Texting While Driving – What You Should Know

Driving requires your complete attention as one moment of misjudgment can cause devastative results. The result may be irreversible since an accident can result in loss of limbs, deformation, or loss of life. Moreover, your loved ones who tried to contact you on the other end will remain shattered for a lifetime for their inadvertent mistake. All this happens just because you could not resist your temptation to look towards your mobile screen for few seconds. 

It all seems simple and nothing hazardous because you have done it a thousand times before. When you can get through it so many times, why should you stop doing it now? Every time you text and drive, you are putting yourself and others at known risk. One single traffic accident time is enough to turn your life topsy-turvy. Why would you want to knock on the door of death knowingly by increasing your chances of risk by 23 times? Nothing is worth imperiling your life as you do not remain to enjoy the benefits of whatever you jeopardized your life for. 

What makes you put yourself in such a dangerous position which is not worth your life? How did this texting and driving start, and why has it become a significant issue? Who is more vulnerable, and why? Here the possible causes and solutions are discussed in this article. 

The Problem Of Texting While Driving

You are responsible for several lives directly or indirectly while driving the vehicle. What happens when you do not consider distraction driving is a risk and text while navigating?

1. Illegal: In several states, it is unlawful to drive while texting. It may lead to a ticket, fine, or jail, depending on the state laws.

2. Insurance Issues: Your ticket will lead to an increase in your insurance prices if you are to pay it and reduced insurance repayments when you receive the benefits.

3. Vehicle Damage: When you are heading fast in your vehicle and trying to text, the possibility of hitting any objects on your way or another vehicle increases. Your automobile is most likely to be damaged when you bump into something speedily. It will need repairs which again are not cheap.

4. Injuries And Fatalities: Texting and driving increase the risk of traffic accidents. There are high chances of injuries and possible fatalities. It can involve you, co-passengers, or others on the road.

5. Autocorrect Mishaps: If you ever were a autocorrect victim, you will know what I am speaking of. While driving, you do not check your message as attentively as you usually do. It can lead to a catastrophe with just a single auto-corrected word capable of giving a whole new meaning to the text. Well, this reason though not physically damaging but can lead to strained relations.

The pain you incurred burdens your loved ones, but they will also be afflicted with something else. They can never get through the guilt of sending that text message, which left you crippled.

Why It Is Risky To Text When You Drive

The top reason for traffic accidents is distracted driving. The shocking reason for the inattentiveness of drivers is mainly due to texting and driving. Nearly half a million people faced fatalities and crashiing injuries as they were texting while driving. Even though 97% of drivers agree that it is harmful, they still cannot control this behavior, despite being aware of it. 

The appalling detail is that several of them are youngsters who engage in long texting time while driving. Apart from texting, several other functionalities the modern-day brought about into our pocket are also the reason. Navigation, music, texting, and attending calls while driving are all dangerous feats, especially when driving at high speeds. 

How Is Texting A Dangerous Distraction?

Distraction during driving is caused by many activities such as eating, talking to passengers, adjusting music, or answering a phone call. However, texting is the most attention-seeking activity to apply your mind and vision away from the road. You may also be driving one-handed while texting with others, which makes it challenging to manipulate the vehicle when in danger.

  1. Vision – You need to look at the cell phone to read the message or notification and your eyes wander away from the road ahead. As you speed while looking away from the road, you will never know what changes in a moment. There are high chances of missing useful information such as signals or a slowing down car in front of you. It will be too late to attend to the potential hazard when you smash right into the vehicle.
  2. Mind – Your mind shifts the focus from what is coming ahead on the road to what’s the message? And what to reply? These few seconds of distraction makes a considerable difference in critical decision making. You could have made a better one that avoids the destruction if you were not distracted driving.
  3. Physical – When you start using one of your hands for typing, you will be controlling the vehicle with only one hand. If and adversity surfaces steering your car off, it will not be as easy and quick as when you are in control with two hands. A moving vehicle needs to be fast enough to avoid traffic accidents, and in this case, your efficiency for swiftness decreases significantly.

How About Alternatives For Texting

There are other alternatives to texting while driving, which seemingly require lesser attention can make your life safer. Though not totally but they do have an absolute advantage over direct texting and driving.

  • Voice Recognition: These applications take the dictated message, which does not require your hands to type the text. The only thing is you need to select the contacts manually, but still, it does reduce the risk considerably.
  • Auto Responders: Your caller or message sender receives a pre-written message which tells them why you cannot answer them at that moment. When they receive a proper response that you are busy driving, it keeps them informed and you at ease.
  • Text Blockers: When your vehicle’s speed is above 10 mph, texting is disabled automatically. Generally, this is the most preferred app by teenagers’ parents as it does not allow them to text if they are driving at high speed.

