The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a clever new campaign to deter texting while driving. It has taken to Twitter to send messages to specific people who have tweeted that they text while driving, or to individuals tweeting for advice on how to stop distracted drivers whose cars they may be in, reports Christian de Looper for Yahoo! Tech.
On April 23, the NHTSA even retweeted an @WIRED post of a Wired article with the headline, “Don’t Text and Drive, or the Feds Will Slide Into Your DMs.” The headline is followed by “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been reprimanding the distracted drivers of Twitter all month — and people are actually listening.”
‘Put Down Your Phones and #justdrive’
NHTSA recently sent tweets to people named Warrants T, Jaceeeey, RAW, daari, Jazzy, Kayla Heintz, Bear, Franklin Hammond, major key, Nathan, Arnold, Isaiah Merced, and others. In its tweets, the agency tells people to put their phones down and #justdrive.
The tweets to the texting drivers sometimes are more than generic ones that say to focus on the road. For example, in NHTSA’s message to Nathan (@5thRoman), the agency suggests that age is not always accompanied by wisdom, adding: “Tell Grandma to stay off her phone and #justdrive.” And in response to her tweet: “My dad makes me so mad texting and driving,” NHTSA writes to daari (@_bvby_d), “We feel you….” The agency suggests that she remind her father to #justdrive by speaking up, because no text is worth an accident that could result in death.
In response to Franklin Hammond (@FranklinLH808), who wrote that he only does snapchat sometimes while driving, and that he prefers to do as he likes, NHTSA asked him to consider if his preference is causing a danger to others. And when Warrants T (@GotNugs) tweeted that he or she forgot how much fun it is to text while driving, NHTSA replied, “We promise it won’t be fun” when a crash happens. When Jaceeeey (@gabonsanity) tweeted vowing that he or she will never text and drive again, NHTSA gave him or her a figurative verbal thumbs up.
Interspersed with the individually targeted tweets, NHTSA posted a meme showing that 73% of drivers from ages 18-20 say they text while driving. The agency implores drivers of all ages to stay off their phones and to avoid becoming a statistic. Among the tweets, the agency also shared a short video of what appear to be a mother and her daughter, whose face bears the scars of the car accident she was in caused by distracted driving. The young woman appears to have lost her left eye.
Distracted Driving Statistics
The statistics on distracted driving are grim. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed in such accidents, and 431,000 injured across the United States, according to Distraction.gov. And during that year, 10% of all drivers between ages 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal crashes were engaged in distracted driving.
Drivers in their 20s are 23 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27 percent of the distracted drivers and 38 percent of the distracted drivers who were using cell phones in fatal crashes.