New AT&T Research Shows 81% of People Admit to Texting Behind the Wheel; AT&T, AAA & Wisconsin State Patrol Team Up to Highlight Dangers
NIAGARA, Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – Nearly 230 students from Niagara High School and Junior High School learned today about the dangers of smartphone activities while driving and were encouraged to take the pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones. The School District of Niagara teamed up with AT&T*, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol as part of the It Can Wait® campaign to remind students that smartphone activity can – and should – wait until after driving.
“Often times, our students believe they are invincible, but they need to understand that smartphone activity while driving is very dangerous and can be deadly,” said District Administrator Nathaniel Burklund. “There is no post, text or selfie worth dying for. We are proud to bring the It Can Wait campaign to Niagara to remind our students about the dangers and urge them to put their phones down while driving.”
The assembly was part of a series of high school events AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol are holding this school year to drive home the dangers of distracted driving and encourage students to take the pledge.
The effort is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign, which has expanded from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone activities now common behind the wheel. Since the campaign launched in 2010, over 24.5 million people across the country have taken the pledge to not drive distracted by their phones.
“The message of our It Can Wait campaign is simple – distracted driving is never okay,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “One glance at your phone while driving can change everything and even cost you your life. We are urging all drivers, especially our teens, to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”
New research from AT&T shows 81% of people admit to texting behind the wheel, while 64% admit to snapping and viewing photos while driving. Other smartphone activities people say they do while driving include: Playing music (64%); emailing (60%); accessing social media (50%); surfing the net (47%); watching or streaming videos (36%); and even video chatting (27%).
Nearly 4 in 10 people call distracted driving a habit. And nearly a quarter of people don’t see it as a major problem.
However, research also shows that taking action and speaking up can help reduce distracted driving. Seven in 10 drivers who have pledged at ItCanWait.com are keeping their commitment to not use their smartphones while driving. And 57% of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger pressures them to.
“Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few moments, can have tragic consequences,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “To ensure the safety of all travelers, we need drivers to stay focused on the road ahead, slow down, and make sure everyone in their vehicle is buckled up.”
Today’s event featured AAA’s distracted driving simulator, which allows students to experience the dangers of smartphone activities behind the wheel. Teens also watched a powerful documentary produced by AT&T called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive.
Teens also learned about Wisconsin’s ban on texting while driving, which was enacted seven years ago on December 1, 2010.
“Even though Wisconsin bans texting and driving, we know too many drivers are still focusing on their phones to text, message or post on social media when their attention should be on the road,” said State Representative Jeffrey Mursau. “The It Can Wait campaign is a great way to spread the message about the dangers of smartphone use while driving to our teens and encourage them to put their phones down when behind the wheel.”
The It Can Wait campaign has turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA. Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in 136 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching over 51,000 high school students.
To learn more about the It Can Wait campaign and to take the pledge, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.