The solution lies in controlling your urge to check your messages while you are on the move. It is as simple as turning your cell phone off for messages. Alternatively, you can rely on few applications to help if you cannot stop yourself from promptly looking at your phone when it lights up. 

These apps serve as temptation resisters even for highly addicted individuals as they operate automatically based on few parameters like the vehicle’s speed. However, you need to install them and turn them on to use the apps to avoid distraction.

Who Is Affected?

Young people are at high risk as habituated to use their cell phones even before driving. Also, they expect an instant response, which explains why they immediately check messages or reply. However, even elders admit having long text conversations while driving and again forget that their kids are watching them doing it. If you look at the big picture, everyone who cannot control the urge to reach their cell phone to send texts while driving is at risk. 

Texting can wait

How Can ItCanWait Simulator Help You?

IT CAN WAIT campaign has introduced few measures to help bring about comprehensive awareness of this issue. It encourages you to take a pledge that binds you to the promise of not responding to texts until it is safe to do so. Apart from the pledge, it also enlightens drivers of the consequences of using the virtual reality experience.

To have a complete experience, you need a VR chair, app, and internet connection to support the video. When you are ready with all the necessary arrangements and start using the simulator app, you will feel like you are driving on a real road. While you are navigating through obstacles, you will receive a text message which distracts your attention. While steering, you must reply to the text and are distracted. Here the simulator app shows you what disaster distracted driving can cause. You will be able to experience an accident or crash, and many agree that it is a life-changing moment.

This initiative by AT&T is towards making roads safer, and there are constant improvements and additions to this initiative. It has several other parts of this program where the simulator is an influential part of this effort.

Conclusion

Nearly 50% of people text while they drive, even after knowing the consequences they need to face. Among the young people in the age group of 16 to 20 are most affected due to texting distraction issues. What’s more astonishing is they do it even after knowing the impairment they might face. The best way to help them think more seriously about it is by exposing them to the scenario without really endangering them. Simulation apps play a significant role in getting the job done as they virtually provide a real case experience. Hopefully, this experiment serves to bring about a change in drivers’ mindset and lead to betterment that reduces traffic disasters. 

DRUG DRIVING: Why Is It Dangerous And How To Maintain Safety

Driving under the effect of any drug could be dangerous not only for the driver but for all the other people present on the streets. Drugs can cause dizziness, lack of bodily coordination, poor judgment, aggressive driving, hallucination, etc. Driving under such influence can lead to crashes and accidents. 

When we say drugs, it’s not just the illegal ones under the radar. All the prescribed and over the counter dosages of drugs can also affect driving in adverse ways. Alcohol with drugs is a deadly combination. Most of the drugged drivers generally consume the blend, making it difficult to determine which substance had a more significant effect. 

Facts About Drug Driving

  • Individuals aged between 21 to 25 years are most likely to drive under the influence of drugs. Serious consideration has to be reflected in the problem of drug abuse in youngsters.
  • Among the total population of drugged drivers, the majority of tests affirm consuming more than one drug. More than 40% of people drive under the influence of alcohol mixed with drugs. 
  • Drug tests performed by cops’ roadside can detect many drugs, including MDMA, THC, and methamphetamine.
  • Under various states’ laws, a driver who has consumed many drugs can undergo suspension of their driving license 24 hours.

Which Population Drives The Most Under The Influence Of Drugs?

Teens! Youth today are drowning under drug abuse, and the issue is not unknown to anyone. A recent survey shows that one out of every six college going teens have driven at least once under the influence of drugs. Cannabis and cocaine are the most common drugs consumed by high schoolers and college students. As the teens speed up and drive rashly under the effects of drugs, fatal accidents on the streets are mostly caused by this age group.

Older people who consume prescribed drugs also hold a notable place among the population of drug drivers. Due to improper dosage and delayed breakdown of drugs in the body, the older individuals get tricked into aggression and intoxication while driving.

Studies have shown that men are more likely to drive under the spell of drugs and cause accidents than women. One reason for this is because men cover more miles than women and drive powerful cars. Due to this, the impact of speeding and crashes are higher as well.

How Drugs Affect Driving

Drugs manipulate brain functions. Illegal ones are more efficient in playing with the mind and tricking the body. Drugs can cause paranoia, sleepiness, nausea, blurred visions, convulsions, lousy coordination, hyperactivity, aggression, reduced judgment, and much more. Many drivers suffer from weak muscles after consuming drugs resulting in the incapability of quick reflexes. Older people might get unconscious while driving and put their lives along with others at risk after taking medicines.

