Mayor Barrett proclaims August 15 ‘Don’t Text & Drive Pledge Day’
LeRoy Butler, Green Bay Hall of Famer and inventor of the “Lambeau Leap,” teamed up this week with AT&T, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to highlight the dangers of texting and driving and urge youth to take the pledge to never text & drive.
At an event at the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club, Milwaukee youth had the chance to hear from Butler and safety leaders about the dangers and demonstrate AT&T’s driving simulator to experience firsthand in a safe setting how texting impairs their driving. Students were also shown a powerful documentary produced by AT&T called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive.
“Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can do behind the wheel,” said Butler, a former NFL strong safety who played his entire career in Green Bay. “There is simply no text message that is worth risking your life over. I hope today’s event will really drive home that message, and I urge all Milwaukee youth to join me in taking the pledge to not text behind the wheel.”
Seeking to bring attention to a serious road safety problem, AT&T this week urged all Americans to pledge to stop texting and driving, and to join with others on September 19 to make a lifelong commitment to never do so again.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also proclaimed August 15, as a “Don’t Text & Drive Pledge Day” throughout the city and urged all residents to join him in taking the pledge to never text behind the wheel.
“Not only is texting while driving against the law, but it is also extremely dangerous,” Mayor Barrett said. “I urge all Milwaukee residents to join me in taking the pledge to never text and drive.”
AT&T, its employees and other supporters are calling on all drivers to go to www.itcanwait.com to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge – and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. The pledge effort is part of the company’s public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving. AT&T will spend tens of millions of dollars on its “It Can Wait” campaign in 2012 and has made it an ongoing commitment in future years.
More than 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and people are injured or die because the driver was texting while driving, said AT&T Wisconsin State president Scott T. VanderSanden, citing a statistic from the National Safety Council.
“Far too many people’s lives have been forever changed because someone chose to text behind the wheel, and we want to spread the word about how deadly a simple text can be,” VanderSanden said. “We’re challenging all drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive and make it a lifelong commitment.”
This event focused on a simple, powerful message of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign: No text is worth dying over. Texting is so dangerous because it takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field completely blind. Those who do send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.
A recent AT&T survey found 97 percent of teens say they know texting while driving is dangerous. The survey found:
- 75 percent of teens surveyed say texting while driving is “common” among their friends;
- Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less; and
- 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.
But technology can help: 89 percent of teens said a phone app to prevent texting and driving – like AT&T DriveMode – would be an effective way to get them or their friends to stop texting and driving.
“In today’s world of instant communication, we know that too many of our young people are tempted to text behind the wheel – even though they know it’s dangerous and against the law,” said State Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee). “I’m pleased to join with LeRoy Butler, AT&T and the State Patrol to urge all of our teen drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive. It really can wait.”
Wisconsin’s law, effective as of December 1, 2010, prohibits sending an e-mail or text message while driving and imposes a fine of up to $400. As a primary enforcement law, officers may stop and ticket drivers solely for texting and driving. Wisconsin is among 37 states and the District of Columbia that ban text messaging by all drivers.
“Our youth often think they are invincible, but they need to know that texting while driving is very dangerous and often deadly, and they are particularly at risk as inexperienced drivers,” said Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “We’re proud to join in this effort to help spread the word and keep our teen drivers safe.”
AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign first began in 2009. The effort is comprised of several key initiatives, including:
- Encouraging its 240,000 employees to take the pledge and urge all Americans to never text and drive.
- Bringing an in-car texting-while-driving simulator to more than 200 locations before the end of this year.
- Launching an online driving simulator at www.itcanwait.com in the coming weeks, so anyone with access to the Internet can experience the dangers of texting while driving.
- Working to provide a toolkit of no-texting-while-driving information to every high school in the country.