Ending Texting & Driving: A CSR Opportunity

by Risa Sherman

avoid-texting-while-driving-CSR-opportunityAs Congress introduces what is hoped to be life-saving legislation to ban texting while driving, and the National Safety Council earlier this year called for a nationwide ban on cell use while driving, causenation sees a tremendous opportunity for scores of mobile device manufacturers and carriers to stand up and be counted as pro-safety.  Next week the U.S. Transportation Secretary will host the Distracted Driving Summit on this life & death issue.

Like the automobile industry before them that championed seatbelt laws and advocated for tougher drunk driving legislation, it is time for this sector to align corporate values with action and create CSR initiatives that promote more responsible and safer use of its products. The social need being both profound and timely, would allow companies in this space to take some really innovative steps toward addressing the increasing danger of using all types of mobile communications devices while driving.   

Members of Congress agree  these laws would be tough to enforce  which is why we need industry to lead. At its best, in any industry and for any company, CSR efforts will ensure ethical use of product as well as product innovation that yields a social good. This is where the real opportunity lies for the mobile communications industry. According to a recent study, cell phone distraction alone accounts for 2,600 deaths and more than 330,000 injuries on US roads every year and that number is expected to steadily increase as mobile communications technology becomes more affordable and more accessible. If the industry were to innovate and solve for this dangerous and potentially deadly challenge the outcomes could only be beneficial to all involved.

Recently on NPR’s On Point, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talked more about the upcoming Distracted Driving Summit on  September 30 and October 1. Members of industry will be at the table along with all of the other parties needed to put into action what should be the next important social marketing campaign. The need is clear, the timing is right, and everyone is paying attention. The only questions is: How will the mobile communications industry respond, and how will they step up in a way that is innovative and really makes a difference?