The “no texting while driving” movement received a major boost when governors from Maryland and Virginia and Washington D.C.’s mayor declared September 19 “No Text On Board Pledge Day.”
“An average of 55,000 distracted driving related crashes occur annually in Maryland, and over 250 Marylanders lose their lives annually due to distracted drivers,” Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley said in his proclamation. “Traffic safety is of paramount concern because more people die in traffic crashes than they do in violent crimes in Maryland.”
In a separate proclamation statement, Virginia’s Governor Robert F. McDonnell echoed the sentiment. ”It is important to recognize that in 2012 – so far – young adults ages 18 through 20 accounted for 16% of crashes involving a texting driver in Virginia,” he said. “A driver that sends a text message not only jeopardizes his or her own safety, but also the safety of passengers, pedestrians and other drivers, and it is fitting to encourage our citizens – especially our youth – to recognize that crashes caused by sending or reading a text message are preventable.”
The “No Text On Board Pledge Day” is one part of AT&T’s nationwide “It Can Wait” initiative, a multi-year, multi-faceted effort to spread the word about how deadly a seemingly simple text message can be. The telecommunications company is calling on all drivers to go to www.itcanwait.com to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge – and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook.
“Our goal is simple: to save lives,” J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid-Atlantic said in a statement.
“Studies show that people texting while driving are 23 times more likely to crash and not only jeopardize his or her safety but also the safety of passengers, pedestrians and other drivers,” D.C.’s Mayor Vincent C. Gray said.
AT&T’s “It Can Wait” public awareness campaign is comprised of several key initiatives, including:
- Encouraging 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.
- Working with TV and music celebrities to deliver a strong no-texting-while-driving message via TV ads, concerts, public appearances, Twitter and Facebook.
- Launching an aggressive social media campaign with advertising on Facebook and Twitter to encourage Americans to take the pledge and to share their pledges with their friends via social media.
- Educating the public using TV ads on the dangers of texting while driving that will run during high-profile events and teen-focused programs.
- Working to provide a toolkit of no-texting-while-driving information to every high school in the country.
- Challenging device makers and app developers to work with AT&T so that all devices include a pre-loaded, no-text-and-drive technology solution as soon as possible.
- Launching an online driving simulator at www.itcanwait.com – so that anyone with access to the Internet can experience the dangers of texting while driving.
- Enlisting others – including law enforcement, educators, national retailers, consumer safety groups, legislators and the entire wireless industry – to join the no-text-and-drive movement.
- Asking more than 1,000 of AT&T’s strategic and other major suppliers to encourage their employees to pledge not to text and drive.
For more information, visit: ItCanWait.com