Texting and Driving Simulator Comes to Tallahassee

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UPDATED 10.4.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Teenagers text as many as 60 times a day. Perhaps after a whirl behind the wheel today, some of them will think twice about doing that while driving.

One hand on the wheel, one on the phone and a high tech visor that leads teens down a busy street. The only assignment? Try to text and drive without doing this ...

(sound of crash)

"It was horrible. It was a nightmare. I didn't know what I was doing at all," said Godby Senior Wade Philipp.

"And what was the net result?"

"I had four tickets, I was all over the road and I went off the road one time," Philipp said.

A simulator was parked in the courtyard at Godby High School Thursday. It's part of AT&T's "It can wait" campaign.

Dozens of teens took turns trying to avoid calamity.

"It'll help teens realize texting and driving can wait and can live longer," Godby senior Xavier Wade said.

'So, you crashed, you crossed the center line once and you went off the road once," yelled the man running the simulator.

I spent just 19 seconds behind the wheel before crashing into a field. On my second try I lasted 21 seconds.

Does anyone come out unscathed?

"No. No. If they do, they're driving really suspicously slow, like half the speed limit," said Andrew Orcutt who runs the simulator for Peer Awareness.

43% of teens admit to texting while driving, 75% of teens say it's common among their friends and 97% admit it's dangerous.

Many signed a pledge promising they can wait.

"Do you think it will really stick?"

"I think it actually will because I know I've driven in like cars with people that text while driving and it's like dangerou having to watch them look up and down," Godby sophomore Natalia President said after signing that pledge.

Tallahassee, FL - When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait. That is the simple, yet vital message AT&T is sending drivers, particularly teens.

To drive home the message, AT&T is bringing a simulator to Amos P. Godby High School in Tallahassee so students can experience first-hand the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

Teenagers - who text on average 60 times a day - are especially at risk because they're inexperienced drivers and texting is their No. 1 of communication.

The simulator is part of AT&T's aggressive 'Textng & Driving...It Can Wait' public awareness campaign. The goal of the 'It Can Wait' movement is to save lives and make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. Since the campaign was announced in 2009, AT&T has:

* Recognized Sept. 19, 2012 as national "No Text on Board" pledge day, encouraging drivers nationwide to make a lifetime commitment to stop texting and driving

* Introduced an online simulation experience at
www.itcanwait.com that allows anyone with access to the Internet to get behind the wheel, virtually, and see what happens when you text and drive

* Designed the free AT&T DriveMode mobile application to help curb texting behind the wheel

* Developed "The Last Text," a powerful 10-minute documentary featuring real stories of individual lives that have been drastically altered - or even ended - because of texting while driving.

* Created a resource center - www.att.com/txtngcanwait - offering downloadable educational resources for parents and educators

* Announced a four-year, million-dollar commitment toward initiatives that educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving

* Developed a Youth Advisory Panel, made up of students of AT&T employees, to design and administer an ongoing campaign to spread the anti-texting-while-driving message to their peers at their schools throughout the year; and

* Awarded more than $30,000 in prizes to app developers participating in a hackathon to develop technology solutions to help curb texting and driving.

WHEN: Thursday, October 4
7:30am - 2:30pm (w/ students)

WHERE: Amos P. Godby High School
1717 West Tharpe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32303

"Educating today using creative tools to raise awareness and change behaviors helps our youth understand how decisions they make every day can impact their lives," said Jackie Pons, Leon County superintendent of schools. "Our teens have grown up texting and take it for granted. Providing them an opportunity to experience, in a safe environment, how the decision to text while driving can affect their lives forever is a powerful tool and will help them make the decision to not text and drive. It really can wait. Take the pledge. Don't text and drive."

"Amos P. Godby High School is proud to partner with AT&T to stop texting while driving," said Shelly Bell, principal of Amos P. Godby High School.

"Our students have lived during a time where technology is always at their fingertips. However, we want them to know the dangers of using that technology while driving and are thrilled to offer them an experience that will help them make better decisions while behind the wheel. It really can wait. Take the pledge. Don't text and drive."

"A text can wait. This message can't," said Marshall Criser, lll, president, AT&T Florida. "In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving."

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