CHICAGO – September 19, 2012. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Secretary of State Jesse White today urged Illinois drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive again, as part of the AT&T initiative on “No Text on Board Pledge Day.” In addition, AT&T premiered a new public service announcement starring Derrick Rose with the basketball star urging drivers not to text and drive.
As part of his commitment to make Illinois roads safer, Governor Quinn signed a state law that prohibits texting while driving. The governor also enlisted several state agencies to help educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving through the “Drive Now. Text Later.” traffic safety initiative.
"No text message is as important as your life or the lives of others," Gov. Quinn said. "I signed legislation to prevent distracted driving, but we can never do enough to educate drivers about the dangers and consequences of texting while driving. Today, I urge all Illinois drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive again.”
Secretary of State Jesse White chaired the state’s Distracted Driving Task Force in an effort to decrease the number of crashes on Illinois roads. These efforts led to the statewide ban on texting while driving for all drivers of all ages signed into law by Governor Quinn in 2009. Since the law took effect, more than 2,600 people have been convicted for texting while driving.
“These laws are important and make our roads safer,” said White. “No driver has any business text messaging while they are driving. However, far too many drivers continue to text while driving. That is why I am pleased to join AT&T in this comprehensive effort to change behavior and save lives. The message is simple: Drive now; text later. Because no text is worth dying for.”
“Our goal is to save lives,” said Paul La Schiazza, President, AT&T Illinois. “With the support of Governor Quinn, Secretary White and Derrick Rose, we’re challenging every driver in Illinois to take the pledge to never text and drive again.”
The AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign is focusing attention on this “No Text on Board Pledge Day,” as the company is asking all drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive again. To take the pledge, anyone can log on to www.ItCanWait.com. The announcement and Derrick Rose PSA premiere were held at the new AT&T flagship store at 600 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. AT&T held events at 11 locations across the state today to raise awareness and encourage drivers to take the pledge.
Basketball superstar Derrick Rose is continuing to offer his support to the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign, this time in a new AT&T public service announcement that premiered Wednesday and can be viewed on the AT&T website, the AT&T Facebook page and the AT&T YouTube Channel.
"I have to be focused when I drive, whether it's on the court or on the road. That's why I don't text when I drive. I tell my friends: "It Can Wait," said Derrick Rose. "I'm proud to join AT&T's team and help lead this important campaign to warn teenage drivers in Illinois about the real dangers of texting while driving."
In the 30-second spot, the basketball star talks about all the things he does while driving to the basket on the court, but knows when driving behind the wheel, he doesn’t text and drive.
“I can do lots of special things when I’m driving. I can go to my left. Move smoothly to my right. My crossover dribble is sick. And I like to crash it over the top. But one thing I never do? I don’t text when I drive. I tell my friends, ‘It Can Wait. I’m Derrick Rose and I don’t text when I drive. Join my team.”
The Illinois State Police, Illinois Dept. of Transportation, and the Illinois Tollway support the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign and are working to stop and prevent texting while driving. IDOT is assisting in the effort with electronic highway signs that remind drivers not to text and drive, and cause drivers to think about traffic safety by providing the updated number of Illinois highway fatalities.
“The texting stakes are high and the tragic outcomes are too likely when two hands are not behind the wheel of a car,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “Law enforcement officers can only do so much to save lives and expect the motoring public to follow the law, be responsible and continue to raise public safety awareness about this important safety campaign.”
“IDOT is educating drivers through our ‘Drive Now. Text Later.’ traffic safety initiative,” said IDOT Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “We encourage drivers to take the pledge to never text and drive again. There is no text message that is more important than the safety of our citizens.”
"By committing to a lifetime of no texting and driving, Illinois residents are fully accepting the responsibility that comes with a set of car keys," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "We stand with others in Illinois calling on drivers to 'Drive Now. Text Later.' Let their dedication to the safety of others serve as an example for all drivers to follow."
For more information about efforts to raise awareness of the dangers while texting and driving and to reduce the number of cell-phone-related accidents on Illinois roadways, visit http://www.illinoistollway.com/drive-now-text-later.