It Can Wait Virtual Reality
It Can Wait Virtual Reality Simulator Visits Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial to Show Dangers of Smartphone Use While Driving
New AT&T Research Shows 81% of People Admit to Texting Behind the Wheel
AT&T and Toward Zero Deaths Program Team Up to Highlight Hazards
LAKE CRYSTAL, Thursday, September 13, 2018 – Students at Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial (LCWM) Secondary School learned today about the dangers of smartphone activities while driving and had the chance to experience the hazards firsthand when the new AT&T It Can Wait virtual reality driving simulator visited the school.
LCWM teamed up with AT&T and the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program as part of the It Can Wait® campaign to remind students that smartphone activity should wait until after driving. New research from AT&T shows 81% of people admit to texting behind the wheel, while 64% admit to snapping and viewing photos while driving.
“Today’s teens are connected to their smartphones more than ever before, and we know many are tempted to use their phones while driving,” said Principal Mike Thofson. “But they need to understand that just one look at that phone can cost them everything – even their life. We hope students take that message to heart after experiencing the It Can Wait simulator, and pledge to put their phones away when they are behind the wheel.”
As part of the It Can Wait experience, students came face-to-face with the very real dangers of distracted driving and interacted with a memorial wall, a wall of keys representing lives lost, and a wall made to look like crushed car parts. Teens were also asked to sign a pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.
“The message of our It Can Wait campaign is simple – it is never okay to drive distracted,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota. “One glance at your phone behind the wheel can change everything in just an instant. We are urging all drivers, especially our teens, to put their phones down while driving.”
The AT&T It Can Wait virtual reality experience visited Lake Crystal as part of the company’s nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Other Minnesota stops this week included Duluth on Monday and Rochester on Wednesday.
In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the Internet on a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic, such as at a stoplight or stuck in traffic.
However, new research from AT&T shows 81% of people admit to texting behind the wheel, while 64% admit to snapping and viewing photos while driving. Other smartphone activities people say they do while driving include: playing music (64%); emailing (60%); accessing social media (50%); surfing the net (47%); watching or streaming videos (36%); and even video chatting (27%).
Nearly 4 in 10 people call distracted driving a habit. And nearly a quarter of people don’t see it as a major problem.
Research does show taking action and speaking up can help reduce distracted driving. Seven in 10 drivers who have pledged at www.ItCanWait.com are keeping their commitment to not use their smartphones while driving. And 57% of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger pressures them to.
“A key component to our goal of achieving zero deaths on Minnesota’s roads is driver education,” said Annette Larson, TZD regional coordinator for southwest and south central Minnesota. “That’s why our TZD program is focused on giving drivers the knowledge they need to avoid dangerous driving practices and choose responsible behavior instead. The It Can Wait simulator is a great way to educate our youngest drivers on the hazards of distracted driving, especially smartphone use behind the wheel.”
AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign began in 2010 with a focus on texting while driving, but has now expanded to include the broader dangers of using a smartphone behind the wheel. Nationally, over 29 million people have taken the pledge to not drive distracted by their phone since 2010. To learn more about the It Can Waitcampaign and to take the pledge, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.
The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program is the state’s cornerstone traffic safety program, employing an interdisciplinary approach to reducing traffic crashes, injuries and deaths on Minnesota roads. Visit http://www.minnesotatzd.org/ for more information.
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