Royall Students Urged to Take Pledge to Keep Eyes on Road, Not on Their Phones

May 18, 2017

ELROY, Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – Nearly 235 students from Royall Middle and High Schools learned today about the dangers of smartphone activities while driving and were encouraged to take the pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.

Royall teamed up with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol as part of the It Can Wait® campaign to remind students that smartphone activity can – and should – wait until after driving.

“In today’s connected society, many drivers are engaging in unsafe smartphone activities behind the wheel, including texting, video chatting and posting on social media,” said Royall High School Principal Scott Uppena. “The It Can Wait campaign is a great way for teens to experience firsthand in a safe setting how dangerous this behavior can be. We want our students to be safe, and we encourage them to take the pledge to put their phones down while they are driving.”

Today’s assembly was part of a series of high school events AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol are holding this school year to drive home the dangers of distracted driving and encourage students to take the pledge.

The effort is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign, which has expanded from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone activities now common behind the wheel.

“When we launched the It Can Wait campaign six years ago, our message was simple – no text is worth a life,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “The same applies to other smartphone activities. We are urging drivers, especially teens, to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”

Today’s event featured AAA’s distracted driving simulator, which allowed students to experience the dangers of smartphone activities behind the wheel. Teens also watched a powerful documentary produced by AT&T called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive.

In December of 2016, Wisconsin marked the 6 year anniversary of its ban on texting while driving.

“There is no doubt texting and driving is a perilous mix,” said State Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), one of the co-authors of Wisconsin’s ban on texting and driving. “Here in Wisconsin, it is now illegal to text and drive. But we must continue to raise awareness about the dangers of not only texting, but other smartphone activity behind the wheel. There is no text, no post, no email worth a life.”

Research from AT&T shows 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent, but 4 in 10 drivers also tap into social media. Over 25 percent are on Facebook, 1 in 7 are on Twitter, almost 3 in 10 surf the net, and surprisingly, 1 in 10 video chat.

“If you text while driving, your hands are not on the steering wheel, your eyes are not on the road, and your attention is not on the traffic and road conditions around you,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Texting while driving will, without a doubt, increase your risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one. You are putting yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road in grave danger.”

AT&T first launched the It Can Wait® campaign in 2010 to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and encourage people to take the pledge to not text and drive at www.ItCanWait.com.

The campaign has now expanded and turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA. Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in over 116 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching nearly 44,000 high school students.

The It Can Wait campaign has inspired over 14.2 million pledges not to drive distracted across the country. Visit www.ItCanWait.com to learn more.