Life, death, a text message away: is pledging for safety even effective?

TEMP ORARY October 3, 2012 0

In my experience, there are very few things worthy of a pledge. There are some that would even argue the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t worth stating, pointing to actions our country has carried out within the past few decades as the object of their reason. One pledge worth taking a look at is AT&T’s “It Can Wait” initiative, which is designed to reduce texting-related car accidents. The purpose of this initiative is to recruit drivers from across the country to pledge not to text or make phone calls while they drive.
I’ll admit, I’ve had a number of close calls when it comes to texting and driving. Apparently, texting your girlfriend while merging onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike is dangerous. Live and learn I suppose. I believe this to be a noble effort on the part of AT&T. The idea of losing someone I love to a texting-related accident is unthinkable.
AT&T aims to evoke the emotions of their audience by broadcasting commercials that simply display the last texts individuals sent shortly before being killed in a car accident. People relate to this type of commercial. It makes the individual who died seem much closer if the viewer is permitted to see the deceased person’s final words. I’m one of the people who needs to take this pledge. I’ve been driving approximately four years, and in my driving experience, I can honestly say that I have taken too many chances. Call it a generational thing, but I think I’m going to live forever. “Texting one person won’t get me in an accident,” I tell myself. Maybe not, but am I really willing to potentially kill someone in a car accident with the excuse that I had to text someone? Picture that on someone’s tombstone: “Killed by a text message.” Not exactly an honorable cause of death.
I have three sisters, one of which texts quite frequently (Sorry to throw you under the bus, Marykate, but you might be hit by a bus if you don’t stop texting) and two of them happen to own smartphones. Texting nowadays isn’t what it used to be. If you have the privilege to own a smartphone, I advise you to use caution. Smartphones have their benefits, but most of them feature an on-screen keyboard. This requires not only the fingers to type, but the eyes of the user as well in order to see what they are typing. For the texting driver, this poses a world of problems. Given a classic cell phone keyboard, drivers used to have the ability to text while not looking at their phone. Therefore, texting with a smartphone could literally mean your life as the price, as you have to take your eyes off the road in order to send your mom a quick “Hello.”
Although I commend AT&T for their efforts to reduce the amount of texting by drivers, I highly doubt members of my generation will take any pledge seriously. Let’s be honest: we don’t take much of anything too seriously. We barely take college seriously. This may be news to you, but after graduation, the only people who care how many parties you go to will be your unemployed friends or the ones not worth being friends with. Word to the unwise: employers don’t consider drinking a skill that’s resume-worthy. You may want to take any indication that you’re not a hard worker off your social-networking site. This isn’t a rant against drinking, though; it’s against a generation that values their texting over human lives. I purposely worded that to be dramatic.
Besides learning the balance between hard work and play, our generation could also stand to learn the value of respecting authority. I would like to say that we will view the efforts of AT&T as noble and pledge as a whole to stop texting, but we probably won’t. It will probably take the death of a loved one or a friend to stop individuals within our generation from continuing their texting-while-driving habits.
You’d think hearing statistics from a company such as AT&T would encourage drivers all across the globe to stop texting and driving, but it usually takes more than one company’s efforts to cause a large mass of people to discontinue an unhealthy habit. Look at the campaigns that attempted to stop individuals from drunk driving or smoking. People still drink and drive. College students still somehow afford to buy nicotine products to smoke outside of academic buildings for the rest of us to enjoy as we walk by. Thanks for the breath of fresh air, Etown. Happy reading.

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