By Srijan Sen
Teenagers at or closest to the legal driving age used the simulator while being prompted with several texts on the screen resembling mobile texts.
The task required participants to read the texts while driving through traffic.
Spearheaded by was launched five years ago as new research by the company showed sharp rise in users engaging in cellphone activities while driving a vehicle.
The program was recently extended as the company released new research that shows many drivers engage in various smartphone activities while driving, including browsing social media and taking selfies.
According to the AT&T survey, seven in 10 people use their smartphones behind the wheel, whether the car is stopped or moving. Although texting remains the most frequent activity, newer practices such as video chatting are becoming prevalent.
The boys and girls of the club were joined by Chief Strategic Officer of the Club Denisha Tate, Alderman Willie Wade, AT&T Wisconsin Director of Government Affairs Dextra Hadnot, and Trooper Glen Jones of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
The kids at the Boys and Girls Club heard from representatives of the “It Can Wait” campaign before experiencing the simulator. Sixteen-year-old Brandon Nelson learned lessons about texting and driving that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
“It scared me a lot,” said Nelson.
“It kind of made me realize a lot of stuff and at the same time it was kind of giving me a bad feeling at the bottom of my stomach.”
AT&T called 2,067 smartphone users between the ages of 16 to 65 from March and April this year.
To qualify for the survey, participants were required to have used their smartphone at least once a day and have driven once a day.
The findings showed 62 percent of respondents keep their phones within easy reach while driving, like in a cup holder, the passenger seat or in the driver’s lap.
The use of social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter has gradually increased.
Twitter is expected to distribute messages regarding the dangers of phone use while driving.
AT&T plans to use these findings to influence driver behavior nationwide.
The company is collaborating with various corporations to share the message, including Samsung, Bose and Google.
“When we launched ‘It Can Wait’ five years ago, we pleaded with people to realize that no text is worth a life,” AT&T’s global marketing officer Lori Lee said in a news release.
“The same applies to other smartphone activities that people are doing while driving.”