Texting while driving is dangerous and deadly. It seems obvious and although most of us are aware of this fact, too many American families have been touched by this tragedy. The number of tragedies related to texting while driving is rising; with drivers of every level of experience, the temptation to text while driving has become too great. Every day people’s lives are being altered and cut short by the consequences of texting while driving. To reverse this trend, more needs to be done to educate drivers and raise awareness.
Seeking to meet that need, wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA, along with more than 200 other corporate sponsors, are spearheading the “It Can Wait” campaign. Centered on documentarian Werner Herzog’s powerful 35-minute film, “From One Second to the Next,” which highlights actual texting-while-driving tragedies, as well as the social media hashtag #ItCanWait, this national campaign attempts to remind drivers about the consequences of texting while driving, and urge them to pledge to never text and drive.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 100,000 automobile accidents per year are attributed to texting while driving; that is more than 273 accidents per day. Despite the fact that many states have enacted new laws and have widened law enforcement’s ability to put into effect new and existing statutes, people are texting and driving more than ever. In a study that began in 2008, the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) has shown that among drivers in that area, texting and driving is up a startling 126 percent, even though new laws have been enacted.
A person’s interaction with the “It Can Wait” campaign starts by asking the participant to take a pledge and then leverage the power of social media sites to help disseminate the campaign’s message. Participants are asked to understand, accept, and commit to the following pledge:
“No text message, email, website or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road. I pledge to never text and drive and will take action to educate others on the dangers of texting while driving. No text is worth the risk. It can wait.”
Most importantly, “It Can Wait” participants are asked to share their dedication to that pledge with their community of friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and and/or any other social media outlet they use. Given our reliance on social media for interaction as well as news gathering, this aspect of the campaign holds the potential to help its message spread virally, reaching hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country.
We do not have to wait until tragedy strikes to act. These stories and statistics can be overwhelming but should serve as a stark motivator for all of us to honestly observe our own behavior, to become aware of the statistics, and to educate others on the dangers of texting while driving. Click here for more information on how you can get involved with the “It Can Wait” campaign.
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Photo Credit: AT&T – It Can Wait