Campaign to prevent texting and driving

2015-04-30 16:51
SHARP, SHARP: Showing what it is all about are from the left Nompilo Motsamai, traffic officer at the Mangaung Metro, Moloko Mongalo, traffic officer, Yasmeen Khan, national health and safety manager of Vodacom, Mauritz Janse van Rensburg, Vodacomand

SHARP, SHARP: Showing what it is all about are from the left Nompilo Motsamai, traffic officer at the Mangaung Metro, Moloko Mongalo, traffic officer, Yasmeen Khan, national health and safety manager of Vodacom, Mauritz Janse van Rensburg, Vodacomand

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VODACOM, in partnership with Mangaung Metro traffic, on April Fool’s Day (1 April) launched a digital campaign that discourages South Africans from texting while driving.

The campaign, dubbed W8_2send (pronounced wait-to-send) is aimed at encouraging road users to pledge to not text when driving.

Mauritz Janse van Rensburg, Vodacom’s specialist for health and safety, told Express: “We are taking a stand as company, that’s why we are launching this campaign in the Mangaung metro municipal area. We want to engage and educate drivers about the dangers of texting and driving,”

He added: “This campaign has been specifically designed with the youth in mind. That is why we came up with the W8_2send online game that simulates what can happen when drivers are distracted by their cellphones on the road.

“Texting and driving is extremely dangerous and can keep your eyes off the road for as much as five seconds at a time. If, for instance, you are driving at 120 km per hour, your car could travel a distance equivalent to more than one and a half football pitch during that five seconds of inattention.”

Janse van Rensburg encouraged road users to make a pledge to wait to send a text, because that would make a world of difference in terms of reducing accidents on our roads.

“We appeal to all South Africans to stop texting while they are driving. Their lives are much more valuable than sending an SMS.

“The lives of your family, your children and your passengers are much more valuable that that SMS,” he advised.

He also added that every single citizen who made a pledge to not text and drive would receive a thumb band that he or she should wear when they were driving.

“The process currently is that we are handing over thumb bands to the traffic officers. The officers will then distribute them to the drivers when they are having roadblocks.

“If you look at your standard cellphone you would most likely use your thumbs to do the texting.

“So if you want to text, that band would probably be the first thing you see on your thumb before you start texting. Therefore, it would serve as a reminder for you to not text while driving,” he explained.

Thakane Musa, senior traffic superinten­dent at the Mangaung Metro, said they were happy to partner with Vodacom in this initiative. “We both have a common goal, which is safe driving. We agreed to be part of this campaign because we care about the lives of our people,” said Musa.

“Texting and driving distract your focus on the road and it contributes to unnecessary fatal accidents. Let us be responsible citizens and stop texting while driving,” she added.) To make a pledge to not text while driving, visit www.vodacom/w82send

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