By Lauren Intrieri, Millennium High School, Goodyear, Arizona
AT&T has launched a new campaign that deals with the issue of texting and driving. The “It Can Wait” campaign wants to inform new and old drivers about the dangers of using your phone at the wheel.
According to AAA and AT&T, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenagers drivers.
The phone company visited more than 30 cities in May 2012 visiting high schools with a virtual reality simulator that demonstrates the dangers of texting and driving. During the simulator, a teen attempts to text and drive on a virtual street. If the person in the car doesn’t pay attention to the rode, there is a possibility of crashing into animals, people, and even get into accidents.
AT&T states that 97% of students find texting and driving dangerous, but 43% of them still do it. It is calculated that on average, 6,000 people die each year because they are distracted by their phones while they’re behind the wheel, and this simulator hopefully makes these dangers real for the teenagers.
Junior Jenny Felciano believes that texting and driving isn’t right, “I don’t text and drive, but I know people who do.”
The company has also made a four year, $1 million commitment to educating the public of the dangers of texting and driving. AT&T also promotes the 10 minute documentary “The Last Text” which has been viewed almost 3 million times.
Though students know that texting and driving can be deadly, why do they still continue to do it? It is proven that more than 100,000 times a year, an automobile gets into an accident because someone text and drives.
Sophomore Kendra Ashworth says, “It’s bad, but people are still going to do it. My brother texts and drives all of the time and he says, ‘If you’re good at it, then it doesn’t matter,’ I always try to tell him to stop.”
Cheryl Riley, the director at AT&T External Affairs for South Dakota, says that it is their goal to save lives, and they would like to see texting and driving become as unacceptable as drinking and driving.