Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 3, 2014 is "TextLess Live More" Day

We all know that texting and driving is dangerous. It is the leading cause of death of teen drivers. In a recent article, “Driving to Distraction,” in Mindful Magazine, the author stated that “At any given daylight moment across America, as many as 660,000 drivers are staring into, or manipulating, their electronic devices. In 2011, 23% of all auto collisions involved mobile phones, and a study showed that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking while driving.”

It takes 4 seconds to read a text. What we may not know is that on July 2, 2013, it took one driver 4 seconds to take his eyes off the road, read a text, and not only kill a young biker, Merritt Levitan but also injure 6 other bikers in a caravan as well.

Tomorrow, July 3, is National TextLess Live More Day.

A day for everyone to put their phones away, leave the texts and communications with those out of one’s physical vicinity, and pay attention to the interactions and activities with those in physical proximity. A gentle digital detox for the day to enjoy family and friends at the start of a long holiday weekend.

A day created in honor of Merritt Levitan who was killed by a texting driver while on a cross country bike trip.  After Merritt’s parents and friends founded Merritt’s Way, three of Merritt’s close friends from Milton Academy and family began a campaign to encourage tech free days at Milton which has accumulated into this national campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through social media and technology, and contribute to the eradication of the “deadly combination of getting behind the wheel and texting and/or streaming.”

A day devoted to shifting our awareness from our technological communications through digital devices to our real time activities and interactions with those near to us. Put your phone away, let go of the urge to check email or text a friend from afar, and focus on what is right in front of you. Live in the present moment, “text less” and “live more.”

This National Campaign is supported by avid social media exposure through Facebook and Twitter as well as two Public Service Announcements hosted by Giancarlo Esposito, Gus from "Breaking Bad.” The statistics claim that the average person spends 3.2 hours a day on their phone, thus the video asks what you would do with those three hours. Another video asks you to talk about the person you care about most, and then consider what your life would be like if they were no long here. It only takes 4 seconds. Watch here.

Although the TextLess Live More campaign is designed to prevent texting and driving, the founders claim they want this movement to be bigger than that: “our goal is to decrease excessive phone-use and encourage people to focus on the interactions taking place right in front of them.” In essence, they hope to shift the culture away from the technologically driven communications and relationships to the more humane ones. It's not the abolition of technology, texting and digital devices, but the integration of them for a more present and aware existence.