The Outdoor Advertising Association of America is lending its support to a public service advisory campaign organized by the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to raise awareness of the dangers associated with texting and driving.
OAAA members are donating out-of-home inventory, including over 1,000 billboards and bus shelters to the campaign, which carries the tagline “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.”
The outdoor PSAs will be visible through the month of May, which has been designated “Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.” One of the main target audiences for the campaign is teens and young adults ages 16-24, who are especially prone to texting while driving.
The Ad Council has been working with state attorneys general to stop reckless driving by teens since 2006, including the “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks” campaign, which launched in October 2011. Last year, the Ad Council partnered with Fox on a series of TV spots, produced in partnership with the NHTSA and all 50 state attorneys general, highlighting the risks of texting while driving using dramatic scenes from “Glee.”
Over 3,300 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2011 -- a 10% increase compared to 2010, per the NHTSA. Although manual texting while driving has been shown to be dangerous, it’s not clear that voice-activated alternatives are actually any safer. Last month, a study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University found that voice texting is just as distracting to drivers as manual texting.
The Texas A&M study looked at driver response times while using manual texting, as well as voice-to-text software developed for the iPhone and Android smartphones. It found that drivers navigating a closed course with stoplights displayed a comparable level of distraction -- and therefore delayed response time -- regardless of which system they were using.