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To Advertise or Disable?

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In 2009, the Department of transportation began partnering with a number of organizations to launch ad campaigns warning drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The Ad councils campaign “Stop the Texts. Stop The Wrecks” targets young adults through Public Service Advertising in TV, radio, outdoor and web, as well as integrated digital and social media platforms. All of the the advertising specifically directs drivers to the website StopTextsStopsWrecks.org for additional tips. The message has also appeared in popular places such as Seventeen Magazine and in a Disney public service announcement featuring the characters of  the Cars 2 movie shown in 12 countries.

However after reading a recent article Government Evaluating Cell Phone Disablers in Cars I have to wonder how happy they are with the results of that ad campaign. The article contends that many feel legislation will never change behavior and deaths are on the rise, so the DOT began researching  available disabling technology. Devices like the one below require the driver to plug the phone in before the car will start. While moving the driver can make or receive calls with Bluetooth, but if the phone is removed it sets off an alarm that notifies the system administrator which could be a parent or manager.

I agree that the pervasive use of cell phones make this a tough message to get across, but all ad campaigns hope to change a behavior, so like all the rest of the advertisers the DOT will have find a way to get our attention. People are always going to find a way around technology so I cast my vote for education!

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