STOP THE TEXTS. STOP THE WRECKS. An Important New Campaign

May 1, 2012

Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council have launched a new campaign to discourage teens – and all drivers – from texting while driving. This campaign, and those like it, are vital elements in reducing the number of tragic deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers.

However, campaigns alone will not solve the problem. Stiffer fines, laws, and penalties will not alone solve the problem. What we need is a cultural shift making texting while driving an unacceptable behavior, and for that to happen every single person has a clear role to play. Please play your role.

Here are some of the resources made available to consumers through this STOP THE TEXTS. STOP THE WRECKS. campaign:

  • Facts sheet – with 30 sobering facts, here’s a sample
  • Survey results
  • Videos – 4 videos that help illustrate how quickly distraction leads to disaster
  • Infographic – see below

This campaign has partnered with the U.S Department of Transportation who created the excellent materials.


Also check out the following blogs:





New Online Safety Lesson: Texting and Driving Don’t Mix

April 19, 2012

The 15th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, looks at distracted driving. Would you let someone cover your eyes for two seconds while you were driving? No way.

But teens will be surprised to learn that if they are on the freeway going 65 mph, a quick two-second glance to read a text means they have driven nearly two-thirds of a football field without looking. And those precious seconds can kill them, their passengers or the people in other vehicles.

More than 3,000 people died, and thousands more were injured, due to distracted driving in 2010 alone.

This lesson discusses eye-opening statistics on the perils of distracted driving and alerts teens to the hazards of looking away from the road, plus offers tips for avoiding the temptation of phone use while driving.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: TXT + DRV = Total Fail.


NTSB Recommends Ban on All Non-Emergency Use of Mobile Devices

December 14, 2011

A ban on the use of all mobile devices by drivers except in emergencies has just been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Their decision is based on investigations into distraction-related accidents for the past decade where electronic distraction has played an increasing role, combined with escalating concerns about the increasing capabilities of mobile devices that will give rise to even more distractions.  “Every year, new devices are being released. People are tempted to update their Facebook page, they are tempted to tweet, as if sitting at a desk. But they are driving a car” said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of NTSB, who added It’s going to be very unpopular with some people. “We’re not here to win a popularity contest. We’re here to do the right thing. This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time.”

Here is an excerpt from the NTSB’s recommendation:

To the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

(1) Ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers; (2) use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration model of high visibility enforcement to support these bans; and (3) implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and enforcement, and to warn them of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving.

To put this recommendation in perspective, I wrote in my blog on Dec. 13th that In Spite of Risks, More Drivers Text than Ever Before that texting while driving increased 50% from 2009 to 2010 according to the newly released annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, and that consumer phone use while driving doesn’t end there. Consumers are also reading and typing email, watching video, playing games, using their GPS maps to navigate, and browsing the Internet.

In fact, in another study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 100 drivers were continually observed for a full year. The results found that drivers were distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time.

Responding to the NTSB’s recommendation, the Wireless Association (CTIA)  issued a statement saying it agrees that distracted driving is a dangerous problem  and the group supports a ban on “manual texting” while driving, but would defer to state and local lawmakers when it comes to talking on wireless devices while driving.

Would it kill you to put down that cell phone while driving? No…. But failing to put it down just might.


In Spite of Risks, More Drivers Text than Ever Before

December 13, 2011

Texting while driving increased 50% from 2009 to 2010 according to the newly released annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. That’s in spite of legislation in 35 states that restrict or ban cell phone use while driving.

And our phone use doesn’t stop there. Consumers are also reading and typing email, watching video, playing games, using their GPS maps to navigate, and browsing the Internet.

Our increased cell phone use comes on top of the non-technology related array of distractions like eating and drinking, smoking, personal grooming, reading, fiddling with the radio or CD’s, and talking to passengers and the stats aren’t pretty.

In a study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 100 drivers were continually observed for a full year. The results found that drivers were distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time. How is distracted driving defined? The study breaks down four types of driver distraction:

  • Visual – looking at something other than the road
  • Auditory – hearing something not related to driving
  • Manual – manipulating something other than the wheel
  • Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving

Now add winter road conditions and general holiday mayhem, and the risks of multitasking while driving – or being hit by someone who is multitasking while driving are likely to be sharply increased.

