BALTIMORE, April 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of an ongoing national campaign that focuses on the dangers of smartphone distractions while driving, volunteers from AT&T fanned out across Maryland, visiting six hospitals across the state to participate in hospital-sponsored events focusing on the dangers of distracted driving.
AT&T's involvement is part of the company's It Can Wait campaign and grew out of a similar event at a hospital in Baltimore last year. The events also coincided with Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
At each center, AT&T volunteers shared information about the It Can Wait campaign and used a virtual reality mobile application that shows drivers what can happen when they take their eyes off the road to look at their phones.
AT&T volunteers participated in events hosted by Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore; Sinai Hospital in Baltimore; Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly; Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury; Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown; and Western Maryland Health System in LaVale.
"With research showing 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving, we think it is important to team up with hospitals, schools and other organizations - whenever we can - to show drivers of all ages how dangerous smartphone driving distractions can be," said Denis Dunn, president, AT&T Maryland. "Together with these medical professionals and other organizations, we are reminding all drivers to focus on the road, not on their phones."
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said drivers in Maryland need to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
"If you're driving through Maryland, we want you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It's common sense – and it's the law," Governor Hogan said. "I applaud our world-class trauma centers for launching these distracted driving events, and I appreciate AT&T for delivering the It Can Wait message to communities across the state. We want all Marylanders to know - it can wait."
La Tara Harris, regional director for External Affairs in Maryland, added AT&T's participation in the events this year grew out of a similar program last year at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore. Organizers invited AT&T to participate in events statewide this year. "We jumped at the chance to team up with these trauma centers to remind all drivers – it can wait," said Harris.
Visitors at each event received informative materials and were able to "drive" using virtual reality technology, allowing them to see the dangers of distracted driving firsthand in an immersive but safe 3-D setting. To experience this program, individuals can visit www.ItCanWait.com/VR.
In addition to the VR resources and local events like the ones in Maryland, AT&T's ad campaign helps broaden recognition that the smartphone distracted driving problem extends beyond texting. Through slow-motion cinematography, viewers are able to see the jarring aftermath of taking their eyes off the road to glance at or tap on a smartphone while driving.
Marylanders can visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone, and share their pledges via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook.
AT&T also set up a pledge-to-text tool, allowing individuals to join the #ItCanWait movement and pledge not to text and drive. Individuals can text ItCanWaitMD to 50555. The pledge and the text are free.
Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has:
- Helped drive awareness of the dangers of texting while driving to about 90 percent for all audiences surveyed.
- Inspired more than 7 million pledges not to text and drive.
- Worked with departments of transportation in Texas, Kentucky and other states on research that suggests a correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a reduction in crashes.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
**Research commissioned by AT&T and conducted by Braun Research. Polled 2,067 people in the U.S. aged 16-65 who use their smartphone and drive at least once a day. Additional information available here.
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SOURCE AT&T Inc.