Distracted Driving Gets New Foe in BMW

June 6, 2011

It’s about time the automakers stepped up to the serious problem of distracted driving due to texting and cellphone use behind the wheel. BMW, in its just-launched national advertising campaign, is putting some money behind the message: “Don’t TXT and Drive.”

The BMW ads are comprised of print, television, online, radio advertising and a strong in-dealership message. Beginning in June, the campaign will run throughout the busy summer driving season.

In addition, the BMW “Don’t TXT and Drive” message will be incorporated into more than 100 teen driving schools conducted across the U.S. by the BMW Car Club of America Foundation.

FamilyCarGuide thinks that’s totally appropriate, since teen drivers are the most at-risk for this type of distracted driving behavior. It isn’t that they’re the only ones who do it, but they often engage in other risky driving behaviors – speeding, cutting in and out of lanes, failing to yield, and so on – and may lack sufficient experience or judgment to make the kinds of instant decisions certain situations require. Situations like averting a crash when they’re too busy texting to pay attention to the road.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 5,500 people died in 2009 in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that an incredible 87 percent of teen drivers admit to texting while driving.

The television ad is particularly compelling. Although it focuses on parents and their protective behavior toward their children, the final seconds of the spot are what grabs you. In a flash, it can all be over. The message is clear: “Don’t TXT and Drive.” Check out the spot below.

Think you know what distracted driving is?

What is it about using a cellphone or texting while driving that’s so dangerous? The U.S. Department of Transportation lists the three main types of distracted driving:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing

Texting while driving is the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

It’s time to wake up, America, and put a stop to texting while driving. There’s no message that’s so important it can’t wait until you park the car to retrieve it or answer the text.

Do you think BMW’s television ad is effective? Let us know in the comments section below.

[BMW, U.S. Department of Transportation]


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