Traffic accidents are the number one killer of teens in South Carolina. In an effort to reach teen drivers, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety and Subway restaurants have partnered for a new safety campaign. The campaign, W8 2 TXT, encourages teens to text after they are done driving.
“We care deeply about the community. The distracted driving issue hit home for us when a tragic texting collision impacted our Subway restaurant family in 2010,” said Ali Saifi, president and chief executive officer of Subway Development Corporation of South Carolina Inc. “We want everyone to understand the dangers of distracted driving and realize there isn’t a call, text or status update that can’t wait..
In 2011, 165 drivers between 15 to 24 years old died in traffic accidents. No statistics currently exist for the number of young people who were distracted or texting during their fatal collisions. However, the SC Department of Public Safety points to a Virginia Tech study that found that texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash.
The W8 2 TXT campaign included five kick-off events across different state high schools during the week of January 30th. Highway Patrol officers gave presentations to students and had them voluntarily sign a pledge to not text while driving. The pledge is also available online at http://www.w82txtpledge.com/locations.php. Subway has promised that the high school with the highest number of pledge signers will receive Subway subs for the whole school. Participating locations include Charleston, Columbia, Florence-Myrtle Beach, and Greenville in addition to two locations in North Carolina and one in Georgia.
Subway has also provided free elastic bracelets printed with “W8 2 TXT” as reminders of their pledge.
Col. Michael R. Oliver, commander of the SC Highway Patrol said in a press release, “The dangers of distracted driving are made worse when coupled with young, inexperienced drivers. We hope every time teens look at that bracelet on their arm, they will be reminded of the deadly consequences of texting and driving.