Text messaging is killing drivers. What is your policy? Make the “Alex Brown Pledge” today.
There is no doubt that the advent of the cell phone and text messaging has greatly improved communications within the industry. Text messaging has become as much a part of our business day as talking on the telephone. It keeps us silently in touch with our fleet. It allows chauffeurs to text their status, request information, and obtain additional information relative to a trip. The cost of text messaging, however, can be very costly.
In the case of Texas teenager Alex Brown, it cost her life. The teenager was killed in November 2009. She was a vivacious young lady tragically stolen from earth by a single moment of careless texting.
In fact, her cell phone records show that she had more than 10,000 text messages in the few weeks before her tragic death. As a result, her parents created the REMEMBER ALEX BROWN FOUNDATION, an organization dedicated to spreading the message, “Don’t Text and Drive.” Last week, the NBC-TV news program, “Dateline,” featured a story on in-car cameras such as Drive Cam installed in the cars of many teens and captured crash after crash as a direct result of texting.
In many states, talking or texting by cell phone is illegal while driving. Yet, here in California, where it is illegal, you can’t drive a block without seeing someone talking on their cell phone while driving. I don’t know why as a society people can’t text and drive since I have seen people putting on make-up, eating a bowl of cereal, reading the newspaper, and a host of other no-no’s but it doesn’t seem to kill them. Text messaging has statistics clearly indicating it is killing people. Not only drivers engaged in texting but innocent pedestrians and motorists. It must stop!
Please take the pledge today. Make your employees take the pledge if you care about them enough to see them tomorrow. There are two simple policies you could invoke. The most drastic is, “Engine On — Cell Phone Off.” I know most of your fleet operations could not survive with that policy, so an applicable alternative is: “Text Only While Parked.”
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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