My daughter and her friends are writing a play about a group of teenage girls reeling from the death of their friend who died in a car accident because the driver of the car was texting. Fortunately, this hasn't happened to them, but it's happened to others and they're worried about it.
They made up a word - GDTYL, (pronounced ge-dittle) - which means "Gotta Drive, Text Ya Later." Just telling the kids to ignore the texts while they're driving doesn't cut it because the person texting just keeps it up until they get a response. Tell your kids to text "gdtyl" at the next traffic light and then wait until they can safely have their texting "conversation." It may take a couple of times to get their friends to understand, but you'd be amazed how fast something like this gets around!
By Jaye N. from Orlando, FL
Editor's Note: Texting at a stop light is still technically using a phone while operating a vehicle and is a moving violation in most locations. Refer to your state or local laws for more information.
It's called distracted driving, and it is selfish, stupid, and exceedingly dangerous. But people who don't pay attention to their driving are also not going to pay attention to safety tips and warnings. Every day you see drivers on the road eating, drinking, talking/texting on cell phones, putting on makeup, etc., etc. Most of them look like respectable people who no doubt find drunk driving abhorrent. They don't see their own hypocrisy.
Anything that keeps kids safe is a good idea. But I think kids do what they see mom and dad doing. Make it a family rule: no one in the family talks on the phone while driving. And no one rides with a driver unless cell phone is off.
I read somewhere years ago that somewhere in Europe (I think it was Sweden) had as part of the driver's sentence time spent working in a hospital with patients who had been injured by (in those days mostly drunk) drivers. So if a patient was in a burn unit then the driver who caused them to be there spent a large portion of their free time (after work etc.) helping with burn patients and if they had a broken leg they helped with physical therapy etc.
I think ALL highschoolers should be taken to various units in a hospital, rehab facility,etc. including a morgue. I know they are shown videos in school but they're the video generation everything is "special effects". Maybe if they see someone their own age crumpled and broken a real live person whose eyes show the pain and terror (will I walk again?) it would register. I know it's not only teenagers who are guilty but we've got to start somewhere. The dumbest driver I ever saw was balancing her cell phone (on her shoulder) while she was writing a note and driving.
I love the idea that the children are writing a play about the subject of talking/texting while driving and hoping that they also push it into production to share visually.
I do like the GDTYL idea but the best solution of all is that the phone be turned completely off before the driver (young or old) puts the key into the ignition. The driver can read the text once at their destination and text back then. If the friends are that good of friends they are not going to get in a snit about not receiving immediate gratification.
Excellent use of creativity! I like the idea of using the "GDTYL" acronym before the key goes into the ignition. Adults, let's model the behavior and reinforce what the young folks are saying! HS kids do dramatizations in my area, but there's nothing quite as powerful as experiencing the real thing (folks who've actually been seriously injured by distracted driving) if it can happen.
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