The country’s four largest cellphone companies recently announced
a joint advertising campaign which seeks to bring greater attention to
the perils of
texting while driving. The campaign is in response to the rising number of motor vehicle accidents
where texting while driving is a factor. The four companies: AT&T,
Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile will unite behind AT&T’s
existing slogan, “It Can Wait.” Nearly 200 additional organizations
have lent their support by contributing to the multi-million dollar project.
The ads are set to appear on television and radio this summer. It will
also appear on three Goodyear blimps, store displays, community events,
social media, and a nationwide tour of a driving simulator.
According to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, almost every company within
the industry recognizes the dangers of texting while driving. His company
agrees with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s characterization
of texting while driving as an epidemic. Stephenson explained that cellphone
companies believe that pooling their resources together in order to present
a single message on the issue would be more effective and powerful than
having multiple campaigns on the same subject.
Cellphone companies initially fought laws against texting while driving,
now serve as a powerful ally in the government’s efforts to bring
attention to the dangerous practice.
This campaign not only unites industry competitors, it also warns the public
regarding the dangers of the companies’ own products. Initially,
cellphone companies fought against laws that limited the use of cellphones
while driving. However, by the mid-2000s cellphone companies began to
show support for the federal government’s efforts to discourage
cellphone use by drivers. In 2005, Sprint Nextel Corp. launched an education
program targeting teenagers who were new to driving. Then in 2009, both
AT&T and Verizon Wireless began running ads against texting while
driving. The industry-wide campaign shows continued efforts by cellphone
companies to bring attention to a dangerous practice that affects thousands
of individuals every year.
Studies likely underestimate the prevalence of texting while driving.
A government safety study released in 2009 found that texting while driving
makes it 23 times more likely that the driver will be involved in an automobile
accident. This figure included dangerous behavior such as, drifting in
and out of lanes and sudden breaking, which culminated in an automobile accident.
Another government study, released the following year showed that a total
of 3,092 people were killed in automobile accidents where distracted driving
was a factor. Just over 400, or 1.2 percent, of these fatalities resulted
from texting while driving. However, experts have been quick to point
out that it is difficult for police officers to determine whether texting
while driving was a factor in automobile accidents they are responding
to. They suggest that in actuality, texting while driving may be a factor
in closer to 3.5 percent of automobile accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an
auto accident involving someone who was texting while driving, you should contact an
attorney immediately. An attorney can ensure that your legal rights are
protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.