September 27, 2013
Alexander Rivkin ’16 signs the pledge to not text and drive during the Sept. 23 campaign hosted by Student Government.
When Student Government decided to participate in AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign against texting while driving, they didn’t expect the response received.
“We had 843 students who took the pledge to not text while driving,” said Student Government President Patrick “PK” Creedon ’14, of the Sept. 23 effort. “It was incredible.”
With the goal of educating wireless users on the dangers of texting and driving, AT&T launched the It Can Wait campaign this spring with the support of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. The awareness campaign asks drivers to make a pledge to never text and drive.
At UT, students walking through Vaughn or eating at Ultimate Dining stopped by Student Government’s table to sign pledges. Creedon had heard about the campaign from his work with the United Way and the Davin Joseph Foundation.
Young drivers are more likely to text while driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 44 percent of 18-20 year olds and 49 percent of 21-24 year olds said they texted while driving in a 2011 federal government survey. In doing so, drivers divert mental attention away from the road and increase their reaction times.
Student Government took the pledge one step further, working with Safety and Security to make signing the pledge an optional part of the process for securing a parking permit.
“It’s one thing to sign a pledge one day, but if you decide to sign the pledge while getting a permit, you’ll really think about it,” said Johanna Forsgren ’14, Student Government’s director of programming, noting that parking permits have to be renewed every year. “It’ll be a good reminder.”
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