Thursday, March 18, 2010

"No Text is Worth Dying Over": ATT's New National Campaign

Close your eyes and imagine driving to a friend’s house, as soon as you get into their neighborhood you receive a text message, “Where you at?” It took a split second for you to glance down at your phone, and another split second for you to miss the basketball that bounced in front of your car, followed by a distracted 6 year old. By the time you look back up the kid’s already in front of you. You stomp on your breaks. Tires screeching, you drop your phone and grab onto the wheel with both hands, hoping that by some miracle squeezing it will make the car stop. Now, open your eyes. Is he there? Did you stop in time?

How many of you have done this? Taken your eyes off the road to respond to a text message? Better yet, how many of you, with your iPhones and Blackberrys have read your e-mail while driving? Fine, don’t admit it. Just acknowledge that you’re guilty and promise never to do it again. At least that’s what AT&T is trying to get you to do.

AT&T’s “It can wait” campaign aims to educate wireless users on the dangers of texting while driving. According to nearly 6,000 people died last year in car crashes involving distracted drivers and more than half a million were injured. Though AT&T’s goal is to educate everyone on the dangers of texting while driving, teenagers and drivers under the age of 20 are the biggest targets. Statistics show that young drivers are the worst offenders.

Take The Pledge

AT&T is encouraging all wireless users to take the pledge to not text while driving. This form can be found on AT&T’s website. There, parents can download factsheets on a wireless safety tips, parents guide to texting, posters, brochures and downloadable pledge forms. I stand behind AT&T on their new campaign. I may not text while driving, but I have on occasions texted at red lights. I know, I know, it’s the same thing. I tried making an argument for texting while at a red light, but my friends discouraged me from doing it and since then I have been a responsible driver.

I think that AT&T’s page could be a little more interactive. I’d like to see a video on the site or a blog where people can discuss this topic. AT&T targets youth, but I haven’t seen anything on their site that would attract the youth. I’d like to see something more interactive.


Though AT&T has a page on Facebook, they only have one tab dedicated to the campaign. The wall is full of questions and comments on their services and new gadgets. I wasn’t impressed by that one tab. AT&T could use a more creative way of marketing their campaign on Facebook.


Same thing goes for AT&T’s Twitter page. Where’s the campaign? I see no signs of it. Their website states that they will be promoting the pledge via a “twitition” on twitter, but so far no signs of it. C’mon AT&T, you can do better than this.


At least their Youtube videos are good. Watch this video. I dare you not to think twice before texting while driving. It certainly opened up my eyes to the dangers of being distracted while driving. I haven’t signed AT&T’s pledge yet, but I have stopped texting while driving.


  1. There's an old saying about being careful what you wish for, because you might get it. And that's sort of what happened to me. I fussed and fumed for years about people talking on their cell phones while nearly plowing into me at intersections, and I said more than once that I wished those darn people would quit talking on their phones while they were driving.

    Okay, I didn't say "darn," but you get my drift.

    And it looks like I finally got what I wanted. Now instead of dodging people yammering on their cell phones, I get to dodge folks texting, which is even worse. At least when drivers were talking on the phone, they could keep their eyes on the road and at least one hand on the wheel.

    I hope AT&T is serious in their resolve to spread the word about the dangers of driving and texting (drexting?). Six thousand dead and a half million injured is an enormous price to pay for a message such as: R U there? or whuzzup?

  2. This is a great campaign. Oprah is doing something similar as well, to bring awareness to the issue.

    I will admit I have been guilty of texting or checking email while at a red light (ok, with my old keypad phone I could text while driving without ever looking away from the road, but not anymore with my new phone). The awareness campaigns have affected me and I don't text anymore -- ok maybe still a little at a red light, but I promise not to plow into you, Ray.

    I don't think these campaigns are really affecting teenagers though. I still see them texting as they are driving out of the parking lot at school.

  3. One of my clients is a lawyer and this is one of the things we constantly write about. The government recently did some studies on driving and cell phone usage, not just texting and driving, and even just talking on a hands-free set (generally considered to be a safe way to talk on the phone in the car) has caused a dramatic spike in wrecks. Scary stuff!

  4. This is a great, and much needed, campaign. It's a shame that money needs to be spent on a campaign to tell people what should be common sense, but that's the world we're living in today. I'd like to see more companies jump on this bandwagon and spread awareness about this issue, especially the companies like Blackberry who contribute to the problem.

  5. I went to and read the information. The line that seems most important to me is "taking personal responsibility for our actions is the key to all of this." It doesn't matter how many laws are in place (well, it matters, but...); people have to make the decision themselves.

    I don't text while I drive, but I do talk on my cell phone. I know using my phone distracts me because I have missed turns and exits numerous times while involved in a conversation. The information on the website made me really think about how dangerous it is.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't use their cell phone while driving. Ray, if you don't, then I applaud you. My sister will be 15 next year, and the thought of her behind the wheel and on her cell phone scares me to death. Both of her parents talk on the phone while they drive so why wouldn't she?

    This campaign is important. The statistics on are important and scary. Barely moving in traffic doesn't seem like a way to get in a car accident, but I totalled my car last year when I was sitting in traffic, rolling forward just a bit, and bent over to get a cd that had fallen to the floor. No one was hurt, but cars can be deadly.

    After reading this, I intend to try not to use my phone, even though sitting in Atlanta traffic is boring and seems like such a waste of time, even though I get lost easily and use the phone to find my way, and even though I hate talking on the phone when I'm at home. I'd like to be able to tell my sister it's possible to not use your phone constantly and be a good example of driving. Maybe I'll send these links to her parents to try to show them some steps they need to take before she gets on the road.

    Is this social media at work or what?!

  6. Great campaign although it appears that they haven't fully utilized social media to spread the word. I used to complain about drivers texting/talking on their cell while in traffic. But then I found myself doing the same when I purchased an iPhone. Of course, it only took one near miss for my common sense to return. Now, I won't text unless it requires an immediate response and even then I will pull over until done.

    I agree Jason, more companies need to help with this campaign ... esp. cellular companies.

  7. This is why I chose this topic as my one of my blog posts. This campaign isn't getting out to the right people. I didn't even know about this campaign until Oprah mentioned it on her show. AT&T definitely needs to upgrade its campaign.