In 2010 US telco AT&T started a campaign to reduce the number of accidents, deaths and permanent injuries as a result of drivers being distracted by their phones. What began as a campaign for no texting while driving has picked up speed as more and more US states adopt laws that punish and hope to deter this activity.
Recently AT&T got on-board with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon in a concerted effort to spread the word even further with a new documentary, directed by a rather special German filmmaker. If you drive or intend to one day get behind the wheel then you owe it to yourself, fellow road users and pedestrians to watch this small sample of films and fully absorb the message therein.
You never know, it might even save someone’s life.
From One Second To The Next
The latest addition to the campaign, From One Second To The Next is a full-blown 35-minute long documentary that begs to be watched. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll probably want to tell your friends to do the same, and they will (hopefully) feel the same way. This is an incredibly powerful piece of film.
Directed by Werner Herzog, a visionary German filmmaker responsible for feature films like 2009’s The Bad Lieutenant and hard-hitting documentaries like 2011’s Into The Abyss about death-row inmates. The film retains many of the marks of a good Herzog production, not least for its incredibly sobering message: never text and drive.
In it you’ll hear the stories of Xzavier, Chandler, Debbie and Reggie who each have been irreversibly changed by a texting and driving incident. A natural reaction might be to feel angry after watching this, but you should instead turn that into pro-active deterrence and swear to never touch your phone while driving again.
Don’t Text While Driving: A Documentary
Somewhat of a precursor to From One Second To The Next, this simple sub-10 minute documentary hits home hard and fast about how lives can be taken away in an instant by those who simply don’t think of the potential consequences before reaching for their phones.
If there’s one thing this film (and the rest) illustrates, it’s the insignificance of the text messages in question. How something so unimportant can rip through several families’ lives like a firestorm will hopefully be the catalyst to convince most drivers that it really can wait.
A Different Perspective
By now I’m sure we’re all aware of the dangers of texting while you are driving, but have you ever considered the implications of texting someone you know is driving? While it’s ultimately the responsibility of the driver to decide to not pick up their phone and entertain their message alerts, you too could save a life by not texting someone you know to be in control of a vehicle.
This simple-yet-effective film demonstrates this phenomenon, shot from the perspective of the phone in question. It’s rather a clever film that adds another valid point to the It Can Wait campaign.
Delivering A Message To Students
Jamie Nash is a woman who stands in front of sophomore students while playing a video of herself burning alive in a traffic accident. She survived to tell her tale of driving and texting, and this video provides a quick glimpse at the students who she now targets.
If you watched From One Second To The Next above (and really, by now you should have) then you’ll remember an individual called Reggie who was involved in a texting and driving incident. He was driving and without realising it he crossed the centre line, causing the pickup to swerve, which in turn hit a saloon and killed both the driver and passenger. Reggie was texting at the time.
He now dedicates his life to talking about the perils of texting and driving. This is just one of the many talks that Reggie gives publicly around the US, but regardless of where you’re living there’s a message that we can all take away from this.
Bobby Augusto works for AT&T and has done so for a number of years. In 2011 he experienced the loss of his eldest daughter, who died as a result of a secondary collision after initially losing control of her vehicle while looking at a text message. He now talks to others about the incident, with startling reserve, in a bid to prevent further tragedies.
His heartfelt story is touching, and demonstrates how even those of us who are aware of the perils of taking your eyes off the road sometimes need a sobering reminder.
Texting While Driving Stats & Poll Results
Did you know you are 23 times more likely to have an accident if you are texting and driving? That is an astronomical risk to undertake for a message that is probably disposable, probably not worth your attention and probably better sent when you reach your destination. So why do only half of people surveyed claim to never text and drive?
The illuminating motion graphic above demonstrates the results of an ongoing texting and driving poll that shows that 95% of people are aware that this is a dangerous practice. Educate yourself about the risks and numbers, because statistics like this cannot be argued with.
A “Don’t Text & Drive” Hackathon
Finally, who doesn’t love a good hackathon? These events mean a limited time frame, a room full of bright minds and prizes. Here, AT&T asked developers to come up with apps that can help deter the practice of texting and driving. It’s amazing what people can do when united by a common goal, and as you can see from the video above there were plenty of bright ideas.
It Can Wait
You don’t have to sign AT&T’s pledge in order to get the message here, but you can head over to the It Can Wait website and do so anyway. Regardless of where you live, these films all contain a very powerful message, and one that we should all remember, spread and respect.
Note: The image above was used purely for illustrative purposes under the Creative Commons licence. It does not necessarily reflect an accident caused by texting and driving.
Image Credit: Old Rusty Broken Car (Espen Faugstad)