Attention drivers: ‘It Can Wait' campaign focuses on saving lives

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“Oh my gosh, what have I done?”

A question asked by a man who, after texting “I love you,” while driving, hit and killed three children.

In 2011, at least 1.3 million car crashes were blamed on distracted cellphone users, and experts say drivers are 23 percent more likely to crash if they are texting while operating a vehicle.

A national call to action will take place Sept. 19 in a movement focused on saving lives on the road, called “It Can Wait.”

"Texting while driving claims too many lives, and raising awareness of this completely preventable tragedy is key to saving them,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.  “We’ve seen success before through our seatbelts and our drunk driving campaigns, and I both applaud the It Can Wait campaign for its efforts to raise awareness and encourage everyone to make a commitment on Drive 4 Pledges Day to drive focused and distraction-free."

Sept. 19 will be marked “Drive 4 Pledges Day,” when supporters of the movement are called to spread the word of safe driving to their friends, families and communities.

People can go to ItCanWait.com to get more information on the movement and pledge to never text and drive.

A ConnectSafely.org survey finds that people who speak up can have a huge impact on texting and driving, particularly on teens.

  • 78% of teen drivers say they’re likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong or stupid.
  • 90% say they’d stop if a friend in the car asked them to.
  • 93% would stop if a parent in the car asked them to.
  • 44% say that they would be thankful if a passenger complained about their texting while driving.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Ronan and State Senator Eric Kearney will all be involved in a kick-off event for the campaign on Monday.

Mallory is scheduled to declare Thursday, Sept. 19 as “Drive 4 Pledges Day,” in Cincinnati.

People who join Drive 4 Pledges Day will be part of awareness campaigns spanning from coast to coast:

  • Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities will be held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools. Additionally, 200+ proclamations will be issued.
  • #ItCanWait tweets and Instagram posts will stream on ItCanWait.com.
  • A National Organizations for Youth Safety Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C. will be held Sept. 18-20, including a rally on Sept. 19 with over 75 teens, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, NTSB Member Christopher Hart and Aly Raisman, The Century Council Ambassador.
  • AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will run co-branded advertising on national TV programming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and display the message in their tens of thousands of stores nationwide.
  • GE Healthcare will provide its US Service vehicle fleets with It Can Wait window clings to remind its employees to be safe while on the roads.
  • Goodyear blimps will display the message It Can Wait in the skies over Miami and Los Angeles. 
  • The It Can Wait message will be promoted across key sporting events at games and via social media. Several Major League Baseball teams will drum up support for It Can Wait by reaching out to fans during games urging them to take the pledge. Participating clubs include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals. NFL players will tweet their support of Drive 4 Pledges Day with their friends and fans and teams such as the Carolina Panthers will rally around the cause as well. NHL and NBA teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs will also be supporting the cause.
  • Third party organizations will support the day through various activations. The Consumer Electronics Association will hold an employee and membership pledge drive and distribute messaging through social media. The National Auto Body Council will distribute messaging through social media, enewsletters, and press releases. Member collision shops will hold mini pledge drives in local communities. Net Impact, a nonprofit that empowers a new generation of leaders to work for a sustainable future, will promote the pledge as a "small step" in their Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge program at colleges around the world.
  • Youth organizations like the Girl Scouts will participate. Girl Scouts of the USA will activate its 112 councils nationwide to support It Can Wait through social media and member engagement.

For more information on joining the cause, click here: http://www.itcanwait.com/

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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