Launched in 2010, AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign shares a simple message: distracted driving is never OK. The campaign has evolved as smartphone driving distractions have grown beyond texting to include social media, web surfing, video chatting and more. Last summer, AT&T launched a nationwide virtual reality tour to help people understand that it’s not possible to drive safely while using a smartphone.
On-the-ground events, the campaign’s website, a virtual reality simulator and Public Service Announcements are just some of the ways It Can Wait has spread the word about this effort and collected more than 25 million pledges (as of July 2018). Anyone can pledge to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone – and pass it on – here.
In 2017, It Can Wait hit the road, bringing their virtual reality simulator to schools, businesses and events around the country. Throughout the year, It Can Wait completed more than 500 tour stops, reaching 65,000 people from across the country. A map of tour stops can be found here.
In April 2018, the program launched a new Virtual Reality (VR) experience to bring people face-to-face with the dangers of distracted driving. Taking the experience on the road, the 2018 tour made 200 stops, displaying new features including a memorial wall, a wall of keys representing lives lost to distraction, and a wall resembling crushed car parts surrounding the viewer.
AT&T also offers DriveMode®, a free mobile app for AT&T Android and iPhone users that silences message alerts and auto-replies when the recipient is driving to let friends and family know he or she can't respond. The campaign has resulted in millions of downloads of the app.
To learn more about the It Can Wait campaign, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.
GHSA and State Involvement
GHSA is proud to support the It Can Wait campaign. In 2016, GHSA conducted outreach with its State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) members to showcase how states are – and can be – working with the It Can Wait program to raise even more awareness about this critical issue. Below are just a few examples of recent state engagement efforts:
Connecticut’s Highway Safety Office has partnered with It Can Wait since 2012, collaborating on a distracted driving initiative for high schoolers throughout the state. Students are shown AT&T’s “From One Second to the Next” documentary before being separated into groups to try out the virtual reality simulator. This program has received extremely positive feedback from students and administrators alike and has been featured in more than 160 schools since its inception.
The New Hampshire Teen Driver Program has worked closely with AT&T on a variety of efforts. These include It Can Wait virtual reality simulator demonstrations at school career day assemblies as well as a full-day “quick-fire” event for students to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. Student leaders across the state have also taken the initiative to show It Can Wait videos and share materials with their peers, and It Can Wait messaging is included in driving attitude courses offered by the NH Traffic Safety Institute.
Texas uses the message of It Can Wait on 700 permanent Dynamic Messaging signs throughout the state at various times during the year. AT&T team members have also served as panelists for highway safety-related meetings and conferences in the Lone Star State.
Over the last few years, AT&T has worked with state and local officials to issue proclamations that recognize the dangers of smartphone use while driving. This includes those declaring April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, deeming September 19 as Drive 4 Pledges Day, and creating It Can Wait Days, approved by mayors and governors around the country.
Engaging with Organizations and Businesses
September 2017: Social-First Campaign
It Can Wait achieved 20 million pledges to not drive distracted. To celebrate this milestone, the campaign donated $20,000 to Students Against Destructive Decisions, one of its partner safety organizations. It Can Wait also asked their fans and social media followers to reflect on the importance of safe, non-distracted driving.
April 2017: Teens Take the Wheel Event
The Medical Center of Aurora, Colorado hosted a free 2-hour event, “Teens Take the Wheel,” in hopes of helping parents and their teenagers understand the importance of safe driving. Visitors at the event were able to experience the It Can Wait virtual reality simulator, participate in a mock crash and hear from Jacob Smith, a teen crash survivor. Participants who took the pledge were encouraged to participate in the #TagYourHalf campaign.
March 2017: It Can Wait Joins The Future Farmers of America Convention
The It Can Wait campaign had the opportunity to showcase its virtual reality simulator at The Future Farmers of America Convention in Galinburg, TN. “It really showed what it would be like to be in that kind of situation,” said Finley Denton from Nashville. WATE reported that the virtual reality simulator was so popular that the campaign gained nearly 800 pledges to not drive distracted, adding to the 14 million pledges It Can Wait had already inspired.
September 2016: Collaboration with the National Waste and Recycling Association
AT&T's Director of Consumer Safety and Education, Andrea Brands, attended the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) Conference and presented about the campaign and on how NWRA members could amplify the campaign at the local level. The virtual reality simulator was also on-site for conference attendees. NWRA worked with AT&T in 2016 to share the campaign message at the local level as part of their own efforts to keep their drivers safe on the road.
June 2016: It Can Wait Partners with Cal Poly Police Department
It Can Wait partnered with the California Polytechnic State University Police Department to bring awareness to the pervasive problem of distracted driving. “You see a text message going on and you actually look down on it and you look up and there is people crossing the street,” said student Christian Garcia, after experiencing the virtual reality simulator. "My heart would jump, because I have my little sister going to school and walking to school. I don't know, it just could have been her.“
Events with Elected Officials
August 2017: Tampa, FL Simulator Event
Students at Robinson High School had the opportunity to learn about the dangers of distracted driving from several prominent Florida officials, including Jeff Eakins, Superintendent, Jackie Toledo, Florida House Representative and Harry Cohen, Tampa City Council Member.
June 2017: Texas Signs Texting-While-Driving Ban
It Can Wait speaker Jennifer Smith (founder of StopDistractions.org) played a significant role in advocating for Governor Greg Abbott to sign Texas’s texting-while-driving ban. Collaborating with state representatives, Smith worked to show the Governor the importance of strong laws combatting distracted driving.
June 2017: Lakeway, TX Simulator Event
During the It Can Wait tour stop at the Lakeway Activity Center, State Representative Paul Workman had the opportunity to experience the virtual reality simulator and see firsthand the dangers of distracted driving. Local representatives from the Police Department and Fire Department also attended the event to encourage drivers to stay safe on the road.
June 2017: Palestine, TX Simulator Event
It Can Wait partnered with the Palestine Rotary Club to remind members and the greater community that distracted driving is never OK. During the presentation, State Representative Bryon Cook, who helped champion the legislation to put an end to distracted driving in the state of Texas, spoke to rotary members.
March 2017: Madison, WI Simulator Event
State Senator Jerry Petrowski and State Representative Keith Ripp partnered with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Legislators and event attendees were encouraged to experience the It Can Wait virtual reality simulator and take the campaign pledge.
December 2016: La Crosse, WI Simulator Event
During the It Can Wait virtual reality simulator tour’s stop at Logan High School in La Cross, Wisconsin, state senator Jennifer Shilling was in attendance to support the effort. "Distracted driving has some really serious consequences and that split second decision could stay with you for a lifetime,” Shilling said.
July 2016: Monaca, PA Simulator Event
It Can Wait visited the Beaver Valley Mall to educate mall-goers about the campaign’s lifesaving message. In attendance were members of Pennsylvania State Representative Jaret Gibbons’ office as well as the family and friends of Daniel Gallatin, who were instrumental in putting together Daniel's Law - Enhanced Penalties for Death or Injury Resulting from Distracted Driving.
October 2014: Peter K. O’Rourke Award Acceptance at the Drive Studio
Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety of Georgia, presented AT&T with the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award for the It Can Wait campaign at an event at the AT&T Drive Studio. State Senator Steve Gooch, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and State Representative Jay Roberts, Chair of the House Transportation Committee, spoke at the event.
State Highway Safety Offices can get involved in many ways, including sharing the message on social media, writing op-eds or blog posts, hosting pledge challenges or pledge drives, holding It Can Wait events, giving presentations in schools and more.