When it comes to preventing distracted driving, all of the onus is on motorists. While there are laws in place to punish distracted drivers, these are often difficult to enforce or incorporate mild punishments, and are therefore not as effective as needed. Far too many motorists are very comfortable with texting while driving.
It is these types of motorists that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is targeting with a new social media initiative. As part of the effort, NHTSA’s official Twitter account has been naming and shaming Twitter users who reference distracted driving or using cell phones while driving in a flippant way.
The agency’s Twitter feed has garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks for its very targeted, specific, and clear messages to Twitter users who joke about texting while driving, or seem nonchalant about the dangers of distracted driving. In one message, the agency sharply scolds a Twitter user who seems blasé about the dangers of using the SnapChat app while driving. In another, it offers words of appreciation and praise for a user who seems very clued-in to the dangers of distracted driving.
Will an initiative like this have the desired effect? Will naming and shaming Twitter users who seem completely clueless about the dangers of distracted driving help reduce the threat of distracted driving on our roadways? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to believe that even preventing one person or one motorist from reaching for that cell phone while driving or texting while driving is well worth the effort.
No phone call or text message is worth losing your life for. Please put your cell phone out of reach while driving and pull over if you absolutely need to use it.