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AT&T Pushes Anti-Texting and Driving Campaign

"It can wait" campaign seek motorists' promise to never text and drive.

We've all seen the telltale signs.

The driver who weaves in and out his lane because his eyes aren't on the road but on his smartphone screen. Or how many times have you been at a traffic light only to glance in your rearview mirror to see a car coming toward your vehicle being driven by a motorist too distracted by texting to immediately notice he's coming up on a red light?

Forget the guy in front of us - some of us are guilty of it ourselves.

AT&T, seeking to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving, is pushing a campaign that seeks to get motorists to make a lifelong promise of never texting while driving.

The It Can Wait campaign aims to reduce the more than 100,000 texting-while-driving-related motor vehicle crashes and deaths that occur each year in the country.

“Our goal is to save lives,” said Sylvia Russell, president of AT&T's Georgia operations. “We hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. We’d like to see texting and driving become as unacceptable as drinking and driving."

Georgia enacted a texting while driving law in 2010 and other states have been prosecuting motorists whose texting lead to fatal crashes or injuries.

In June, an Ohio man was sentenced to more than three years in prison after being convicted for vehicular manslaughter in a texting-related crash.

And in Massachusetts, an 18-year-old was sentenced to two years imprisonment and the loss of driving privileges for 15 years after a texting-while-driving crash that resulted in the death of a father of three.

AT&T, whose wireless business is based in Atlanta, has set Sept. 19 as the target date for people to make that pledge.

There's a particular focus on teen drivers.

The company said the results of a recent survey of teens showed that:

  • 75 percent of those surveyed said texting while driving is “common” among their friends
  • Almost all them — 89 percent — expect a reply to a text or e-mail within five minutes or less
  • 77 percent of teens reported seeing their parents text while driving.

“Education and public awareness are key to changing the behavior of all wireless users who text and drive,” said Georgia House Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), sponsor of Georgia’s texting while driving law in 2010. “I encourage all Georgia drivers to join the movement and make the pledge to not text and drive.”

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