Texting can wait; focus on driving

Monday, October 8, 2012

School is now in session, which means football on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, temperatures are about to get cooler, and teens across Missouri and the rest of America are back in class.

With teens driving to and from school, work, and after school activities, it is important that, in addition to the rules of the road, we focus on educating teens, their families, and their communities about the dangers of texting and driving.

It can be hard for anyone, whether they are a teenager or an adult, to resist the urge to respond quickly to a text. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of teens openly admit to texting and driving. The same survey found that nine out of 10 teens expect recipients of their texts and emails to respond within five minutes. The pressure is on. This data clearly shows that the temptation to text while driving is greater than ever before.

Sending a text takes and average of five seconds. But doing that while traveling 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with a blindfold on. It sounds unbelievable that anyone would unnecessarily close their eyes for a full five seconds while driving on the highway, but that's effectively what you are doing if you send a text while driving.

Texting while driving doesn't just affect you; it can change the lives of the passengers in your car, your family and strangers on the road. Texting while driving puts everyone's safety at risk. To learn more about this issue and what AT&T is doing, go to itcanwait.com.

It's an exciting time to be young -- the world is changing faster than ever before and AT&T plays a big part in the innovations that are connecting us and revolutionizing our way of life. But as technology progresses and mobile solutions become and even bigger part of our lives, we have to step back and remind ourselves that unless used responsibly, technology can have very real consequences. While being connected is important, while you are driving, it can wait.

John Sondag is the president of AT&T Missouri.

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