By Andrea Brands, AT&T Director-Public Affairs

AT&T recently was a sponsor of the NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo in Washington, DC., to help grow awareness of “It Can Wait,” an AT&T campaign dedicated to teaching consumers about the dangers of texting and driving, a very relevant issue to our health and safety.  Our booth featured a texting while driving simulator, which demonstrated even to the most seasoned driver how dangerous texting and driving can be.  Click here to watch NBC4’s Doreen Gentzler take a turn at the wheel.

In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with others who are on the front lines of educating consumers, particularly teenagers, about texting while driving.  I was joined by Sandy Spavone, executive director of the National Organizations for Youth Safety, Stacy Horne from AllState, and two teenagers from Maryland and Virginia, who lead efforts in their communities to educate their peers about the dangers of texting and driving.  These teens will be leading state summits, made possible by AT&T, to address texting and driving among their peers in the coming months.

The panel discussed the ways in which we’re educating teens and parents and how we can change behaviors.  The teen panelists noted that encouraging other teens not to text and drive works best through word of mouth and “peer pressure” – if your friends aren’t doing it, you won’t either – but also that visual cues like The Last Text video AT&T produced gives teens a very real picture of what can happen when you text and drive.  The panel addressed current texting and driving policy, agreeing that education must be a major component and applauding public officials like U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who have supported public awareness efforts and have no doubt helped save lives through their work with public/private partnerships.  

Check out this short video of the expo as well as the AT&T simulator and remember that, when it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.

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