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May 7 2016

Feds Take to Twitter to Scold Those Who Text While Driving

Patrice J. Lee

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is tired of people who text and drive. They’ve taken to social media to publically shame people who text and drive – putting the lives of themselves and others at risk.

The NHTSA which is charged with automotive safety is taking on texting while driving by replying or tweeting at people who admit, joke about, or don’t denounce texting while driving using #justdrive.

For a few years, now they’ve dedicated a month for an annual public safety efforts dedicated to combatting distracted driving. According to the statistics, it kills about 3,000 people a year and causes over 30,000 injuries. Cellphone-inolved crashesaccounted for a quarter of all crashes nationwide.

Other means of getting people’s attention have failed from conferences to ads, so they are trying to be as direct as possible with frank, tough messages about the danger distracted drivers can inflict.

Cnet.com captures some of the tweets:

For example, someone called Jay-Toven (Twitter handle @DuckDaggettlss) had tweeted: "I have no problem texting while driving, but I won't text while going down stairs. Hell naw."

The NHTSA replied to her tweet: "You might not have a problem with the texting & driving, @DuckDaggettlss, but we do. Stay off your phone and #justdrive -- it's not worth it."

Someone called Hillary had tweeted: "I can't decide what's worse, texting while driving or reading the newspaper while driving."

The NTHSA wasn't having that. It huffed: "Doing anything behind the wheel other than driving is the worst,@hillaryyfae. For everyone's sake, we'd advise not doing either. #justdrive."

Someone with the fetching Twitter name DrunkCollegeKid tweeted: "Snapchatting while driving is like the real life Pokemon Snap."

To which the NHTSA sniffed: "Except in real life, you actually have to control the car you're riding in, @drunkcollegekid. Put down the phone and #justdrive."

It wasn't all shaming, however.

The NHTSA found a tweet from Laura A Warman. It read: "one time I dated someone who didn't text and drive."

Public safety is a legitimate cause and enforcing law should be done, but how does tweeting at a person who may have just tweeted while driving not contribute to them driving while distracted? We can’t say this is the case in every example above, but we have to wonder.

Young people spend a tremendous amount of time online and distracted drivers are a problem to tackle, but I’m curious how the NHTSA plans to measure the effectiveness of their efforts? Can they track declines in distracted driving and can they trace it to their public shaming efforts?

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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