A vital component of the public awareness campaign is the use of texting to spread the word throughout Lucas County or elsewhere. “We know that texting is one of the most popular forms of communication among young people aged 16-25,” said Courtney Weiss, LISW-S, Chief Operating Officer for Unison Behavioral Health Group.
“However, while we want Lucas County residents to help share this important message by texting, we want to emphasize that NO ONE should ever text while driving,” Weiss stated.
A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that on average 13.2 percent of all persons 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent of this age group drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year. Ohio had a high rate of driving under the influence of alcohol compared to other states and was in the mid-range of people driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
The local “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign targets Lucas County’s highest risk drivers: young men aged 16-25.
Texting is one of the main forms of communication for 16-25 year olds. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, young adults are the most avid texters by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month—and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1500 messages per month).
“Simply texting the phrase ‘Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving’ starts a conversation about the dangers of impaired driving and the need to plan ahead and to make safe decisions. This message from family members and peers has a huge impact,” said Weiss. “Our goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and to get Lucas County residents talking about it and planning ahead.”
According to Weiss, enlisting the support of local communities to text the “Buzzed Driving” prevention message is a deliberate strategy borrowed from the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s national “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign.
But again, don’t text this important message while driving!
Learn more about the dangers of buzzed driving by visiting the local “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign on Facebook and sign the Lucas County Sober Pledge while you’re there. For more information, visit www.unisonbhg.org.