Stevens Point TWD | Text Messaging | At&T

For more information, contact: Jessica Erickson, AT&T Wisconsin 608-282-7870 (work) 608-692-5340

(cell) jessica.erickson@att.com

Pacelli High School Students Learn About Dangers of Texting & Driving, Urged to Pledge Never to Text Behind the Wheel
AT&T Donates $2,500 to Help 4 Pacelli Seniors Purchase Virtual Simulator to Educate Teens, Community on Distracted Driving
STEVENS POINT, WI, Monday, February 4, 2013 — Nearly 230 students at Stevens Point Pacelli High School learned about the dangers of texting and driving and were urged to sign a pledge to never text behind the wheel during an event at the school today. Pacelli High School teamed up with AT&T, the Wisconsin State Patrol and State Rep. Katrina Shankland in a public awareness campaign to urge the school’s students, and all drivers, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving. “In this age of instant communication, we know how tempting it is for our teens to respond to a text message right away while driving – even though they know it’s dangerous and against the law,” said Principal Jeffrey Brengman. “We hope today’s assembly will convince our students to put down their phones while driving and take the pledge to never text behind the wheel.” The event was part of a series of teen-focused assemblies being held at high schools around the state by AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol to drive home the dangers of texting and driving. The assembly featured a new distracted driving simulator purchased by four Pacelli seniors as part of a community service project to educate teens and all drivers about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. The seniors, Max Lundgren, Courtney Kizewski, Sydney Otis and Katie Olson, raised private funds to purchase a simulator they are using this spring to educate area students about the dangers. AT&T, which has a national campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving, has donated $2,500 to support the simulator’s purchase. The simulator will be housed at Mid-State Technical College later this spring, where it will be incorporated into the college’s criminal justice program. Students will learn how to use the simulator and will take it to schools throughout the area to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Although housed at Mid-State, the simulator will also be available for use by law enforcement. During today’s assembly, students were shown a powerful AT&T documentary called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive.

They were also urged to visit www.ItCanWait.com to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. More than 1.2 million people across the country have already visited the website and taken the pledge to never text and drive. “Far too many lives have been forever changed because someone decided to text behind the wheel, and we want to spread the word about how deadly a simple text can be,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “We’re challenging all drivers, particularly our teens, to take the pledge to never text and drive and make it a lifelong commitment. There is simply no text message worth dying for.” Wisconsin recently marked the second anniversary of its no-texting-while-driving ban on December 1, 2012. The law prohibits sending an e-mail or text message while driving and imposes a fine of up to $400. As a primary enforcement law, officers may stop and ticket drivers solely for texting and driving. Wisconsin is among 39 states that ban text messaging by all drivers. “There is no doubt that texting and driving is extremely dangerous and just not worth risking your life or someone else’s,” said State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point). “I am proud to join in this effort to encourage our teens and all drivers to put down their phones when behind the wheel.” The event also featured a showing of “The Joey Story” – a video about Pacelli graduate Joey Trzebiatowski who died with two other young men in a car crash in April 2012 due to alcohol use. The Pacelli seniors hope to prevent further tragic deaths like Joey’s by educating others about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving through the community simulator. Texting and driving is involved in more than 100,000 vehicle crashes each year, often causing injuries and deaths.1 Studies show teen drivers are particularly at risk. While 97% of teens say they know texting while driving is dangerous, 75% say the practice is “common” among their friends, according to a recent AT&T survey2. The survey also found almost all teens (89%) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less, and 77% of teens report seeing their parents text while driving. In addition to Stevens Point, assemblies have already been held at St. Francis High School, Brookfield Central High School, Burlington High School, Edgar High School, La Crosse Logan High School and Washington Park High School in Racine. Events are planned this spring in Rhinelander, Eau Claire, and Middleton, among others. For more information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, please visit: www.att.com/textingcanwait.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc
1 2

National Safety Council www.nsc.org Survey conducted by Beck Research on behalf of AT&T http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/txting_driving/att_teen_survey_executive.pdf.

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