Texting is our newest addiction, a fatal addiction if we text while driving. More than 90% of text messages are looked at within 3 minutes of being received… we just can’t wait. 98% of commuters admit that texting and driving is dangerous, yet 49% percent of commuters and 43% percent of teens admit to texting and driving, according to a 2013 poll. That statistic doesn’t include other distractions on the road – a teenager from St. Louis is sharing her story in the hopes other kids learn from her mistakes. Ashlei was a patient at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She was thrown, unrestrained, from her car on Hwy 40. First responders rushed her to a nearby emergency department which then transported her to Children’s after they saw the severity of her injuries. She looked down for “just a second” to punch an address into her GPS. These pictures show her car and her progress toward recovery. She suffered very complex injuries to her left arm, including nerve damage, multi-level spine fractures and a high level liver laceration.
Have you put your phone away yet? What did it take?
Statistics alone don’t do much to change addictive behavior. When it comes to texting and driving, knowledge is not the barrier. But telling a story—appealing to human emotion—can really change human behavior. And Hollywood has answered our call to activism with anti-texting-and-driving documentaries, dramas, and outspoken stars.
Here are the YouTube clips you need to share with every driver you know:
1) More than 300 students from the UK auditioned to be a part of this short film with state-of-the-art digital special effects by award-winning BBC producer Peter Watkins-Hughes. Watch the short version (80 seconds), or the 4 minute version.
2) From One Second to the Next is a powerful 35 minute documentary from award-winning director Werner Herzog that tells the true stories of four tragic accidents that resulted from texting while driving. The full-length film is available on YouTube.
3) Tim McGraw takes the No-Texting-And-Driving pledge for his teen daughters. Watch his video here.
4) Your Last Text is a 3 minute video that combines crash-site photography, video content from the UK film above, and statistics.
What’s your story? What finally made you quit texting and driving? Or how come you never started?
For me, it was my minivan with 5 child safety seats squeezed into the back. I’ve always hated texting and driving, but I must admit that on rare occasions I’ve voice-texted using Siri on my iPhone. But when I installed that fifth car seat into the last free seat in the back of my van, it really dawned on me that I have six lives that I’m responsible for every day. My own, and those of my children. As the driver, my life is most endangered by driving, and they don’t need to grow up without a mother. And I don’t know how I’d go on living if I caused the death of one of my own children by texting and driving. When they start driving, how can I tell them not to text-and-drive if I’m still doing it?
Throughout the month of May, St. Louis Children’s Hospital is joining AT&T, reminding teens and parents about the dangers of distracted driving using #ItCanW8. We encourage you to do the same.
Now I leave my phone in the back of the van, where I can’t answer it unless I pull over. What do you do? Share your story and save a life.