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The statistics are startling: While nearly all teenagers know that texting while driving is dangerous, 43 percent of them admit to sending texts while they drive, and they say that adults set a bad example by texting and driving themselves.
To bring greater awareness to the dangers of texting while driving, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) are teaming up to bring AT&T’s powerful “Txtng & Drivng…It Can Wait” awareness campaign to schools throughout Rhode Island this year.The “It Can Wait” campaign will launch on September 19 with a visit to Cranston High School East by Kilmartin, RIDOT Director Michael Lewis, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, AT&T New England President Patricia Jacobs, and school officials.
If you are interested in having AG Kilmartin and RIDOT bring the “Txting & Driving…It Can Wait” campaign to your school, please contact Amy Kempe at 401-274-4400 ext 2234.
Whether turning the phone off, taking a pledge, or just making it a personal practice, the next time you think about sending or answering a text while operating a vehicle please remember – it can wait. The reality is that no message is so urgent that it is worth diverting attention from the road and risking lives in the process. Attorney General Kilmartin who sponsored the state’s landmark legislation in 2009 banning texting while driving in Rhode Island reminds us that by "sharing the sobering consequences of texting while driving to young drivers, we hope to change young drivers’ attitudes about the subject and encourage the public to put away cell phones while behind the wheel.”
“Texting while driving is a choice, and a bad one at that. We encourage all drivers to make the right choices behind the wheel, like putting away handheld devices, obeying the speed limit and always buckling up,” said Lewis. “Young drivers, in particular, are inexperienced behind the wheel and don’t need additional distractions. As we have learned, the consequences of sending or reading a text can be deadly. Don’t text and drive. It can wait.”
Throughout the school year, AG Kilmartin and RIDOT will bring the public awareness campaign to area high schools and ask students and teachers to take the “It Can Wait” pledge. Schools interested in participating should contact the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 ext 2334.
This partnership is just the latest way AT&T is continuing to spread the word about the dangers of texting and driving as part of the “It Can Wait” campaign in Rhode Island and across the country.
"We are thrilled to be working with Attorney General Kilmartin and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation on this growing public safety issue," said Patricia Jacobs, president of AT&T, New England. "Bringing the message directly to teenage drivers is especially important, as recent studies have shown they are most likely to engage in this unsafe behavior."
Kilmartin, Lewis and AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson today urged all Americans to pledge to never text and drive, and join with others on Sept. 19 to celebrate their lifelong personal commitment to help prevent injuries and deaths caused by texting while driving. To take the no-texting-and-driving pledge, all drivers to go to www.itcanwait.com, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook.More than 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and countless people are injured or die because the driver was texting while driving, said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, citing a statistic from the National Safety Council.
“Our goal is to save lives,” Stephenson said. “I hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and they want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. We’d like to see texting and driving become as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.
“We’re challenging all Americans to take the pledge to never text and drive and make it a lifelong commitment,” he said. “And we’re challenging all device makers and app developers to offer devices that come pre-loaded with a no-text-and-drive technology solution.”
AT&T first began its It Can Wait campaign discouraging texting and driving in 2009. The website www.itcanwait.com provides Americans an opportunity to take the don’t text and drive pledge. The website also offers a host of educational resources and information associated with texting while driving – including a documentary on people impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.
For additional information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, please visit www.att.com/itcanwait.