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Allstate: "Texting while driving kills. But the real crime is, it's legal."

The above title is from a full page ad on p. 16 of the 2/8 Washington Post.

It goes on to say

“Opposable thumbs helped humans to survive. But in modern times, using thumbs to text while driving could lead to extinction....Join us tomorrow, February 9, at the Allstate Thumbs Up Pledge Event from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Union Station to add your thumbprint to the more than 65,000 who have pledged not to text and drive.”

This is in addition to the Allstate website shown below on the issue and a separate one devoted to teenage texting

CTIA does have a public service announcement on its website on the teenage issue:

On the Road, Off the Phone
As teens & novice drivers learn the complex task of driving a motor vehicle, safety should always come first. The wireless industry & National Safety Council urge teens to adopt an “On the Road, Off the Phone” philosophy to avoid the dangers of distracted driving”

But CTIA still has this position statement:

The wireless industry is neutral on outright bans of cellular use while driving and hands-free legislation. We believe consumers can best determine what laws (bans or hands-free) that they would or would not support related to talking on their devices.

So it looks like Allstate and the wireless industry have staked out very different positions here.

This is not a new issue. In searching the ever cluttered FCC website for information on it, I found this statement from (then) Comm. Rachelle Chong, who had worked for a major cellular carrier before joining the Commission, to a CTIA meeting in 1997:

“Driving Risks of Mobile Phones

Another potential hot issue for your industry stems from media attention on a recent Canadian study. That study found that drivers who used car phones were four times more likely to have accidents.

In light of this study, I would like to ask the industry to step up your public education efforts about safe driving habits. Stressing the risks involved and the availability of hands free technology would be helpful. I do recognize, however, what a benefit mobile phone users have been for law enforcement officials. They often aid the highway patrol in reporting accidents and reporting road hazards.”

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