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WILL SCARE TACTICS CHANGE BEHAVIOR OF DRIVERS WHO TEXT?

As a follow up to my blog post of August 6, New York State last week passed a law that makes texting while driving illegal. Assuming even reasonable police enforcement of that law, we all know that it will likely have little effect in changing the behaviors of those who insist on texting while driving. What can be done?

Leave it to a police chief in the small township of Gwent, Wales. The Gwent Police Department has produced a graphic video (WARNING: the video spares nothing in its very realistic depiction of the carnage) that depicts what happens when a distracted, texting young adult is also behind the wheel of a car. This effort by the Gwent Chief is remarkable in its frankness and honesty, but will it make a difference?

According to the New York Times, teenagers and young adults interviewed by the Gwent force told the police that any effort to stop teens from texting while driving needed to be more truthful, more violent. As with other governmental attempts to change behavior (seat belts, vaccinations, drunk driving, etc.) it remains to be seen if this effort will have any effect. It certainly had the desired effect on me—but then again, I dont text while driving. I even try to keep my driving phone time to a minimum after I missed my exit while in conversation while driving.

In any event, the Gwent Police force should be commended for this effort. And this video should be part of driver education everywhere.

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