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Bicycle Coalition

Distracted driving in the age of the iPhone is a genuine health crisis. More and more people are checking their Instagram and Facebook feeds behind the wheel, and low estimates say 16 percent of all fatal crashes are the result of distracted driving. So, Mayor Kenney will join AT&T on Thursday, May 18, at Thomas Paine Plaza, to both sign the Vision Zero pledge and show off AT&T’s “distracted driving simulator.”

AT&T created the “It Can Wait” public service campaign a few years back, and has been working toward a Vision Zero policy. They sponsored the first Vision Zero Conference and are a part of the Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, which the Bicycle Coalition began to push for a safer Philadelphia and fewer traffic injuries and deaths.

AT&T has additionally conducted surveys around Vision Zero and its “It Can Wait” program. As noted by the New York Times in 2015,

The survey was commissioned by AT&T, itself a phone company, but one that has invested heavily in discouraging distracted driving through its “It Can Wait” public service campaign. The telephone survey was conducted by Braun Research, which polled 2,067 people who own a smartphone and drive at least once a day.

The survey found that 27 percent of drivers age 16 to 65 report using Facebook, and 14 percent report using Twitter. Of those, a startling 30 percent who said they post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”

“One in 10 say they do video chat while driving. I don’t even have words for that,” said Lori Lee, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for global marketing.

The survey found, 17 percent take selfies, perhaps a fitting metaphor for ignoring everyone else on the road. The survey also found that texting remains the most prevalent activity, reported by 61 percent of drivers, followed by 33 percent who email and 28 percent who surf the Internet. More than 10 percent use Instagram and Snapchat.

Here’s the agenda from the city’s press release:

AGENDA

  • 10:30AM – 11AM:
  • Mayor Kenney and Deputy Managing Director Carroll’s remarks
  • Mayor Kenney, Deputy Managing Director Carroll, and Council invited to sign the Vision Zero pledge
  • Mayor Kenney, Deputy Managing Director Carroll, and Council invited to participate in distracted driving simulator
  • 11AM – 2PM: Open invitation to participate in the distracted driving simulator

We don’t know what the distracted driving simulator is. Sounds terrifying, though.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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