AT&T has developed a new documentary to warn young adults about the dangers of texting while driving, according to the New York Times.
The 11-minute documentary will be distributed to schools, safety organizations and government agencies, AT&T said. The company told the newspaper that it is releasing the film before the new year, timing it to coincide with the holiday and send the message that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
The film includes footage of Mariah West, who died at 18 after she crashed her car while trying to send a text message that read “Where u at.” West appears in the documentary during her last minutes alive on a breathing tube, accompanying other often disturbing footage the documentary uses to instill the real danger that can come of texting while driving.
“We want this to be in every school in the country and for teenagers to know a text message is not worth a life,” said Gail Torreano, a senior vice president with AT&T.
Drivers who text while operating their vehicle are 23 times more likely to crash, according to statistics from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. David Teater, the senior director of transportation initiatives at the National Safety Council said in an interview that he applauded the efforts wireless providers to warn consumers against texting while driving, including Verizon Wireless, which has also launched initiatives to warn against the risk.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that 30 states as well as Washington, D.C. have passed laws that ban texting while driving, meaning that car insurance premiums for drivers in those states can increase if they are caught texting while occupying the drivers seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that there were 30,797 fatal traffic accidents in 2009, many of which could have been avoided if not for cell phone distractions.