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Attorney General Schneider Joins National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State Attorneys General and Ad Council to Unveil New Public Service Advertising Campaign to Urge Young Adult Drivers to ‘Stop the Texts’ and ‘Stop the Wrecks’
October 31, 2011
New National Survey Shows Eighty-Two Percent of Young Adults Say They Have Read a Standard Text Message While Driving
AUGUSTA – In an effort to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, Attorney General William J. Schneider announces that the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Ad Council are launching a new public service advertising campaign (PSA) nationwide.
NHTSA reports that distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Sixteen percent of all drivers younger than twenty involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) reports that a texting driver is twenty-three times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver.
Maine banned texting and driving in September 2011.
“Texting and driving is a dangerous combination,” said Attorney General Schneider. “That information needs to be conveyed clearly, especially to our youngest drivers.”
“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.”
The new television, radio, outdoor and digital PSAs communicate to teens and adults that when you text and drive, you are not multitasking, but essentially driving blind. By taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you are making the road less safe for you, your passengers and other drivers. All of the PSAs direct audiences to http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#home, a new campaign website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving and tips for how to curb the behavior.
“For over twenty-five years we have been working with NHTSA to successfully address drunk 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 towards eradicating the mindset among young adults that texting and driving is a safe activity.”
The Ad Council’s national survey also found that seventy-five percent of young adult drivers have sent a standard text message while driving; forty-nine percent have done it multiple times. Half of respondents say that during the past month, they have been a passenger when a friend was texting while driving.
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.
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 $88.7 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 http://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 http://www.nhtsa.gov/