Carolina Panthers Become One of the First Professional Football Teams to Join "It Can Wait" Movement
Team executives urge fans not to text and drive
Charlotte , North Carolina, August 30, 2013
AT&T* today welcomed the Carolina Panthers as an official advocate of It Can Wait®, a national campaign to end the dangerous habit of texting while driving.
The Panthers are one of the first professional football teams to officially advocate for It Can Wait, and now are among more than 200 advocates nationwide that are actively supporting the push to stop texting behind the wheel.
“Tens of thousands of fans from across the Carolinas drive to Charlotte to root on the Panthers every home game,” said Danny Morrison, president of the Carolina Panthers. “On the way, it’s tempting to send a message to a friend, check a smartphone for updates on starting lineups, or look up stats. That can wait until you get to the stadium. We want our fans to get to the game and back home safely.”
As a campaign advocate, the Panthers and AT&T plan to feature It Can Wait messages on the stadium’s digital scoreboard and other screens in the venue, and through its social media channels. The team also is encouraging fans to pledge not to text while driving at www.itcanwait.com.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Panthers to the It Can Wait team,” said Venessa Harrison, President of AT&T-North Carolina. “With their community reputation and the excitement they create throughout the Carolinas, the Panthers’ involvement will certainly raise awareness of this issue and positively influence thousands of drivers to not text behind the wheel.”
Pamela Lackey, President of AT&T-South Carolina, said “Every football fan and player knows that balanced against the intensely physical nature of the sport is a deep commitment to safety. That’s why the Panthers will be such a wonderful advocate to help spread the message that while we want to enjoy the benefits of wireless devices, we must also use the technology safely and responsibly. No text or message is so urgent that it cannot wait to be sent safely.”
AT&T is the official wireless and wireline sponsor of the Carolina Panthers, providing wireless network and Wi-Fi services throughout the team’s stadium.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to keep Panthers fans wirelessly connected at the game, whether it’s watching video highlights on their phone or sharing their own photos on Facebook,” said Laurent Therivel, AT&T’s vice president and general manager of Mobility and Consumer Markets in the Carolinas. “But when it’s time to drive home, it’s time to put the smartphone away.”
The 2013 It Can Wait campaign will culminate with “Drive 4 Pledges Day” on September 19, which will be focused on encouraging everyone to get out in their communities and advocate involvement on behalf of the movement.
Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it’s not isolated to teen drivers. It affects adults as well. A recent AT&T survey shows business commuters know texting while driving is unsafe, but they still engage in these behaviors. In fact:
- They are texting and driving more than they used to.
Six in 10 commuters said they never texted while driving three years ago.
- Nearly half of commuters admit to texting while driving, which is more than teens.
49 percent of commuters self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent1 of teens.
- Despite knowing the risks.
98 percent said sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe.
- For many, it has become a habit.
More than 40 percent of those who admitted to texting while driving called it a habit.2