(UNDATED) - Gov. Mike Pence and 33 mayors across Indiana, including Bedford and Mitchell, have declared this Thursday, September 19, "Drive 4 Pledges Day," as part of the "It Can Wait" effort to urge Hoosiers to pledge never to text and drive.
"A driver that sends a text message while driving not only jeopardizes his or her safety," Pence wrote in his proclamation, "but also the safety of passengers, pedestrians and other drivers."
Mayors of the following communities have issued proclamations for Drive 4 Pledges Day:
- Fort Wayne
- Hartford City
- Mount Vernon
- New Albany
- New Castle
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
"This is an incredible outpouring of support for an issue that is a priority for our company, and more importantly, crucial to the safety and well-being of Indiana's residents," said Margaret Trammell, president of AT&T Indiana Pioneers. Pioneers is the largest industry-related volunteer organization in the world.
AT&T is one of the four national wireless service providers that are spearheading the It Can Wait campaign and are urging people to share their commitment to never text and drive with others on Drive 4 Pledges Day. Individuals can take the pledge at ItCanWait.com and get related resources.
"Drivers who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash," Trammell added. "We challenge everyone to take the pledge to never text and drive and to make it a lifelong commitment."
Aspiring to create a social stigma around this dangerous habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day is focused on getting individuals involved in taking the pledge to never text and drive while encouraging others in their community to do the same. These individuals will join AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Verizon and more than 200 other organizations by sharing their commitment not to text and drive while increasing awareness of the dangers.
Supporters of this movement are called to help spread the word to their families, friends and communities. Advocates are encouraged to do things like change their social profile photos and banner to It Can Wait graphics, and share their personal pledge stories using the hashtag #ItCanWait. Offline activities will include hosting pledge drives and distributing posters in schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. All materials such as social graphics and posters will be available for download from www.ItCanWait.com.
Individuals joining in Drive 4 Pledges Day on Thursday will be part of a variety of activations and awareness campaigns coast-to-coast, including:
* Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities will be held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools. In Indiana, activities will be held at Merrillville High School and Evansville High School. Additionally, 200+ proclamations will be issued.
* ItCanWait tweets and Instagram posts will stream on ItCanWait.com.
* A National Organizations for Youth Safety Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C. will be held Sept. 18-20, including a rally on Sept. 19 with over 75 teens, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, NTSB Member Christopher Hart and Aly Raisman, The Century Council Ambassador.
* AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will run co-branded advertising on national TV programming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and display the message in their tens of thousands of stores nationwide.
* GE Healthcare will provide its US Service vehicle fleets with It Can Wait window clings to remind its employees to be safe while on the roads.
* Goodyear blimps will display the message It Can Wait in the skies over Miami and Los Angeles.
* The It Can Wait message will be promoted across key sporting events at games and via social media. Several Major League Baseball teams will drum up support for It Can Wait by reaching out to fans during games urging them to take the pledge. Participating clubs include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals. NFL players will tweet their support of Drive 4 Pledges Day with their friends and fans and teams such as the Carolina Panthers will rally around the cause as well. NHL and NBA teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs will also be supporting the cause.
Third party organizations will support the day through various activations. The Consumer Electronics Association will hold an employee and membership pledge drive and distribute messaging through social media. The National Auto Body Council will distribute messaging through social media, e-newsletters, and press releases. Member collision shops will hold mini pledge drives in local communities. Net Impact, a nonprofit that empowers a new generation of leaders to work for a sustainable future, will promote the pledge as a "small step" in their Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge program at colleges around the world.
Youth organizations like the Girl Scouts will participate. Girl Scouts of the USA will activate its 112 councils nationwide to support It Can Wait through social media and member engagement.
"Texting while driving claims too many lives, and raising awareness of this completely preventable tragedy is key to saving them," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. "We've seen success before through our seatbelts and our drunk driving campaigns, and I both applaud the It Can Wait campaign for its efforts to raise awareness and encourage everyone to make a commitment on Drive 4 Pledges Day to drive focused and distraction-free."
In fact, a ConnectSafely.org survey found that individuals who speak up can have a profound impact, particularly on teens.
* 78% of teen drivers say they're likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong or stupid.
* 90% say they'd stop if a friend in the car asked them to.
* 93% would stop if a parent in the car asked them to.
* 44% say that they would be thankful if a passenger complained about their texting while driving.
The It Can Wait movement is making a difference. One-in-three people who've seen the texting while driving message say they've changed their driving habits, the campaign has inspired more than 2.5 million pledges never to text and drive and the recently launched "From One Second To The Next" documentary has received more than 2 million views since Aug. 8. To take the pledge and get more information, visit www.ItCanWait.com.
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