Today, at VOOT Networking, I made a confession. I talked about how my reputation might suffer if I was to announce that - since 2003 - I have driven nearly every day while over the legal alcohol limit. (Of course, thats not true. But I have done something just as bad)
In 2003 I was issued a Blackberry by my employer, and since then I have grown into a habit of checking my phone for messages, emails, Facebook, Whatsapp, tweets - pretty much every social interaction we have come to rely on, while at the wheel of my car. As more and more apps are introduced so does the interaction required.
I've done it when I'm in the car alone. I've done it with some of my most precious people in the car with me. I've done it at traffic lights, and on motorways. For 13 years. I even typed my resignation from a job in the fast lane of the M6 once, many years ago.
Today, I'm thoroughly ashamed of my actions, and I can assure you all, I'm a changed man. My text and drive days are over. I've seen all the stats, how my stopping distances while texting are approx the same as twice the legal alcohol limit, how I'm 4 times more likely to have an accident while texting - stats that to be completely honest went over my head as being applicable to someone else.
I thank my lucky stars that I didn't need to have an accident to force my change. I didn't need to kill someone, seriously injure someone, mount a pavement, hit a cyclist, go through a red light or worse. I won't have to go to prison for any of that.
I watched a video. On Facebook (not while driving I should add - although I've even done that in the past)
I'm going to post the video, and I REALLY hope you will watch it too.
Now I don't care if this video was made by actors, or real life people. The story could be anybody, and it could be me sat there listening to the girls story. Feeling ashamed. The video is accompanied by a hashtag - #ITCANWAIT - and a request that you share the video with someone who you can't live without.
Having had the 'lightbulb moment' this video has provided, I want to make a pledge. To all VOOT clients, new and old. If you really do have to use your phone in the car - please use it 'hands free'. If you don't have one built into your car, we will supply you one - FREE OF CHARGE. If you have one in your car and you don't know how to use it - we will help you set it up and demonstrate.
But you know what? It would be even better if you treat journeys like you would your meetings - turn OFF your phone and deal with the messages when you stop.
We will be supplying all of our clients with a draft mobile phone policy they can use for their businesses later this week. We will be actively campaigning via social media circles for people to stop - because it really can wait.
If you're not a Voot client - check out this link on Amazon for the Supertooth Buddy Handsfree. Its a brilliant device - and might just save a life. As will this video.
Thanks for watching.
Nigel - MD