  1. Marijuana

Marijuana causes drowsiness and makes the brain incapable of judging the situation appropriately. A person who has combined marijuana with alcohol or opioids is at a greater risk of accidents. If consumed in a high amount, marijuana makes it impossible to judge the speed and time with accuracy and causes distraction. What’s worse is, it impairs the reaction mechanism of the body and slows down the reflexes. By the time you get to know what has happened, the mishap already happens. 

2. Cocaine

It is best to stay away from driving after the consumption of cocaine. It builds a false impression of the mind being active and alert, whereas, in reality, many of the bodily functions are impaired. When combined with antidepressants is one of the most common methods of taking cocaine; it can increase aggressiveness and impulsive behavior. 

In comparison with marijuana, cocaine is more capable of causing extreme consequences while driving. If injected with heroin, it can result in heart strokes and deaths.

3. Tranquilizers

Tranquilizers are like depressants for the nervous system. After their consumption, the coordination between mind and body is most likely to impair. The speech and action control is severely affected, and dizziness engulfs all the activeness. Alcohol can add to these adverse effects of tranquilizers and increase the severity of outcomes. Usually, people combine stimulants with tranquilizers to set aside stress.

4. Opiates

These substances result in laziness and delayed response of the body. It can impair vision and cause breathlessness. When consumed with alcohol, heroin, or any other drugs, opiates can increase the blood’s toxicity and result in a drug overdose. People driving under the influence of opiates have a poor judgment of time and speed, have trouble in changing lanes, and can undergo a respiratory arrest. 

5. Amphetamines

Amphetamines boost the driver’s risk-taking tendencies. It causes depressing effects and manipulates the concentration levels in the blood. If combined with MAO inhibitors or marijuana, it can result in hypertensive disasters. 

6. Multiple Drug Consumption

Combining hard drugs is the worst idea one can come up with. Polydrug usage can have additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects. It can either double the symptoms, amplify the total impact to an exponential rate, or result in a nullity. In any way, you will lose your overall control over your body and mind. Driving under such influence will undoubtedly make an individual contribute to unanticipated accidents and put other people’s lives in danger as well.

Multiple Drug Consumption

How About Using Medicines While Driving

The FDA advises to check the prescribed medicines’ components and discuss their effects with a medical professional before consumption. Most of the common medicines are safe for driving but might cause mild symptoms of drowsiness. Depending on your body, the effect of medications might vary from individual to individual. Following are some side-effects that might happen after the consumption of common medicines: 

  • Inability to be attentive
  • Drowsiness
  • Short term inefficiency in hearing and seeing
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting and frequent gag reflexes
  • Poor coordination
  • Slow reaction

Knowing your medicines is very crucial if you are planning to drive afterward. Common cold and flu medicines mainly don’t implicate severe side effects and are safe. But if you are on hard medication, there are a few things you need to know.

Pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, anti-seizure, psychotic drugs, etc., can alter your capability of staying attentive and awake. Though prescribed by doctors and safe to use, you might face problems indulging in physical activities. Driving is one such activity that needs full concentration and reflex. A detailed discussion with the doctor and thorough inquiry of ingredients in the meds will prevent severe driving casualties. 

Tips For Keeping Safe

If you consume alcohol or drugs of any sort, you must include a few things in your lifestyle for safety. As a responsible citizen, everyone must not put lives in danger due to personal recklessness. Many people have lost their loved ones in road hazards, and the numbers don’t seem to go down any soon. Below are some tips to be incorporated by everyone to save lives from falling into the adversity of road crashes: 

1. Calling Designated Drivers Whenever Needed

Calling a driver at times of need is nothing to be ashamed of. All of us have bad days, and it’s something you should opt for if the alcohol and drugs have messed you instead of providing a good time. Offering someone a safe drive home is also a conscious and commendable action. Try not to push yourself in a drugged state as your body might not respond to your expectation and trick you into wrongful decision-making. 

2. Cautioning Friends And Loved Ones

You must be familiar with the conditions and habits of your close ones. Turning a blind eye to their actions can result in casualty. Caution your friends and family members about the harmful effects of drug driving and encourage them to keep their consumption levels in check.

3. Discussing With Your Doctors

Sometimes people don’t enquire enough about the medicines that are prescribed to them. It is critical to check the components of the drugs you are taking and understand throw effects. Learn the proper methods for storing the medication. A little carelessness might alter the chemical balance of the compound, giving out unfavorable side-effects. Ask your doctor about the compatibility of medicines with other beverages and food items. Some drugs do not go well with alcohol and reflect severe damage to body balance.

