US DOT Commercial Aims to Stop Texting and Driving

The US Department of Transportation has amped up its mission to end distracted driving by creating a new commercial which graphically depicts the dangers of texting while driving. The commercial, released as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, shows several teenagers riding in a vehicle in which the driver blows a stop sign while being distracted by texting. After the powerful crash scene, a message flashes on the screen stating, “If you’re texting, you’re not driving.” #justdrive

According to the DOT, more than 3,000 people were killed in accidents from distractions and about 421,000 people were injured in 2012. Remember, although texting while driving is certainly dangerous, distracted driving doesn’t always necessarily involve a cell phone. Even a momentary distraction, like talking to passengers or adjusting music, can cause a lifetime of consequences.

How Dangerous is Distracted Driving?

distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the riskiest behaviors on the road today. Thousands of accidents occur every day as a result of distracted driving, and there are likely many more near-misses where someone almost becomes involved in a crash due to lack of attention to the wheel. provides some details on the dangers of distracted driving, which they define as encompassing the use of handheld devices/cell phones; entering data into a GPS; reading; grooming and using in-vehicle controls like music or heating systems.

According to

  • Using a cell phone to send or receive a text while driving ups your chances of becoming involved in a wreck by 23 percent.
  • Texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.
  • Cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of distraction-related fatalities in America.
  • 40 percent of teenagers have said they had an experience where they were in a car with a driver who was using a cell phone in a way that created a hazard.
  • 11 percent of drivers 20 years old and younger who were in fatal auto accidents were distracted at the time.

Young drivers may be especially vulnerable to the dangers of distracted driving, both because they are more likely to embrace technologies like Smartphones that allow for texting and emailing, and because they are not experienced enough drivers to fully understand the dangers of their behavior.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but it is important for the current generation of young people to grow up with a healthy respect for the dangers of becoming distracted by technology while driving.

Spread the word to stay safe and Arrive Alive!

PA Texting while Driving Ban Isn’t Tough Enough


Mercury editorial cartoon by Alan Macbain

Since Pennsylvania’s texting while driving ban went into effect just over a year ago, some 1,300 texting citations have been issued, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.  The new statute makes it a primary offense for a driver to send a text message while operating a motor vehicle.

The texting ban is certainly a step in the right direction, but many lawmakers and concerned citizens feel that it’s still not enough to prevent distracted driving accidents. Under the new law, it’s still okay to get out your cell phone and dial a number while driving.

Texting while driving ranks the most dangerous distracted driving activity, making you 23 times more likely to crash. However, use of handheld cell phones to receive or make calls and to engage in conversation is just as much a distraction.

Dialing a number while driving makes you 2.8 times more likely to crash, talking or listening on your phone makes you 1.3 times more at risk of an accident, and just reaching for your phone makes you 1.4 times more likely to wreck.

Any type of cell phone use behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster – and whether legal or illegal, you should always put your phone down while driving!

A Grim Reminder that Texting While Driving Kills


The photo above serves as a sad reminder of the consequences of texting while driving. The unfinished text, never sent, was typed by 22-year-old Alexander Heit as he was driving through the outskirts of Greeley, Colorado on April 3, 2013.

Before Heit had a chance to finish typing the text, he lost control of his car and it veered off the highway, rolling and flipping until it came to a stop. Police were dispatched to the scene, and Heit was transported by ambulance to North Colorado Medical Center where he died a short time later.

When officers searched the accident scene, they discovered Heit’s cell phone in the vehicle, with the above text message conversation visible on the display screen. According to Greery Police, Heit had a spotless driving record and was not speeding.

The Heit family and Greeley Police Department shared the accident investigation findings in hopes that other families may avoid the tragedy and loss of a beloved family member.

“Please, vow to never, NEVER text and drive. In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you,” said Sharon Heit, Alexander Heit’s mom.

In most states, laws have been passed to try and prevent texting while driving – but it’s still happening, and it’s still resulting in tragedy and loss. Hopefully Alex Heit’s story will serve as a learning experience for others. Every time you make the decision to text while driving, you are flirting with the very real risk of serious injury or death. Please remember that no text is more important than your own life or the lives of others.