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April 17, 2013

AT&T Driving Simulator to Further its 'It Can Wait' Texting and Driving Campaign

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

AT&T (News - Alert) joined legislative leaders and educators yesterday at the North Carolina General Assembly to help raise awareness for the all-too-common practice of texting and driving. This was the latest move as part of the wireless carrier's "It Can Wait" campaign that has so far not only raised awareness about the dangers of texting and driving, but also produced some interesting survey results last year, including the fact that 43 percent of teens admitted to sending text messages while behind the wheel.

In order to further the campaign's message, AT&T yesterday brought a virtual reality simulator to the General Assembly, giving legislators, staffers and visitors a firsthand look at how dangerous something as seemingly innocuous as texting and driving can be.

North Carolina has been a supporter of the "It Can Wait" campaign's cause for some time now, having passed the "No Texting While Driving Act" back in 2009. This act outlaws texting or sending e-mails while driving, with those convicted facing a fine of $100 plus court costs.

In order to further spread its message of safety, AT&T will bring its simulator to the 2013 North Carolina Teen Driving Summit in Smithfield on April 20. The event, hosted by Johnston County Teen Drivers in cooperation with the Johnston County Schools, is expected to draw around 1,000 teens and their parents from across the state.

Will Craig, one of the texting and driving accident victims featured in the "It Can Wait" campaign, will be a featured speaker.

"Through the national It Can Wait campaign, we hope to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving," said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina, in a statement. "We all know how wireless services keep us more connected with each other, and with information and opportunities. But if we do not use wireless safely, it can change lives in very negative ways, too."

Last year saw 165 organizations — from nonprofits and government agencies to commercial businesses and law enforcement — as well as educators, legislators and other supporters, worked together to help get the campaign's message out. In fact, awareness of the "It Can Wait" message increased by 26 percent during the key campaign period. This momentum is expected to carry forward into 2013.

Edited by Braden Becker
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