4. Avoiding Driving

The best way to dodge a drug- caused accident is by avoiding driving at all. You can use public transport or make use of a friend in times of need. Call a cab or taxi if nothing works out. Ask and provide rides to friends after a party with drug and alcohol use. 

5. Reading The Warning Labels

Medicines and drugs come with instructions to use and warning. Read the full description before consuming the substance. You might also want to cross-check with your doctor in case of doubts. Do not form myths and conceptions about drugs and their effects. People tend to show overconfidence in matters of drugs and suffer from negative consequences later. 

6. No Overdose

Anything taken in an excessive quantity than prescribed can result in dreadful aftermaths. It’s right in the case of drugs too. Do not overestimate your capacity and keep a check on the consumption levels. 

7. Keep Yourself Away From Mixing Drugs

The blending of drugs can cause antagonistic, additive, and synergistic effects. It can amplify the total impact and make your body vulnerable. Continuous use of mixed drugs will alter your mind and body coordination. Drugs like marijuana, meth, amphetamines, cocaine, etc., should never be mixed with alcohol. Liquor causes drowsiness and poses difficulty in making conscious decisions. You might feel fine after the immediate consumption, but the cumulative effect may show up much magnified later when you are driving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can prescription drugs be taken while driving?

Yes, prescription drugs are generally safe for driving purposes, but some of them might cause drowsiness, loss of balance, poor coordination, blurred vision, etc. It is advised to discuss the possible side effects of prescribed medicines and their compatibility with driving with your doctor.

2. What happens if you test positive for drugs while driving?

If you test in affirmation for drugs in a roadside drug test as a first-time offender, you will have to pay the prescribed fine, and your driving license will be suspended for a short period. If the same behavior is continued and you get caught for repetitive offense twice or thrice, the driver’s license could be subjected to disqualification, and there might be a need to visit the courts.

3. What are the riskiest behaviors while drug driving?

First of all, drugged drivers tend to Overspeed vehicles in almost all cases. Negligence towards the traffic signs and recklessly changing lanes are the other two most rocky behaviors during drug driving.

4. Are there any laws against drug drinking in the United States Of America?

Eleven states, including Arizona, Rhode Island, Michigan, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah, have zero-tolerance against driving under drugs’ influence. The other states to have laws that put penalties in terms of a monetary fine, prescribe suspension of driving license, and allows the state to initiate court proceedings against drugged drivers.

5. Which is safer driving drunk or high?

Studies have revealed that drunk driving is much more dangerous than driving under the effects of smoking marijuana. If your body has adjusted to marijuana consumption, it is as safe as driving sober. Hard drugs, on the other hand, are most dreadful and not at all safe for driving. 

Conclusion

Determination of the exact effects of drugs on driving is difficult. When consumed together with alcohol, the tests are incapable of showing which substance had a more significant effect on the drivers. During the roadside drug tests, police typically don’t test for drugs but stop after finding raised blood-alcohol level. However, this won’t help you out of a situation as a DUI charge might result in your license suspension. With the increase in stress and anxiety issues today, consumption of drugs and alcohol is touching heights. People have started indulging in drugs at very early ages, which also impairs their overall growth. There is a broad scope for ameliorating laws to come into action before the situation goes out of control. As individuals, we all need to encourage open discussion about the issue and spread awareness for a positive change. 

TEEN DRIVING FACTS

Teen driving statistics and facts

Driving is undeniably one of the most relevant skills today. However, as a parent, having a teen who is of driving age could be very troubling. Teenagers are not exactly known to be cautious, and handing them the keys to a car could prove fatal. Several statistics show that driving is among the top causes of death and injuries among teenagers. Factors like distracted driving, alcohol use, etc., have also been shown to contribute to the increased number of driving fatalities among teenagers. Despite this, it is not possible to utterly put an end to teen driving. Instead, the solution lies in implementing safety guidelines and educating teens on safe driving procedures. As a parent, teacher, or guardian, here are some facts and statistics about teen driving that you must know.

