TRENTON, N.J., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a nationwide campaign to discourage texting while driving, AT&T's special, in-vehicle texting simulator will make several stops across New Jersey. The ongoing public service campaign, "It Can Wait," was launched by AT&T to address a dangerous practice that puts millions of Americans at risk: texting while driving.
To drive home the message and make New Jersey's roads and highways safer, AT&T will give New Jerseyans opportunities to experience firsthand the dangers of texting and driving. As part of the campaign, AT&T will make the following stops this month:
- April 22: Millville Memorial High School, 504 E Broad St., Millville.
- April 23-25: National Association of Fleet Administrators conference, Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City.
- April 27: Rutgers Day @ High Point Solutions Stadium, Scarlet Knight Way, Piscataway, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- April 28: Communiversity Festival of the Arts, Princeton University, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
During the events, participants will have the opportunity to "drive" an in-vehicle, texting-while-driving simulator, exposing them to the dangers of texting while driving. The simulator is a computerized system used within a real car attached with sensors, making the steering wheel and pedals operable for the simulation. Through a head-mounted display, students see a fully-rendered virtual reality. The software is able to recreate real-life driving scenarios including pedestrians crossing the street, red lights, and cars changing lanes on the road. At the conclusion of each simulation, students will view a scorecard showing their performance, further emphasizing the dangers of texting and driving.
Earlier this month, more than 200 parents from the Mercer County Council of PTA participated in a special event in Trenton as part of the campaign. In addition to receiving background materials created as part of the "It Can Wait" initiative that they can use to spread this important message, event participants were able to "drive" using a "wheel-and-pedal" kit that simulates texting while driving on a laptop computer.
"Simply put, our goal is to save lives," said J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid Atlantic. "Lives are forever changed – and even ended – because of texting while driving. These events are another way to remind New Jerseyans about how deadly a single text can be. We're challenging everyone in New Jersey to join us in this effort. Take the pledge to never text and drive and make it a lifelong commitment."
In 2012, 165 organizations, including national nonprofits, commercial businesses, law enforcement, professional associations and government agencies, as well as many educators, legislators, and other supporters, helped get out the message and encouraged people to make a personal pledge not to text and drive. This combined effort, including those of the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Organizations for Youth Safety, SADD, Big Brothers Big Sisters, RadioShack and CTIA-The Wireless Association, made a difference. Major highlights include:
- Awareness of the It Can Wait message increased 26 percent during the key campaign period.1
- One-in-three people in that period said that texting while driving messages have an impact on their driving habits.1
- More than 1.2 million no-texting-while-driving pledges were made at ItCanWait.com and through Facebook, Twitter, live events and text-to-pledge initiatives.
This year, AT&T is extending its work with existing It Can Wait collaborators and significantly expanding their ranks. Plans include:
- Working with device makers to pre-load no-texting-while-driving technologies and solutions into handsets, with the goal of making these solutions standard on all AT&T smartphones.
- Making resources – ranging from It Can Wait branded materials, to teaching aids and sample company policies – available to other organizations for programs they develop.
- Launching a year-round texting-while-driving simulator tour targeting more than 380 events nationwide, including these stops in New Jersey.
AT&T, its 240,000 employees and other supporters are calling on all drivers to go to www.ItCanWait.com to take the no-texting-while-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. The pledge is part of the public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving.
1 AT&T TWD - ICW Perceptions Study
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