Pledge to never, ever use your phone while driving, because #ItCanWait

It makes no sense.

The latest research says 95 percent of us disapprove of distracted driving. And yet 71 percent of us still use our phones while behind the wheel.

These days, it’s not just texting that’s the problem. Now our phones bleep and buzz every minute with the latest 50-percent-off deal, score update and friend request.

Each notification distracts the driver. Each distraction could be deadly.

It’s time for something to change. It’s time for #ItCanWait.

Scouters, parents, and driving-age Scouts and Venturers should take the #ItCanWait pledge today. By committing to go phones down, eyes up, you’re making the road a safer place for everyone.

AT&T has a wealth of resources about the #ItCanWait pledge, which you can use to share this message with your Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew or Explorer post.

The #ItCanWait pledge

By taking the #ItCanWait pledge, you’re committing to Care, Share and Be Aware:

  • I pledge to Care for those around me and put my phone down when I’m driving.
  • I pledge to Share the message: distracted driving is never OK.
  • I pledge to Be Aware that I’m never alone on the road.

Distracted-driving statistics

Walking on the sidewalks near my office, I see far too many people using their phones while driving. It seems like every other car has someone with one hand on the wheel and two eyes on the phone.

Unfortunately, my anecdotal evidence is backed by real numbers.

Here’s what a new study, commissioned by AT&T, shows:

  • Seven in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving.
  • 62 percent of people keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
  • Nearly four in 10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost three in 10 surf the net, and one in 10 video chat.
  • Facebook tops the social platform list, with more than a quarter of those polled saying they use the app while driving. About one in seven said they’re on Twitter behind the wheel.

Resources for you

Speaking of the Traffic Safety merit badge, the resources section has been updated with a link to AT&T’s #ItCanWait campaign.

A simple activity to try at your next meeting

Don’t just tell young people about the ways a phone can distract them from other tasks. Show them.

You’ll need three balloons for every two or three Scouts or Venturers.

  1. Ask the Scouts to begin texting with a friend, scrolling through their news feed or watching a video on their phone.
  2. Once they’ve started, tell them to keep the three balloons in the air.
  3. Have them do this for about a minute — keeping the balloons afloat while still paying attention to their phone.
  4. Once everyone has a turn, have an older Scout or Venturer lead a discussion about doing something when distracted by your phone. What made it difficult? Did they feel like they could do an adequate job keeping the balloons in the air? How did the activity make them feel about distracted driving?

Ways Scouts can get involved

  • Plan a service project that promotes distracted driving awareness.
  • Create an It Can Wait contract for their parents to sign — and make them promise that
    they won’t use their phone while they’re driving.
  • Host an event to raise awareness about distracted driving.
  • Decorate signs that say “Distracted driving is never OK. It Can Wait.”

Ways adults can get involved

  • Change your email signature on your phone to encourage others to wait to respond: “Sent from my phone. This email was not sent while driving. Distracted driving is never OK. It Can Wait.”
  • Be an advocate at your office. Work with your company’s HR to raise awareness about It Can Wait and encourage safe driving.
  • Add an It Can Wait sticker to the back of your phone case to remind you distracted driving is never OK.
  • Download the AT&T DriveMode app, which makes it easier to drive without distractions. Or, if you’ve upgraded your iPhone to iOS 11, use the new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature.
About Bryan Wendell 2892 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.