Death from road accidents is the 8th leading cause of death worldwide, if changes aren’t made it is estimated that it will rise to the 5th leading cause of death by 20301.

AT&T is working to change those statistics as part of a United Nations coalition of private sector businesses called “Together for Safer Roads.”

AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie joined executives from nine global corporations to announce the partnership aimed at improving road safety. The coalition will raise awareness about the issue of driving-related deaths and injuries and recommend solutions through the use of tools like data analytics and new technologies. The founding members of the coalition are Anheuser-Busch InBev, AIG, AT&T, Chevron, Ericsson, Facebook, IBM, iHeartMedia, PepsiCo, and Walmart.

AT&T has expressed its commitment to the cause of driver safety. The organization’s anti-texting while driving program “It Can Wait” has spread awareness about the dangers of texting behind the wheel and has registered more than 5.7 million pledges from consumers promising not to text and drive.

AT&T is also looking for technological solutions to address the issue of distracted driving. As a leader in the connected car space, AT&T is creating tools that will improve the experience for drivers. Voice technologies will allow drivers to communicate while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. LTE in the car will allow vehicles to communicate with infrastructure and other vehicles, making room for potential improvements in road safety.

Stakeholders come to the coalition’s table with multiple perspectives on the importance of the group’s mission. 

“This initiative is important to me for two reasons. One, from a professional basis, I’m a public health specialist and I like to focus on areas where we can make a difference and we can bend the curve,” said chairman of the coalition’s expert panel and former acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu. “I have a personal reason as well, and that is about 20 years ago my wife died in a automobile accident and about five years later my 20-year-old daughter was struck by a vehicle and died as well, so I’ve got not only a professional interest, I’ve got a personal interest in this.”

According to Lurie, it’s AT&T’s responsibility as a major corporation to address the issue of driver safety.  “I’ve got an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old driving, and know people who have had horrific accidents, so it’s very important for me personally that we’re involved,” said Lurie.  “We also need to be involved as a corporate citizen. The stats are staggering in the number of deaths, and we can’t ignore our opportunity to use technology to make the car safer.”

Read more in our related release.

1World Health Organization, United Nations, 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety