Texting, driving: Let's preach and practice
BY DREW EDMONDSON
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
9/19/12 at 3:44 AM
Children are back in school in communities large and small all across Oklahoma. It's an exciting and often hectic time of year. Parents are shuttling kids to band concerts and ball games and running errands in between. Like their parents, students are rushing about, too: rushing to class, to practice, to a part-time job.
We get busier and busier, and multitasking seems to be the only way to get it all done. Society may celebrate those among us who seem to effortlessly address multiple tasks simultaneously, but there's at least one place where a single-minded focus is not only best but a must, and that's behind the wheel of an automobile.
Recognizing this, AT&T recently announced an "It Can Wait" pledge day, set for Thursday, to bring awareness to this important public safety issue. The initiative comes complete with its own website, full of survey results and statistics that should make it easy for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of texting and driving. There is also a place on that site where drivers of all ages can pledge not to text behind the wheel.
The company's efforts are based on some startling statistics.
Research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident or near-accident. The National Safety Council says more than 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting.
Those statistics alone should be enough to persuade you to put your phone away while driving, but what if I told you, moms and dads, that you are being watched?
According to a national teen driver survey commissioned by AT&T, 77 percent of teens have seen their parents text and drive. We tell our kids not to do it, but many parents don't listen to their own advice. It's the "do as I say and not as I do" method of parenting.
Maybe, instead, we should practice what we preach.
In that same AT&T survey, 62 percent of teens said reminders from their parents not to text and drive would be effective in getting them to stop the dangerous practice. If actions truly speak louder than words, how many kids would refrain from texting and driving if moms and dads resisted the urge, too?
So, keep preaching, but start practicing too. Join with your kids in taking AT&T's pledge at itcanwait.com. Talk about the statistics. Commit yourself to never text and drive.
Remember, your kids are watching.
Drew Edmondson is a former Oklahoma attorney general. He practices law at the law firm of GableGotwals.
Drew Edmondson: If actions truly speak louder than words, how many kids would refrain from texting and driving if moms and dads resisted the urge, too?