Cellphones have revolutionized our day to day lives, but they can also seriously impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and cause numerous traffic collisions and injuries in Philadelphia each year.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled a new public service announcement titled “OMG” that educates teens on the dangers of distracted driving.
The DOT has teamed up with select movie theaters and gas station pump-top screens to reach as many teens as possible. The DOT spokesman said that the new PSA is meant to show teens “the importance of keeping their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving at all times.”
In effort to get through to the teens in a language they understand, the new PSA reportedly uses imagery that relates to popular shorthand text messages such as “L8R” for “later” or “LOL” for “laugh out loud,” the DOT said.
One version of the new PSA will run on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas across the nation. Another, more sobering version, will be found on 12,000 screens above pumps at popular gas stations throughout the country. Both versions can also be found at www.Distraction.gov.
It’s no accident that the distracted driving PSA is being unveiled now. With the holiday driving season under way, the DOT said it hopes to reach the many young drivers who will be taking to the roads over their winter vacations.
“Today’s teenagers make no secret about the fact that they want to stay connected to their social networks and enjoy text messaging. That’s why it’s so important that we educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe during the holiday season and beyond,” a spokesman from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
Now would be an excellent time to talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving, before the damage has already been done.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Press Release, “U.S. Department of Transportation Unveils ‘OMG’ PSA to Warn Teens About the Dangers of Distracted Driving,” Nov. 28, 2011.