“He would have been an excellent athlete...His chair are his legs now,” said Valetta Bradford of her young son, Xzavier. As he was crossing the street, a texting driver struck Xzavier, ultimately paralyzing him. In a “maddening and moving” documentary created for the It Can Wait® movement, From One Second to the Next, Werner Herzog captures this and three other harrowing tales about how crashes caused by texting while driving resulted in life changing injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, there are countless stories just like these that have impacted families all across the country.
Today is Drive 4 Pledges Day – the It Can Wait movement’s nationwide day of action to end texting while driving. On this day, It Can Wait advocates are asking every driver, including parents, to join us in making a personal commitment not to text and drive – and recruiting others to do the same. Nearly 2,000 activities are taking place coast-to-coast, including more than 1,500 at high schools.
To date, more than 2 million people have made the pledge to never text and drive.
In 2009, AT&T launched It Can Wait to end texting while driving with the goal of saving lives by sharing the message that no text is worth a life. Now four years later, It Can Wait has grown into a movement, with all four of the largest U.S. wireless carriers and more than 200 other organizations encouraging drivers to use technology responsibly.
To date, more than 2 million people have made the pledge to never text and drive. We began by educating drivers and raising awareness – especially among teens – about the tragic consequences of texting while driving. However, surveys also show texting while driving persists among adults too¹. Although parents are more experienced drivers than their teenagers, texting while driving remains a dangerous behavior and sets a poor example for children.
If you’re not convinced that your influence can make a difference, consider these survey results. 78 percent of teen drivers said they’re likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong or stupid. Furthermore, 90 percent say they would stop texting while driving if a friend in the car asked them to and 93 percent said they would stop if a parent in the car asked². As parents, it’s important we speak up and speak out against texting while driving.
The It Can Wait movement has grown rapidly in just a few years thanks to the support of organizations like the Family Online Safety Institute, parents and advocates like you. By tapping into the power of personal networks and social media, we’ve begun to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving, but we need to keep the momentum going. To succeed in making texting and driving a problem of the past, we’re going to need every parent’s help. Here is how you can get started.
5 Ways You Can Join the Movement:
- Take the pledge online and share it via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with family and friends using #ItCanWait. Sample post: Spread the word that no text is worth a life and gear up for Drive 4 Pledges Day on 9/19: ItCanWait.com #ItCanWait
- Talk to your kids about different ways to stop texting while driving, including assigning a “designated texter,” pulling over or keeping your phone out of reach.
- Watch and discuss the “From One Second to the Next” documentary with your family.
- Set a good example – use apps like DriveMode®, Verizon Safely Go and Safely Go for Sprint to curb the urge to text and drive.
- Sign a family pledge at the dinner table tonight.
Together, we can make our roads safer from distracted drivers. Help us spread the message by encouraging everyone you text to join the movement and take the pledge today. Your voice can save a life. For more information, visit ItCanWait.com.
¹2012 AT&T-commissioned Survey of business commuters
²ConnectSafely.org 2013 Study
This post originally appeard on A Platform for Good.