By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- AT&T is adamant: No text is worth the risk while driving. It can wait.
That's why they started the, "Texting and Driving... It Can Wait" campaign in 2009 that has since exploded into a nationwide movement.
Since its inception, more than two million people have taken the pledge to refuse to send text messages while driving, potentially saving thousands of lives.
AT&T, with the help of various partners, intensified the campaign over the summer when accidents involving teens are more prevalent.
The additional efforts will culminate in Drive 4 Pledges Day on Sept. 19 when teens and adults alike are encouraged to take the online pledge and even start their own campaign inviting friends, neighbors and coworkers to join them in the cause.
"The goal is to change behavior so people never text behind the wheel again," said Kelly Starling, AT&T spokesperson.
The movement has produced documentaries, brought competing cell service providers together in a common goal, and provided cell users with more information than ever via signage and events to stop texting while driving.
"No text is worth dying for. It really can wait," Ms. Starling said.
AT&T has also brought driving simulators to community events and area high schools to let drivers experience first-hand how dangerous it can be to multi-task while behind the wheel. Drivers who do so are 23 times more likely to get in an accident that those who leave their phones in the passenger seat.
"Texting behind the wheel can be deadly," Ms. Starling said. "It's all about saving lives."
Take the pledge to never text and drive at www.itcanwait.com in preparation for Drive 4 Pledges Day then spread the word via Facebook, downloadable buttons and signage, and word of mouth. It all adds up to making navigating city streets and highways a bit safer.
There are even free apps available on the website to AT&T, Sprint and Verizon users that send auto responses to text messages received while driving.
"We really hope people will look at texting and driving the same as drinking and driving - as unacceptable," Ms. Starling said.
Ms. Starling recommends friends, as well as parents and children, pledge together to say no text is worth the risk of endangering lives.