Politics & Government
1:52 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

AT&T Works with Local Schools to Prevent Texting and Driving

Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci interviews AT&T Wisconsin State President Scott Vandersanden about the company's anti-texting-while-driving campaign.

Werner Herzog's brutal and moving documentary about the dangers of texting and driving, "From One Second to the Next," has gone viral since it was released just a few weeks ago.

Wisconsin has had texting while driving laws on the books since Dec. 2010, but it remains a big issue on our roads.
Credit Jason Weaver/Flickr

It's reached more than two million views on YouTube, and commercials based on the footage air nationwide.

The film was commissioned by AT&T, which also spearheaded the national "It Can Wait" campaign, that's since been joined by several other mobile carriers.

AT&T Wisconsin State President Scott Vandersanden says the company has been campaigning against texting and driving since 2009.

"It's a very serious issue in so much as there are an awful lot of folks who are doing it," he says, "and obviously the telecommunication companies are the ones whose service they're using to do it, so I think we want to reach out to our customers to make sure they understand the dangers and use our products as safely as they can."

The company has also partnered with AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol to reach young drivers with the message. Vandersanden says AT&T has taken its program to 25 high schools around the state, offering showings of its first documentary "The Last Text," a driving simulator and speakers.

He says the company is focusing its efforts on new drivers because teens are five times more likely to text than adults, and texters have a 23 percent greater chance of being in an accident. But Vandersanden says it's impossible to know how many of the 16,000-plus students are actually deciding not to text.

He hopes this new film will convince them - and older drivers - to say no to distracted driving.

"It's a pretty hard documentary to watch, but if you're somebody who today texts and drives and watches that video, I hink it would be pretty hard to continue doing that without actually thinking about it," he says.

AT&T is calling on people to pledge not to text and drive on its Drive 4 Pledges day on Sept. 19th.