Monday, March 8, 2021

“Texting and Driving…It Can Wait”

Danger, danger “it can wait.” Submitted

Danger, danger “it can wait.” Submitted

By Jane Marlowe

Ten little words: “When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.” With these words, AT&T launched a campaign last year to urge drivers, particularly teenagers, not to text while driving.

AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have a long commitment to “projects that create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement and address community needs.”

In September, 2009, AT&T made a commitment to raise awareness about the issue of texting and driving. A pattern of driving behavior was emerging which reflected how tragically dangerous and distracting texting at the wheel had become. A driver who is texting and driving is 23 times more likely to be in an accident.

AT&T examined the problem as it affected their employees, their customers and the general public. Focus groups were formed to help design a campaign which would alert the public to the inherent danger in texting and driving. Several designs were proposed but no one idea seemed right on target until the members of one of the focus groups were asked to read the last text they had received on their own cell phones.

Cathy Coughlin, Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer for AT&T reported. “When we asked if that particular message was worth the potential risk of reading while driving at 65 miles per hour, you could have heard a pin drop. That’s when we realized the message ‘it can wait’ was effective in educating consumers about the dangers of texting while driving.”

Two of the most important features of the campaign include a pledge not to text and a 10 minute documentary, “The Last Text,” which tells the story of how lives have been forever changed by texting and driving.

One 17 year old teenager tells his story about the few seconds it took for him to read



and respond to a text while driving. “LOL” A bicyclist, whom he did not see, crashed into his windshield and was killed. The driver was filled with grief and self hatred for what he had caused to another person, all to send three little letters “LOL.” During his first year of college another student recognized him as the young man who had killed the bicyclist.

“I remember hearing about you. You’re that guy who hit the bicyclist as you were texting and driving.” “That was actually the day before I ended up going to the hospital for emotional problems. I sent one stupid, meaningless text…’LOL’ and killed a man.”

AT&T has designed the “It Can Wait” campaign to be accessible to parents, high school educators and particularly teenagers. The pledge the campaign created is available on AT&T’s Facebook page. It is on Twitter @ShaneATT

AT&T will honor those taking the pledge not to text and drive with a $250,000 donation to one or more non-profit orgaizations focused on youth safety. An announcement of the group selected will be made at the start of National Youth Safety Month in May.

There is an online resource center where resources are available for parents, high school educators and teens including the documentary, “The Last Text,” a brochure, pledges relative to parents and teens, a teen-teen pledge and Safety Tips for teens and adults. AT&T is supported in it efforts against texting and driving by CTIA-The Wireless Association and the National Safety Council.

We are beginning the summer season when school is out and young people are driving to many activities-work, play, meeting friends. They want to remain connected through all their activities. BUT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS DANGEROUS!

Please, please let each of us take responsibility for the teens we know and love. Tell them, “When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.”

Thank You!


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