The Edmond Sun

Opinion

June 27, 2012

When it comes to texting and driving: It can wait

EDMOND — With the summer in full swing, teens across Oklahoma and the rest of America are planning graduation parties, searching for summer jobs, and looking forward to a few months of freedom.

Unfortunately, another memorable season is fast approaching: dangerous driving season. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens to be on the road. Many of these fatal accidents can be avoided by educating teens, their families and their communities about the dangers of texting and driving.

It can be hard for anyone, whether they’re teens or adults, to resist the urge to respond quickly to a text. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of teens openly admit to texting and driving. The same survey found that nine out of 10 teens expect recipients of their texts and emails to respond within 5 minutes. The pressure is on — this data clearly shows that the temptation to text while driving is greater than ever before.

That’s why AT&T developed AT&T DriveMode, an app that auto-responds to any incoming texts with a message that says they’ll reply when it is safe. It silences incoming text noises and sends calls to voicemail, minimizing the temptation to respond. The company’s goal is to send a simple message to anyone who considers texting while driving: It can wait.

Sending a text takes an average of 5 seconds — but doing that while traveling 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with a blindfold on. It sounds unbelievable that anyone would unnecessarily close their eyes for a full 5 seconds while driving on the highway — and texting while driving is no different.

AT&T is committed to educating the public — particularly teens — on the risks of texting behind the wheel. Their ongoing efforts also include work with nonprofit, safety-focused organizations, like the National Organizations for Youth Safety, to educate teens about the choices they’re making when they text and drive. They also created “The Last Text,” a powerful, 10-minute documentary that features real stories about lives that have been dramatically altered by texting and driving.

You can help spread the word by visiting www.att.com/itcanwait, watching the documentary and signing the “It Can Wait” pledge — and letting your friends, loved ones, colleagues and community know that texting while driving is taking an unacceptable risk. Texting doesn’t just affect you — it can change the lives of the passengers in your car, your family, and strangers on the road. It puts everyone’s safety at risk.

It is simply tragic that a month that holds so many happy occasions and important steps for teens and their families is also so scarred by the loss of teen lives. It’s an exciting time to be young — the world is changing faster than ever before and AT&T plays a big part in the innovations that are connecting us and revolutionizing our way of life. But as technology progresses and mobile solutions become an even bigger part of our life, we have to step back and remind ourselves that unless used responsibly, technology can have real consequences. While being connected is important, while you are driving, it can wait.

BRYAN GONTERMAN, an Edmond resident, is president of AT&T Oklahoma.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results