Abels & Annes

AT&T aiming to prevent distracted driving accidents caused by text messaging

AT&T, the nation’s second-largest cell-phone provider, has launched an aggressive nationwide campaign against texting while driving.

As we reported in December on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, Chicago is the birthplace of the cell phone; Ameritech debuted the “car phone” at Soldier Field in 1983.

But as the dangerous mix of cell phones and driving became apparent — and particularly the dangers of driving and text messaging — the cell phone industry has moved away from a marketing message aimed at drivers. Meanwhile, the federal government is pushing a nationwide ban on driving and text messaging and Illinois became one of the first states to ban text messaging while behind the wheel.

The move this week by AT&T is the largest corporate response yet to the growing safety crisis of distracted driving.

“Stop what you’re doing. Take out your wireless device. Read out loud the last text message you received,” AT&T’s campaign begins. “Would reading or responding to that text message while driving be worth causing a serious accident? When you look at it that way, there’s no text that couldn’t wait.”

The national campaign will feature true stories of the text messages that were sent or received before someone was seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident caused by distracted driving.

One message begins with a text “where u at?” and a mother saying “This is the text my daughter was reading when she drove into oncoming traffic.”

The nationwide ad campaign also also includes the message “No text is worth dying over” and the campaign’s slogan: “Txtng & Drivng … It Can Wait.”

The campaign will be rolled out in the next month and include print, radio, TV and online advertising, as well as in-store signs and messages inserted into bills.

The company has also launched a website, www.att.com/txtngcanwait, with information aimed at parents, teachers, and young people, who are most likely to be involved in an accident while text messaging, according to state and federal statistics.

“While our campaign is important for all drivers, we’re particularly focused on youth,” AT&T said in announcing the campaign.

Since announcing an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers of text messaging in September 2009, AT&T has prohibited its 280,000 employees from texting and driving, incorporated a safety message on the plastic sheets that protect most new handset cellphone screens and is incorporating the message into the company’s catalogs and others sales products, marketing and promotional materials.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident attorneys and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.