SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and AT&T announce a month-long Drive 4 Pledges challenge. In an effort to combat this dangerous yet widespread habit, California mayors who accept the challenge will call upon their residents to take the pledge to never text while driving and to spread the message in their communities.
"Accidents caused by texting while driving are preventable. No text message is so important that it's worth your life or the lives of others," said Mayor Kevin Johnson. "That is why I'm challenging cities and mayors across the state to get as many pledges as possible, and asking Sacramentans to join me in taking the pledge not to text while driving."
The pledge drive lasts the month of October. California cities are challenged to compete with Sacramento in the number of pledges to never text while driving. To take the pledge, Sacramento residents should text "ICWSAC" to 464329 from their mobile device. Other cities can get a city-specific phrase from AT&T upon request.
"Texting while driving is dangerous and deadly. Pledge Day is about children asking parents, employers asking employees and friends asking each other not to text and drive," said Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California. "California has more drivers and more road than any state in the nation – the risks from texting while driving are very real and it's up to each of us to live the pledge."
Mayor Johnson's challenge is launched in association with the It Can Wait movement's Sept. 19 Drive 4 Pledges Day. Aspiring to create a social stigma around the dangerous habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day focuses on getting individuals to accept personal responsibility to never text while driving, while encouraging others in their community to do the same. Throughout California, cities are hosting rallies and community events on Drive 4 Pledges Day, including pledge drives at Southwestern College, Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, and thirteen high schools across the state. Caltrans is posting "Texting Ticket $160+, Not Worth It" on more than 700 roadside message boards, strategically located on the State Highway system.
"Texting while driving is a serious safety concern," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Every day highway workers put their lives on the line, just by going to work. One second of looking at your phone instead of the road can be the difference between life and death."
As part of the national campaign, It Can Wait advocates take action by changing their social profile photos and banner to It Can Wait graphics and sharing their personal pledge stories on social media using the hashtag #ItCanWait. All materials such as social graphics and posters are available for download from ItCanWait.com. Participants join AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Verizon and more than 200 other organizations by sharing their commitment to end texting while driving.
"Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and we've seen an upward trend in texting while driving-related crashes. We recognize that it's on us to take action and do something about this issue," Chris Cochran, Assistant Director for the California Office of Traffic Safety said. "This is why we commend AT&T and the It Can Wait movement and encourage our communities to make the commitment to never text 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 habits1, the It Can Wait campaign has inspired more than 2.5 million pledges never to text while driving since 2008, and the recently launched "From One Second To The Next" documentary has received more than 2 million views since Aug. 8, 2013.
Other initiatives across the country for the It Can WaitSept. 19 Drive 4 Pledges Day include:
Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges events and activities in communities across the nation
#ItCanWait tweets and Instagram posts streaming on ItCanWait.com.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are running co-branded advertising on national TV programming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and display the message in their tens of thousands of stores nationwide.
Several Major League Baseball teams are generating support for It Can Wait by reaching out to fans during games, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.
Girl Scouts of the USA is activating its 112 councils nationwide to support It Can Wait through social media and member engagement.
1 AT&T Texting While Driving … It Can Wait Perceptions Study
**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.
About It Can Wait®
The It Can Wait® campaign, created to end texting and driving, has evolved into a movement. It currently is supported by the four largest U.S. wireless carriers, more than 200 other organizations and thousands of caring individuals. The movement has inspired more than 2.5 million pledges through ItCanWait.com, on Facebook, through text-to-pledge and tweet-to-pledge, and at events.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.