MADISON, Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – AT&T’s traveling virtual reality simulator visited the State Capitol today to highlight the dangers of smartphone activities while driving.
The experience is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign, which urges drivers to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones. Research shows 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving.
Senator Jerry Petrowski and Representative Keith Ripp, the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees, teamed up with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol as part of the It Can Wait campaign to bring the simulator to the Capitol and help raise awareness about the dangers of smartphone activity while driving.
“As technology has advanced, so has the number and type of smartphone distractions for drivers. Not only are drivers texting, but they are also emailing, checking out social media and even taking videos when they should be focused on driving,” said Senator Petrowski, one of the co-authors of Wisconsin’s law that bans texting and driving. “The It Can Wait campaign helps spread awareness about the dangers and encourages drivers to put their phones down.”
The AT&T virtual reality simulator gives individuals the chance to virtually experience firsthand how dangerous it is to take their eyes off the road and glance at a phone. The simulator is visiting Madison as part of AT&T’s nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
“Today’s drivers can be easily distracted behind the wheel by more than just texting,” said Rep. Ripp. “We need drivers to understand that distractions include all of the social media applications available on smartphones, and we are happy to host the It Can Wait simulator at the State Capitol to spread the message that these activities are just as dangerous as texting.”
Research from AT&T shows 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent, but 4 in 10 drivers also tap into social media. Over 25 percent are on Facebook, 1 in 7 are on Twitter, almost 3 in 10 surf the net, and surprisingly, 1 in 10 video chat.
“When we launched the It Can Wait campaign five years ago, our message was simple – no text is worth a life,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “The same applies to other smartphone activities. We are urging drivers, especially teens, to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”
On December 1, 2016, Wisconsin marked the 6 year anniversary of its ban on texting while driving.
“If you text while driving, your hands are not on the steering wheel, your eyes are not on the road, and your attention is not on the traffic and road conditions around you,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Texting while driving will, without a doubt, increase your risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one. You are putting yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road in grave danger.”
AT&T first launched the It Can Wait® campaign in 2010 to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and encourage people to take the pledge to not text and drive at www.ItCanWait.com.
The campaign has now expanded and turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA. Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in over 100 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching over 40,000 high school students.
The It Can Wait campaign has inspired over 14.2 million pledges not to text and drive across the country. Visit www.ItCanWait.com to learn more.