By now, everyone should know that texting and driving is a serious problem. Last year alone, nearly 5,500 people died in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, and the majority of those killed were under 20.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has made it his personal mission to end texting and driving. Oprah has joined his cause, and there are a number of smartphone apps that aim to help, too. Now, AT&T has entered the fray with a new documentary called "The Last Text". It's part of AT&T's larger "It Can Wait" campaign, which is aimed at young people across America.
The 11-minute short tells the story of four teenagers, each affected by distracted driving. The documentary makes a point of sharing the last words texted by each person to show how pointless the four tragedies are. Rather than recapping the film, though, we recommend taking a few minutes out of your day and watching the whole thing:
The question, of course, is whether AT&T's target audience will take the message of this film to heart. Most teens of our acquaintance are still naive enough to be fearless -- an admirable quality at times, except it often makes young people think that they're invincible and that they don't need to listen to warnings from know-nothing adults.
Older people -- especially parents -- stand a much better chance of hearing what AT&T has to say. At the very least, maybe they'll be convinced to change their own texting-and-driving habits, and with luck, they'll talk to their kids about it, too.
We don't always have great things to say about AT&T (phone and data service continue to be spotty in many major cities), but in this case, the company has earned a big thumbs-up. AT&T may not cause the car accidents themselves, but the company and its SMS services are part of the problem. It's only fair that they and other carriers become part of the solution, too.