Glendale — Nicolet High School students are taking a pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.
The social media pledge is part of the 'It Can Wait' campaign, which encourages student drivers to wait until they reach their destination before checking their phone. The campaign kicked off with a school-wide assembly on Oct. 15. The presentation featured speakers from AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol.
"Too many drivers are now engaging in unsafe smartphone activities behind the wheel, including texting, emailing and video chatting," said Nicolet Principal Greg Kabara. "That's why campaigns like 'It Can Wait' are so important to spread awareness about the dangers and help change behaviors, especially among our young people."
The event featured AAA's distracted driving simulator, which allowed students to experience the dangers of smartphone activities behind the wheel. Teens also watched a new AT&T video that shows how one young man's dreams of playing college football ended instantly when another driver hit his vehicle after glancing at a phone.
Students were also encouraged to tag their top five contacts in a social media post asking them to take the pledge and pass it on, as part of AT&T's #Tag5toSave5 campaign. Research shows two out of three people have most of their smartphone communications with just five people, and those "top five" have a lot of influence over each other.
The event at Nicolet comes just two months before the five-year anniversary of Wisconsin's ban on texting while driving. Additionally, Gov. Scott Walker has proclaimed October as "It Can Wait – Distracted Driving Awareness" month throughout Wisconsin.
Research from AT&T shows seven in 10 people are engaging in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent activities, but four in 10 drivers also tap into social media. More than 25 percent of users are on Facebook, one in seven are on Twitter, almost three in 10 surf the Internet and one in 10 are using video chat.
Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in 76 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching nearly 31,000 high school students.
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