Through Her Little Eyes: STOP Distracted Driving.
“Don’t Worry That Children Never Listen To You, Worry That They Are Always Watching You”
Think about these words from Robert Fulgham the next time you are about to pick up your phone to share a Snapchat or to Live Stream from your phone when you are behind the wheel.
I don’t have children. I have a god daughter and friends with very precious little people in their lives and this past weekend, I spent some time with my friend and her 5 year old, which led me to writing my thoughts down here.
Hands Up: I Haven’t Always Been An Angel When It Comes To Distracted Driving…
Admittedly, I am someone who HAS used a mobile phone previously behind the wheel. Not to live stream or Snapchat and drive, but I have, in the past, sent a couple of text messages or read an e-mail or two whilst pulled up at a red light. How very stupid of me. Long before I had my own business, I used to work in a heavy targeted sales job where I always needed to be contactable and unfortunately, during that time, I would maximise my time by responding to client queries. I’m very pleased to say this is no longer the case and that behaviour now makes me very ashamed when I think of the potential accidents that it could have caused.
Live Social Video Has Seen A Surge In The Use Of Mobile Phones Behind The Wheel.
Working in the social media space has never been more exciting than it is right now. Live stream and live social video provide us with the opportunity to be closer to our communities and customers on-line, than we have ever been before. These methods of communication, provide us with instant access to peoples lives and as content creators, they provide a playground for creativity to tell our stories and get our messages across in a dynamic, real, raw, interactive and authentic way.
Is Creating Content Worth Risking Lives?
Stupid question really, of course, the answer is NO. What is increasingly concerning, is the number of social media users, including high level influencers, still snapping and live streaming whilst driving. Not only that, but I frequently see repeat offenders doing this with their children in the cars with them! I mean, if you don’t value your own life enough, then on your head be it, but to risk your child’s life, or someone else’s innocent child's life, how can that be acceptable? Can you really live with that guilt when one day luck isn’t on your side as you snap or live stream and drive? And for those without children, who repeatedly say the same thing: ‘I’m a careful driver’ or ‘I’ll only do it if I’m driving slowly’ or ‘It won’t happen to me I take extra care’ : NEWSFLASH, one day, your luck, or some innocent victims luck will run out.
As Brian Fanzo says, ‘With great influence, comes great responsibility’. It really does. When you are showing people the glamorous lives that you lead, your success, combined with this irresponsible behaviour, endoreses that this kind of behaviour is a part of that successful and glamorous lifestyle. You are inspiring a generation of people after you to behave in the way that you do. However many memebers you have in your community, somebody is always watching you. If you influence just one person to behave in a way that could risk lives, then you are using your influence in the most irresponsible way possible.
That Snap or that live stream can wait until the engine is turned off. If being creative through storytelling, while risking the lives of others is your bag, then you need to STOP and THINK. Nothing is worth the devastation it could potentially cause.
Big Kudos To Those Who Have Changed Their Behaviours
What I have seen over the past few weeks are influencers who once snapped and live streamed in cars, STOP. They are paving the way in encouraging the message and the campaign to move forward and spread the message of safety through their huge communities and followings.
You can get involved too …. Here’s how:
Mitch Jackson and the #STOPDD Stop Distracted Driving Campaign.
California based live streaming lawyer and founder of the Stop Distracted Driving Campaign is a pillar of the social media community. Mitch’s pursuit to bring safety to the roads and save lives is growing in momentum by the day. The community is not just U.S based, he has rallied social influencers, other lawyers, members of police forces and social media users from all over the globe to join together to spread the message far and wide. I am gradually seeing more and more people spread the message of safety in their own ways, be that through blogging, social media posts, videos, live social videos and live streams (while not driving of course). Mitch has shared some shocking statistics about accidents and fatalities related to distracted driving in the U.S. You can learn more about his campaign to stop distracted driving on this facebook page here : https://www.facebook.com/groups/StopDDToday/
Although distracted driving is not officially an offence on it’s own, in the UK, distracted driving is measured and recored across a range of offences. However, it is illegal to use a hand held device in a car whether it is moving or stopped at traffic lights. There are many police officers within the UK police force who are heavily behind this message and Mitch’s campaign, who are using live stream, in a responsible way, to raise awareness and to stop the behaviours that we are currently seeing around distracted driving.
Back To My Friends Little Girl : Her Little Presence Was Powerful
So, as I mentioned, I was with my friend and her little girl this weekend. My friend had work commitments for a couple of hours, so, for those few hours, I was responsible for her little lady. We decided to go for lunch. We had been playing on Snapchat for a couple of hours beforehand, she was enjoying the filters and messing around with the phone. When I told her it was time to get in the car her words to me were this: ‘We can’t play with the phone in the car’. I stopped for a moment and thought to myself, wow, this little 5 year old is wise beyond her years. Granted, her mum has brought her up to be an exceptional young lady. She is impeccably well behaved in all areas of her little life, but it was clear to me, that she had been intently listening to what her mum has been teaching her.
As I strapped her into her car seat ready to hit the road, I was more aware of my surroundings than I had ever been in a car before. Her life, was literally in my hands. I drove very cautiously to our destination, more aware of other driver behaviour than I had ever been before, I saw several people driving considerably faster than the speed limit and 3 people noticably using mobile devices at red lights.
I urge anyone without children, to spend a day with a friend’s child or a god child, a nephew, a niece to really hammer home that YOU could be putting a childs life at risk with your distracted driving. Then, I challenge you to see if the excuses you make to justify your actions stick… I can bet my life that they wont.
This isn’t about calling people out, it’s about making change, positive change…
If you can influence one person to put down that phone whilst they are driving then that is a great job done. One person will influence another and so the ripple effect continues.
Thinking about my friends little girl and the words she spoke ‘We can’t play with the phone in the car’ those words were so impactful because they came out of her little mouth. It reminded me of a very sucessful campaign that Thomson Holidays once did for their in flight safety videos. In 2009 Thomson Holidays changed their safety video so it was acted out and narrated by children:
Watching that video on several trips abroad was far more impactful than any previous airline safety video I had ever seen. What I noticed, looking around the plane, was how every passanger was transfixed on the video. It was something different to the usual video we were used to seeing and the message was far more impactful. In fact, it became Thomson’s most sucessful in flight safety video. Children grab attention in a way that we, as adults, sometimes cannot do, because of their vulnerability and innocence.
Just A Thought …
This could be a long shot, but we know many people and influencers within our industries, many of whom have children. I think producing a similar video around the subject of distracted driving could be a wonderful way of getting across the message. Of course, this would need parental permission. If the Thomson Holidays campaign provides a proof of sucessful concept in capturing attention, then this could be a great way to charge forward the message regarding distracted driving. I would love to know your thoughts.
In the Meantime …
Stop and Think the next time you are about to pick up your phone to live stream or snap and drive. The consequences could be fatal and irreversable. Use your influence (because we all have it) to promote responsible behaviour. No single piece of content you create is worth risking any life. NOT EVER.