  • In the US alone, about 2500 teens were killed and 285,000 injured in road-related accidents in 2018. 
  • Male teens are twice more likely to die from motor accidents than female teenagers within the same age group. 
  • Teenagers with newly acquired driving licenses were more likely to be involved in a motor accident, which often occurred between the first 6 months of getting the license. 
  • Driving teens between the ages of 16 and 17 are 3 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. 
  • Teen drivers made up 7% of the total deaths from car crashes in 2018. 
  • In 2018, 78% of death caused by car crashes involved teen drivers in passenger vehicles. 63% of this consisted of teen drivers within the ages of 16 – 19.
  • Distracted driving accounts for up to 10 % of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. 
  • Texting while driving increased the risk of car accidents by 23 times, and this behavior is common among teenage drivers. 
  • The fatality rate for 16-year-old teenage drivers is 9 times more than that for adult drivers between 30 and 60. 
  • Teenage drivers are involved in 20 percent of car crashes and 14 percent of all motor accident-related deaths. 
Teen driving

Why Teen drivers often cause accidents

From the statistics above, teen drivers are more likely than drivers of other age groups to be involved in car accidents. This is because they are more likely to engage in any number of high-risk behavior while driving. Here are some of the factors and behaviors that increase the risk of teen driving accidents. 

Driver Error 

Teenage drivers are generally inexperienced. They lack the finesse that comes with years of driving experience. However, road conditions remain the same for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. Combining teen drivers’ inexperience and dangerous road conditions like rain or snow, it is evident that their lack of experience places them at a severe disadvantage. Coupled with this is that teen drivers are less likely to adhere to safety measures like wearing seat belts while driving. A study by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey showed that within 2016 – 2018, teen drivers used their seat belts less than adult drivers (1). This risky behavior is even more pronounced among teens who were not driving but occupied a vehicle driven by another teen. A possible explanation for this behavior could be because they are new to driving and are not fully accustomed to using seat belts. To reinforce this habit, some states in the US have come up with laws that empower law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who aren’t using their seat belts. 

  1. Distraction

Distraction is anything that steals your attention from a preferred area of focus. A distracted driver is a hazardous person because they are potentially harmful to themselves and other road users. When driving, a few seconds of distraction could be the difference between life and death. Distraction among teen drivers is pervasive today and one of the leading causes of car crashes. Common distractions are texting while driving, answering or making calls, changing the radio station, eating, using a map, or talking to a passenger while driving. The impact of these actions is emphasized when you consider the inexperience of teen drivers. 

According to this report, 39 % of high school students said they had texted or sent an email at least once while driving. 

Here are some quick facts about distracted driving;

  • Talking on a phone while driving doubles the risk of having an accident. 
  • Dialing a number while driving increases the risk of an accident by 6 times. 
  • Sending or replying to a text while driving increases the risk of an accident by 23 times. 

All three behaviors listed above are shared among teen drivers, which explains the higher rate of car accidents among the age group. These behaviors are also linked to the increasing use of phones while driving, which is also very common among teenage drivers. 

2. Nighttime and Weekend Driving

Driving at night or going on a long weekend drive can be both physically and mentally challenging, especially for new drivers. According to a CDC transportation department report, 37% of car fatalities involving teenage drivers occur at night. This doesn’t surprise as any experienced driver will know that driving at night requires extra attention and puts more strain on the driver. This statistic raises so much concern and also emphasizes the role of inexperience among teen drivers. The report says that 52 % of these nighttime crashes occur mostly between Friday and Sunday (2). Careful consideration of this information will reveal that most teens go on camping or long trips during the weekends. Now driving for a long time can be exhausting, and the risk only increases at night because the driver may feel sleepy due to tiredness and exhaustion. Therefore, it is not advisable for teen drivers who are yet to build their stamina to embark on such risky adventures. 

3. Speeding

Over speeding is a widespread cause of car accidents, and compared to adult drivers, teens are more likely to over speed and give less headway. This negligent and risky behavior accounted for 32 % of fatal motor accidents involving teen drivers (3). The danger of overspeeding is that the driver has less time to make a quick decision if faced with any risk. An example is when the car skids in snow or if a deer suddenly runs across the road. 

4. Use of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster. Even adults who are experienced drivers have met a devastating end; how much more teen drivers have less experience and poor reflexes. Alcohol intake is known to reduce reflex responses and even cause blurred vision, increasing the risk of an accident if the person is driving. Teenage drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in a car crash, even with a blood alcohol concentration that is less than that of an adult driver (2).

What teenagers must know before driving

It is the place of a parent, teacher, or guardian to teach teen drivers what they should know about driving. It would be best if you made them understand that there is a lot more involved in driving than merely moving the car from one place to another. This awareness will undoubtedly prepare them for the challenges they will encounter while driving. 

Here are some of the essential driving facts that every teen driver should know;

  1. Awareness

Teenage drivers should know the common factors and behaviors that could put their lives in danger while driving. The factors outlined in this article are an excellent place to start. These driving facts and statistics are essential in creating awareness about car accidents’ common causes and how to avoid them. Knowing this will improve their chances of survival by ensuring they stay alert and avoid unnecessary risk. 

