Ticketing hasn’t proven to be a big enough deterrent to curb cellphone usage while driving, so now the government has taken to social media to shame drivers who choose to engage their phones behind the wheel.
The government is taking advantage of this opportunity they’ve been afforded by drivers bold enough to admit to driving and using their phone. They are using this platform to reach drivers with a cavalier attitude toward driving and texting. The number Twitter posts referencing driving and texting exhibit how many young drivers are aware of the dangers of the practice.
This attempt by the federal government to crack down on texting while driving is part of a campaign started by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a form of outreach during Distracted Driver Awareness Month. They hope by using social media they will be able to address the problem head-on.
In a press release, the director of NHTSA addressed the organization’s goal of bringing the dangers of distracted driving to the forefront. Younger drivers are most at risk of dying in a crash related to distracted driving. Specifically, drivers under the age of 20 are most at risk for distraction-related fatalities.
Teens and young adults who text while driving, according to the CDC, are more likely to have friends who are distracted or drunk drivers, and 40% of teens say they have been in a car with a driver using a cellphone in a way that put their life at risk. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) found that distracted young drivers are twice as likely to drive with a drunk driver as their undistracted counterparts.
Social Media the Perfect Medium for Reaching Younger Drivers
NHTSA has increased its efforts to curb distracted driving from texting and cellphone use because, after a decade of declining statistics, there has been a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents due to mobile devices. New York already has hands-free laws, but there has been legislation introduced to equip law enforcement with a “textalyzer.” The device would analyze data from a driver’s smartphone post-collision to determine if it was a contributing factor in the accident. The law has not passed, but in the meantime, the government has taken to Twitter to embarrass and scold drivers who admit to smartphone use while driving.
Twitter and Snapchat are just two of the applications mentioned by NHTSA in their campaign to fight distracted driving. A Florida teen was scolded on Twitter when she admitted to videoing and posting a Snapchat while driving her car. NHTSA responded to her Twitter post with one of their own: “Not smart. For everyone’s sake (including your own) don’t snap and drive. Seriously, it’s not worth it.” They have posted the hashtag #justdrive on all the Tweets in their Just Drive campaign, which ended in April. The Twitter responses ranged from humorous to shaming, but all of them reiterated the dangers of driving while distracted by your phone.
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Distracted driving is a major factor contributing to the occurrence of 1 in 4 of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, and you think it was due to distracted driver negligence, then you should contact the personal injury attorneys with The Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. From our Long Island, New York offices, we can discuss the legal support and solutions available for your personal injury or motor vehicle-related lawsuit.