CONCORD, N.H., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A movement is accomplished through the voices and actions of many. That is why four national wireless service providers, spearheading the It Can Wait campaign, are urging people to share their commitment to never text and drive with others on Drive 4 Pledges Day, September 19.
AT&T and the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center are again partnering this year to deliver a strong message to high school students and residents across the state about the dangers of texting and driving.
More than 1,200 students from 39 high schools attending New Hampshire Construction Career Days at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds September 19 - 20 will participate in the It Can Wait program and take the pledge not to text and drive. AT&T and the Injury Prevention Center will also bring the It Can Wait program to the more than 2,000 people expected to attend this year's Derry Fest.
AT&T and its partners have already brought its It Can Wait awareness programs to more than 2,800 students at nine high schools across New Hampshire, and the message reached another 1,100 students at 60 defensive driving classes.
"I strongly believe that presenting the 'It Can Wait: Don't Text and Drive' message at events such as the Construction Career Days and other school and community forums can and does provide the educational awareness necessary to get people to make the commitment to not text while driving," said Howard Hedegard, the Highway Safety Specialist for Dartmouth's Injury Prevention Center.
"AT&T is proud to be part of this partnership, and we're grateful for the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth's leadership in raising the awareness of the dangers of texting and driving," said Patricia Jacobs, president, AT&T New England. "AT&T is committed to educating our customers in New Hampshire and across the country about the dangers of distracted driving and how to use their mobile devices safely. Our message is simple: There is no text worth risking your life to read or type – It Can Wait."
In addition, the New Hampshire State Police, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, will include messaging on It Can Wait on all state electronic highway billboards.
AT&T's New England team is urging everyone to take AT&T's It Can Wait pledge never to text and drive. The team has set a goal of gathering 500,000 pledges across all six New England states by the end of the year.
Individuals can now sign up at ItCanWait.com to get resources that will help them share their commitment on social media and personalize the movement on the streets of their communities on key activation days. Aspiring to create a social stigma around this dangerous habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day will focus on getting individuals involved in taking the pledge to never text and drive while encouraging others in their community 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.
On September 19, Drive 4 Pledges Day, supporters of the movement are called to help spread the word to their families, friends and communities. Advocates will be encouraged to do things like change their social profile photos and banner to It Can Wait graphics, and share their personal pledge stories using the hashtag #ItCanWait. Offline activations will include hosting pledge drives and distributing posters in their schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. All materials such as social graphics and posters will be available for download from ItCanWait.com.
Individuals joining in Drive 4 Pledges Day will be part of a variety of activations and awareness campaigns coast-to-coast, including:
- Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities will be held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools. Additionally, 200+ proclamations will be issued.
- A National Organizations for Youth Safety Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C. will be held Sept. 18-20, including a rally on Sept. 19 with over 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 will drum up support for It Can Wait by reaching out to fans during games urging them to take the pledge. Participating clubs include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals. NFL players will tweet their support of Drive 4 Pledges Day with their friends and fans and teams such as the Carolina Panthers will rally around the cause as well. NHL and NBA teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs will also be supporting the cause.
- Third party organizations will support the day through various activations. 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.org1 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 habits2, 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 Aug. 8. To take the pledge and get more information, visit www.ItCanWait.com.
1 ConnectSafely.org survey sponsored by AT&T
2 AT&T Texting While Driving … It Can Wait Perceptions Study
SOURCE AT&T Inc.