Your Tweet, Pledge or App Download Could Save a Life

Citizenship /

The Texting & Driving ... It Can Wait campaign was created in 2010 to fight the ever-growing issue of texting behind the wheel.

Since then, we’ve been sharing that message in many ways:

  • Through paid advertising and documentaries featuring people whose lives were forever changed by texting-and-driving crashes;
  • In schools and community events with simulators that show how dangerous texting while driving can be;
  • With a campaign that has inspired more than 5 million pledges never to text while driving;
  • By creating the AT&T DriveMode app and encouraging people to download and use it;
  • And through social media campaigns in which we ask people who understand the dangers and have made a personal commitment to encourage others to find ways to stop texting while driving.

We received a lot of support – from more than 2,500 organizations and 65,000 individuals who have signed on as advocates for the cause.

But in the end, the question is whether all that activity and all those people are making a difference – and importantly, what activity is the most impactful.

Our surveys show that awareness of the dangers of texting and driving is 97 percent or more for high-risk audiences including teens and commuters.1  And, AT&T surveys indicate that about one-third of the people who are aware of the It Can Wait campaign say they changed their habits.

But we persisted to understand if all of our efforts could get us closer to measuring our ultimate goal—a reduction in texting-while-driving crashes.

In the first installment of the study earlier this year, preliminary research on crash data from Texas, Florida and Illinois suggested a correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a reduction in crashes.

We were pleased by the magnitude of the crash reductions projected by the preliminary statistical analysis – 5.2 percent in Florida, 6.9 percent in Illinois and more than 7.8 percent in Texas2 – and we wanted to dig more into the findings for accuracy and expand our analysis to other states.  

Accordingly, we recently updated and expanded the Texas study and analyzed data from Kentucky. As we had found in the preliminary study, this work showed a statistical correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a projected reduction in crashes, with social media sharing, pledging and downloading an app having the most apparent impact.

In our most recent study, we looked at several years of crash data in Texas and Kentucky and projected from that the number of crashes that would have been expected during the two-year period from June 2012 to June 2014. The statistical model used then correlated It Can Wait activities with the actual number of crashes day-by-day during that period and showed that our It Can Wait campaign correlated with a reduction of 7.4 percent of crashes in Texas and 9.3 percent in Kentucky.3

Sharing the It Can Wait message through social media had the highest apparent correlation to crash reductions, which helped us shape the new direction of the campaign this year — messaging online and in social — to reach our core audience, teens. In this most updated analysis, Twitter, including celebrity posts, was the most correlated to lower crash rates.

The influence of social media and celebrity engagement in projected crash reduction led us to develop a new call to action with the campaign this year—#X. It acts as a social tool that fits naturally into texting conversations letting your friends and family know “I’m checking out while I drive.  Back soon.” We have started seeding this message to the public with celebrities like Demi Lovato and through our advocate network to help us end this deadly epidemic, together. Through this research, we know that peer-to-peer and celebrity influence carry credibility with teens.

This research further assures us that we and the other It Can Wait advocates are making a difference.

But we aren’t stopping here! We will continue to look at new states to see how our campaign has reduced the number of crashes and continue our fight. Because no text is worth a life … It Can Wait.

View this post on our Consumer blog.

1 Teen Survey & Commuter Survey

2 Preliminary AT&T study of Florida, Illinois and Texas Department of Transportation Crash Data (October 2013)

3  AT&T study of Texas and Kentucky Department of Transportation Crash Data (September 2014)