‘No Texting While Driving Month’ in Washington Parish

Sheriff Seale and Safety Commisioner challenge drivers to join “It Can Wait” movement

Author: Alissa Vilardo

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal, Louisiana Public Service Commission Chairman Eric Skrmetta and Rick Demint, Director of External Affairs for AT&T Louisiana, joined forces May 16 to encourage residents of Washington Parish to think twice before texting while driving by declaring May 15 – June 15, 2013 “No Texting While Driving Month.”

“I take my duty to protect our parish very serious,” said Sheriff Seal.  “By educating or citizens about the dangers of texting while driving, we can improve safety and save lives.”

The Public Service Commission recently issued a proclamation encouraging Louisiana residents to never text and drive, and Chairman Skrmetta is working with local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to spread the word.

“Far too often, lives are drastically changed due to a texting-while-driving accident, but together we can change this trend,” said Chairman Skrmetta.  “Taking the pledge to never text and drive and living up to it is a way to make communities throughout Louisiana safer.”

To drive home this message, AT&T has joined the effort and works with local communities throughout Louisiana to bring more attention to this important issue.

In 2012, 165 organizations, including national nonprofits, commercial businesses, law enforcement agencies, professional associations and government agencies, as well as many educators, legislators, and other supporters, helped get out eh message and encouraged people to make a personal pledge not to text and drive.  This combined effort, including those of the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Organizations for Youth Safety, SADD, Big Brothers Big Sisters, RadioShack and CTIA-The Wireless Association, made a difference.  Major highlights include:

  • Awareness of the It Can Wait message increased 26 percent during the key campaign  period.
  • One-in-three people in that period said that texting while driving messages have an impact on driving habits.
  • More than 1.2 million no-texting-while-driving pledges were made at ItCanWait.com and through Facebook, Twitter, live events and text-to-pledge initiatives.

In 2013, AT&T is extending its work with existing It Can Wait collaborators and significantly expanding their ranks.  Plans include:

  • Working with device makers to pre-load no-texting-while-driving technologies and solutions into handsets, with the goal of making these solutions standard on all AT&T smartphones.
  • Making resources—ranging from It Can Wait branded materials, to teaching aids and sample company policies—available to other organizations  for programs they develop.
  • Launching a year-round texting-while-driving simulator tour targeting more than 380 events nationwide.

Sheriff Seal and Chairman Skrmetta call on all drivers to go to www.ItCanWait.com to take the no-texting-while-driving pledge and then share their promise with others via Facebook and Twitter (#itcanwait).  The pledge is part of the public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

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