Mayor Williams, Councilman Williams and AT&T Partner to Remind Teen Drivers: TEXTING...IT CAN WAIT

Posted on  09/19/2013 10:15 pm

Photo from It Can Wait Press Conference

Special event held at Howard High School of Technology focusing on dangers of texting while driving

As part of a nationwide movement to stop texting while driving, AT&T officials today joined Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams and Wilmington City Councilman Robert A. Williams (Seventh District) to remind students at Howard VoTech – and across the city – that texting while driving is deadly and that it can wait.

A resolution declaring today as “Drive 4 Pledges Day” in the city, sponsored by Councilman Williams, is on the Council’s agenda this evening. Moreover, arrangements are being made to broadcast the powerful documentary, “From One Second to the Next” on WITN Channel 22, the city’s PEG channel.

“Unfortunately, countless victims have suffered because drivers are texting and talking behind the wheel,” said Mayor Williams. “We must educate our youth about the dangers of texting while driving, and most importantly how texting can wait. I am pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Councilman Williams and AT&T to host this event at the Howard High School of Technology.”

Councilman Williams, who like Mayor Williams is a former police officer in Wilmington, said today that people forget that life can change in the blink of an eye which is why every second counts when driving. “There is no reason to text and drive,” said Councilman Williams. “What would your response be if you had to tell a mother that she lost her child, instead of answering that text? In the time you took to answer that text, you traveled approximately 600' at 40 miles per hour.... did you see all the potential dangers?”

Tiffany Baehman, vice president/general manager, AT&T Mobility, said AT&T launched this campaign to save lives.

“Simply put, texting while driving is deadly, which is precisely why we launched this campaign in 2009,” said Baehman. “Since then, we’ve teamed up with schools and other organizations here in Delaware and around the country to drive home the message that texting can wait. We’re honored to join Mayor Williams, Councilman Williams and the students and staff of Howard VoTech to raise awareness about this very important topic and to encourage the students to make a commitment not to text and drive.”

As part of this nationwide movement, earlier this month, fans who attended the “Route 1 Rivalry” game between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University were able to “drive” a special simulator that demonstrated the deadly consequences of texting while driving. And, last May, AT&T collaborated with Dover AFB to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving at the base’s “Wingman Safety Day.”

Drive 4 Pledges Day

Baehman said today’s event is part of a nationwide effort, spearheaded by AT&T and three other national wireless service providers, to urge people to share their commitment to never text and drive with others as part of “Drive 4 Pledges Day.” She also encouraged all Delawareans to join in the It Can Wait movement, and outlined ways they can get involved in their schools and communities.

Individuals can sign up at www.ItCanWait.com to get resources that will help them share their commitment on social media and personalize the movement in their communities. Aspiring to create a social stigma around this dangerous habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day focuses on getting individuals involved in taking the pledge to never text and drive while encouraging others in their communities to do the same. These individuals will join AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Verizon and more than 200 other organizations by sharing their commitment not to text and drive while increasing awareness of the dangers.

Supporters are encouraged to help spread the word to their families, friends and communities in a variety of ways: they can change their social profile photos and banner to It Can Wait graphics, and share their personal pledge stories using the hashtag #ItCanWait. Individuals and organizations can host pledge drives and distribute posters in their schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. All materials such as social graphics and posters are available for download from www.ItCanWait.com.

Today’s Wilmington events are among a variety of activities taking place coast-to-coast, including:

  • Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools. Additionally, 200+ proclamations will be issued.
  • #ItCanWait tweets and Instagram posts will stream on www.ItCanWait.com.
  • A National Organizations for Youth Safety Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C., including a rally today with more than 75 teens, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, NTSB Member Christopher Hart and Aly Raisman, The Century Council Ambassador.
  • AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will run co-branded advertising on national TV programming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and display the message in their tens of thousands of stores nationwide.
  • GE Healthcare will provide its US Service vehicle fleets with It Can Wait window clings to remind its employees to be safe while on the roads.
  • Goodyear blimps will display the message It Can Wait in the skies over Miami and Los Angeles.
  • The It Can Wait message will be promoted across key sporting events at games and via social media. Several Major League Baseball teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, will drum up support for It Can Wait by reaching out to fans during games urging them to take the pledge.. NFL players will tweet their support of Drive 4 Pledges Day with their friends and fans. And, NHL and NBA teams will also be supporting the cause.
  • Third party organizations will support the day through various activities. The Consumer Electronics Association will hold an employee and membership pledge drive and distribute messaging through social media. The National Auto Body Council will distribute messaging through social media, enewsletters, and press releases. Member collision shops will hold mini pledge drives in local communities. Net Impact, a nonprofit that empowers a new generation of leaders to work for a sustainable future, will promote the pledge as a "small step" in their Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge program at colleges around the world.
  • Youth organizations like the Girl Scouts will participate. Girl Scouts of the USA will activate its 112 councils nationwide to support It Can Wait through social media and member engagement.

"Texting while driving claims too many lives, and raising awareness of this completely preventable tragedy is key to saving them,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “We’ve seen success before through our seatbelts and our drunk driving campaigns, and I both applaud the It Can Wait campaign for its efforts to raise awareness and encourage everyone to make a commitment on Drive 4 Pledges Day to drive focused and distraction-free."

In fact, a ConnectSafely.org survey found that individuals who speak up can have a profound impact, particularly on teens.

  • 78% of teen drivers say they’re likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong or stupid.
  • 90% say they’d stop if a friend in the car asked them to.
  • 93% would stop if a parent in the car asked them to.
  • 44% say that they would be thankful if a passenger complained about their texting while driving.

The It Can Wait movement is making a difference. One-in-three people who’ve seen the texting while driving message say they’ve changed their driving habits, the campaign has inspired more than 2.5 million pledges never to text and drive and the recently launched "From One Second To The Next" documentary has received more than 2 million views since August 8. To take the pledge and get more information, visit www.ItCanWait.com.