It Can Wait: How to keep your Scouts (and yourself) from texting and driving

texting-and-driving-logoThat little dopamine hit you feel when your phone buzzes or dings with a new text or tweet or notification?

I get it. I’ve felt it.

The message could be from a family member or friend; the notification could be breaking news about your favorite sports team.

But if it comes in while driving, we have to fight that addiction. No text (or call or notification) is worth our lives.

Make the promise to never text and drive, and do everything you can to convince your driving-age Scouts to do the same.

That’s the challenge from AT&T, official communications sponsor of the BSA, which started the campaign against texting and driving. AT&T showed Scouts and Venturers the dangers of texting and driving at the 2013 National Jamboree, but it’s your job to model good behavior and spread the message further.

More than 4.7 million people have taken the pledge not to text and drive, but putting that promise into action isn’t always easy.

Here are a few ideas for fighting the urge. Do you have any to add?

Solutions to prevent texting and driving

  • Store your phone in the glove box or trunk. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • Use “X” or #X as a signal that you’re driving. By ending a text conversation with the letter “X” or tweeting with #X, you’ve just told your friends and family that it’s time to stop messaging and start driving. Train them to know that signal.
  • Give your phone to someone else. If you’re driving with others, let them keep you focused on the road.
  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and face down in the passenger seat. This is what I like to do. I’ll silence my iPhone and put it face down so I won’t see the screen. Then I turn on some good music and just drive.
  • Draw X’s on your thumbs. This might be a little extreme, but it’s a visual reminder to stop typing and start driving.
  • Let technology help keep you honestAT&T Drive Mode and other apps block texting while driving and let others know you’re on the road. Yahoo has a rundown of other good ones.

What’s your solution?

Steps to stop texting and driving

AT&T has created a PDF with four simple steps to stop texting and driving. Share these with your Scouts:

  1. Awareness: Texting while driving is involved in at least 200,000 vehicle crashes each year.
  2. Commitment: Make a lifelong commitment. Go with a loved one to take the pledge.
  3. Ritual: Make a routine that you remember every time you drive — just like buckling your seat belt.
  4. Influence: 90 percent of drivers say they’d stop texting and driving if a friend asked them to. Don’t be silent.

Top photo: A Scout uses a texting-while-driving simulator in the AT&T tent at the 2013 National Jamboree.

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.