No text is worth a life. Pause your texting conversations before you get behind the wheel. That’s the message behind a banners created by art students at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. The banners unveiled during National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 19-25). The local chapter of the AT&T Pioneers funded the banner project in support of It Can Wait, a movement founded by AT&T to put a stop to texting while driving, especially among teens. 

More than 35 students from two 11th grade art classes worked on the banners. Central to their design was the incorporation of the newest component of the It Can Wait movement:  “#X” (hashtag X). #X means “I’m pausing this texting conversation before I drive. Back soon.” AT&T recently introduced the social tool to appeal to teen drivers. #X naturally fits into texting and social conversations. A short-hand symbol like “#X” is teen-speak. AT&T hopes #X will give teens and other drivers a socially acceptable way to pause their texting conversations before they get behind the wheel.

Each year, texting and driving is involved in more than 200,000 vehicle crashes.* Teens, who are prolific texters and novice drivers, are particularly at risk. Young drivers ignore the dangers of texting while driving, and adults often set a poor example for them.  In a 2012 AT&T- commissioned poll as part of the It Can Wait campaign, 97 percent of teens surveyed said texting while driving is dangerous, but 43 percent admitted doing it. And according to 77 percent of the teens polled, adults tell kids not to text while driving, but adults “do it all the time.”

Since its launch in 2010, the It Can Wait movement has inspired more than 5 million pledges – and counting – to never text and drive, and more than 1.5 million downloads of the AT&T DriveMode app, which automatically sends a customizable reply to incoming messages.

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