AT&T is launching an educational campaign on the risks of texting while driving. CTIA reports that text messaging has experienced a tenfold increase in the past three years, and along with that increase, there has been a marked rise in texting-related car accidents.
“Texting has increasingly become the way to communicate for many people, and the urge to quickly read and respond – even while driving – can be tempting,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson in an announcement at the Detroit Economic Club. “Our goal is to send a simple, yet vital, message to all wireless users: don’t text and drive.”
The campaign includes education for almost 300,000 AT&T employees who drive as part of their job, public service announcements and widespread marketing on bills, packaging and opt-in text messages. AT&T also will launch online resources and continue to work with CTIA and The National Safety Council to support their efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving.
“We commend the administration for putting a spotlight on this important issue and bringing the industry together to discuss solutions,” said Stephenson. “We hope others will join us in prohibiting their employees from texting while driving and helping educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving.”
Stephenson also said AT&T will be participating in the Distracted Driving Summit, hosted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Department of Transportation, which starts tomorrow in Washington, D.C.
In July, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation that would require states to prohibit texting while driving within two years or risk losing 25 percent of their federal highway money. The bill quickly drew support from a group of Democratic senators.
The proposal followed a series of high-profile accidents that helped highlight the dangers of texting while driving. Several studies have added to the mounting pile of evidence that proves texting while driving dramatically increases the likelihood that a driver will have an accident. A recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.
CTIA supports a ban on manual texting while driving, but is neutral on hands-free technology that would allow a driver to use his or her voice to send a text.
Filed Under: Industry regulations