On Tuesday night, the Wallingford Town Council approved a resolution to make Wednesday, Sept. 19, “Don’t Text and Drive Day.”
The AT&T-sponsored initiative aims to educate teenage drivers about the dangers of writing and sending text messages while driving. According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, as quoted on the campaign website, drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident while texting.
“Certainly I agree with it,” said Mayor William Dickinson about the campaign. He added that texting while driving poses a “great hazard to the motoring public” as well as pedestrians and highway traffic.
“A person who is not really paying attention to the vehicle is far more likely to lose control of the vehicle,” said Dickinson, “than someone who is fully alert.”
Distracted driving isn’t just a problem for teens. A 2009 study conducted by Car and Driver magazine measured reaction times of drivers while reading messages, writing texts, and after drinking enough to blow a 0.08 on a breathalyzer test, which is the legal blood-alcohol content limit while driving. Perhaps surprisingly, the drivers' reaction time was worse while using text messaging than under the influence.
To watch testimonials or take the pledge, go to www.itcanwait.org.