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.