This post was written by Hatchet reporter Maggie Carleen.
The University’s seventh annual Safety Expo focused on safe texting habits, part of AT&T’s Texting and Driving: “It Can Wait” campaign, to a crowd of 2,000.
AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson congratulated the University Yard audience for joining the 800,000 online pledges Wednesday to not text and drive.
“Our goal in this is no longer awareness, our goal is to try to change behavior,” Stephenson said.
Speakers including Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, award-winning actor Hill Harper and University President Steven Knapp encouraged students to take the “It Can Wait” pledge.
“Texting behind the wheel may only take a few moments, but it can have a lifetime of consequences,” LaHood said. “No text or email is worth the risk, and I applaud AT&T and all those who help to spread the word against texting and driving.”
Genachowski called for legislation, new technology and changes in social norms that make it acceptable to text and drive to help solve the safety-plaguing issue.
Texting while drivers makes individuals 23 times more likely to have an accident, Genachowski said.
Knapp, who participated in AT&T’s texting-while-driving simulator, stressed the importance of mobile safety in every setting – not just driving.
“I’d like to see a little more care crossing the streets while texting, because I see students walking out into traffic all the time,” Knapp said. “I worry about that a lot.”