Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Supports Inaugural Stop the Texts Day
Attorney General Jack Conway has joined his fellow state Attorneys General, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council in support of the inaugural Stop the Texts Day today. According to a national survey released by the Ad Council, 60 percent of young adult drivers (16-24) said they have texted while driving.
To educate young adult drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, General Conway, the NHTSA, state Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies and the Ad Council today revealed new public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne. The new PSAs are being unveiled today to coincide with the first nationwide Stop the Texts Day, and the start of National Youth Traffic Safety Month.
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 injured nationally due to distracted driving," General Conway said. "I want Kentuckians to know that they are risking their lives and the lives of others when they text and drive. It is also illegal."
Kentucky's law (KRS 189.292) prohibiting texting and driving became effective in July of 2010. The law also prohibits persons under age 18 from using a personal communication device while driving. According to Kentucky State Police, there were 312 citations issued in 2011 for distracted driving. Fines for distracted driving citations are $25 (first offense) and subsequent offenses $50, plus court costs.
In 2009, more than 200 fatalities on Kentucky's roads and highways were blamed on distracted driving. The total number of accidents pinned on inattentive drivers totaled 57,000.
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.
"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.
Created pro bono by advertising agency RPA, 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.
"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 Ad Council's national survey released today also found that forty-four percent of young adult drivers (16 – 24) say that friends are the most influential source to encourage them to curb their texting and driving habits, followed by their parents (33 percent). Most notably, eighty-eight percent of texting drivers said a law against the behavior would encourage them to completely stop or be less likely to text while driving. Additionally, ninety-six percent, of young adult drivers said large fines, a suspended license and/or jail time, higher insurance rates and other financial and legal consequences would encourage them not to text while driving.
The online survey, commissioned by the Ad Council, was conducted in partnership with ORC International's Online CARAVAN® Youth Omnibus. Research was conducted nationwide from April 3 to 6, 2012. The sample consisted of 862 teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. All respondents were required to have a valid driver's license, junior license or learner's permit.