I’ll be honest. There have been a few times (OK, maybe more than just a few) when I’ve glanced at my emails while sitting in the driver’s seat of my car. This is definitely not a safe practice, but as most PR pros know, it’s difficult to disconnect from our smartphones.
An email from a reporter you pitched; an important query from a client – we are plagued by a perpetual sense of urgency working in this profession. But has this inability to “unplug” gone too far?
Working on AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign for the past three years has made me acutely aware of the dangers involved with texting and driving. Since its launch in 2010, the It Can Wait campaign has inspired more than 6.5 million pledges not to text and drive, and helped raise awareness of the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
Because of increased smartphone use while driving, AT&T is now expanding the campaign to include additional distractions that have emerged over the years as our relationships with devices have changed.
New research released from AT&T confirms that seven in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving, with nearly four in 10 smartphone users tapping into social media, three in 10 surfing the net, and one in 10 video chatting. Excuse me, but video chatting while driving? I’d characterize this as plain reckless.
Additional statistics on smartphone activities people (and I’m sure more than a few PR pros) say they do while driving include:
- Text (61%)
- Email (33%)
- Surf the net (28%)
- Facebook (27%)
- Snap a selfie/photo (17%)
- Twitter (14%)
- Instagram (14%)
- Shoot a video (12%)
- Snapchat (11%)
- Video chat (10%)
As part of the campaign expansion, AT&T will be collaborating with social platforms to share the #ItCanWait message and to encourage life-saving behavior change.
I’m calling on fellow PR pros to take the pledge and join the cause to end this nationwide epidemic of utilizing smartphones while driving. No email, pitch, selfie or social media post is worth a life.
Keep your eyes on the road, and not on your phone. Take the pledge and join the cause here.