New no-texting initiative

(Lily Choi | The Oswegonian)
(Lily Choi | The Oswegonian)

The last time I sat down to watch TV was about a week ago and I saw a commercial that has the potential to change the U.S. Demi Lovato, the famous actress and singer did a commercial to support safe driving. The campaign “It Can Wait” is about stopping drivers from sending or answering texts. By sending a symbol “#x” in a text to the person that you’re messaging, it signals that you are about to get behind the wheel, and that person should stop texting until the drive is finished.

If this catches on, I don’t see why it can’t be extremely successful. People hold doors open because it is socially inclined or say “God bless you” after a person sneezes. There’s no reason why texting “#x” cannot become a trend as well.

The best part about this trend, other than the fact that it is celebrity endorsed, is that it is so positive that by following along, it can only make the roads safer for everyone. Unlike negative trends like smoking cigarettes or shooting heroine, following Lovato in this instance and doing what she suggests can be a significant benefit, and I think it will start to catch on soon.

Many people fear leaving someone in a text conversation for more than a few moments because they do not want the other person to think they are being ignored. The urge to answer texts while driving or responding to someone to let them know you are on the way can be lessened and relaxed by using the symbol, and the more people use it, the more it will become just another part of texting lingo, like “lol” or “ttyl.”

The next step for ceasing texting and driving is for phones to have a new mode on them. Not “airplane mode,” but “moving vehicle mode.” If phones had an option to not accept or send messages once placed on “mobile vehicle mode,” people will feel less of an urge to answer calls or texts while on the road, knowing that they cannot even receive it. This mode could even have a feature where the GPS navigator remains useable, but all other communications are rejected until the driver turns the mode off. The mode could also have an automated message, showing the sender that the owner of the phone is driving and an approximate estimate of when he or she will be off the road. The driver can estimate this when he or she enters the information into the mobile vehicle mode before a drive.

It is easy to tell whom on the road is not paying attention and, unfortunately, it is often due to cell phone distractions. These cars are swerving, driving too slow, too fast, or drifting into your lane. This provides difficulty for all drivers on the road, and that is why this campaign should take off. Additionally, Lovato is young and beautiful and successful, making her a role model for many who are just learning to drive. If Lovato sends the “#x” before she drives, young minds might assume, “I should too.” If this assumption were accurate, it could lead to many more young drivers staying away from texting while driving.