Wharton, AT&T to Teens: Texting Can Wait

Today is No Text on Board Pledge Day, and the New Tampa school is backing the movement.

Drinking and driving don’t mix, of course, and the same should be said for texting and driving.

Statistics show motorists are a staggering 23 times more likely to crash when they text. 

So wireless provider AT&T is asking the nation today (Sept. 19) to promise not to text and drive in a new campaign called It Can Wait, or No Text on Board Pledge Day.

Wharton High School is getting behind the program in a major way. Amal Forbes, of Wharton PTSA’s Health and Safety Committee, said teens will take part in several activities, including watching a 10-minute distracted driver video from AT&T and practicing driving on a computer auto simulator to understand the difficulties of texting and driving. 

“The program has one goal: to save lives,” Forbes said. “While doing that we hope to change the negative behavior.”

Unfortunately, texting and driving is an all too common practice. Some 40 percent of U.S. teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that was dangerous, according www.distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s site for distracted driving.

In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and 416,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver who was texting or otherwise distracted, according to the site.

Florida is one of only a few states that have not banned keyboarding behind the wheel. But according to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, there is widespread support for such a move from the public: 87 percent would welcome such a measure.

“It’s a big problem,” Forbes said of texting and driving. "We're hoping kids will also take the (anti-texting and driving) message home to parents and siblings."

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