‘It Can Wait’ simulator event at Milwaukee Boys & Girls Club highlights dangers of distracted driving

June 25, 2015

New research shows smartphone use has grown beyond texting; nearly 4 in 10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving

 State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd talks with teens about the dangers of distracted driving at the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club.
State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd talks
with teens about the dangers of distracted driving at the
Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club.

Teens at the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club in Milwaukee learned recently about the dangers of smartphone activities while driving and were encouraged to take the pledge to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.

The event featured the AT&T It Can Wait simulator, which is visiting Milwaukee as part of a nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. AT&T is expanding the It Can Wait® campaign from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone distractions that have emerged as our relationships with our devices have changed.

changed. New research from AT&T shows that smartphone use has grown beyond texting, with 7 in 10 people engaging in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. But other smartphone activity use behind the wheel is now common, with 4 in 10 drivers tapping into social media. Among social platforms, Facebook tops the list, with more than a quarter of those polled using the app while driving. About 1 in 7 say they’re on Twitter behind the wheel. Almost 3 in 10 surf the net, and surprisingly, 1 in 10 video chat.

“In today’s digital age, we know the temptation is high for our teens to have their eyes on their phones when they should be focused on driving,” said Denisha Tate, Chief Strategic Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “But they need to know that not only is texting while driving illegal, it’s also extremely dangerous. We hope our teens take the It Can Wait message to heart.”

“Not only is driving a privilege, it is also an obligation. We have an obligation to drive safely, for our sake and everyone else on the road,” said State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd. “Smartphone activities like texting and emailing distract us and prevent us from being safe drivers. We are urging all of our drivers, especially our teens, to put their phones down and focus on the road.”
According to new research by AT&T, smartphone activities people say they do while driving include:
• Text (61 percent)
• Email (33 percent)
• Surf the net (28 percent)
• Facebook (27 percent)
• Snap a selfie/ photo (17 percent)
• Twitter (14 percent)
• Instagram (14 percent)
• Shoot a video (12 percent)
• Snapchat (11 percent)
• Video chat (10 percent) Other unsettling findings include:
• 62 percent keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
• 30 percent of people who post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”
• 22 percent who access social networks while driving cite addiction as a reason.
• Of those who shoot videos behind the wheel, 27 percent think they can do it safely while driving

A student uses the simulator program to see how easy it is to lose control of a vehicle when on their smart phone.

AT&T will use the survey findings to help drive awareness of the dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel, and to encourage life-saving behavior change. It will collaborate with social platforms to share the message. For more information and to take the pledge to not text and drive at www.ItCanWait. com.