2. Use of Seat belt at all times.

Teen drivers should be encouraged to use their seat belts at all times, whether they are driving the vehicle or not. It is a known fact that seatbelts have saved many drivers who would otherwise be gravely injured or dead. Unfortunately, teen drivers rank the lowest among drivers who use the seat belt while driving (4). Most states have primary or secondary seat belt laws that enforce the use of seat belts while driving. The primary seat belt law permits law enforcement officers to pull over any driver who does not use the seat belt. In states where it is practiced, the strategy has helped increase seat belts use even among teenage drivers. 

3. No Use of Alcohol

The US laws prohibit the use of alcohol for anyone below the age of 21 years. Despite this fact, a 2017 study showed that up to 24% of teen drivers who were killed in car crashes were under the influence of alcohol (5). Another study showed that 15% of teen drivers within the age of 16-20 involved in deadly motor accidents had a blood alcohol concentration that will be illegal for adults aged 21 years and above (6). These studies prove that alcohol consumption is typical among teenage drivers and should be curtailed. 

4. Driver License

Enroll your teenage driver is specialized licensing systems like the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. These programs place restrictions on teen drivers and limit their exposure to the factors and behaviors that could put their lives at risk. These include prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving and the presence of other teen passengers. 

How the itcanwait simulator can help

Itcanwait simulator is an app developed by AT&T to help in educating people on the dangers of texting while driving. AT&T, armed with the motor “no text is worth dying for….it can wait,” started a campaign to reduce road accidents by creating awareness on the dangers of texting while driving. The essential advantage of using the itcanwait simulator app in educating teen drivers is that it gives them a detailed experience of real-life car crashes resulting from distractions. 

If experience is the best teacher, then this app is truly the best. It provides the background without the dangers of real-life scenarios, but the lessons are the same. During the simulation, the user who is the driver will have to navigate through the streets while texting. The simulation environment is constructed to make it as realistic as possible. 

The result is a lasting impact on how dangerous it is to text and drive. Another advantage of this app is that it is available on both mobile and desktop platforms. The mobile version is convenient and can be operated with simple controls like any driving game. For a 3D experience, you can use the Oculus gear VR. 

Additionally, the itcanwait website provides other helpful resources that can be used for educational purposes. Drivers are also prompted to pledge never to text and drive. Making this pledge instills a feeling of responsibility, and these drivers become committed to maintaining safe driving practices. You can click on this link to download the app. 

Conclusion 

Teen drivers pose a significant risk to themselves as well as other road users. This is because they are inexperienced and also engage in risky behaviors while driving. The impact of a car crash could be devastating to the victim and their family. Losing a child is a situation that no parent will want to be in, and we understand that. This is why It is crucial to educate your teenage driver on the primary driving facts and teach them how to be more careful and responsible. To help you with this, the article has covered most aspects of teen driving. The information provided within the article helps parents and guardians with teens that are of driving age or close. All statistics provided within the article are fact-based and backed by research. They are proven strategies to help prevent car crashes involving teen drivers and improve the overall safety of our roads. 

ITCANWAIT SIMULATOR

THE AT&T CAMPAIGN

The internet has grown exceedingly since its inception and has brought many possibilities and changes in the way we live our lives. The internet’s influence can be said to be both positive and negative, and one of its negative aspects is that most people tend to use their phones while driving. Statistics have shown that more and more people are becoming addicted to using their mobile devices. Although this habit is generally considered unhealthy, it becomes even more dangerous when driving. Using the phone in any way while driving endangers your life and the lives of other road users, whether it is to answer a call or reply to a text message. There are many attempts to curb mobile phones when driving, such as the handsfree technology invented in 2001. However, the handsfree is more of a coping mechanism rather than a complete overhaul of the mentality. This is where the AT&T IT CAN WAIT campaign comes in to guarantee driving safety.

Credit: at&t it can wait campaign

Purpose of the Campaign

The IT CAN WAIT campaign aims to create awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. This campaign came at a crucial time, especially with parents’ growing concerns with teens old enough to drive. The idea of this campaign is to instill the value of waiting until it is safe before returning a call or responding to a text message or email. Armed with the slogan “No text is worth dying for……It Can Wait”, the AT&T IT CAN WAIT campaign hopes to put an end to the habit of texting while driving to avoid distracted driving.  

How it is addressing the issue

To address the issue, AT&T has come up with 8 strategies, and these are:

1. Taking a pledge

Drivers are encouraged to pledge not to text and drive and be accountable for their loved ones. Each driver that takes the pledge can share it on social media to help create awareness. Social media has helped reinforce the movement, which has seen a tremendous increase in the number of pledges taken over the years.

