For Immediate Release - May 01, 2012

AG Coakley Commemorates Stop the Texts Day with Officials Nationwide

NASCAR Driver Kasey Kahne Featured in New Public Service Announcements to Educate Young Drivers on Dangers of Texting While Driving

BOSTON -- In an effort to educate young adult drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, Attorney General Martha Coakley joined officials nationwide to commemorate the inaugural Stop the Texts Day, and the start of National Youth Traffic Safety Month. 

AG Coakley, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies, and the Ad Council today revealed new public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne to coincide with the inaugural day and recognition of the month. 

In July 2010, Massachusetts became the 29th state to ban texting behind the wheel for all drivers and to ban cell phone use while driving for those under the age of 18.  According to a national survey released by the Ad Council, 60 percent of young adult drivers (16-24) said they have texted while driving.  NHTSA reports that distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens.  In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving. 

“Young adults now spend more time texting, emailing, and accessing data on their phones instead of talking, but when they are behind the wheel of a car, they cannot give in to the urge to constantly respond,” AG Coakley said.  “Distracted driving is dangerous and sometimes fatal.” 

"I am glad that I was able to be a part of this project. The Ad Council folks do a good job of bringing awareness to causes such as this. Hopefully this will help people realize how dangerous texting while driving can be," said Kasey Kahne, NASCAR driver.

The goal of Stop the Texts Day is to extend the message of the “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” texting and driving prevention PSA campaign via social media in an effort to educate young drivers about the risks of texting while driving. Friends and parents of young adult drivers, and other safe driving advocates, are invited to share status updates from the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day on why texting while driving is such a risky behavior. Additionally, supporters can write an open letter to young adults imploring them to not text while driving on the campaign’s Tumblr. A complete toolkit for Stop the Texts Day is also available to provide additional ways the public can participate.

“While teen drivers often feel invincible, the reality is that texting and driving too often leads to terrible injuries and even death,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, president of NAAG. “No text message is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Texting while driving should be as socially unacceptable as driving without a seat belt.”

The television, radio and digital PSAs remind young adult drivers that it is dangerous to do anything that takes your attention away from the road, and serve as a reminder to leave the risky driving to the professionals. The PSAs direct audiences to stoptextsstopwrecks.org, a website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving and tips for how to curb the behavior.

“Our latest research shows that young adult drivers continue to text and drive even with the knowledge that the act can seriously injure or kill others or themselves,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “With the help of NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne, we are sending a wake-up call to young adult drivers that if you take your eyes off the road to read or respond to text messages there can be unfortunate consequences. We would encourage everyone to participate in Stop the Text Day to help us end the dangerous act of texting and driving.” 

Since 2006, the Ad Council has partnered with the State Attorneys General to address reckless driving among teens. For more than twenty-five years, the Ad Council and NHTSA have worked together on consumer safety PSA campaigns. Per the Ad Council’s model; all of the new PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

CONTACT:

Lisa Cullen
The Ad Council
202-331-5052
lcullen@adcoucil.org

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