Opinion: Sonia Perez – It can wait

2045

It can wait

From the moment we begin preparing for our learner’s permit test, we are taught the importance of being safe and responsible drivers. Parents, Driver’s Ed teachers and other seasoned adults caution new drivers and share just how dangerous taking your eyes off the road can be, even if just for a second.

While many of us Louisianians do our best to stay focused behind the wheel, there are always distractions. These distractions come in many different forms: passing a post-wreck clean up, loud music, friends, pets, navigation systems and smartphone apps.
Mobile devices have changed the way we communicate. The ability to connect with any one, any time — is truly a remarkable thing. As convenient and useful as these new technologies may be, they should be used wisely and safely, leaving drivers distraction-free behind the wheel.

For many people, smartphones are an extension of their fingertips, and, for some, that makes it more tempting to be dangerously distracted while driving. As technology has evolved, the number of driving distractions stemming from our smartphones has grown beyond texting to include social media posts, email, web browsing, video calling and even taking selfies behind the wheel.

A recent AT&T study found that 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving and 62 percent keep their smartphones within easy reach. And, while there is near universal agreement that texting while driving is dangerous, research shows three-fourths of drivers have done it.

In a moment, posting a funny photo or sending an email may seem urgently important, but, the truth of the matter is, no text, selfie, email or web search is worth a life. That’s the simple, yet impactful message behind AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign.

Six years ago, AT&T launched the national It Can Wait movement to drive awareness of the importance of keeping your eyes on the road and not on your phone, asking people across the country of all ages to take the pledge to stay safe while driving. In that short time, 8 million people have taken the It Can Wait pledge.

While we have had success in raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, there is more we all can do to stay safe on the road, especially at a time of year when new drivers are getting their licenses and millions of families hit the road for summer vacation.

We – all Louisianians – must remind ourselves to be responsible and avoid distractions while behind the wheel. It is important to remember the risk you pose to yourself and others when you reach for your phone while driving. There is no text, email, post or selfie that is worth a life. I encourage drivers across Louisiana to keep our message in mind and take the pledge to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone at www.ItCanWait.com.

Sonia Perez is AT&T Louisiana
President