Americans Urged to Make Lifelong Commitment on Sept. 19

 Pledge: Never Text and Drive

NEW ORLEANS – More than 30 national civil rights and community advocacy organizations have joined AT&T and scores of celebrities and community leaders in a national campaign to curtail the deadly epidemic of texting while driving.

The National Urban League, the NAACP, The National Coalition for Black Civic Participation and the National Action Network are among the groups partnering with 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.

“African-Americans have a high rate of wireless device usage. African-American teenagers, in particular, use text messaging as an essential form of communication. Many are unaware of the multitude of consequences that can result from sending a text message behind the wheel of a car,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League.

More than 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and people are injured or die while a driver was texting and driving, said AT&T Chairman & 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 together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. Texting and driving should be as unacceptable as drinking and driving.

“We’re challenging everyone to take the pledge to never text and drive and to make it a lifelong commitment,” Stephenson 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.”

“We strongly recommend that all of our members take the pledge never again to text and drive during “No Text on Board-Pledge Day” on September 19, 2012 at www.itcanwait.com. We stand with AT&T in its efforts to save lives and to promote greater safety on the roads for all,” NUL President Morial said”

The “It Can Wait” public awareness campaign is focused on a simple, powerful message: No text is worth dying for. AT&T plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on the campaign in 2012 and has made it an ongoing commitment in future years.

“Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and we need people all across America to take action in their communities to help put a stop to it,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “I applaud AT&T for taking on this issue with the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign, and I thank them for helping to spread the word that no text or email is worth the risk.”

“A recent Virginia Tech study found that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident,” said Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “This initiative can save lives and improve safety in our communities. That’s why we are all committed to its success,” she added “The NAACP applauds AT&T’s efforts to work to eliminate a disturbing and dangerous trend – texting while driving. . . The NAACP is glad to see efforts made on behalf of citizens to promote safety and security, and protect those in all communities. The NAACP looks forward to seeing the progress of AT&T’s commitment and movement in this space, and encourages its members to take the pledge at www.itcanwait.com and promise to not text and drive,” the NAACP announced in a prepared statement.

The collaborative effort is comprised of several key initiatives, including:

  • Partnering with national civil and human rights organizations, community advocacy groups, local leaders and others to share the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging the constituencies and members of these groups to take the pledge never to text and drive.
  • Working with film, TV, music and sports celebrities to deliver a strong no-texting-while-driving message via TV ads, concerts, public appearances, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Launching an aggressive social media campaign with advertising on Facebook and Twitter to encourage Americans, especially young people, to take the pledge and to share their pledges with their friends via social media.
  • Educating the public using TV ads on the dangers of texting while driving that will run during high-profile events and teen-focused programs.
  • Working to provide a toolkit of no-texting-while-driving information to every high school in the country.
  • Challenging device makers and app developers to work with AT&T so that all devices include a pre-loaded, no-text-and-drive technology solution as soon as possible.
  • Launching an online driving simulator at www.itcanwait.com in the coming weeks – so that anyone with access to the Internet can experience the dangers of texting while driving.
  • Bringing an in-car simulator to more than 200 locations before the end of this year.
  • Enlisting others – including law enforcement, educators, national retailers, consumer safety groups, legislators and the entire wireless industry – to join the no-text-and-drive movement.

Do your part to save lives and make your community safer, take the pledge today at: www.itcanwait.com

 

Courtesy: Vincent Sylvain

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