‘It Can Wait’ virtual reality experience

September 27, 2018

Students at Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee learned on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, about the dangers of smart-phone activities while driving when the new AT&T It Can Wait virtual reality experience visited the school.

Bradley Tech High School teamed up with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol as part of the It Can Wait® campaign to remind students that smartphone activity should wait until after driving. Teens were also encouraged to sign a pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.

“In today’s world, the smartphone can be a big distraction for students behind the wheel,” said Percy Eddie, Assistant Principal at Bradley Tech. “But students need to understand that just one look at their phones while driving can change their lives in an instant. We are happy to host the AT&T It Can Wait experience and urge teens to focus on driving instead of their phones.”

As part of the It Can Wait experience, students came face-to-face with the very real dangers of distracted driving and interacted with a memorial wall, a wall of keys representing lives lost, and a wall made to look like crushed car parts. They also had the chance to view two new films produced by AT&T that share the stories of teenage boys killed by smartphone distracted driving (Caleb’s story and Forrest’s story), as well as an age progression video that imagines what their lives would have been like if they hadn’t been killed.

“The message of our It Can Wait campaign is simple – distracted driving is never okay,” said Scott T. Vander-Sanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “One glance at your phone while driving can change everything and even cost you your life. We are urging all drivers, especially our teens, to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”

The AT&T It Can Wait virtual reality experience is visiting Milwaukee as part of the company’s nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Other Wisconsin stops included La Crosse and Madison.

New research from AT&T shows 81 percent of people admit to texting behind the wheel, while 64 percent admit to snapping and viewing photos while driving. Other smartphone activities people say they do while driving include: playing music (64 percent); emailing (60 percent); accessing social media (50 percent); surfing the net (47 percent); watching or streaming videos (36 percent); and even video chatting (27 percent). Nearly 4 in 10 people call distracted driving a habit. And nearly a quarter of people don’t see it as a major problem.

However, research also shows taking action and speaking up can help reduce distracted driving. Seven in 10 drivers who have pledged at www.ItCanWait.com are keeping their commitment to not use their smartphones while driving. And 57 percent of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger pressures them to.

“One of our primary missions of Milwaukee Public Schools is to keep our students safe, and that includes safe driver’s education,” said Dr. Keith P. Posley, Interim Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. “Through efforts such as the It Can Wait campaign, we can help teach our kids from the beginning of their driving careers that distracted driving and smartphone use behind the wheel is dangerous and potentially deadly.”

Wisconsin banned texting while driving over seven years ago on December 1, 2010.

“Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few moments, can have tragic consequences,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “To ensure the safety of all travelers, we need drivers to stay focused on the road ahead, slow down, and make sure everyone in their vehicle is buckled up.”

AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign began in 2010 with a focus on texting while driving, but has now expanded to include the broader dangers of using a smartphone behind the wheel. The effort has turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA. Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in 142 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching over 54,000 high school students. Nationally, over 29 million people have taken the pledge to not drive distracted by their phone since 2010.

To learn more about the It Can Wait campaign and to take the pledge, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.