Texting and Driving – It Can Wait [VIDEO/POLL]
Several New Jersey businesses and organizations have joined in a nationwide campaign committed to stopping the practice of texting while driving.
According to the National Safety Council, people are injured or killed in more than 100,000 automobile crashes each year, as a result of texting behind the wheel. Studies have shown that people understand the practice is dangerous and potentially fatal, but they do it anyway.
Through social media, celebrities and advertisements, the "It Can Wait" campaign from AT&T and its supporters is calling on everyone to take the pledge - I will never text and drive again. The campaign is making its strongest push before September 19, "No Text on Board - Pledge Day."
"I think it's time for us to realize that driving and texting is just as bad as driving while drinking," said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, whose office has joined the campaign's coalition. Last fall, the same office launched its own initiative that garnered attention across the country. With "Put it Down," drivers stopped for texting while driving had a choice - pay a $100 fine or view an educational video that shows the consequences of holding your phone behind the wheel.
"We need to engage in initiatives like this," said Soriano. "Just like we did with Click It or Ticket."
He said people who think they're capable of multi-tasking must start believing that there is no text or e-mail worth putting a life in jeopardy.
Other participants from the Garden State include AAA, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and the New Jersey Association of State Colleges & Universities. The campaign's site offers posters and facts that participants can share with employees and the public.
Also available at the site is the DriveMode app from AT&T, which prevents drivers from texting behind the wheel. When enabled, the application sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts, letting others know a reply will come when it's safe.
"It will also allow calls to go directly to voicemail, or text messages to go directly to e-mail," explained Soriano.