It's not a sexy issue, but kudos to the U.S. mobile operators for coming together against texting and driving
We'll get to those smiling faces up there in a minute. But, first, perhaps the timing could have been a little better. Tucked between a little overexposure of the NVIDIA Shield and the BlackBerry Live keynote -- and just a day before Google I/O kicks off -- the four major U.S. cell phone operators joined together to announce their support for the "It Can Wait" campaign, an initiative started by AT&T to keep drivers from texting while they're behind the wheel.
Sprint has had its own campaign, and it should be commended for that. But it's a combined effort that's needed, and, starting May 20, a combined effort is what we'll see. Millions of dollars in what essentially is advertising money is going into this. Sure, you'll see the brand names. Sprint. AT&T. Verizon. T-Mobile. And many others. But it's the message that's truly important.
No matter the phone, no matter the operating system -- and, really, no matter what sort of hands-free whiz-bang system you might have rigged up in your car, any time you take your eyes off the road, you're putting us all at risk. Everyone. You, driving the car. Your friends and family inside the car. Those of us in the cars around you. The kids playing on the street.
I'm as hypocritical as anyone. It's hard, I know. (And I work for a company that sells these whiz-bang hands-free devices. What the hell is my excuse, then?) And chances are you can glance down for a second, and nothing will happen.
Until it does.
The "It Can Wait" campaign focuses on texting, but the message, as is the name, is universal. Just a quick glimpse to see who that e-mail was from, even if you're not going to answer it. A peek at your favorite RSS feed, to make sure you didn't miss anything "important." A quick phone call -- hey, you're a good driver. No big deal.
That is my wife and our kids up there. Shannon, Mia and Isabella. I'm her husband. Their father. I owe it to them to avoid doing stupid things whenever possible. (Anyone who's been in a room with me for more than 5 minutes knows that's often easier said than done.) I owe it to them -- hell, I owe it to everyone around me -- to keep that damn phone in my pocket when I'm driving. And so do you. Looking at that picture above helps me remember that.
Let's not be naive, though. We're still going to see folks on their phones in the car. I'm still going to struggle with not stealing a quick glance. But not playing with your phone while you're behind the wheel is that important an issue. There's really no excuse for this sort of tragedy, given how easy it is to not pick up the phone in the car.
But I'm still working on it. I'll get better at it. And, most of all, I need to set that example for my kids.
Thanks in advance, from myself, my wife and my children.