Drinking and driving used to be the number one killer of teenagers. No more, as texting while driving causes more than 3,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries annually among teens. An estimated 2,700 teens die and 282,000 are injured when driving under the influence each year.
Distracted driving, especially among teenagers, is a growing danger to traffic safety. An investigative team from Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park found that nearly half of all teens (49% of boys and 45% of girls aged 15-18) admit to texting while driving. Likewise, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that more “more than 100,000 drivers are texting at any given daylight moment, while more than 600,000 drivers are using handheld phones while operating a car.”
To confront this growing epidemic of texting while driving, the ItCanWait campaign seeks to educate people about the dangers of texting while driving, and provide them with tools to get themselves and their friends involved in proactive action against texting while driving. ItCanWait was started by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, who have been joined by throngs of civil rights, social justice, civic, social, business, government and professional associations across the country.
John Walls, Vice President of Public Affairs for CTIA, The Wireless Association, recently talked about ItCanWait and the value of its Texting and Driving Simulator. “The simulator providers users the ability to try to text while driving, but safely since they aren’t actually behind the wheel,” he said. “Set up like a computer game, drivers use their computer keyboard to navigate a virtual city, obeying the speed limit and avoiding normal obstacles on the road. Then, you get a text message.
“Take it from me, the simulator illustrates the impossibility of answering a text message while safely driving.”