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Teen-Led, Teen-Focused Anti-Texting-and-Driving Summit Assembles in D.C.

52 Teens and 200+ Traffic Safety Leaders Join the National Organizations for Youth Safety and AT&T to Educate Youth on the Dangers of Texting While Driving

Washington, District of Columbia, October 17, 2011

According to a new study by the Texas Transportation Institute, when drivers read or send a text message, their reaction time is doubled. When asked to respond to a flashing light while texting behind the wheel, drivers were more than 11 times more likely to miss the light altogether1

Building upon the “It Can Wait” campaign, AT&T* today joins the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) in D.C. to kickoff the 2011 National Teen Distracted Driving Summit – a youth-led, anti-texting-while-driving event geared toward teens – who, on average, text five times more text messages a day than a typical adult2.

More than 70 high schools across the country participated in the application process to participate, and 13 teams – each comprised of four high school students and an advisor – were selected to serve as the 2011-2012 NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Team.

“We know how much teens value their peers’ opinions, and that’s why we’re asking them to take the tools we as safety experts can provide to spread this very vital message to other teens to not text and drive,” said Sandra Spavone, executive director, NOYS. “During the summit, these students will participate in training sessions and will hear from experts on the matter –  including representatives from AT&T, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic safety experts, influential journalists and many more – all of whom have the like-minded goal of permanently changing this dangerous behavior.”

Following the Summit, where more than 100 teens will be in attendance, the teams will spearhead anti-texting-and-driving prevention efforts in their own communities by putting into action what they learned from training. By the end of 2012, all 13 teams will have hosted their own state educational summit.

“We’re excited to see such initiative from these teens who, at such young age, are banding together to tackle one of the most dangerous safety issues they face  today,” said Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of AT&T Public Affairs. “The trend of texting isn’t going anywhere but up, so it is imperative that all wireless customers – youth and adults alike – understand how to use this technology safely. It is why we remain committed to the issue through our ‘It Can Wait’ campaign.”

At the Summit, AT&T will also introduce the second generation of its Youth Advisory Panel – six students of AT&T employees, tasked with designing an educational toolkit, providing ongoing campaign feedback and spreading the anti-texting-while-driving message to their peers at their schools throughout the year. Last year’s Panel hosted educational rallies across eight schools, where they secured more than 3,300 pledges to not text and drive from fellow students.

The 2011 National Teen Distracted Driving Summit was made possible in part by AT&T’s $95,000 contribution to NOYS – the first recipient of a four-year series of contributions totaling $1 million. Additionally, as part of its long-standing “It Can Wait” campaign that aims to stigmatize texting while driving, since 2009, AT&T has also:

  • Developed “The Last Text,” a powerful 10-minute documentary featuring real stories where lives have been drastically altered – or even ended – because of texting while driving;
  • Launched AT&T DriveMode  – a free mobile app that, when enabled, sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts and emails, notifying the sender that the user is driving and will respond when it is safe. The app also provides option to send calls directly to voicemail;**
  • Designed an anti-texting-while-driving pledge for its Facebook, Friends & Family and employee pages;
  • Created a resource center – www.att.com/textingcanwait - offering downloadable educational resources for the public;
  • Revised its wireless and motor vehicle policies to prohibit texting and driving;
  • Incorporated a don’t-text-and-drive message on the protective clings for devices sold in AT&T retail stores;
  •  Integrated campaign messaging in AT&T catalogs, signage, bills, emails and newsletters and at AT&T-sponsored events; and much, much more.

For more information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, please visit: www.att.com/textingcanwait.