The Oxford School District and the Oxford Police Department joined with Oxford’s local AT&T store Thursday in an effort to educate students, parents and drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. The event was part of the It Can Wait campaign created by AT&T that urges drivers not to text and drive.
“The goal of It Can Wait campaign is to save lives of teens as well as adults who turned texting and driving into everyday lifestyle,” said Gunner Goad, AT&T regional director of corporate external affairs.
The Oxford School District and the Oxford Police Department aim to make roads safer by spreading the idea that no text is worth a life.
“This is a great opportunity working with businesses creating a collaborative approach to get the point across,” said Kelley Graeber, Oxford School District communications director.
Students were able to come in and sign a pledge, or go online to pledge. Individuals who pledged received a free “No Text On Board” sticker. Ole Miss psychology senior Ashley Engler is among those who signed the pledge to not text while driving.
“Texting while driving is a growing concern throughout our country,” Engler said. “I constantly see people swerve in front of me, and when I pass them I see they are looking down with one hand on the wheel. It really scares me that people do not understand how it is not only dangerous to themselves, but to the rest of the drivers on the road.”
James Owens of the OPD hopes that some form of legislation will be passed to deter people from texting while driving.
“In my travel I see at least eight out of 10 drivers with a mobile device out,” said Owens, major of operations at OPD. “We can only hope they pass legislation against texting and driving in the state of Mississippi.”
Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Owens said a text message is not worth putting someone’s life in danger.
“We see texting while driving every single day,” Owens said. “Anything can happen in the blink of an eye; is one text message really worth it to hurt someone, or worse kill someone?”