Louisiana Joins In The National "It Can Wait" Movement To Halt Texting While Driving
BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
In celebration of the national "No Text on Board Pledge Day," schools across the state join forces this week with wireless provider AT&T* to tackle a dangerous practice that puts millions of Americans at risk: texting while driving.
AT&T plans events in New Orleans at Dillard University, Sept. 20; Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge High School, Sept., 21; and Lafayette, Sept. 22, AT&T retail store on Ambassador Caffrey; to urge high school and college students to make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive again. A real-life car simulator will be on-hand to bring home the deadly dangers of texting and driving. In addition, nine proclamations from cities and parishes across the states have been issued as Sept. 19 as the official No Text on Board Pledge Day.
"Safety of local residents is a top priority of mine," said Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden. "The risks associated with texting while driving are very real. No text is so important that you should risk your life. It can wait."
"A text can wait. This message can't," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO. "In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving.1"
Since Aug. 15, when AT&T announced plans for No Text on Board Pledge Day:
A national ad campaign, aired during the Olympics, shared personal stories of those whose lives were impacted by a texting-while-driving crash.
New ads were created with celebrities who appeal to teens including Victoria Justice, Ryan Beatty and Olympians Gabrielle Douglas and Jordyn Wieber. In addition, American Idol finalists and others are participating in events throughout the country.
More than 140 organizations including USAA have pledged to help share a simple message: no text is worth dying for. (Full list at ItCanWait.com.)
Social media through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has reached more than 75 million user accounts.
Thousands of people have participated in "It Can Wait" events throughout the country, including more than 100 featuring an in-car texting-while-driving simulator.
AT&T encouraged its 240,000 employees to take the pledge and, in turn, urge all people to commit that they will never text and drive. On an average day, AT&T retail store and call center employees speak to customers more than 500,000 times.
AT&T employees and organizations including National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), Big Brothers Big Sisters and DECA are working together to provide no-texting-and-driving information to every high school in America.
The company awarded more than $30,000 in prizes to app developers participating in a hackathon to develop technology solutions to help curb texting and driving.
Making a difference
Polling shows that awareness of AT&T's It Can Wait message has doubled since the beginning of June 2012, and one in three people say texting while driving messages have an impact on their habits.
More than 500,000 no-texting-while-driving pledges have been logged through ItCanWait.com, social sites including Facebook, text-to-pledge and events.
The AT&T DriveMode(TM) 2 app has been downloaded more than 80,000 times.
Going forward, the campaign will further harness social connections and the power of technology to help curb texting while driving.
Today, the company is introducing an online simulation experience at ItCanWait.com that allows anyone to get behind the wheel, virtually, and see what happens when you text and drive.
The company will fund third-party research on behavioral factors linked to texting and driving, and potential technology solutions that address those issues.
Through pledges taken at Causes.com, AT&T will contribute up to $50,000 to NOYS.
The company is poised to release an auto-on/off enhancement to its AT&T DriveMode, a free safe-driving app, on Sept. 30.
AT&T has challenged wireless device makers and app developers to equip every new device with a pre-loaded, no-text-and-drive solution.
It Can Wait is a national movement tapping into the power of social media and personal networks to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. It urges drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge not to text and drive, and share their pledge with others via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook. It also offers a host of educational resources and information on the issue - including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.
1 National Safety Council www.nsc.org
2 Data and text messaging charges may apply for download and app usage. Standard messaging rates apply to auto-reply messages. AT&T DriveMode is free to AT&T customers only. Compatible device required.
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