Rising high-school senior Leonardo Jimenez is aware of the dangers of texting while driving and that’s why he’s helping to raise awareness about this issue. He shared his thumb socks with his friends and put notes on their steering wheel saying “DON’T USE THE PHONE.” Leonardo also hosted a who-looks-better-in-the-picture contest in his classroom to decide who would keep the socks. Learn more about his contest and other creative methods he used to engage his relatives in Thumb Wars below:
DoSomething.org: Do you think texting and driving is a problem among your friends/family?
Leonardo Jimenez: I believe texting and driving is a threat to all my friends because in this era its all about technology. Sometimes there is the urge to text while driving and that could lead to a serious crash. It just seems so easy to text while driving, but what my friends and family members don’t think about are the consequences that could lead to. My father works in Santa Barbara and we live in Bakersfield. When he goes to and from work it is almost a 3 hour drive and it is critical that he does not take his phone out while on the road. While to them it might not seem like a big deal to text and drive I believe it is because it can change someones life completely. I always try to remind them to not do it and fortunately they do listen while I am there.
DS: Before you signed up for Thumb Wars, how did you prevent your friends/family from texting and driving?
LJ: Before I signed up for Thumb Wars I usually just took the phone away from any friend or family member that was driving so they wouldn't have access to the phone. I also wrote little note cards that said "DON'T USE THE PHONE," and stuck it to the steering wheel. They would always get a laugh out of it but I usually got the message around. I would be very persistent in reminding them to not use their phone at all. I would go to the extent to research stories in which accidents happened because someone was texting and driving and I would tell my family members or friend the stories so they would be scared to even look at their phones.
DS: Who did you give your thumb socks to and why?
LJ: I decided to share them with a lot of people. I presented them to my class, many teachers, family members, friends , and tutors around my school. When I took the picture with my class I decided to share two of the socks with them. We decided that whoever looked better in the picture would keep them. It was a very fun experience and I believe that the message of not texting and driving got to their heads. I also took pictures at my friends house and at that time his family was at his house. They decided to go look at the pictures I was taking and they seemed very interested in the thumb socks so I decided to raffle one among them. They were all having a great time and unfortunately I did not win that raffle but it was an experience that will always live in my heart. They all drive and the socks would prevent them from texting that's why I decided to share it with them. I decided to also keep one for my father. He is on the road for the most part and I wouldn't want anything to happen to him. It is hard enough not being able to see him but once a week but something happening to him would wreck our whole family. The socks would always remind him to not use his phone at all and that there are many consequences if he does.
DS: Did it help them to stop texting and driving?
LJ: The Thumb Socks did prevent them from from texting and driving. My own teacher tells me that now she puts her phone in her purse and tosses her purse to the back seat so the temptation won't even be there. I believe that if there were more campaigns like Thumb Wars there would be less accidents because more people would be aware of the effects of texting and driving. My father has also changed since I started talking to him about texting and driving. Whenever he needs to call or text us he decides to stop at the nearest exit and I am so glad he does that now because that makes me feel safer about him. The Thumb Socks has made a big impact in my own family as well as people around me and i would just like to thank you guys for giving me this amazing and life changing opportunity.
DS: Do you think Thumb Wars will have long term effects on their driving habits?
LJ: Yes I believe that all the people I shared the Thumb Socks will have a better idea of the consequences of texting and driving. They all know that it is not worth it and could change someone's life in an instant. I tried make each person view the circumstances that texting and driving had therefore they had a better idea of the big picture I was trying to let them see. The game, pictures, raffles and lessons will stay in the memories of those people for a while because they were made aware that their life was not worth a text. I actually have a friend now that whenever he drives he turns off his phone completely so he won’t have the urge to look at it while driving. I believe the Thumb Socks has impacted these people life's for the better.
DS: Why should other people join Thumb Wars?
LJ: Other people should join Thumb Wars because it is an unforgettable experience that will benefit them greatly. They will be able to change people’s life and make an impact in their own community. Thumb Wars also keeps people involved with a positive event and most off all it is a fun memorable experience that will live in their hearts forever. There is nothing to lose and at the end of the day the sense of change, of helping will be within them. This campaign has motivated me to do more and strive for whatever I can. This will greatly motivate any person to help and will always have them in the right direction to a bright future.