"Designated Texter" Push Gains Momentum

Edmunds Inside Line

"Designated Texter" Push Gains Momentum

By Rene Wisely, Correspondent | Published Aug 28, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Illinois — The "designated texter" — the postmodern equivalent of the designated driver — is becoming one of the weapons in the fight against distracted driving.

A new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign urges drivers to "designate a texter."

"Borrow thumbs from a friend," said the NHTSA campaign which is dubbed 'Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.' "Or lend yours to a friend. Passengers get the privilege of texting while in motion."

A new NHTSA video entitled "Stairs" says "not everyone should text and walk. No one should text and drive."

The phrase "designated driver" entered the lexicon decades ago as such advocacy groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving came up with ways to curb drunk driving.

The Urban Dictionary defines designated driver as "the individual who transports intoxicated people to and from the bar safely."

A study released on Tuesday by State Farm and Harris Interactive found that some teens are volunteering to be the designated texter.

"When I'm in a car with my friends or family, I say, 'Hey, don't do that," said Navea Frazier, an 18-year-old Pennsylvania teen quoted in the study. "I'll text for you. I'm the designated texter. And they always stop driving distracted."

The study found that nearly four in five teens — or 78 percent — spoke up and pointed out a driver's distracted behavior. Once raising the issue, 84 percent said the driver listened and stopped driving distracted.

"Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction," said NHTSA

Edmunds says: "Designated texter" may finally be a catchy way to remember to put down the cell phone — provided you are not alone in the car.

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