It’s not often that a company calls on people not to use one of its services or teams up with three of its largest competitors to combat a dangerous trend. But that’s exactly what AT&T did to fight distracted driving.
Texting is a frequent activity, especially among teenagers who are still new to driving. The intersection of teen driving and texting has been particularly dangerous. The National Safety Council notes that texting and driving is involved in more than 200,000 vehicle crashes each year.
Due to the volume of text messages crossing AT&T’s network, the company realized something needed to be done to change social norms and bring pressure to urge young drivers and others to stop this dangerous behavior.
AT&T’s It Can Wait movement seeks to end texting while driving by encouraging behavior change. In 2013, AT&T expanded the movement, engaging more than 1,500 organizations and companies, including its three biggest competitors. The campaign had an impressive year surpassing 4 million pledges, 1 billion impressions on social media and leading more than 4,000 events, activities and proclamations across the country.
It Can Wait has created more awareness around the issue of distracted driving and spurring social and political change. Through the grassroots efforts of programs like It Can Wait, texting and driving is now banned in 44 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To date, more than 5 million people have taken the pledge to never text and drive.
Local outreach was a critical aspect of this campaign. AT&T worked with state and local governments to get 693 state and municipal proclamations committing to Drive 4 Pledges Day, and 282 government officials participated in campaign activities. The company reached 1,700 schools across the country through events and other activations, bringing this message to the most important audience. The Rhode Island Highway Safety Office recently partnered with AT&T to bring the It Can Wait campaign to all 75 of the state’s high schools.
In 2013, the company also continued their national tour with a texting-and-driving simulator to provide participants with a first-hand experience of the dangers of texting while driving. The simulator – accessible online and through traveling gaming chairs – has put more than 75,000 teens behind the wheel in high schools, universities and events across the country to experience virtually the dangers of texting and driving. This past year, the tour consisted of 287 simulator events reaching more than 26,000 people.
In addition to the simulator, AT&T continued to encourage people to download the DriveMode app, which acts like an out of office alert to tell people that you are driving and can respond to them later. DriveMode is preloaded on all Pantech, HTC and Samsung devices, and has been downloaded nearly one million times.
AT&T has also partnered with youth organizations to mobilize teens around the country to engage on social media and host events in their local communities.
The campaign’s 2013 documentary, “From One Second to the Next,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog, highlights the stories of individuals affected by texting while driving and the consequences it had on them or their loved ones and has been viewed by more than 2.7 million people on YouTube. The Connecticut Highway Safety Office recently used the video in their Save A Life Tour, which brings distracted driving education to high schools across the state.
Thanks in large part to the It Can Wait campaign, CR Magazine named AT&T America’s Best Corporate Citizen of 2013, in recognition of the company’s dedication to the well-being of its customers and the environment.
For more information, contact AT&T’s Director of Consumer Safety & Education, Andrea Brands at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-307-9027.