Putting a face to a tragedy is always an effective way to send a message. With AT&T’s recent public relations campaign, “It Can Wait,” drivers of all ages may finally comprehend the dangers of texting while driving.
Launched earlier this month, the campaign is spearheaded by a powerful 10-minute documentary (see below) featuring young individuals whose lives have been severely altered due to texting behind the wheel.
“The Last Text” has already generated more than 500,000 hits on YouTube and is making its presence known on social media outlets.
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The cell phone provider is encouraging school officials and news organizations to distribute the video as well, creating a multi-platform ripple effect specific to this day and age.
The reasoning is certainly justified. According the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration, which provides the only nationwide probability-based observed statistics on driver electronic device use in the United States, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Distracted driving-related crashes include texting, talking on a cell phone and other activities. NHTSA also reported that drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
“After watching this video and seeing the repercussions that can come with texting while driving I feel that this video can make me stop,” said Brian Ceppi, 19, who grew up in Santa Clarita and currently attends Arizona State University.
According to the CTIA, the International Organization for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry, the number of text messages has increased by a rate of ten over past three years.
Tell a teacher this and he or she wouldn’t be surprised.
“Students are always on their phones in the classroom,” said Doreen Barsky, who taught at Manual Arts and West Adams Preparatory high schools in Los Angeles for more than 30 years.
Barsky said that little time is spent to keep tabs on cell phone usage, whether it’s for the content or the frequency.
Although some data shows that adults may text while driving even more so that teenagers, AT&T’s campaign clearly depicts the tragic toll it has on young lives.
“I’ve already from some of my former students who have been affected by the video,” said Barsky. “They can see the damage.”