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
  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

  • Putting Oklahoma parents in charge

    Oklahoma’s public schools serve many children very well. Still, for various reasons, some students’ needs are better met in private schools, in virtual schools or elsewhere. That is why two state lawmakers have introduced legislation to give parents debit cards, literally, to shop for the educational services that work best for their children.

    April 11, 2014

  • Israelis, Palestinians are losing their chance

    Developments in the Middle East suggest that prospects of success for the Israeli-Palestinian talks, to which Secretary of State John Kerry has devoted countless hours and trips, are weakening.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teens might trade naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 11, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results