Great Hang Up: Ad campaign targets texting & driving

3:51 PM, Nov 7, 2011   |    comments
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Washington, DC -- Amid fresh evidence that warnings against distracted driving aren't sinking in, the USA's top road safety agency, states' attorneys general and the Ad Council are launching a campaign aimed at drivers 16-24 years old.

The message is simple: When you text and drive, you're not multitasking - you're driving blind.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, state attorneys general and state consumer protection agencies called on the Ad Council to create the campaign in hopes they can effect the kind of cultural change that helped rein in drunken driving and smoking.

"While enacting good laws is a very important thing and enforcing them is important, where you really achieve change is when you change attitudes and you change the culture in which people operate," Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says.

"What I like about these ads is they are trying to change the culture. They're trying to make the case that when you text and drive ... you're putting yourself and people around you in danger."

The new multimedia campaign, created pro bono by the New York advertising agency The Concept Farm, is called "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks."

Based on the success of similar past campaigns, it potentially could reach 8 million people, says Ad Council President and CEO Peggy Conlon.

"People in our culture, especially young people, have never known an era that didn't include cellphones and texting," she says. "One thing we are addressing is the compulsion (to text while driving)."

Two recent studies indicate that most Americans know that texting and driving is dangerous - but many continue to do it anyway.


Larry Copeland, USA TODAY