AT&T Illinois today announced professional basketball star Derrick Rose will help lead its new Illinois campaign to warn Illinois high school students against the dangers of texting and driving.
Rose will tape a public service announcement for AT&T designed to discourage teen drivers from texting while driving, and posters displaying his image with the message "I Don't Text When I Drive - It Can Wait" will be made available to Illinois high schools.
AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza made the announcement with Rose at the Chicago premiere of AT&T's new documentary "The Last Text" that explores the dangers of texting and driving. Dignitaries including Gov. Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White, Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, attended the premiere and campaign launch.
Chicago and Illinois education officials are also supporting the program and attended the launch event, including Chicago Board of Education President Mary Richardson-Lowry, Illinois State Board of Education Chair Jesse H. Ruiz and representatives of the Illinois Principals Association and the Large Unit District Association.
"I have to be focused when I drive, whether it's on the court or on the road. That's why I don't text when I drive. I tell my friends: "It Can Wait," said Derrick Rose, professional basketball star and graduate of Chicago's Simeon Career Academy. "I'm proud to join AT&T's team and help lead this important campaign to warn teenage drivers in Illinois about the real dangers of texting while driving."
The AT&T "It Can Wait" campaign will focus on teen drivers in Illinois high schools. Other key elements of the campaign will include the company's powerful documentary, "The Last Text," and contests for Illinois high school students to take the pledge against texting and driving.
"Today society communicates instantly. Everyone loves talking and texting on mobile devices. But we want to ensure that drivers, especially teenage drivers, recognize the extreme danger of distracted driving. We need them to understand that when it comes to texting and driving, it can wait," said Paul La Schiazza, President of AT&T Illinois. "We are very pleased to be joined in our campaign by basketball Derrick Rose. As a native of Chicago and Illinois, Derrick's star power will help us reach more teenage drivers in this campaign."
AT&T's "Texting and Driving -- It Can Wait" contest challenges Illinois high school students to become familiar with the dangers of texting while driving and encourages them to take the AT&T "Texting & Driving - It Can Wait" Pledge. By taking the pledge, students can demonstrate their commitment to not text while they are driving. Participating high schools that send the most text pledges with their individual school code can win prizes for after school or safe passage programs. In addition, any school that shows the AT&T "The Last Text" documentary to its students will be entered into a drawing to win prizes for after school or safe passage programs.
"Texting while driving makes our roads more dangerous for everyone, and that's why I have signed legislation to make it illegal." Governor Quinn said. "By waiting until you are no longer behind the wheel, you will make every driver and passenger safer."
"With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem in our state and in the nation," said Secretary of State Jesse White. "That's why as chairman of the state's Distracted Driving Task Force I pushed to initiate two important laws that have resulted in a ban on text messaging while driving and a ban on the use of a cell phone while driving in school and construction zones. While we have made progress and have seen traffic fatalities in Illinois drop, I remain committed to continue looking at ways to improve road safety."
"THE LAST TEXT" Documentary
The 10-minute piece is being distributed nationwide to schools, safety organizations, government agencies and more as part of AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign. Each of the eight individuals included in the full-length reel volunteered their stories to help AT&T educate wireless customers - particularly youth - on the risks of tapping away on their cell phones in the car. The documentary can be viewed online at no charge on the AT&T "It Can Wait" website and on the AT&T YouTube page.
The documentary is supported by CTIA - The Wireless Association, The National Safety Council (NSC), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
For additional information on AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign, please visit www.att.com/txtingcanwait.