Telstra launches M8 IT CAN W8

An alarming 45 per cent of Australians have admitted to texting while driving with 30 per cent of these drivers believing they are capable of doing both, according to the latest Telstra ‘Drive Safe, Phone Safe’ research.

The study found that the message is not getting through to Australian drivers and the situation is worsening with research revealing a 12 per cent increase in drivers sending text messages compared to January 2010.

The results have prompted Telstra to launch a new national driver safety education program, M8 IT CAN W8, to discourage drivers from the dangerous practice of texting behind the wheel.

Telstra Group Managing Director Kate McKenzie said the campaign’s first goal was to encourage at least 50,000 Australians to commit to break their dangerous texting and driving habits by Fatality Free Friday on May 27.

“Despite the dangers, drivers continue to put themselves, their friends, motorists and other road users at risk at an increasing rate,” Ms McKenzie said.

To encourage Aussies to spread the word that texting can wait until the driving is over, Australians can become a ‘Thumb Banned’ ambassador and order their free bands online at M8ITCANW8.com.

The research also found:

 - 41 per cent of drivers believe they are too busy to pull over to send texts, while 24 per cent  say they send texts when driving out of habit

 - 89 per cent said they would be uncomfortable if they were a passenger in a car and the driver was texting while driving

 - 91 per cent admitted they were aware it is illegal to text and drive. This has fallen from 96 per cent in January 2010

 - 83 per cent said they would think twice about texting and driving if a friend or family member was involved in an accident caused by texting while driving. Females (88 per cent ) are more affected than males (77 percent)

“Collectively, we can encourage Aussies to change their behaviour, and reduce the number of accidents caused by texting when driving,” Ms McKenzie said. “The simple message to all those who are texting and driving is M8 IT CAN W8.”

As part of Telstra’s driver safety program, Australians can participate in an interactive questionnaire at M8ITCANW8.com and take part in the online skills test, ‘The Science of Why’, which demonstrates how the human brain cannot adequately perform two simultaneous tasks.