Text and drive simulation encourages precaution
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 23:02
AT&T began the “It Can Wait” campaign in 2009 to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. AT&T brought the national campaign to the Memorial Student Center on Wednesday.
The event featured a virtual driving simulation and a large “I pledge not to text and drive” board.
“We will be traveling to various college campuses to host similar events,” said Briana Gowing, media relations representative for AT&T. “We chose to come to Texas A&M because A&M is a premier University and a proud partner of AT&T.”
According to the National Safety Council in 2010, 93 percent of Americans had a cellphone, and cellphone use accounted for 1.3 million crashes nationally.
The “It Can Wait” campaign is targeted at teenagers and young adults, who according to research, tend to be more distracted behind the wheel. Regardless, Gowing emphasized adults can be just as easily distracted and said anyone who sends a text message while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
“This is such a good cause,” said Jordan Hancock, junior marketing major. “I am glad someone is doing something about it because it is such a serious issue.”
The driving simulator at the event set up a scenario in which the participant received a text message while driving and was forced to respond immediately. Some simulator participants responded to the text message ended up virtually running a red light and crashing.
AT&T has developed a free application for AT&T users called “Drive Mode” to help reduce distracted driving. Once a driver’s vehicle reaches 25 mph, Drive Mode automatically turns on. If anyone texts or emails the driver, he or she will be sent an automatic reply message telling them the driver is currently driving and will get back to them soon.
“Honestly, it’s hard not to text and drive, but after doing the simulation I will make more of an effort not to text while I’m driving,” said Samantha Kellerman, senior electrical engineering major. “It’s a big problem especially here in a college town. I have seen students on their cellphones texting and swerve into my lanes. It’s scary.”
There was a large board that students could sign, pledging to not text and drive. More than 1.2 million have signed this pledge and Gowing believes more people will join the movement. AT&T’s goal since 2009 has been to end texting while driving and their message is simple — it can wait.
“Because AT&T is primarily a cellphone company, we feel that we have a social responsibility to curb texting while driving, which is why we started this campaign,” said Jennifer Yoder, an AT&T representative.