In celebration of the national “No Text on Board Pledge Day,” today Hillsborough County School officials hosted a local event and joined forces with wireless provider AT&T to tackle a dangerous practice that puts millions of Americans at risk: texting while driving.
At the event commemorating “No Text on Board Pledge Day”, students from Hillsborough High School made a lifelong commitment to never text and drive again after hearing Steven and Agnes Augello of Spring Hill, share the story of how their daughter, Allie, was killed in a texting related accident.
"Safe driving on our roads and highways is a concern for all of Tampa Bay," said City of Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor. "A creative and well-targeted public awareness campaign can do much to educate drivers and help save lives. We commend companies like AT&T for this effort."
Castor was joined by Hillsborough High School Principal Dr. William Orr, Hillsborough County School’s Supervisor of Driver’s Education Dennis Holt and AT&T External Affairs Manager Andrew Hall. Castor also read a proclamation that was passed earlier this month recognizing the September 19th national effort to put the brakes on texting behind the wheel.
In addition to hearing from local officials, the students were shown “The Last Text,” a powerful 10-minute documentary produced by AT&T. The mini-documentary features real stories where lives have been drastically altered – or even ended – because of texting while driving. AT&T also unveiled a new online simulator at www.itcanwait.com that it created so that anyone with Internet access can experience the dangers of texting while driving.
The Florida Department of Transportation is joining AT&T to get the word out about texting and driving as well. The DOT is displaying the message “Be Responsible. Don’t Text and Drive” on its changeable messaging signs on interstates and the turnpike statewide today.
"We are diligently working with partners across the state to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad. “We’re pleased to support AT&T on the ‘It Can Wait’ program in Florida and ask drivers to be responsible by not texting while driving.”
“A text can wait. This message can’t,” said Marshall Criser, III, president AT&T, Florida, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. “In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving.1”
- A national ad campaign, aired during the Olympics, shared personal stories of those whose lives were impacted by a texting-while-driving crash.
- New ads were created with celebrities who appeal to teens.
- More than 140 organizations including have pledged to help share a simple message: no text is worth dying for. (full list at ItCanWait.com)
- Millions of people have been reached through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
- Thousands of people have participated in “It Can Wait” events throughout the country, including more than 100 featuring an in-car texting-while-driving simulator.
- AT&T employees and organizations have provided no-texting-and-driving information to every high school in America.
- Customers received “It Can Wait” information through the more than 500,000 interactions that take place each day between customers and AT&T call center and retail store employees.
- The company awarded more than $30,000 in prizes to app developers participating in a hackathon to develop technology solutions to help curb texting and driving.
Making a difference
- Polling shows that awareness of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” message has doubled since the beginning of June 2012, and one in three people say texting while driving messages have an impact on their habits.
- More than 600,000 no-texting-while-driving pledges have been logged through ItCanWait.com, social sites including Facebook, text-to-pledge and events.
- The AT&T DriveMode™ 2 app has been downloaded more than 80,000 times.
- Social media through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has reached more than 75 million user accounts.
Going forward, the campaign will further harness social connections and the power of technology to help curb texting while driving.
- Today, the company is introducing an online simulation experience at ItCanWait.com that allows anyone to get behind the wheel, virtually, and see what happens when you text and drive.
- The company will fund third-party research on behavioral factors linked to texting and driving, and potential technology solutions that address those issues.
- The company is poised to release an auto-on/off enhancement to its AT&T DriveMode™, a free safe-driving app
- AT&T has challenged wireless device makers and app developers to equip every new device with a pre-loaded, no-text-and-drive solution.
Tapping into the power of social media and personal networks to create a national movement to swear off texting while driving, the “It Can Wait” effort urges drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge not to text and drive, and share their pledge with others via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook. It also offers a host of educational resources and information on the issue – including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.