Distracted Driving Forum: The Role of Social Media & Public Safety Campaigns

7 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Distracted driving forum points of discussionWords of Wisdom

"For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute." Luke 21:15 

When my Grandma heard that I was going to New York to be a panelist for a distracted driving event she sent me this scripture. For as long as I can remember, my Grandma has been sending me scripture verses on lined, white index cards. I have a whole collection; some yellowing with age. Many were sent for no particular reason while others were for specific events or trying times. When I took the bar exam years ago, she sent me a scripture card with a verse appropriate for that occasion and I had it with during that 2 day test.

The words on these scripture cards have become a mantra in my head, urging me to be strong, confident and resolute. Luke 21:15 is perfect for this occasion. Today I am attending the Consumer Reports and U.S. Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving Forum. At 11:55 AM (EST), I will be a part of the panel discussion at this event.

Points of Discussion

My role as a panelist is that of social media representative; as a parent who authors a blog and is active on Twitter and Facebook. I am not here necessarily as a lawyer or as the legal expert on distracted driving laws. There are also representatives from the areas of law enforcement, education, the federal government and advocacy groups. Based on this information, I came up with 5 points that I hope to convey during my 50 minutes on the panel today.

  • Social Media can be a spring board for public safety awareness issues, such as hazards of distracted driving. It could take only 1 affective blog post, tweet or article to get the ball rolling on a particular issue. By affective, I mean that it's well-written and puts the reader in the situation; making the reader feel the joy, pain, suffering, anticipation, or whatever feeling is conveyed in the story. An affective post will leave a lasting impression; making the reader return to that story again and again and retelling the story.


  • Bloggers tend to latch on to a specific story rather than a general idea.So, if you write an article on distracted driving and why it's so dangerous, etc. you will get through to a few, but it will be more relatable and relevant to a reader if you write about a person or family who has been affected by distracted driving.


  • Government Agencies/Nonprofit Organizations/Corporations often miss the point of social media.
    • Social Media is all about building relationships. As Scott Stratten points out in UnMarketing, it's about engaging with people. This means following people on Twitter {you don't have to follow everyone, but you should follow some people}; responding to comments and tweets to you or about you, whether the information about you or your organization is positive or negative. These online relationships are real. They may be different than relationships you have with friends in real life, but they are real.


    • Social media is a dialogue. Do not just post your headlines or blog posts or ads on Twitter and Facebook. It should be a conversation with 2, 3, 8, 12 or more people. If you post only your information people will start to ignore your tweets, etc. Social media is an effective tool if you use it correctly. Build trust, confidence and a presence online by communicating with people, then your information will get noticed and talked about.


  • The power of social media. This is the reason parents who author blogs have credibility. They are engaging with readers through posts, comments, Twitter, Facebook, etc. These bloggers are relatable and the readers start to trust them and view them as friends after reading and communicating with them for awhile. This credibility can be used to further important public safety concerns, such as distracted driving.


  • The Message Must Reach Parents First. This is especially true of those in the social media sphere. I think this campaign starts with the parents. Get the parents, with any age kids, teens all the way down to infants, to stop using electronic devices while driving or engaging in other distractions while driving, and you can reach the kids too. My 4 year-old is quite clear about this campaign and often reminds us as we are leaving or while he's in the car with one of us; remember, no talking or texting while driving. And it works. We know he is correct, and we certainly don't want to jeopardize any lives.

Staying Focused

Last March and April I wrote about distracted driving and texting and cell phone usage, respectively. While I had never texted while driving, I did use my phone. I have stopped using my phone, for the most part. Old habits do die hard, but Darling 1's helpful reminders to put the phone down or pull over are keeping us in line.

I have started to make phone calls from the car before leaving a parking lot, after just arriving in a parking lot or in my driveway before running errands if I really must use the phone at those times. I also tell people I need to go because I'm about to start driving. Or I apologize for missing their phone calls because I was driving and explain that I don't use the phone while driving. As Consumer Reports found, peer pressure works well...at any age.

The Scoop

I had a rough 13 hour trip here on Sunday. I did finally arrive at my hotel at 10 PM. I will get back on an airplane tonight to come home. Please send positive thoughts and prayers my way that I get my points across, get home without delays and keep my voice; it's touch and go right now. You'll be hearing more about distracted driving on Tuesday. Over and out...


You might also like:

The Distracted Parent: Must Read Tips and Websites for Staying Focused and Driving Safely

Driving to Distraction Part II: Why Using Your Cell Phone While Driving is as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

Old Habits Die Hard: Must Read Tips and Web Sites to Help Break the Habit of Texting While Driving

Driving to Distraction: The Hazards of Texting While Driving and the Laws Restricting This Habit


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