In recognition of the national “No Text on Board” effort, the University of Pikeville hosted an event with wireless provider AT&T* Oct. 11 to tackle a dangerous practice that puts millions of Americans at risk: texting while driving.
At the event commemorating No Text on Board Pledge Day, professors joined with students in urging them to make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive again.
“A driver’s crash risk doubles when attention is taken off the road for two or more seconds, ”said State Representative Leslie Combs. “Our goal is to save lives so it is critical that we educate young drivers to practice safe driving habits from the time they first get behind the wheel so that they can avoid putting themselves and others at risk.”
“It is especially important that we share this message with young people who are about to get behind the wheel,” said Senator Ray Jones. “This law has already saved lives and is an important step in our efforts to ensure the safety of all Kentucky motorists.”
“Texting behind the wheel is just not worth risking your life or someone else’s,” said University of Pikeville President Paul Patton. “That’s why I am proud to join this effort to urge all drivers, especially our students, to take the pledge to never text and drive.”
“These accidents and deaths are unacceptable – and totally avoidable, said David McFaddin, regional director, external affairs, AT&T Kentucky. “That’s why AT&T is committed to putting an end to texting and driving.”
For Kentucky drivers under 18, no use of personal communication devices such as cell phones and pagers is allowed while the vehicle is in motion. Gov. Steve Beshear signed House Bill 415 into law on April 15, 2010. The law bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is in motion. For drivers over 18, it allows the use of global positioning devices and reading, selecting or entering a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a phone call. Texting is allowed only to report illegal activity or to request medical or emergency aid. Fines for Kentuckians began Jan. 1, 2011, for anyone caught texting while driving and for those under 18 who use a cell phone while driving.
Violators are liable for fines of $25 on a first offense and $50 on each subsequent offense, plus court costs. The State of Kentucky has also been supporting the movement through highway signage to encourage residents to drive safely across the Bluegrass state.
Students were given the chance to experience firsthand the dangers of texting while driving in a safe setting through a distracted driving simulator. They were also shown a powerful documentary produced by AT&T called “The Last Text” http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2964 that shares real stories about lives altered or ended by someone’s decision to text and drive.
Students were also urged to visit www.ItCanWait.com http://www.ItCanWait.com to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook. The pledge effort is part of AT&T’s national public awareness campaign aimed directly at stopping the dangerous practice of texting while driving.
“We believe the tragedies caused by texting and driving have reached epidemic proportions. In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving,” said McFaddin.
“I urge you to reach out to all your parents, friends, family and acquaintances,” said McFaddin to the students. “It’s up to each one of us – we must stand up, sign the pledge, set an example and save lives.”
UPIKE student Alyson Gibson signs the “no-texting-and-driving pledge after experiencing firsthand the dangers of texting while driving in a safe setting through a distracted driving simulator.