newsrelease

The DoT and FCC Join AT&T to Call for a National Movement to Halt Texting While Driving

Thousands participate in events, more than 140 organizations involved

Washington, District of Columbia, September 19, 2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and more than 140 other organizations (full list at ItCanWait.com) have come together with wireless provider AT&T* to tackle a dangerous practice that puts millions of Americans at risk: texting while driving.

At the GW Safety Expo on the campus of The George Washington University (GW) in Washington D.C. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, GW President Steven Knapp, and award-winning actor and bestselling author Hill Harper joined AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in commemorating No Text on Board Pledge Day and urging Americans to make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive again.

“A text can wait. This message can’t,” said Stephenson. “In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving.1

"Texting behind the wheel may only take a few moments, but it can have a lifetime of consequences," said Ray LaHood.  "No text or email is worth the risk, and I applaud AT&T and all those who help to spread the word against texting and driving.”  

“Distracted driving continues to cost lives every single day. That’s why, last year, I challenged the wireless industry to step up and implement innovative solutions to help tackle this growing and dangerous problem.” said Genachowski.  “I commend AT&T for launching this important awareness campaign that will help make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. All of us must be part of the solution, recognizing that while mobile technologies offer enormous benefit, they create new challenges we must tackle together.” 

Since Aug. 15, when AT&T announced plans for No Text on Board Pledge Day:

  • A national ad campaign, aired during the Olympics, shared personal stories of those whose lives were impacted by a texting-while-driving crash.
  • New ads were created with celebrities who appeal to teens including Victoria Justice, Ryan Beatty and Olympians Gabrielle Douglas and Jordyn Wieber. In addition, American Idol finalists and others are participating in events throughout the country.
  • More than 140 organizations have pledged to help share a simple message: no text is worth dying for. (Full list at ItCanWait.com)
  • Social media through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has reached more than 75 million user accounts.
  • Thousands of people have participated in “It Can Wait” events throughout the country, including more than 100 featuring an in-car texting-while-driving simulator.
  • AT&T encouraged its 240,000 employees to take the pledge and, in turn, urge all people to commit that they will never text and drive.  On an average day, AT&T retail store and call center employees speak to customers more than 500,000 times.
  • AT&T employees and organizations including National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), Big Brothers Big Sisters and DECA are working together to provide no-texting-and-driving information to every high school in America. 
  • The company awarded more than $30,000 in prizes to app developers participating in a hackathon to develop technology solutions to help curb texting and driving.

Making a difference

  • Polling shows that awareness of AT&T’s It Can Wait message has doubled since the beginning of June 2012, and one in three people say texting while driving messages have an impact on their habits.
  • More than 500,000 no-texting-while-driving pledges have been logged through ItCanWait.com, social sites including Facebook, text-to-pledge and events.
  • The AT&T DriveMode2 app has been downloaded more than 80,000 times.

Going forward, the campaign will further harness social connections and the power of technology to help curb texting while driving.  

  • Today, the company is introducing an online simulation experience at ItCanWait.com that allows anyone to get behind the wheel, virtually, and see what happens when you text and drive.
  • The company will fund third-party research on behavioral factors linked to texting and driving, and potential technology solutions that address those issues.
  • Through pledges taken at Causes.com, AT&T will contribute up to $50,000 to NOYS.  
  • The company is poised to release an auto-on/off enhancement to its AT&T DriveMode, a free safe-driving app, on Sept. 30.
  • AT&T has challenged wireless device makers and app developers to equip every new device with a pre-loaded, no-text-and-drive solution. 

It Can Wait is a national movement tapping into the power of social media and personal networks to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving.  It urges drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge not to text and drive, and share their pledge with others via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook.  It also offers a host of educational resources and information on the issue – including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents that has been viewed more than 3 million times.