ATLANTA BRAVES PITCHER TIM HUDSON ADDRESSES DANGERS OF TEXTING AND DRIVING WITH LOCAL TEENS
Not long before he departs for Spring Training in Orlando, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson addressed more than 1,500 East Coweta High School students on the dangers of texting while driving, and generate awareness for AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign.
Thousands of Atlanta-area high school students recently had the opportunity to sign AT&T’s "It Can Wait" pledge for a chance to win a prize package that included VIP tickets to a Braves game, a pre-game meet-and-greet with Hudson, and an appearance by Hudson at the winner’s school. One student was chosen from East Coweta High School in nearby Sharpsburg, and Hudson paid a visit to the school to discuss his thoughts on the deadly practice of texting while driving.
“Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility, and it doesn’t matter what a message is. When you are behind the wheel of a car …. It can certainly wait,” Hudson said. “You are responsible for yourself, your passengers, and other drivers around you. No message is important enough to text or read while you are driving, putting yourself and others at risk. That one little message could cost you your life.”
Fully understanding the age-specific demographic he was speaking to, Hudson injected some teen-related humor into his remarks.
“I know sometimes you might get that text from Johnny that says ‘I love you,’ and think ‘Johnny says he loves me, I need to right away text Johnny back to let him know that you love him, too,” Hudson said to laughter.” “But that message you read or will send can definitely wait 5 or 10 minutes. Johnny will still be there when you message him back.”
Every year, more than 100,000 injuries or deaths occur in the United States related to texting and driving. To help reduce accidents and save lives in 2013, AT&T is now beginning to preload No Texting While Driving apps onto wireless phones.
AT&T announced recently that The Pantech Discover™ will be the first device to come to market with the free AT&T DriveMode®** safe-driving app preloaded. AT&T plans in 2013 to work with device manufacturers to expand this accident preventing/lifesaving tactic with the goal of making these solutions standard on all AT&T smartphones.
Samsung and HTC have already committed to preload AT&T DriveMode onto future smartphones later this year.
In addition, in 2013 AT&T is extending the “It Can Wait” program by making AT&T branded materials, teaching aids and sample company policies available to other organizations for programs they develop. AT&T is also launching a year-round texting-while-driving simulator tour targeting more than 380 events nationwide.
“Our goal is simple – we want to change behavior and save lives,” said AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin. “That’s why we’re putting additional resources behind this effort and why we’re inviting everyone to join us in this cause. Working together, we can make a difference.”
AT&T, its 240,000 employees and other supporters are calling on all drivers to go to www.ItCanWait.org to take the no-texting-while-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. The pledge is part of the public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving.
In 2012, 165 organizations, including national nonprofits, commercial businesses, law enforcement, educators, legislators, professional associations and government agencies helped get out the message and encourage people to make a personal pledge not to text and drive. The combined efforts of organizations including the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Organizations for Youth Safety, SADD, Big Brothers Big Sisters, RadioShack and CTIA-The Wireless Association made a difference. For example:
- Awareness of the It Can Wait message increased 26 percent during the key campaign period.2
- One-in-three people in that period said that texting while driving messages have an impact on their driving habits.²
- More than 1.2 million no-texting-while-driving pledges were made at ItCanWait.com and through Facebook, Twitter, live events and text-to-pledge initiatives.
In 2013, AT&T plans to extend work with existing It Can Wait collaborators and significantly expand their ranks. Plans include:
- Working with device makers to pre-load no-texting-while-driving technologies and solutions into handsets, with the goal of making these solutions standard on all AT&T smartphones. The Pantech Discover™, announced today, will be the first device to come with the free AT&T DriveMode®** safe-driving app preloaded. Other device makers, including Samsung and HTC, have plans to preload DriveMode onto future smartphones later this year.
- Engaging cities such as Houston, Texas, and companies including USAA and Walmart to discuss potential new It Can Wait collaborations.
- Making resources – ranging from It Can Wait branded materials, to teaching aids and sample company policies – available to other organizations for programs they develop.
- Launching a year-round texting-while-driving simulator tour targeting more than 380 events nationwide.