day
May 1, 2012
NASCAR Driver Kasey Kahne Featured in New Public Service Announcements to Encourage Young Drivers to Leave the Risky Driving to the Professionals
AUGUSTA – Sixty percent of young adult drivers ages 16 to 24 said they have texted while driving, according to a national survey released by the Ad Council. To educate young adult drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, Attorney General William Schneider, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies, and the Ad Council today revealed new public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne. The new PSAs are being unveiled today to coincide with the first nationwide Stop the Texts Day, and the start of National Youth Traffic Safety Month.
NHTSA reports that distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving. Maine banned texting and driving in September 2011.
“Here in Maine we know the consequences of texting while driving,” said Attorney General Schneider. “Those few seconds that your eyes are off the road can cause irreparable harm. It’s just not worth it.”
"I am glad that I was able to be a part of this project. The Ad Council folks do a good job of bringing awareness to causes such as this. Hopefully this will help people realize how dangerous texting while driving can be," said Kasey Kahne, NASCAR driver.
The goal of Stop the Texts Day is to extend the message of the “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” texting and driving prevention PSA campaign via social media in an effort to educate young drivers about the risks of texting while driving. Friends and parents of young adult drivers, and other safe driving advocates, are invited to share status updates from the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day on why texting while driving is such a risky behavior. Additionally, supporters can write an open letter to young adults imploring them to not text while driving on the campaign’s Tumblr. A complete toolkit for Stop the Texts Day is also available to provide additional ways the public can participate.
Created pro bono by advertising agency RPA, the television, radio and digital PSAs remind young adult drivers that it is dangerous to do anything that takes your attention away from the road and serve as a reminder to leave the risky driving to the professionals. The PSAs direct audiences to stoptextsstopwrecks.org, a 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 Ad Council’s national survey released today also found that forty-four percent of young adult drivers ages16 to 24 say that friends are the most influential source to encourage them to curb their texting and driving habits, followed by their parents. Most notably, eighty-eight percent of texting drivers said a law against the behavior would encourage them to completely stop or be less likely to text while driving. Additionally, ninety-six percent of young adult drivers said large fines, a suspended license and/or jail time, higher insurance rates and other financial and legal consequences would encourage them not to text while driving.
The online survey, commissioned by the Ad Council, was conducted in partnership with ORC International’s Online CARAVAN® Youth Omnibus. Research was conducted nationwide from April 3 to 6, 2012. The sample consisted of 862 teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. All respondents were required to have a valid driver’s license, junior license or learner’s permit.
Since 2006, the Ad Council has partnered with the State Attorneys General to address reckless driving among teens. To date the campaign has received more than $98.2 million in donated media support. For more than twenty-five years, the Ad Council and NHTSA have worked together on consumer safety PSA campaigns. For more information visit www.adcouncil.org.
For more than four decades, the NHTSA has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation’s roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of drunk drivers; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information visit www.nhtsa.gov.