"It Can Wait—No Texting While Driving Day" is Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proclaimed.
The supervisors aim to remind motorists—teens in particular—that those who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be in a vehicle crash.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich joined with AT&T to highlight the dangers of texting while driving. The telecommunications company is sponsoring a campaign by the same name—It Can Wait—asking motorists to make a lifelong pledge not to text while behind the wheel.
"Text messaging is the main mode of communication for most American teenagers, with half of all teens sending between 21 and 70 texts a day," Antonovich said. "In an AT&T survey, 43 percent of American teenage drivers admitted to texting while driving, even though 97 percent know it is dangerous."
Though teens are targeted by the no-texting campaign, studies have also found that parents fail to follow the advice they give their kids about not texting. A Liberty Mutual Insurance survey found that dads are particularly at fault, and more than three-quarters of teens responding to the AT&T survey said their parents text while driving "all the time."
An AT&T representative told the board that more than 100,000 vehicle crashes —some of them deadly—occur each year as a result of texting.
The dangerous behavior seems resistant to legal bans and fines. Texting while driving is illegal in California, 38 other states and the District of Columbia, and bans for new drivers or bus drivers exist in five other states, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
More information can be found at www.itcanwait.com.