Play it safe this winter.

Learn more about cell phone risks when driving in these blogs:


Texting Infographic Has Amazing Stats

December 2, 2011

Consider the following stats:

  • There are 4.2 billion texters worldwide =  3 in 5 people
  • Texting is the most used data service worldwide
  • Last year 6.1 Trillion texts were sent (2010) – or 193,430 per second
  • Texting has improved conditions for people across the world

Curious to learn more? Scroll down to see the infographic by

Planet Text


New Infographic Highlights the Mobile Generation

November 14, 2011

Think you know how and when your college students are using their phones? This infographic from might make you think again, my suspicion is that high schoolers’ aren’t far behind.

If you’re student’s grades aren’t what they should be, this data may give you a few pointers for discussion. It’s hard to learn when texting in class yet 25% say they text in every single class period, and 88% say they do so regularly.

25% say they’ve been involved in sexting, but the healthier viewpoint is that 75% say they have not sent or received sext messages. Perhaps a bigger a red flag that the study found 50% of respondents say they check their significant other’s text history, indicating some fairly unhealthy relationships.

Generation Mobile

Look Who’s Texting… 0-12yr olds Send/Receive 1,178 Texts a Month; Plus Do You Know Which Apps they Use?

January 17, 2011

We know teens text constantly, but new data from The Nielsen Company suggests their younger siblings (ages 0-to- 12) are catching up.  Sending and receiving an average of 1,178 texts a month, these tykes are positioned to vie with the 18-24 year-olds for second place in text volumes as seen in the table below.

Gender places an additional burden on female fingers as females are 29% more likely to text according to the report.

This explosion in texting comes on top of voice minutes which have remained relatively stable averaging roughly 600- 700 hundred minutes per month between January 2005 and September 2010.

Over this same time period, the use of text messaging shot up from less than 100 a month to more than 600 by the end of 2010. (figures based on MarketingCharts analysis of Nielsen chart).

Nielsen’s data also highlights some other key US Mobile trends:

  • Top 5 cell phones:  Apple iPhone 3GS, Samsung SCH-U450, Motorola Droid, RIM Blackberry 8500 series, and Apple iPhone 4
  • 31% of mobile subscribers have smartphones
  • There are 228 million mobile phone users age 13 and up
  • 36% of mobile subscribers access the internet ( 83.2 million mobile phone web users)
  • 27 – is the average number of apps that smartphone users have on their phones
  • The top 5 mobile video channels are YouTube, Fox, Comedy Central, ESPN, and MTV.

In addition to Nielsen’s findings that the average smartphone has 27 apps downloaded onto it, comes data from Juniper Research that highlights where the expansion of mobile content categories is likely to go – in user generated content, mobile TV, adult content and gambling. (See my blog Mobile Revenues in North America Projected to Jump to $10 Billion by 2015 for more information.

What does this mean for parents?

Increased mobile activity requires increased mobile supervision, and guidance. It’s critical that you talk to your kids about responsible, respectful mobile phone use – including the times of day it’s appropriate to use the phone, and the types of activities you will or won’t allow – including the applications you find appropriate and the number you are willing to pay for.

I’ve written a guide to Using Mobile Phones Safely that can help you consider each feature of your child’s phone and the guidelines and safeguards you feel will be appropriate for these.

If you haven’t already adopted mobile safeguards for your children’s phones, it may be time to consider what family safety protections you may need (often referred to as parental controls). Several family safety companies have tools in place today, and most are ramping up their mobile services even further to meet youth’s needs for protection against malicious users, and inappropriate content.

What this may mean to your phone bill

As part of your conversation with kids and teens, an understanding of the number of text messages they want to send, or are allowed to send, is important to avoiding bill-shock. Families whose youngsters have just began texting, but who did not have a texting plan in place have received phone bills for thousands of dollars.  While there is now federal review of carriers practices, currently this is up to you to monitor. (See my blog Cell Phone ‘Bill Shock’ Remedy; To Little? Too Much? To Early to Tell for more on this issue).

For more information on youth and mobile texting, see my blog Average US Teen Sends or Receives 3,339 Texts a month.