AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign aims to stigmatize texting and driving

Francois Garcia, 22, tries the driving while texting program in front of the SSC. This test drive is to support AT&T’s “Texting and driving…it can wait” campaign. (Kaylee Johnston)

Kristen Wilcox

AT&T representatives recruited students to sit down in a texting and driving simulator that replicated what it is like to text while driving.

The simulator acts as a “Grand Theft Auto”-style game where the driver’s goal is to go as far as possible without any accidents or getting pulled over while texting and driving.

“This campaign is really important because each and every day more and more people are seeing the dangers and results of texting and driving,” said Griffin Hagler, campaign tour manager for AT&T. “In fact, over 100,000 people a year are critically injured or killed while texting and driving.  AT&T really saw the need to get more awareness out.”

Tiffany Joe and Heather Ruiz, AT&T employees, educate students with the simulator. Those who participated received a sticker and a pair of sunglasses.

D.J. Tate, 21-year-old child development major, took the simulator challenge and lasted four minutes.

“It’s pretty cool. I find it pretty obvious you shouldn’t text and drive,” D.J. Tate said. “It is definitely a little bit harder in real life to text and drive. I kind of beat that game a little bit. But [texting and driving is] really dangerous, so you shouldn’t do it.”

D.J.’s brother, Chris Tate, 21-year-old education major, is conscious of the dangers of texting and driving through his own experience.

“I was coming up to a car at a stoplight, but it was green when I had last looked up. I glanced down and when I looked back up the light had turned red and the car in front of me had stopped,” Chris Tate said. “I was going kinda fast so I had to hit my brakes. I still had enough time to slow down, but it was definitely pushing it more than I’m used to. After that I was like I need to watch what I’m doing.”

“It Can Wait” boasts more than 200 partners and stopped in Washington D.C. Sept. 19 for National “Drive 4 Pledges” Day.  The campaign travels around the United States year-round.

 “We want to make texting and driving more of a stigma than drinking and driving. That’s our ultimate goal. We really want to save lives, ” Hagler said.

For more information visit http://www.itcanwait.com.

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