Distracted Driving, A Serious Problem for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community
Friday, September 18, 2015
Posted by: Nick Lee
We all want to live in communities where we’re safe to ride a bike, take a walk or drive to the grocery store. Unfortunately, distracted driving puts all of these activities at risk.
Distracted driving is a serious problem for the Asian American community, in part because we rely heavily on technology and mobile devices. In 2015 Nielsen reported that nearly nine out of ten (87%) of Asian Americans use smart phones, 10% more than the general population and more than any other racial group. The same report shows that Asian Americans are also 42% more likely than the rest of the United States to agree that the internet is a source of entertainment and 23% more likely to agree that the internet keeps them in touch.
Technology can make our lives easier and more fun, but when you make the decision to take your eyes off the road to look at your phone, you are doing more than putting your own life in danger. You are endangering the passengers in your car and the lives of those around you.
We know it’s dangerous. Picking up the phone while behind the wheel to respond, share, like or record can have disastrous consequences. Yet more than half of us keep our phones close enough while driving to reach out and do just that. According to the CDC, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that involved a distracted driver every single day, with many of these crashes caused by people on their cell phones.
In 2013, OCA, ECAASU and MAASU helped AT&T collect hundreds of pledges to end texting and driving through the It Can Wait campaign. But as our relationships with our phones have evolved, so has the campaign. Today, It Can Wait wants everyone to know that no email, selfie, video or text is worth a life, and we need to continue to help spread this lifesaving information.
Over the years we’ve found people best learn about this issue by hearing the message from a friend or loved one. That’s why this September we encourage you to take the It Can Wait pledge. In the last five years more than 7 million people pledged to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone, and every signature drives awareness and action towards the campaign.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the early adopters who shape the way social media and entertainment apps are implemented on mobile platforms. We need to set an example in our communities by acting as role models and demonstrating leadership in how we approach this problem, to ensure that nobody has to lose their life over a tweet, text, or video ever again.
So, take the pledge and pass it on, and help It Can Wait drive for pledges throughout the month. Take a moment to visit itcanwait.com and pledge or renew your vow to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. Then, pass your pledge on to your friends.