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We’ve all been there. While driving to work or to our child’s school, we decide to check a quick answer to a work text or a funny Instagram pic. Seems harmless enough – it’s only for a second or two. We convince ourselves that a glance won’t hurt anyone. But it can, and there’s nothing worth taking your eyes off the road, not even a quick glance at a Facebook post about your adorable child. This is the overall message behind a though-provoking new video from AT&T’s “It Can Wait,” a campaign that showcases the dangers of distracted driving.

The powerful ad follows a boy on his bike, a man on his way home, a woman watering the yard, a mother driving with her daughter in the backseat. It’s a picturesque moment of true suburbia; everyone is happy.

Then, in an instant, the all four characters literally collide when the mother glances down at a phone pinging with a notification about a photo she posted, causing a horrible crash. At the end of the video, the entire incident is played backwards until the very moment the mother reaches for her phone to check the post.

This moment sticks with you in a very visceral way. It demonstrates how easy it is to lose focus, even for a second, and reminds us to just put the damn phone down and drive.

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Distracted Driving – Laptop Getty Images

This video comes on the heels of a recent finding by AT&T that 27 percent of people admit to checking Facebook while driving and 14 percent divulge they check Twitter. After viewing the video, watchers actually see that a glance at a tweet or post is just as distracting as actually texting.

AT&T also revealed even more disturbing research showing that almost 4-in-10 smartphone users log into social media while driving, 3-in-10 browse the Internet and 1-in-10 video chat. However, texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. Some further head turning statistics from AT&T in regards to distracted driving:

  • 62% keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
  • 30% of people who post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”
  • 22% who access social networks while driving cite addiction as a reason.
  • Of those who shoot videos behind the wheel, 27% think they can do it safely while driving.

These pivotal moments of distraction can define the rest of your life as well as someone else. According to Distraction.gov, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S. in 2013.

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What Is Considered Distracted Driving? Let’s Be Clear

There are three main types of distraction according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual — taking you hands of the wheel
  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

The NHTSA also reports, “Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle. Such activities have the potential to distract the person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.”

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Michelle Kuckelman, executive director of brand management at AT&T, told The Huffington Post that past AT&T “It Can Wait” videos have mostly showcased people’s personal stories about distracted driving, spoken directly into the camera. “Those were effective,” Kuckelman said, “but the campaign hopes this new video will force viewers to imagine themselves behind the wheel. She goes on to say, “What we found through research is that people still didn’t feel like it was really personally relevant to them,” she said of past videos. “They felt like they were an exception to the rule … Our attempt [with this video] was to take out any kind of rationalization of ‘That couldn’t happen to me,’ and really focus on the aftermath of a simple action.”

You got our attention. Good work AT&T.

 

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