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NHTSA, OAAA, Ad Council Unite in Campaign to Stop Distracted Driving

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Don't let texting blind you

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with the Ad Council and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) in a campaign to stop people from texting while driving. The “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” message is directed especially towards teens and young adults from ages 16 to 24, writes Erik Sass for MediaDailyNews.

The outdoor Public Service Announcements will appear during the month of May (“Global Youth Traffic Safety Month”) on more than 1,000 billboards and bus shelters whose ad space is being donated by OAAA members, Sass writes. The messages will also appear in airports, phone kiosks, and newsstands.

An OAAA press release notes that summer driving season is “twice as deadly” for teens, and that NHTSA reports that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into car accidents serious enough to injure themselves.

The press release addresses the public service ad campaign:

‘We are proud to have worked with NHTSA since 1983 to reduce impaired driving. From iconic taglines like ‘Drinking and Driving Can Kill A Friendship,’ and ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk’ we have produced strong messages and activated a wide media network to make a real difference,’ said Ad Council President & CEO Peggy Conlon.

The “Stops the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” campaign first launched in October 2011 because of the growing number of fatalities caused by distracted driving. The good news is that young adult drivers “have absorbed” several key messages since the launch of the campaign, according to a national Ad Council survey conducted in June 2012, the press release says. Those include:

  • 51% of young adult drivers say they are “extremely concerned” about their peers texting while driving. This is an increase of 7% since September 2011.
  • 34% of of those polled said they never text while driving, which is a significant increase from 28% in 2011.

Sass writes:

Over 3,300 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2011 — a 10% increase compared to 2010, per the NHTSA. Although manual texting while driving has been shown to be dangerous, it’s not clear that voice-activated alternatives are actually any safer. Last month, a study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University found that voice texting is just as distracting to drivers as manual texting.

This blog reported on the Texas Transportation Institute’s study on April 26, saying that the biggest concern of Christine Yager, who headed that study, is that drivers felt safer texting by voice, even though their driving performance was no better than during manual texting. “This may lead to a false belief that texting while driving using spoken commands is safe when in reality it is not,” Yager said.

In the press release, the OAAA suggests ways that people can get involved in the “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” campaign:


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