An Alligator in the Passenger Seat? Keeping Drivers off Their Phones

It’s tempting to check your Facebook page, hit that ‘like’ button, or send a quick text while you’re driving. But is it worth the risk?

We don’t think so, which is why we’ve launched a Vision Zero education campaign that targets distracted driving, encouraging people to do whatever it takes to put – and keep – their phones out of reach while driving. If you have to enlist the help of a tarantula or alligator, so be it. (I mean, not really, given that would be pretty distracting. Just put it out of reach.)

Distracted driving is on the rise across the country. In Seattle, we’ve seen a nearly 300% increase in collisions involving inattention in the past few years.

Vision Zero graph

Research tells us that fun is beating fear when it comes to getting traffic safety messages across. That’s why we decided to try something a bit outside the box. People know it’s reckless to text while driving. Yet they still do it. The creative minds for our campaign hinged on this idea and posed the question: What will it take for you to put your phone out of reach while driving? A baby alligator? A tarantula? A jar of bees? Whatever it is, you need to do it. Because if you can’t reach your phone, you won’t use your phone. And this simple act could result in saving your life, or someone else’s.

We enlisted the help of some animals we often think of as scary or creepy to get people thinking – ‘I really shouldn’t have to put my phone under a tarantula or baby alligator, I should just put it out of reach while I’m driving.’

Vision Zero picsYou may have heard our radio ads, seen a video on Facebook or YouTube, or seen an ad pop up on your Instagram feed or Pandora app. We encourage you to share these pictures and videos with your friends and family, to remind them to put their phones out of reach while driving. It’s going to take every one of us making changes every day to help Seattle reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

You can grab all of these resources and more at www.seattle.gov/visionzero/materials.