Elcho Students Urged to Take Pledge to Keep Eyes on the Road, Not on Their Phones at It Can Wait Event
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
AT&T, AAA & Wisconsin State Patrol Team Up to Highlight Dangers
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
ELCHO, Friday, April 26, 2019 – As Wisconsin marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, about 90 students at Elcho 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.
Elcho High School 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.
“Today’s teens are connected to their smartphones more than ever before, and unfortunately, many young drivers are distracted by their phones when their focus should be on the road,” said Principal Shawn Rude. “As we mark Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we want to warn our students about the very real dangers of driving distracted. We hope they take the It Can Wait message to heart and pledge to put their phones down when driving.”
The event featured AAA’s distracted driving simulator, which allows students to experience the dangers of smartphone activities behind the wheel. Teens also watched two short films produced as part of AT&T’s “The Face of Distracted Driving” series that feature stories of teenage boys killed by smartphone distracted driving (Caleb’s story and Forrest’s story).
“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.”
The assembly was one in 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 event 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.
Research from AT&T shows 81% of people admit to texting behind the wheel and 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 taking action and speaking up can help reduce distracted driving. Seven in 10 drivers who have pledged at www.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.
Wisconsin banned texting while driving over eight years ago on December 1, 2010.
“Operating a motor vehicle is a major responsibility that requires a driver’s full attention,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell. “Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few moments, can have tragic consequences. To ensure the safety of all travelers, the State Patrol reminds drivers to always stay focused on the road ahead, slow down, and make sure everyone is buckled up.”
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 162 communities throughout Wisconsin, involving 175 high schools and reaching over 61,600 students. Nationally, over 36.5 million people have taken the pledge to not drive distracted by their phone since 2010.
To learn more about the It Can Wait campaign and to take the pledge, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.