Everyone has heard the message by now–texting and driving is dangerous, and has led to numerous vehicle crashes and thousands of deaths and injuries throughout Canada. Yet people still do it. In a recent survey of Canadian drivers, 19 per cent admitted to cellphone use while driving.
Despite the many warnings, it is hard to break the habit of texting and driving. Why? People have become used to multitasking. They converse and read email, follow a business meeting while checking Facebook, watch television and tweet. However, recent research shows that people think they are better at multitasking than they actually are.
Divided attention diminishes skill on all the tasks being done. This is not such a big deal if the tasks are chatting online while watching a TV show, but when one of the tasks is driving, the stakes are literally life and death.
Another factor is that for many people, texting has become the primary means of conversation with friends and family. To many, it feels like actually talking with the person, like they are sitting in the passenger seat next to them. However, a driver doesn’t have to take his or her eyes off the road for 3-5 seconds at a time to converse with a passenger.
In addition to the risk of self injury or hurting or killing another person, using a cellphone while driving has become illegal throughout Canada in recent years. In every province except Nunavut, using a handheld cellphone in any fashion while driving is a traffic offence that brings a fine of over $100, along with demerits.
Still not convinced? Check out these PSAs that use graphic simulations and heartbreaking stories to bring the message home.
1. Quinn’s shocking texting-and-driving car crash on Glee was recut into a PSA advertisement.
2. Watch what happens in South Dakota as a girl shows off her new phone.
3. The woman who survived a head on collision with another driver who was texting and driving has taken her personal PSA on the road with her, as seen in a local news story.
4. If these are not convincing enough, check out this brutally realistic British PSA of a multiple vehicle crash caused by texting.
5. Finally, a short documentary produced by AT&T tells the stories of four life-destroying crashes, contrasted with the utterly trivial text messages that caused them.
Robert Conway has five young adult drivers in his family. He likes to share what he has learned in the process by posting online. Visit the kanetix.ca website for more details.