Hundreds of Mother McAuley High School students signed a pledge at a recent event to never text and drive. | Supplied photo
Updated: October 30, 2013 6:26AM
AT&T visited Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School on Sept. 19 for National “Drive 4 Pledges” Day to promote its initiative against texting and driving, according to a press release from the school in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community.
According to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “People are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident when texting and driving,” the release said. This reality is especially important for teenagers and young adults who text regularly, according to the release.
Asked why teens prefer to text over other methods of communication, Mother McAuley sophomore Osayi Osaremwinda said, “It’s easier. You can abbreviate words and you don’t have to explain it because they’ll know what you mean,” the release said.
Those abbreviated messages were the types of fatal messages seen in “The Last Text,” a 10-minute documentary shown to students during their lunch breaks, the school said. In the documentary, stories were shared about texting drivers, victims and families who have lost loved ones or have been changed forever by a decision to text while driving.
Mother McAuley junior Siobhan Finnerty admitted she has friends who text while driving and “maybe they need to be more aware of the consequences,” the release said.
Raising awareness was the goal of AT&T visiting schools to speak on this topic. In addition to watching the documentary, students were encouraged to sign a pledge to refrain from texting while driving. They also were offered car bumper stickers and rings that read “It Can Wait” to remind them of their commitment, according to the news release.
Students were encouraged to use social media to help spread the message and to use technology such as the AT&T Drive Mode App, designed to send an auto-reply message to any text message received while driving, the release said.
“We’re bringing awareness. Showing a video and getting this message to students, so they can see that this is real and something can happen to them or someone in their family. That’s powerful,” an AT&T spokesperson said in the release.