AT&T sold more than 5.5 million smartphones in Q1 2011, the most it ever sold in any first quarter. During the same period, it added 2 million more wireless subscribers to its roster (now counting 97.5 million). Today it pledged to spend $1 million combating the menace known as texting while driving.
AT&T will spend the $1 million over a four-year period with the first $95,000 to be awarded to the National Organizations for Youth Safety. NOYS will use the funds to train 40 students to act as ambassadors for no-texting-while-driving safety. In October, these ambassadors will come to Washington, D.C. to host the first-ever national texting-while-driving-prevention youth summit. They will also hold similar summits in their schools and hometowns throughout the school year. AT&T has promised to pay for more of the same for more teens, too. It will spend $250,000 during the first year of the four-year program. And it will contribute to other programs too, the company says, which it will announce later in 2011.
AT&T realizes that adults can also be lured into texting while driving, but the company has decided that this $1 million be spent primarily on outreach towards teens. "Not only are they typically new drivers, but according to a recent Pew Internet Research study, the average teen sends and receives five times more text messages a day than a typical adult. This contribution represents our ongoing commitment to promote responsible ways of using our technology, because ultimately, no text is worth losing a life,” said Laura Sanford, assistant vice president, Corporate Contributions at AT&T.
An average of 5,000 people are killed each year specifically due to texting while driving, according to federal data. Of these, most are under 20. Statistics aren't easily available for total accidents that don't result in death, but let's just say ... a lot.
AT&T actually launched its "Txtng & Drivng…It Can Wait" campaign about a year ago, in March, 2010, and has so far racked up some impressive numbers. Across its various Facebook pages and other social media outreach programs, about 61,000 people, including AT&T employees, have taken the pledge to not text and drive, the company says. AT&T's 10-minute documentary, “The Last Text,” posted to YouTube in December 2010, has received nearly 2.3 million views.
In addition to the documentary, the campaign includes print, radio and TV public service ads such as this one.
We have to concur ... no text is worth it. It really can wait.
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