AT&T: More Adults Text and Drive Than Teens, Employers May be to Blame
April 1, 2013 8:02 AM
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Half of adults text, despite nearly all of them knowing that it's dangerous
Texting while driving remains a hotly debated topic in the U.S.
While most will agree that it can pose a dangerous distraction to drivers young and old alike, some argue that a quick text is no worse than the multitude of
other (legal) distractions in our vehicle
s -- be they screaming children or drooling dogs. While the federal government has
practiced a mostly hands-off policy
regarding texting and driving, many states have
moved to ban
texting while driving
. A handful have
looked to allow hands-free texting
. But even in states where texting and drive is illegal, like Michigan, studies have shown
many drivers still willfully text-and-drive
from America's second largest mobile carrier, AT&T, Inc. (
), adds fuel to the fire. It reports that more adult drivers are texting the road today than teens. The study was conducted last April and examined 1,200 cell-phone owning teens between ages 15 and 19 who drive, along with 1,011 cell-phone owning adults.
According to the survey, around 43 percent of teens text while driving. Surprisingly that number is even higher among adults -- 49 percent admit to performing the risky maneuver at some point. Among the total participants 98 percent said they felt texting and driving was unsafe (including those who were doing it).
While they know it’s wrong, four out of ten say it's not just an occasional emergency measure, it's a habit. And six out of ten who text-and-drive say that they did not do so three years ago, indicating the risky behavior is on the rise.
AT&T says it believes one reason why more adults text while driving than teens is the pressure of work responsibilities. After all, it's hard to ignore that text from your boss when (s)he is demanding an immediate answer. Thus AT&T is encouraging the adoption of anti-texting programs that call on employees and managers to cooperate to reduce the practice.
Cathy Coughlin, AT&T's global marketing officer, is heading the so-called "
It Can Wait
" anti-texting-and-driving campaign, which launched in 2009. She comments, "Through the It Can Wait movement, AT&T is collaborating with employers, nonprofits, law enforcement, educators, legislators, professional associations and government agencies nationwide. I'm confident, together we can save lives by encouraging millions more to make the personal commitment never to text and drive."
Virginia Tech University
suggests drivers who are texting are 23-times more likely to be involved in a collision. At the same time, counter-intuitively
traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels since 1949
, according to a 2011 survey.
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People are not phone compatible
4/3/2013 3:27:22 PM
I hate that people just have seemingly no concept on how to properly use a cell phone!
You get some people like my sister who think it is rude to not answer the phone, so if they hear it ring at an inappropriate time then they answer and snap 'I can't talk now' and then hang up! That is way more rude than just letting it go to voice mail where I can say what I need to say! If you don't answer your phone then I have enough respect to assume that you are busy, not that you are trying to avoid me.
On the other end of the spectrum, my wife (who I love dearly) use to have this horrible habit of just repeatedly calling until the person picked up. I had to explain to her that if I don't answer my phone then I either left the phone somewhere and cannot hear it, or else I wasn't answering because am in the middle of something and I keep having to silence the phone when in the middle of something important and I would call back as soon as I could. Seeing 100 missed calls puts me in a panic thinking that the house burned down or someone died, or if I am in the middle of something then I am just getting more and more annoyed at each interruption. If it is super important then call twice, and leave a VM or text after the 2nd call. Calling more than twice is simply either not going to get through, or else it is just annoying the person you are trying to call.
Another thing too, why do people insist to have whole conversations in text messages? It is fine for simple short answer questions, or if you need information that you need to reference later (like a name, number, date, address, etc.). But if a text is going to take more than 2 questions then just call the person! It is much faster to just call them and get immediate feedback. Plus you get a feel of how they are doing, and it is just a generally more beneficial (and efficient) way of doing things!
And why do people do strange things with microphones? Cell phones are designed to work just fine by putting the speaker in your ear, and then have the other end generally pointed towards your mouth. You do not need to move the phone directly in front of your mouth every time you speak so that you sound as incomprehensible as batman. You do not need to yell at the top of your lungs for the mic to pick you up. You also should get all shy and whisper the minute you pick up the phone. And holding the phone so that the mic end of it is up in the air does not make you look hip or cool... you just look like an uneducated moron. Speaking with frustrated intonation does not help someone figure out what is being said when you have bad reception. Just talk normally, and clearly, nothing else helps the situation!
When a person is driving there are some rules to follow in the conversation. When talking to someone who is driving it is not the time to work out drama or fix a relationship (or tell jokes that are going to make them laugh hysterically). It is not the time to sort out a life changing decisions. It is not the time to make the person driving try and do any kind of math, or try to remember some obscure fact, or generally do any 'slow' or 'involved' thinking. And it is also not a good time to change the subject every 2 sentences where the person driving has to try and figure out what the conversation is even about. Keep the conversation light, generally positive, and simple. Drivers will live longer for it, and when off the road it is generally good advice to follow anyways.
Also, the texting while driving thing has got to stop. You should not get a fine or a ticket. The cop should take your phone, shoot it repeatedly, suspend your license, and arrest you. Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. And repeat offenders should be shot on site! With the addition of a simple (and cheap) hands free set you can make calls, receive and respond to texts, and even play back music without ever needing to actually look at your phone and distract you from what you are doing. This rule should apply to anything that pulls your visual attention away from the road, not just phone use.
All that said, I am perfectly fine with people using their phones while driving, and I myself am rarely ever driving while not on the phone in one capacity or another. But people need to use common sense. Driving comes first. If you need to look at the screen for anything more than a 1 sec glance then it is something that can wait. And most importantly, if your phone is not good enough to have hands free (and look-free) features... then chances are that your conversation is not so important that you need to have it at that moment. If your conversation was that important, then your job ought to be able to pay you enough for a good phone that would let you do it without putting the rest of us responsible people in danger.
I cannot wait until cars can drive themselves! People in general are already bad drivers without modern distractions! Sadly the good drivers are probably the ones who will buy self driving cars first, and the bad drivers will try and continue driving themselves well past the point where they have to.
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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