It’s 7 AM on a weekday morning. My husband hands our children their backpacks, we say our goodbyes, and we’re off. The kids and I hop into my car so I can take them to school before I head to the TV studios for a morning news segment. I put my purse in the passenger seat, my work phone in the cup holder, and we pull out of the driveway. As we get on the road, I ask my kids what’s happening today at school. Then my phone buzzes. I try to ignore it and continue the conversation with my kids, but it just keeps buzzing over and over again.
Every mother out there knows this scene far too well. Busy schedules necessitate multitasking, especially when you’re always on the go. Ten seconds at a red light always feels like a lifetime—or at least enough time to quickly glance at that pressing text from your boss—right?
Wrong. In just those few seconds, your life could change in an instant. According to the National Safety Council, there are more than 100,000 texting-while-driving related car crashes every year—often causing life changing injuries and deaths. Thanks to the It Can Wait® movement to end texting while driving and a powerful new documentary “From One Second to the Next”, I always think twice and never pick up my phone when I’m behind the wheel. In fact, I now keep my phone in my glove box while I’m driving so I don’t even hear it or think about it.
The risk and potential costs of texting while driving are far too high for any parent. As a Latina mother, my biggest priority is raising my two children. And since according to the most recent research, Latino teenagers are far more prone to texting and driving than their counterparts in any other demographic group, it is even more important to me to be a model for them in these important, formative years. The research found that:
1. More than half (54 percent) of Hispanic teens admitted to texting while driving, compared to 41 percent of white and 42 percent of black teenagers.
2. Almost three out of four (70 percent) Hispanic teens admitted to texting while stopped at a light compared to 58 percent and 61 percent of white and black teens, respectively.
3. Almost two thirds (64 percent) of Hispanic teens admitted to glancing at their phone while driving, compared to 60 percent of white and 59 percent of black teenagers.
4. Four in five (80 percent) Latino teens admitted to glancing at their phone while at a red light. This compared to 71 percent of whites and 70 percent of black teenagers.
These finding were incredibly alarming. But every Latina mother out there has it in her power to change this behavior and more importantly, this deadly trend. But is has to start with our own commitment. That’s why I took the pledge to never text and drive and asked my husband to do the same. No text is worth missing out on seeing my kids grow up. No text is worth a life.
By encouraging more people to pledge not to text and drive, we can help eliminate this danger and ensure a safer future for our kids. Don’t let your next text be your last. Take the pledge today at ItCanWait.com and tell your loved ones to also take the pledge.
Together, we can make our roads safe from distracted drivers. Help spread the message by encouraging everyone you text to join the It Can Wait movement and take the pledge today. Your voice can save a life.