Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 2011: A year after launching its campaign against texting behind the wheel, AT&T* is enlisting more groups to join the cause. The company today announced a four-year series of contributions totaling $1 million to help educate the public and spread the word about its “Txtng & Drivng…It Can Wait” initiative. This announcement kicks off during National Youth Traffic Safety Month – a time when many teens are hitting the roads for prom, graduation parties, summer jobs and road trips with friends.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the No. 1 cause of death for teens in America are traffic crashes. In fact, eight of the 10 deadliest days for young people on the roads annually fall between May and August.1 And so far, this year alone in the U.S., there have been more than 425,000 crashes involving drivers using cell phones and texting.2
AT&T continues to raise awareness about the issue of texting and driving through a multifaceted initiative to educate the general public about using wireless devices safely while driving. The company’s 10-minute documentary, “The Last Text,” launched in December 2010, and since then, has received nearly 2.3 million views. Across AT&T’s Facebook page, AT&T’s Friends & Family page and AT&T’s employee social media page, nearly 61,000 individuals – teens, parents, employees, and more – have taken the pledge to not text and drive since the campaign launch in March 2010.
The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) – a collaborative network of national associations and federal agencies that focus on youth safety and health – will receive the first contribution, totaling $95,000. This funding will allow for development and training for 40 student ambassadors on anti-texting-while-driving education.
In October 2011, these teen ambassadors plan to join officials in Washington, D.C., for the first-ever national texting while driving prevention youth summit. The students will host similar summits within their schools and hometowns throughout the school year, reminding their peers that text messaging can – and should – wait until after driving.
“Our campaign has touched millions in its first year, and this is just the beginning of our movement to reshape wireless customers’ behavior by educating them on the grave risks of texting while driving,” said Gail Torreano, senior vice president of AT&T Employee Communications and Global Sponsorships.
Laura Sanford, assistant vice president, Corporate Contributions at AT&T, said: “While this message is a critical one for adults and youth alike, we’re continuing to focus much of our efforts on teen outreach. Not only are they typically new drivers, but according to a recent Pew Internet Research study, the average teen sends and receives five times more text messages a day than a typical adult.3 This contribution represents our ongoing commitment to promote responsible ways of using our technology, because ultimately, no text is worth losing a life.”