2. Change in driving behavior

The AT&T campaign helps drivers to create a routine that reminds them of their pledges while driving. An automated response is provided for such a situation that will usually prompt drivers to text. This automatic response is sent via text and social media to inform friends or loved ones that they are not available.  

3. First-Hand Accounts

By partnering with filmmakers and various speakers, the campaign hopes to create awareness through documentaries and stories of people whose lives changed or ended because of texting while driving.

4. Teen Education

Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and the AT&T campaign uses teens to spread the word on the dangers of texting while driving. The documentaries of real-life events are also provided to high schools across the country.

5. AT&T DriveMode

AT&T also provides a mobile application that sends an automated message to the friends and family of the user. This message notifies them that the user is driving and will respond when it’s safe.

6. Simulators

To help drive the point home, AT&T has made simulators that can deliver a near real-life experience of the damages caused by texting while driving. An online version of this simulator is available at https://itcanwait.com with more information. 

7. Advocacy

AT&T and its employees are advocating against texting while driving by incorporating the message into their technology and altering company policy to reflect their position in the fight. 

8. Third-Party Support

The campaign has garnered the support of third-party organizations to help in the movement.

ITCANWAIT SIMULATOR APP

A simulation is an animation that imitates real-life scenarios or events, which could be an accident or any similar event that occurs as a result of texting while driving. AT&T provides access to a VR experience through its itcanwait simulator app, online, and a VR chair. The video considered “eye-opening” is also well detailed. Apart from the immersive crash video experience, AT&T also launched the itcanwait app in 2015. Considering that most millennials use their phones a lot, it is easy to see why making a simulator app is an excellent move by the company. This brings the experience closer to the user.

Purpose of the App

As the name implies, this app’s sole purpose is to give the user a simulation of the real-life experience. This app’s availability makes it easy for the user to connect with other apps that optimize the VR experience. Unlike the online video and the VR chair, an app is portable and easy to access the content. You can download the application and other essential gear or software required for the full VR experience from the website.  

App Instruction and Use

AT&T offers two apps relevant to its campaign, and these are the DriveMode app and the Itcanwait simulator app. Both apps play independent roles in the campaign, and it’s essential to clarify this.

DriveMode App VS ItCanWait Simulator App

The DriveMode app helps you avoid distractions by silencing incoming messages and redirecting calls to voicemails while driving. The DriveMode app aims to help the user avoid using a phone while driving. It automatically turns up when driving at 25 MPH and above. This is a free app available on the Play store and works better with the GPS turned on. Besides, the simulator app shares the experience of those who have experienced first-hand the dangers of texting while driving in an immersive and captivating way. The simulator app offers users the experience they wouldn’t want to have themselves to convey the point. In most cases, this has been very successful as most users who use the app are more careful and willing to take the itcanwait pledge.

How It works

To begin using the simulator, you will have to enter your email address and sync the app with your smartphone. After setting up the VR simulator, you see yourself in a car’s drivers’ seat, where you then navigate through streets and highways. As you drive, you get to have a realistic experience since the software simulates everyday challenges and obstacles drivers face while plying the road. These include avoiding pedestrians and jaywalkers, swerving vehicles and cyclists, runners, and even stray animals dashing across the street. In navigating this obstacle, you will be sent text messages, and you have to reply to them. The aim is to show you what a “little” distraction like responding to a text message while driving could do. Despite its realistic effect, the simulation may differ from actual driving conditions. 

The VR simulation provided by AT&T is not a stand-alone application but must be used alongside other gadgets and software. An example is the Oculus gear VR. Below is a step by step guide on how to begin.

Instructions

  1. You can use the simulator on either a smartphone or PC. For smartphone users, you must change the auto-lock/screen timeout settings before proceeding. For non-COUs iPhones, auto-lock should be set to “Never” while COUs iPhones should be set to “5 minutes”. For androids, the screen timeout should be set to 10 minutes.
  2. For PC users, click here
  3. After following either step 1 or 2 above, click start simulator to begin. If you’re prompted to install the Unity Player, please do so before continuing. 
  4. Enter the email you used while setting up the simulator to sync with your smartphone.
  5. You will receive an email from [email protected], open the email, and click on the link provided to start the simulator. 
  6. Once you click on the email link, you will be redirected to a new window in your browser. On the new screen, click “Start”. 
  7. After step 6 above, your device will sync and if you are using a PC, right-click on the simulator window to select fullscreen mode. To exit the fullscreen mode, press the escape key.
  8. You can either use a driving kit (Wheel and pedal kit) or the arrow keys or keys W-A-S-D on your keyboard to drive the car. 
  9. While driving, you will receive text messages, as would be the case in actual conditions. You can choose to respond to these messages or not. 
  10. At the end of the simulation, you can always restart again by simply following the steps in this instruction. 

