Dallas, Texas (January 20, 2010) — In today’s fast-paced society, the obsession with multi-tasking has even come at the cost of safety to our families and others on the roads. Phone calls, text messaging and even e-mailing while behind the wheel of heavy machinery has led to a distracted driving epidemic that jeopardizes (and takes) lives every day. Arthur Benjamin, dedicated philanthropist and the energetic Vice-Chairman and CEO of ATI Career Training, admits to his history of texting while driving but recently pledged to never revert to his distracted driving ways. Benjamin was inspired while watching an Oprah Winfrey Special on the subject recently late one night.
According to Oprah, distracted driving claims innocent lives and destroys families every day. In fact, a recent survey concluded that an alarming 71 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 admit to texting or talking on cell phones while driving. Horrific images on the news of high profile accident scenes of text-related distractions include Los Angeles and Washington, DC, commuter train accidents. Nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 killed each year because of cell phone distraction.
Appalled at how complacent we all have become with distracted driving, Benjamin has vowed to never text or email while driving again. Additionally, he has used his leadership to inspire change within the career college community. It is now ATI policy for employees, at all of ATI’s colleges in 5 states, and anyone driving related to ATI business, to address distracted driving immediately to keep everyone safe. In his email to all employees, Benjamin told them that if someone violated the policy to “immediately ask them to hand you their phone until they leave the driver seat. NO KIDDING TAKE IT AWAY!”
“I was horrified to learn that half of a million individuals are injured each year because of texting or talking while driving,” noted Benjamin. “These are preventable injuries and this epidemic is more dangerous as drunken driving. Not one of those messages or calls are worth that trauma. If there is an emergency, or one has the urge to answer a text or email, simply pull over to a safe area and stop. I felt the need to publicly declare my commitment and those of the other directors at ATI so we can hopefully spark each employee and student to be catalysts for change within their own families.”
Benjamin only regrets that twenty lives associated to ATI employees, he now knows from email responses to his own, were lost “before Oprah got the word out and it registered on me.” He has called on other education company CEO’s to lead and inspire others to keep our roads safe pointing out that one person can make a difference, and that “the life you save may be your own.”