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'U Drive, U Text, U Pay': April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Mobile providers join in nationwide awareness campaign; AT&T launches mobile app similar to "out of office" reply that lets callers know the recipient is driving and can't respond.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Michigan police will be on the lookout for dangerous driving habits. (Patch file photo)
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Michigan police will be on the lookout for dangerous driving habits. (Patch file photo)

April has been declared National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while texting, eating and other behavior that claimed 3,328 lives nationwide in 2012.

The Michigan State Police is among law enforcement agencies working to reduce distracted driving related crashes and raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving creates.

The efforts are part of a campaign created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb distracted driving behaviors nationwide.

Throughout the month, officers will be focusing on crash-causing violations that may be caused by distracted driving, including; aggressive driving, marked lanes violations, following too closely and driving left of center, as well as enforcing laws prohibiting texting while driving.  

National advertising by NHTSA that will be seen throughout the country will also promote their, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” awareness program.

AT&T Michigan said surveys conducted as part of its “It Can Wait” campaign to discourage the dangerous practice of texting while driving, have found:

  • Ninety-seven percent of teens surveyed say texting while driving is dangerous – but 75 percent say it’s “common among their friends.”
  • Seventy-six percent of consumers feel that texting-while-driving is a major problem facing the country today.
  • Adults tell kids not to text while driving, yet according to 77 percent of teens, adults do it “all the time.”
  • More than 4 million pledges – and counting – have been made never to text and drive as a result of AT&T's It Can Wait campaign.

Mobile phone service providers  Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Verizon and more than 1,500 other organizations have joined the It Can Wait movement.

Eighty-nine percent of teens say a phone app to prevent texting and driving would help them and their friends stop doing it.

AT&T has launched the AT&T DriveMode mobile app that can automatically send a customizable reply to incoming messages when the vehicle starts moving 25 miles per hour.  

The auto-reply message is similar to an “out-of-office alert.” It can reply to texts, emails and calls explaining the intended recipient is driving and can’t respond.

When the vehicle slows to less than 25 miles per hour for five minutes, the app turns off and the user can view the calls.

DriveMode is free and available for AT&T Android and BlackBerry users now. AT&T is looking into making it available on other operating systems and devices.
William Riley April 13, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Tom B is right, T as in Truth, you will someday PO the wrong person out there. Not all drivers out there have a carry permit like myself, but do carry anyway. I too am retired, so I can indeed call the kettle Black. You are a TWIT!!! Some day you will be too old to drive. May that day be soon!
T as in Truth April 14, 2014 at 04:57 AM
Tom and Bill - you may be right. However, whenever someone pulls up next to me yelling, I just point at my ears and shout "I can't hear". They drive away angry & shaking their heads and thats when I really start to laugh! People in a hurry are so easiy to get upset. Besides, the law is on my side!
mpk2 April 14, 2014 at 08:29 AM
T as in Truth, GET A LIFE! Why is it that you find in fun holding up traffic on our highways. If you are driving 10 MPH under the speed limit in the left lane and people are trying to pass you they are not driving aggressively, YOU ARE DRIVING LIKE A JACK A**. Driving 10 MPH under the speed limit on the highway is just as dangerous as driving 10 MPH over the speed limit. I too hope you find this out the hard way as you are laughing at the disturbances you cause.
T as in Truth April 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Mpk2 - To be fair, I am not alone in driving under the speed limit. Its really easy to find someone on the road who is texting or talking on the phone. I usually take advantage of those slow pokers to drive next to them, and then I can block two lanes of traffic! Like I said before, wherever they are going, they might as well be good and angry when they get there! :-)
mpk2 April 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM
WOW...Justifying your behavior by that of others..Are you 4 years old. You are going to be the cause of a major accident one day, I hope you realize that. Why not just drive in the right lane and keep out of everyone's way. You need a hobby T

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