Chambersburg, PA—One local mother is concerned and doing something about teen texting while driving. When Pamela Rajtik learned of the statistics that 40 percent of young Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 have been in a car while the driver was texting and driving, she thought, “someone should do something about this.” As the mother of teens, she was more than just a little concerned. After waiting and learning, researching and taking notes, and talking with other parents, Pamela has started a new non-profit organization to help educate kids about the dangers of texting while driving.
New Non-Profit: Parents Against Texting Teens
“For awhile I waited for someone to come up with an idea or answer to the problem as I saw it,” she said. “Then I realized I was the ’someone’ I was waiting for to do something about texting and driving,” she said.
While Pamela’s organization (Parents Against Texting Teens) is just local to Chambersburg, PA, more awareness about texting while is growing. So far, 19 states have banned texting while driving, and for good reason; the statistics are horrific. According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million accidents a year are caused by cell phone use. The Christian Science Monitor reports that 1.4 million crashes are caused by people talking on their cell phones, while conservatively estimated, there are another 200,000 caused by people texting while driving. Texting takes a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. According to an article written by Vicky Taylor, PublicOpinion.com, this is enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph—enough time to have or cause an accident.
Concerned parents are banding together to help. PATT (Parents Against Texting Teens) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness through education and community visibility of the dangers of texting while driving. According to Taylor’s article, the group is developing 10-second video messages that will be shown in school. Before the videos are shown, the plan is to distribute “text only” cell phones to the students. While the videos are being played, the students would randomly receive brief text messages such as “LOL.” They would have instructions to quickly read the messages when the phone they have been assigned receives it. The messages would always be sent to part of the class while a video was being shown. After the video was finished, the students, including the students who received the text messages, would be asked questions about the video. The aim would be to show how taking or sending a text message can distract an individual from the task at hand, including driving. PATT would like to see the program taken to not just high schools and driver education programs, but to middle schools as well. The idea is that early education is the key to preventing this dangerous behavior.
Texting, a major part of distracted driving, needs to be addressed. Even with the new laws against it, it is alarming to drive around and see people texting or talking on their cell phones. More awareness, more education, or perhaps just more common sense is needed. See my blog, Still Texting While Driving? (http://www.cellplaza.org/blog/2095/still-texting-while-driving/). How can we personally help cut down on the texting? We can each of us, personally, just stop!
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