Texting, driving event emphasizes safetyThe simple message that text messages can — and should — wait until after driving was reinforced at a school assembly at Hudson High School on Thursday, Dec. 1 by Associate Principal Kevin Moore, local legislators, the Wisconsin State Patrol, AAA and AT&T.
On Thursday, Dec. 1, an event at Hudson High School marked the first anniversary of No Texting While Driving Ban.
The simple message that text messages can — and should — wait until after driving was reinforced at a school assembly at Hudson High School by Associate Principal Kevin Moore, local legislators, the Wisconsin State Patrol, AAA and AT&T. The day's event featured a showing of a powerful documentary called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive,
“It’s especially important to get this message across to our teens who on average text five times more messages a day than a typical adult,” said Moore. “In this age of instant communication, we know how strong the temptation is for our teens to respond to a text right away — even while driving. That’s why we hope our students take away this simple message: there’s no text worth dying over.”
While distracted driving is an issue for all motorists, teenagers are particularly at risk. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and the proliferation of distracted driving among teens is a huge challenge.
That’s why AT&T”s “Txtng & Drivng ... It Can Wait” public awareness campaign is especially focused on educating teens about the risks of texting while driving and spreading the message that text messages can wait. Not even red lights, professionals say, signal a “safe” time to text.
As part of its campaign, AT&T has developed a powerful documentary called “The Last Text” that examines the real world consequences of texting and driving. Each of the eight individuals in the video volunteered their stories to help educate Americans — particularly youth — on the risks of texting behind the wheel. The documentary can be viewed online at www.att.com/textingcanwait and on the AT&T YouTube page www.youtube.com/shareatt.
Students were shown the documentary at the assembly and challenged to sign a teen pledge to not text and drive and encourage their friends and families to do the same. Students also had the opportunity to demonstrate AAA’s driving simulator to experience firsthand how texting impairs their driving. The simulator will remain at the school until Dec. 16 for students and staff to experience.
“Texting while driving is a serious offense that has potentially deadly consequences,” said Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson). “That’s why events like today’s assembly are an important part of efforts to educate our youth about the dangers and help keep our roads safe for all drivers.”
Wisconsin’s law, which went into effect December 1, 2010, prohibits sending an e-mail or text message while driving and imposes a fine of up to $400. As a primary enforcement law officers may stop and ticket drivers solely for texting and driving. Wisconsin is one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that ban texting on a cell phone or similar electronic device while driving.
“If you text while driving, your hands are not on the steering wheel, your eyes are not on the road, and your mental focus is not on the traffic and road conditions around you,” said Major Sandra Huxtable, Director of the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. “Without a doubt, texting while driving will increase your risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one.”
Texting is so dangerous because it takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field completely blind. Studies show a driver’s reaction time is doubled when reading or sending a text and that motorists sending a text while driving are 23 more times likely to be in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries in 2008 were due to distracted driving habits such as texting.
AAA has also launched a national initiative to ban texting while driving in every state by the year 2013 and has partnered with AT&T to host events at high schools around the state to warn teen drivers of the deadly consequences of texting while driving.
For more information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, go to www.att.com/textingcanwait.