By Ted AYALA
Glendale drivers received the dubious distinction last month of having been rated among the worst drivers in the nation, according to a study published by Allstate Insurance. Included in the report was a five-point list of suggestions to improve driving safety. At the very top? Eliminating distractions while driving.
In case any drivers had missed the memo, the Allstate report stated the obvious: “Engaging in any other activity while driving – talking on your cellphone, text messaging, changing a radio station, putting on makeup – is a distraction.”
Even with stiffened penalties for distracted driving enacted across the country, some drivers just can’t wait until they park their cars to send out that next Tweet or Facebook status update. Now Glendale is hoping a little bit of public outreach may help improve matters.
The Glendale City Council declared today, Thursday, Sept. 19 to be “It Can Wait: No Texting While Driving Pledge Day.”
The “pledge” in “Pledge Day” refers to an online pledge that drivers can make by going to www.itcanwait.com.
“This initiative focuses on educating people – especially teens – about the dangers of texting and driving,” reads an informational blurb on the website. “The message is simple, yet vital: When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.”
According to Mayor Dave Weaver, who read the proclamation to commemorate the date, over 2,000,000 drivers have already taken the online pledge. He hoped that bringing the campaign to notice in Glendale would cause motorists to think twice before they “Like” another goofy cat photo on their friends’ Tumblr or Facebook feed.
“Ninety-eight percent of commuters know that sending a text or email while driving is not safe,” he said. “Fifty percent of commuters text behind the wheel and 40% … reported that it was a habit.”
A representative from AT&T who was on hand to receive the city’s proclamation agreed that distracted driving is a serious problem.
“Somehow we have to be able to break this habit and convince people that it’s the wrong thing to do,” he urged.
Along with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are the major sponsors for the “It Can Wait” campaign.
“It’s all about getting the message out,” said Mayor Weaver.
Drivers who take the pledge can also share it via Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter … but not while operating a car.