Texting Teens: Taking the Pledge for Safety

September 19 is No Text on Board-Pledge Day. Texting and driving. It can wait.


That’s the message AT&T is pushing out through an education campaign designed to show drivers—and teen drivers in particular—that texting while driving can be deadly.

With so many AFT members directly involved in the lives of young people, the union is committed to strengthening that message. “As high school students across the country, many with newly minted driver’s licenses in hand, return to school this fall, I commend AT&T for its “It Can Wait” campaign,” says AFT president Randi Weingarten. “No text is worth a life.”

Research shows that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to have an accident. And, since the average teen sends five times as many texts per day as the typical adult, it is especially important to get that message out to them. Go to campaign site.

The compelling testimony being distributed through television, radio and print—from families who have lost sons and daughters to accidents caused by texting— is enough to lead anyone to swear off texting and driving.

“This is the text my daughter was reading when she drove into oncoming traffic,” says one mother on camera, holding a sign that says, “where u at.”

“This is the text message that caused the car accident that changed my life forever,” says a brain-damaged young man, struggling to speak clearly. The never-completed text: “where r.”

The message is clear: The emotional impact of loss stands in gut-wrenching contrast to the trivial messages sent. No text message is worth being distracted and getting into an accident.

In addition to the radio, TV and print ads, the educational campaign includes online video clips and a 10-minute documentary. Teachers and others who work with young people can get posters, fact sheets, safety tips, brochures and more, free of charge, at www.att.com/txtngcanwait. There is also a free phone app for AT&T users, AT&T Drive Mode, which sends an auto-reply message to incoming texts indicating that the user is behind the wheel and will return the text when it’s safe to do so.

“Our members are dedicated to educating teens and keeping them safe,” says Weingarten. “That is why we encourage our members and students to take the “No Texting While Driving” pledge.” Go to  http://apps.facebook.com/itcanwait/ to take the pledge right now, or wait until Pledge Day, Sept. 19, when millions of people will be encouraged to make the promise: stop texting and driving.

August 15, 2012


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