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AT&T: Texting While Driving, It Can Wait

by Patricia Jacobs – President, AT&T New England

It’s one thing to be against something in principle. It’s another to actually practice.  We know it’s dangerous. We know it’s against the law.  And, still, so many of us find it difficult to break the habit – and just let those texts wait while we’re driving.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and people are injured or die while a driver was texting and driving.

This is about saving lives.  Texting and driving should be as unacceptable as drinking and driving. We hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. We’re challenging everyone to take the pledge to never text and drive and to make it a lifelong commitment.

Together with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), AT&T has pioneered more than a dozen teen-led, teen-focused educational summits across the country.  NOYS is a collaboration of national, youth-serving organizations, including non-profit organizations – such as Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving – and government agencies, such as the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration (GHSA). AT&T shares in their common goal of promoting safe and healthy behaviors among our nation’s youth.

In addition, many other governmental, corporate, non-profit and other organizations have already pledged support for the awareness campaign, including: The AFL-CIO’s Union Plus program, American Federation of Teachers, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, CTIA, Junior Achievement, LULAC, National Education Association, National Safety Council, National Urban League and RadioShack.

You may have also heard about programs that we’ve held right here in Massachusetts – partnering with high schools all over the state –  to help educate teens, who then share their commitment to no text and drive with parents, neighbors and friends.

A recent AT&T survey found that 97 percent of teens say they know that texting is dangerous. The survey also found:

  • 75 percent of teens surveyed say that texting while driving is “common” among their friends;
  • Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less;
  • And 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.

But technology can help: 89 percent of teens said a phone app to prevent texting & driving – like AT&T DriveModeTM – would be an effective way to get them or their friends to stop texting and driving. And, we’re challenging all device makers and app developers to offer devices that come pre-loaded with a no-text-and-drive technology solution.

AT&T, its employees and other supporters are calling on all drivers to go to to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. The pledge effort is part of the company’s public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

AT&T first began its “It Can Wait” campaign discouraging texting and driving in 2009. The website offers a host of educational resources and information on this issue – including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.

No doubt, your texts are important – so are mine.  But, they can wait. Let’s be the example for our families, co-workers and loved ones.  No text is worth a life.  Please, consider taking the pledge to never text while driving.