High school students across the nation are putting down their phones – at least while they are behind the wheel – and urging people, young and old, to join them in taking the It Can Wait pledge, a promise to refrain from texting, emailing, posting or surfing the web while driving.
“I’m speechless,” said Alan Esparza, 18, after trying AT&T‘s virtual reality driving simulator at Sarasota High School.
Over the past two months, AT&T’s It Can Wait virtual reality simulator tour has put high school students in the driver’s seat as they experience virtually first-hand the dangers of texting and driving. “I’m speechless,” said Alan Esparza, 18, after trying AT&T‘s virtual reality driving simulator at Sarasota High School. “As the driver picked up her phone in the video, I just wanted to say, ‘What are you doing?’ It’s hard to imagine picking up my phone while driving after experiencing this.”
Students have been creative in spreading the word to their friends and families about the importance of taking the It Can Wait pledge. Cheerleaders from rival high schools in Tennessee led a 4,000 person crowd at a Friday night football game in It Can Wait cheers and competed to get the most students and faculty from each school to take the pledge. That night, 3,200 people committed to keeping their eyes on the road and not on their phones.
Studies show that this type of positive peer pressure is powerful in changing behaviors related to distracted driving. While 75% of teen drivers say texting while driving is common among their friends, 78% of teen drivers say they’re likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it’s wrong or stupid.
Leveraging the power of positive peer pressure, students from Baker High School in Mobile, Alabama, created this winning entry for the Mobile County School District contest for the best It Can Wait public service announcement.
Team member Abigail Brock said her team wanted to show a new perspective with their video. “Usually, a texting and driving PSA just focuses on the driver. We wanted to look at it from a different perspective because when you are in a car, everyone is responsible, whether or not you are driving.” Brock and team wanted to send the message, “you have so much to look forward to in life and that’s what we were trying to convey with the scenes about the pep rally and the football games,” said Brock. “There are so many things to do that are fun, so why would you just sacrifice that by not saying anything?”
Well done, Baker High School in Mobile, Alabama. Drivers and passengers of all ages are bound to follow your lead.