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Valley School Districts Launch Community Wide Anti-Texting While Driving Pledge Challenge

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Students, Teachers and Citizens Urged to Take Pledge Never to Text While Driving

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PHARR, TEXAS, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013—Valley school officials today kicked off a community wide social media Drive 4 Pledges. PSJA and McAllen ISDs have partnered with AT&T and the It Can Wait movement to launch this initiative in an effort to combat the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

This campaign challenges students, teachers and staff within the PSJA and McAllen school districts, as well as the people of the Rio Grande Valley, to take the pledge to never text while driving. PSJA ISD participants who take the challenge can text “ICWRGV1” to 464329. McAllen ISD participants who take the challenge can make this commitment to themselves and their communities by texting “ICWRGV2” to 464329.

“It is of utmost importance to continually remind our young drivers of the danger they can bring to themselves, and others, if they decide to text while driving,” said Dr. Daniel King, PSJA Superintendent. “On behalf of our schools, I would like to thank AT&T and its It Can Wait movement for their continual efforts to raise awareness around this often fatal practice of texting while driving. It is this kind of engaging movement that has the power to truly influence behaviors. I encourage all of our students to take the It Can Wait pledge and make our roads a safer place.”

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This campaign will run in a number of cities across Texas from Sept. 19 through Sept. 30, with each city vying to get as many citizens as they can pledging to never text while driving. Pledge results for each city, as well as the Valley ISDs, will be announced the week of Oct. 1.

“We are continuously looking for ways to stress good safety habits with our young drivers. Today’s kids are often referred to as digital natives. With that in mind, we will help encourage students to take the ICW pledge through our district’s new Zipp Slip software. We appreciate AT&T’s efforts to bring attention to this dangerous phenomenon,” said McAllen ISD’s Dr. Mike Barrera, Assistant Superintendent for District Operations.

Similar efforts are being launched in association with the It Can Wait movement’s Sept. 19 Drive 4 Pledges Day. Aspiring to create a social stigma around this fatal habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day focuses on getting individuals to take the pledge to never text and drive, while encouraging others in their community to do the same.

“Texting while driving is a serious road-safety problem. The National Safety Council estimates that texting and driving is involved in more than 100,000 car crashes every year. Something must be done to curb this trend,” said Maria Hernandez, DPS. “We are excited to partner with AT&T to raise awareness around this issue. We encourage everyone in the Valley to take the pledge. You could be the difference between another senseless texting while driving-related fatality and saving a life.”

Supporters are being asked to help spread the word to their families, friends and communities through social media. Advocates are encouraged to change their social profile photos and banner to It Can Wait graphics, as well as share their personal pledge stories using the hash tag #ItCanWait.

“We work every day to spread the word about how fatal a single text can be. This campaign is a significant step toward our goal to make texting while driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving,” Lisa Marie Gomez of AT&T said. “We are excited to partner with the Valley in our battle to put a stop to texting while driving and make the roads safer for Texans.”

These individuals will join AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Verizon and more than 200 other organizations by sharing their commitment not to text and drive, while increasing awareness of the dangers.

Cities across Texas are participating in Drive 4 Pledges Day, which has kicked off coast-to-coast with a variety of awareness campaigns, including:

  • ·      More than 1,400 Drive 4 Pledges events are being held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,300 at high schools.
  • ·      #ItCanWait tweets and Instagram posts will stream on ItCanWait.com.
  • ·      A National Organizations of Youth Safety Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit in Washington D.C. Sept. 18-20, including a rally with over 75 teens, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart and singer/actress Zendaya Coleman.
  • ·      AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will run co-branded advertising on national TV programming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and display the message in their tens of thousands of stores nationwide.
  • ·      Disney World parks will share the message with its 100,000+ cast members and post signs for guests.
  • ·      Goodyear blimps will display the message It Can Wait in the skies over Miami and Los Angeles.
  • ·      Several Major League Baseball teams will drum up support by reaching out to fans during games urging them to take the pledge. Participating clubs include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Washington Nationals. NFL players will tweet their support of Drive 4 Pledges Day with their friends and fans.
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