AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc and Verizon Unite Today to Combat Teen Distracted Driving


don't text and drive (select to view enlarged photo)

WASHINGTON--Sept. 19, 2013: Four national wireless service providers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc. and Verizon, are uniting today with youth from across the country and transportation safety leaders, to hold an It Can WaitŪ Drive 4 Pledges Day rally on Capitol Hill. The event will inspire teens to take action and be leaders in their communities to end texting and driving. Speakers include FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, NTSB Member Christopher Hart, and teen actress and recording artist Coco Jones.

Today's event is held in conjunction with the 4th Annual National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Distracted Driving Summit taking place September 18-20, 2013, in Washington, DC and is sponsored by AT&T and State Farm. Drive 4 Pledges Day urges people to take the pledge and share their commitment to never text and drive. Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities will be held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools. Supporters of the movement are being called to help spread the word to their families, friends and communities. Additional information and resources are available at ItCanWait.com.

Attendees will also hear from Reggie Shaw, whose story is featured in the powerful new documentary, "From One Second to the Next," by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog. They will also have the opportunity to sign the It Can Wait pledge wall and experience a texting and driving simulator that shows firsthand the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission said, "The statistics are staggering and the stories are heartbreaking. Each year, too many Americans die in distracted driving crashes. These deaths are preventable and the more we educate people on this issue the more lives we will save. I applaud the wireless carriers for taking on this initiative and I also commend the students here today, from across the nation, who are doing their part to make our roads safer."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2011 involving a distracted driver, up from 3,267 fatalities in 2010. That same year, an additional 387,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

The NOYS teens will help lead by example. In fact, a ConnectSafely.org survey[i] found that individuals who speak up can have a profound impact, particularly on teens.

78% of teen drivers say they're likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong or stupid. 90% say they'd stop if a friend in the car asked them to. 93% would stop if a parent in the car asked them to. 44% say that they would be thankful if a passenger complained about their texting while driving

"Individuals and organizations sharing the It Can Wait message are making a difference," said Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. "Together we can raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, help change behaviors and, ultimately, save lives."

"In our accident investigations, all too often we find that distraction is a cause or contributing factor," said NTSB Member Christopher Hart. "And the biggest culprit, by far, is texting. One study has shown that texting increases crash risk by 23 times. We must work together to change the cultural norms so that the dangerous combination of texting and driving is unacceptable."

"Safety is the number one priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. "We've made tremendous progress to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in this country. But texting while driving remains a very serious problem. When it comes to driving, we need to exercise good judgment and common sense. That means buckling the seat belt, putting away the cell phone, watching out for pedestrians and bicyclists, and simply driving safely."

Participating students in teams of two were selected by NOYS because of their interest in traffic safety and desire to join the distracted driving prevention effort. They will take what they learn back to their hometowns to lead their communities in fighting distracted driving through projects. Hometowns include:

Brawley, CA; Newcastle, IN; Springfield, KY; Seekonk, MA; Fulda, MN; Norfolk, NE; Freehold, NJ; Mamaroneck, NY; Springfield, OH; Tulsa, OK; Hopkins, SC; Brookings, SD; and Logan, UT.

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