What others say: AT&T tales the lead on texting while driving

The world’s largest telecommunications company has launched a massive public service campaign to tell people not to use its own products — not behind the wheel, anyway.

 

And somehow, it feels less self-serving than a cigarette company warning about the dangers of smoking, a liquor company telling you not to drink and drive or a Bushmaster manufacturer preaching about gun safety.

After all, this isn’t an inherently dangerous product. This is about a total misuse of phones, a relatively new phenomenon. A decade ago, who envisioned sending a text message at 70 mph on the Garden State Parkway?

Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and chief executive, said in an interview a few years ago that someone close to him caused an accident while texting. The smartphone “is a product we sell and it’s being used inappropriately,” he told the New York Times.

And to make that clear, his company has enlisted the aid of its fiercest rivals, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, which together have spent millions on co-branded ads and public events since 2010, to warn against texting while driving.

AT&T even got the legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog to direct a series of short films on the dangers. As a result, the number of people who had sworn off texting and driving has risen from 2.5 million to more than 3 million nationwide.

Many did so after hearing the publicized stories of accident victims who were texting — such as a young woman trapped screaming inside her burning car for 23 minutes, in a harrowing video recorded on a police cruiser’s dash cam.

— Star-Ledger, New Jersey, N.J.,

Oct. 8

More

What others say: Well-intentioned bill sealing marijuana possession convictions should be voted down

A bill that would seal the records of marijuana possession convictions prior to Feb. 24, 2015 — when marijuana possession was officially legalized — has... Read more

What others say: California bill would ban tackle football until high school

Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, have introduced legislation that would ban organized tackle football in California until high school.... Read more

Op-ed: Guns and Russians

Mark the date on your calendar: March 24. It’s a Saturday. It’ll be a test for the up-and-coming generation. For that matter, it will be... Read more

Voices of Alaska: UA investing in innovation, incubators, entrepreneurial programs

For many years, universities have competed for talented students by promoting academic programs, affordability, athletic teams, and campus life. Those elements remain a part of... Read more