By Charlene Lake, AT&T Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer

Today, our Chairman, CEO and President, Randall Stephenson, unveiled new initiatives around AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, our nationwide effort to educate Americans on the dangers of texting while driving.  We’re calling on people across the country to go to www.itcanwait.com to take a pledge and make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive.  We hope to get as many people as possible to take the pledge – and encourage others to do the same – by September 19th, for “No Text On Board – Pledge Day”.  

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have been incredible leaders in bringing distracted driving to the forefront, not only in Washington but in schools and homes across the country.  On the heels of their joint partnership, we officially launched our “It Can Wait” campaign in March 2010 in an effort to do our part to address this dangerous, and often deadly, national epidemic.  It has been a privilege for our company to work closely with Secretary LaHood and Chairman Genachowski, as well as their staffs, over the years.  And their support for our distracted driving initiatives has been invaluable.  We look forward to continuing to support the Administration’s efforts and to collaborate when possible.  

The texting while driving statistics are truly maddening, and the impact to the lives behind those statistics is heartbreaking.  According to the National Safety Council, more than 100,000 vehicle crashes per year involve drivers who are texting while driving. The most frustrating aspect of this is that the deaths and serious injuries stemming from these accidents are 100 percent preventable, which is why we are so strongly committed to getting the word out and urging people to pledge to never text and drive.  

In addition to the “No Text On Board – Pledge Day”, we are working on many other initiatives to address the dangers of texting while driving, including launching an online texting while driving simulator, getting tool kits into schools across the nation, and encouraging mobile device manufacturers to develop, and include on devices, technical solutions to curb texting while driving. We’re calling on all of the private and public sector to get involved. This world can turn on a tweet – we know we can make a difference if we all work together.

Join me, the 240,000 AT&T employees and many others in taking the pledge – and encouraging others to do the same via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook

No text is worth dying over.  Indeed, it can wait.

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