Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Subway spokesman Jared Fogle has become a trusted figure when it comes to weight loss. Now the icon has a new cause he hopes people will take just as seriously.
He is launching a national “W8 2 txt” campaign — from Brainerd High School — which urges drivers to leave the phone alone while driving. The April 11 program launch will include student drivers navigating a test track while texting and a presentation by Fogle, local police officers and a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer.
“All of the Chattanooga Subway stores are locally owned and operated, and they have a real vested interest in this community,” said Subway Public Relations Account Manager Scott Duehlmeier. “The local franchisees were looking for a program to raise awareness on this issue and wanted to know what to do as a brand to encourage people to leave the phone alone.”
Duehlmeier said Fogle also had strong feelings on this issue and wanted to help spread the message, which is how the program was born. After the program launches in Chattanooga, Duehlmeier said it will travel to several locations across the state and then to at least 10 more states across the country.
City of Chattanooga Drivers Education Coordinator Caroline Johnson said she is glad to see this message endorsed by a public figure and is thrilled to help host the program’s launch. Leaving the phone alone while driving is a major component in the city’s drivers’ education program, and it benefits everyone to hear it more often, she said.
“Texting takes your attention off your primary task, which is safely navigating the road,” said Johnson. “Kids are especially prone to texting while driving because it’s second nature to them to be in constant communication. Teens especially are multi-tasking so often that they don’t realize they are doing it and that their faculties need to be focused on one task.”
Johnson said the program’s launch is particularly timely as the city prepares for summer drivers’ education courses and Global Youth Traffic Safety month in May. A schedule of the city’s drivers’ education courses is available at www.chattanooga.gov under the public works tab. Courses cost $50 per participant and are funded through revenue from local traffic cameras.
For more information about the program or drivers’ education, contact Johnson at Johnson_c@chattanooga.gov.