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I’m now in my fourth year campaigning against distracted driving. In that time, this blog has grown tremendously in its exposure in both the automotive and safety communities. I’m so thankful for the impact that Be Car Chic has had on both communities in that time.
However, I’m still having a difficult time moving the needle on this important issue. My Distraction Free Fridays campaign has had an impact, I believe, on many of those close to me. But there are those in the automotive world who still value ‘the moment’ over their personal safety. Now, that’s simplifying it a bit. I’m sure that if these folks were really posed with this question, they would think twice. And that’s exactly what I’m asking auto journalists again to do.
Please put the device aside and focus on the drive. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but if that picture is taken while you’re driving upwards of 80 miles per hour, what’s the calculated risk for a photo that will live on for all of 10 minutes online?
After years of visibly championing anti-distracted driving behaviors, I still see my own kind sharing pictures from behind the wheel while driving. I see that these photos get taken by the driver and then posted (seemingly right away) to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Who can make a difference?
It starts with YOU. The fewer pictures like this that your buddies see from you, the less likely they’re going to find it acceptable.
Removing photos and posts from behind the wheel, removes the ability for someone else to “like” it, which in turn, removes the superficial positive reinforcement that content provides.
Manufacturers could also help encourage a change in behavior by adding a clause in their driver agreements related to texting, talking, taking photos, posting to social networks – basically using their phone without handsfree technologies. There’s already a clause about driving after drinking in these agreements.
A 2006 University of Utah study showed the distracted driving impairs the driver’s ability to react quickly in a very similar fashion to drunk driving.
So what gives, guys and gals? We may be better drivers than the average Joe or Jane, but we are not invincible. There are a dozen apps to help you, and almost every press car you get these days has Bluetooth capabilities and a great “stow-and-forget” area for your smartphone.
Auto journalists: Will you finally join me in putting your phone down when you’re driving? Perhaps this video just released by NHTSA will convince you.
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