Get ready to see more advertisements discouraging texting and driving.
The four largest cell phone providers in the United States have banded together to launch the "It Can Wait" campaign and another 200 other organizations have signed on to effort.
AT& T along with Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile US, Inc. also will launch a nationwide texting-while-driving simulator tour, have a retail presence in tens of thousands of stores, and reach out to millions of consumer. The campaign begins on Monday May 20 and will reach its peak between Memorial Day and Labor Day—known as the 100 Deadliest Days on the roads for teen drivers according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“Texting while driving is a deadly habit that makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash,” said AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson. "Awareness of the dangers of texting and driving has increased, but people are still doing it. With this expanded effort, we hope to change behavior. Together, we can help save lives.”
The campaign will focus on the stories of people who are living with the consequences of texting while driving. Their stories will be told through various media including TV, radio, digital and social media. The first story in the campaign will be of Xzavier Davis-Bilbo, who in 2010 at five-years-old, was struck while crossing the street by a young woman texting while driving—leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Both adults and teens can agree to not drive and text by signing a pledge on the campaign's web site www.itcanwait.com.
A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that nearly 50 percent of drivers answer their phones while driving, 25 percent make calls while behind the wheel and 14 percent compose or read text messages or e-mails. Among teen drivers, that figure jumps to 40 percent.
A study out of the University of Utah said drivers who are on the phone have reduced reaction times, much like alcohol-impaired drivers.
A recent AT&T survey shows business commuters know texting while driving is unsafe, but they still engage in these behaviors. Some of the findings:
They are texting and driving more than they used to.
- Six in 10 commuters said they never texted while driving three years ago.
- Nearly half of commuters admit to texting while driving, which is more than teens.
- 49 percent of commuters self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent of teens.
Despite knowing the risks, 98 percent said sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe. For many, it has become a habit. More than 40 percent of those who admitted to texting while driving called it a habit, the survey found.
“Mobile technology connects us in many cool ways, but adults and teens need to put it on hold while behind the wheel,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “Knowing the risks is not enough. By simply putting the phone down, thousands of tragedies can be prevented every year. It’s time to end texting while driving – for good.”