Every year at about this time, AT&T launches its “It Can Wait” campaign. I thought I would take a few moments this year to talk about the impact of texting while driving. We’ve all seen it. Many of us have probably done it. For me it hits home because in my former life, I helped write the California law that banned texting while driving.
Each simple action is a big distraction, and it’s time we take a stand to keep our communities safe. Take your eyes off the road – even at a slow intersection – and you’re doing more than putting your own life in danger. You’re endangering the passengers in your car and the lives of the drivers and pedestrians around you.
Five years ago, AT&T launched It Can Wait to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving. We know that local, state and national partnerships are the best and strongest, and we want to commit to helping It Can Wait by doing our part. As the nation’s fastest growing racial group, Asian Americans have a large voice, and we can support this effort by lending that voice to the cause.
Even though there’s near universal agreement that texting and driving is dangerous, nearly half of commuters have admitted to texting while driving – which is an even higher rate than reported by teenagers. And now, a recent study has shown that the problem is bigger than just texting – it includes emailing, posting in social media, and even video chatting behind the wheel. And people think they’re doing it safely!
Checking your phone while driving is a tough habit to break; we know nearly a quarter of those who access social networks while driving cites addiction as a reason. But, AT&T is working to break this habit with apps like DriveMode®, which sends auto-responses to incoming texts and lets your friends and family know you are serious about your commitment to driving safely.
The best way to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving is for them to hear the message from a friend or loved one – over 90 percent of teens say they would stop texting if a friend or parent in the car asked them to. So, this September, we are supporting the It Can Wait movement. In five years, It Can Wait has received more than 7 million pledges, and this month it’s driving for more. Take a moment to visit itcanwait.com and pledge or renew your vow to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. Then, pass your pledge on to your friends.
When I was working on a bill, a friend lost his teenage son to an accident. It brought the message home for me. I hope it will bring the message home for you.