An old school solution to helping memory has been given a makeover, and it may actually save lives in the process. The Red Thumb Reminder posits that red nail polish can be a cure for distracted driving, and has been steadily gaining momentum since the site’s launch in August 2013. A recent video about Red Thumb Reminder on Upworthy has been circulating on Facebook, and while some of the viewers have said it’s sad that society needs a reminder to not text and drive, the majority has begun uploading photos of their own red thumbs.
The campaign began in August 2013, when a devoted dad from Boulder, Colorado decided that he wanted to have a tangible reminder to avoid distractions while driving. Inspired by his 9-year-old daughter, Steve Babcock, Executive Creative Director at the Evolution Bureau, decided to paint his thumb red in an effort to stop his own habit of distracted driving, since a string around the finger seemed impractical. He decided to take on the campaign in part to honor his late uncle, who had been killed in an accident that involved texting and driving. Since then, a website was launched, and the Red Thumb Reminder was born.
Currently, the Red Thumb Reminder Facebook page has over 1,600 likes, and is growing steadily. The possibilities of red nail polish being used as a cure for distracted driving has led to a campaign that is very tongue in cheek but has steadily grown in followers. Babcock says while his daughter had been an inspiration for the project, he’s seen the reminder catch on quickly, and even his own cell phone use while driving has been eliminated.
According to the National Safety Council, 25 percent of all car accidents are caused by texting while driving. 1.6 million car accidents are the result of such distracted driving. Babcock hopes that for every person who decides to take on their own Red Thumb Reminder, there will be pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #RedThumbReminder and the campaign will go viral from there.
The National Safety Council has also discovered through its research that the risk of crashing increases eight times if the driver is texting. In fact, drivers who use cell phones either as handheld devices or on hands free are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. According to CTIA, the Wireless Association, there are 275 million cell phone subscribers and up to 81 percent of these have admitted to talking on cell phones while driving.
Babcock acknowledges that the thought of the Red Thumb Reminder as a cure for distracted driving may seem absurd, but the reality that it has begun to gain steam cannot be denied. There are reports of teens putting red dots on their thumbs and adults painting their thumbnails red as reminders to avoid the risky behavior of texting or using smartphones while driving. Red Thumb Reminder is not the only anti-texting campaign out, however. There is the It Can Wait campaign at www.itcanwait.com, where anyone can take the pledge to never text and drive. Acclaimed director Werner Herzog tackled the dangers of texting and driving in his own documentary, From One Second to the Next, which features personal stories about the horrors that can result from texting and driving.
By Christina St-Jean
Cell Phone Fact Sheet