The students of Shortridge High School filed into the auditorium earlier this week for a conversation many will never forget.  To continue the “It Can Wait” campaign, representatives from AT&T and other city supporters came out to chat with the Juniors and Seniors of Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School about phone usage while driving.  As our world becomes more technology focused so does our desire to stay connected, when you make the decision to take your eyes off the road to look at your phone, you’re doing more than putting your own life in danger. You’re endangering the passengers in your car, the lives of the drivers around you, the children riding their bikes on the sidewalk and the mother crossing the street with her baby. The “It Can Wait” movement launched over five years ago to educate people of the dangers of texting and driving. We are overjoyed that the Indiana Branch of AT&T came out to share this message with our students that are or will soon be driving. Over the course of the movement, over seven million people have pledged to keep their eyes on the road.

 

Bill Soards, President of AT&T Indiana shared, “We’re glad to be working with Indianapolis Public Schools and the city’s Department of Public Safety on educating and raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. No post, glance, email, search or text is worth a life. It definitely can wait.”

 

The national movement began as a campaign against texting and driving and overtime has grown to the broader dangers of phone usage while driving. AT&T urges the community to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge to keep their eyes on the road.

 

About halfway through the event, the lights were dimmed and a life altering video was shown. The video portrayed a number of average individuals on an average day. Viewers were given a full picture of the danger that a three-second glance at your phone can cause, students jumped and gasped at the tragic ending. The shocking yet very real scenario could have been avoided if the drivers had put their phones down while driving.

 

Rhonda Corr, District Academic Improvement Officer shared, “About 90 percent of us are, indeed, aware of the dangers of texting and driving. So the challenge isn’t necessarily awareness, but stopping them.” Corr continues, “You can make an impact on what your friends are doing behind the wheel. Ninety percent of teens say they’d stop texting while driving if a friend in the car asked them to. Talk to your friends. Say something. Tell adults to knock it off. Be an example. It can wait!”

 

After the speaking portion of the event closed, students were given the opportunity to experience the “It Can Wait” Virtual Reality Simulator. The simulator places the viewer in the seat of the person texting and driving. We overheard one senior of Shortridge mention, “stop looking at your phone, look up! This driver is so irresponsible,” in reference to the distracted driver.

 

“We hope that our students will think twice about texting while driving, and about everything else that can distract them, now that they’ve tried out this simulator,” shares Shortridge IB High School Principal Shane O’Day, “I’m sure they’ll agree that keeping your eyes on the road is the safest route.”