Top mobile carriers join forces to stop texting while driving

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile band together on the "It Can Wait" ad campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of sending text messages while behind the wheel.


The four major wireless carriers are putting their sway behind a massive ad campaign that aims to lower the amount of people that text while driving in the U.S.

Initiated by AT&T, the multi-million dollar "It Can Wait" campaign now has the support of Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and more than 200 other organizations. Besides rolling out TV, radio, and Internet ads throughout the summer, the campaign will also travel to thousands of retail stores, create a social media presence, and display messaging on Goodyear blimps.

"Texting while driving is a deadly habit that makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement on Tuesday. "Awareness of the dangers of texting and driving has increased, but people are still doing it. With this expanded effort, we hope to change behavior."

According to the U.S. government's distracted driving Web site, 3,331 people were killed by "distracted drivers" in 2011, while 3,267 were killed in 2010. A 2009 study by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute showed that texting drivers were 23 percent more likely to get in a crash than those who pay attention to the road.

AT&T recently conducted its own survey, which shows that texting and driving is on the rise -- despite it being outlawed in most U.S. states. According to AT&T, 49 percent of commuters say they text while driving and half of them admit to it being a habit.

"It Can Wait" focuses on teen drivers and asks them to take a pledge against texting while behind the wheel. The carriers also set up a Web site just for the campaign where people can get information and read stories about people whose lives were affected by texting drivers.

"Mobile technology connects us in many cool ways, but adults and teens need to put it on hold while behind the wheel," T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere said. "Knowing the risks is not enough. By simply putting the phone down, thousands of tragedies can be prevented every year. It's time to end texting while driving -- for good."