An emotional texting-while-driving PSA has the tears flowing and everyone rethinking their mobile phone habits.
A few inopportunely timed emojis can cost someone their life. You know this, we know this — but many of today’s generation of self-assured digital natives don’t, or at least (hopefully, God willing …) have been lucky enough never to discover for real. But that does not mean they should not see up close and personal the tragic, life-altering results of not being able to resist checking that beep on the phone this very second while behind the wheel.
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The YouTube reality TV channel for teens, SummerBreak, decided to change this with a video that has nearly 500k views and is going more viral by the minute, thank goodness! Watch and you’ll know why. (And this is by no means just about or for teens. Everyone who owns a cellphone and a car should watch this.)
It’s pretty scary to hear the teens freely admit to texting, surfing their music playlists, and even filming Snapchat videos while driving, for reasons like “boredom” and fear of missing out on what their friends are doing. The young woman who lost her parents and much of her mobility after a car accident due to a distracted driver seems to change their minds and their hearts, but it was still disconcerting to see some of the teens try to explain away their behaviors. Clearly this is a problem we as a society and as parents cannot ignore, that we need to stay diligent about and model the behavior we want our kids to follow (i.e.—put down our own phones!).
Texting while driving is comparable to getting behind the wheel after drinking four beers. Yet drinking and driving is far more taboo than texting and driving, at least in the mind of teens. Though drinking and driving is outlawed in every state, “distracted driving” laws vary from place to place. In Arizona, the only driving law involving cell phone restriction applies to bus drivers, while Washington, D.C.’s blanket no-cell phone law applies to all drivers. According to the U.S. government official website for distracted driving, more than 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 people were injured in texting-related crashes in 2014.
These are tragic statistics, but sometimes they don’t sink in. Here’s hoping this emotional video gets their attention, and it sticks.