NORTH TONAWANDA – “It Can Wait” is the message about using smartphones while driving that North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas and North Tonawanda Police Department Capt. Roger Zgolak will be delivering Friday as part of an AT&T pre-prom assembly in the North Tonawanda High School.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers are from Memorial Day to Labor Day and AT&T released results from a disturbing study that shows that seven out of 10 drivers admitted to using a smartphone while driving. They are not only texting while driving, but also engaging in other activities, including emailing, surfing the Internet, snapping selfies, tweeting, shooting video and even video chatting.
A large percentage of people in the study admitted that they did it out of habit. But some of the other answers from the more than 2,000 smartphone owners surveyed who admitted to using a smartphone while driving cited the fear that they are going to miss something, or the perception that they can do both things at once, or being anxious when they can’t check their smartphones, or just being bored and restless.
The message in the AT&T public education campaign is, “No photo is worth dying for. No email is worth dying for. No tweet is worth dying for.”
Kevin Hanna, AT&T external affairs director, will join city officials at the pre-prom assembly to present “It Can Wait,” an initiative aimed at curbing smart phone distractions. The program will educate students and teachers through the use of an online simulator which allows them to experience the dangers of texting and driving while in a safe environment.
The simulation comes with an interactive steering wheel and gas/brake pedals and a cell phone to send and receive text messages. During the simulation the driver needs to follow traffic laws while also reading and replying to texts sent to the simulator.
The online simulator also is available to the public at www.itcanwaitsimulator.org.