Note: The Itcanwait simulator app from AT&T only supports the Gear VR platform. The app size is 573.8 MB, it is developed and published by AT&T as part of the itcanwait campaign, and it also requires an internet connection.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. How much does the simulation app cost?

The simulation app is free. However, you may be charged by your internet provider if you don’t have access to a WIFI.

2. Why have I not received the email with a link to start the game?

Sometimes the emails take time to be delivered, be patient. If you still haven’t received it after a while, try doing the following:

  • Turn off your firewall.
  • Check your junk or spam folder.
  • Check your email to make sure you are still receiving emails.
  • Check your internet connection.
  • Try using a different email address. 

3. What is a Unity Web Player?

You can use the unity player mode in viewing online content in 3D. Without the player, you will not have the full experience of the online simulator. 

4. Why do I not receive text messages during the game?

Ensure your phone is not in sleep mode. If you still don’t get the messages, try to re-sync your phone or use a different browser. Make sure that you clicked on the most recent link, especially if you had sent and received multiple emails during the setup. 

5. Can I use the simulator app on my iPad?

No. You can only use the unity player mode for online viewing on PC, and also you will require a keyboard to navigate. 

6. What are the keyboard controls for driving in the simulator?

  • Turn left – Left Arrow key or A
  • Turn Right – Right arrow key or D
  • Accelerate – Up arrow key or W
  • Brake – Down arrow key or S

7. What is the itcanwait pledge?

It is a pledge taken by drivers never to get distracted and commit to not using their phones while driving. The pledge is part of a campaign by AT&T to curb the habit of texting while driving by helping drivers create new routines and share in the experience of others.

8. How many people have taken the pledge?

At the moment, over 40 million people have taken the pledge.

9. When was the Itcanwait Simulator App Launched?

The app was launched in 2015.

10. Who developed the itcanwait Simulator App?

AT&T, in partnership with REEL FX Studio, developed this app.

11. What is the size of the app?

The app size is 573 MB.

12. Is the app available for download in Play Store?

No. Unfortunately, the app is not available on the Google Play Store but can be downloaded from Third-party app stores or on the Oculus website provided in the instructions.

13. What devices can be used with the Simulation App?

You can use your phone or a desktop and Gear VR. Gear VR is a Virtual Reality Headset developed and manufactured by Samsung in partnership with Oculus VR. The headset has a controller that lets you navigate the app and is compatible with a Samsung smartphone. The device allows you to view the simulation video in 360-degree.

14. Is the Simulation App the same as the DriveMode app from AT&T?

No. Both apps are useful in the campaign against texting while driving. Still, the DriveMode app is basically to help drivers break the habit of texting while driving by acting as an assistant, and the Simulation app helps educate drivers on the dangers of texting while driving.

Conclusion

As technology advances, it lends us the flexibility to do more in less time. It is not uncommon to see people brag about being able to multitask, which is a word coined to mean doing more than one task at any given time. Despite this being generally accepted, multitasking has proven ineffective, especially in the quality of work produced. However, the idea of multitasking has been thrown around so much that you can see people try to do more than they should in nearly all areas of life. This is also the case for texting and driving.

So, what are the challenges facing the campaign?

According to this article published on the ItCanWait website;

7 in 10 drivers make use of their phones while driving – from using features like google maps, changing your playlist, typing a quick email/text, or receiving a call, any of these activities can distract the driver for a few seconds, and that’s all it takes. The statistics are quite high, and it’s not surprising since each new technology seems to encourage these activities.

The amount of media consumed while driving has doubled since 2015 – everyday algorithms are getting better at predicting what we would like to watch, and this information is being pushed at us from all sides. From what to shop to which movies to see next, we have a lot of media to consume at any given time. This would ordinarily not be a problem unless it becomes an addiction seen among the millennials. All around, you can see people creating or viewing media content while driving.

86% of Car-Share drivers use their phones while driving – ride sharing has become a norm thanks to technologies that make it all possible. However, it is not without its downsides as drivers must actively use the ride-sharing app while driving.It is evident from the research that more work has to be done. This is why AT&T has partnered with many other big companies to spread the word and warn drivers of the impending danger of texting while driving. With daily pledges, effort, and resources to create awareness, and new technology embracing the idea, progress is certainly being made towards ensuring our roads are safer.