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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2012

Lt. Governor Simon to drivers: Texting while driving can wait
Simon signs “It Can Wait” pledge on national “No Text on Board” day

CHAMPAIGN – In her campaign to end texting while driving, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today urged Parkland College students to take the “It Can Wait” pledge to practice safe texting.

As the Governor’s point person on education reform and an advocate for community college students, Simon urged the Champaign undergraduates to log onto Facebook and take the pledge as part of a national “No Text on Board” event sponsored by AT&T and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Nationwide, drivers are 23 times more likely to get in an accident if they text while driving. In the first half of 2011 in Illinois, cell phone distractions were the cause of more than 500 crashes.

“Most community college students commute to class on a daily basis and need to understand the grave danger of texting while driving,” said Simon, who signed the pledge with students at John A. Logan College in Carterville last week. “I’ve taken the pledge to never text and drive, and I encourage students everywhere to join me. When you are driving, put down your phone – it can wait.”

AT&T hosted 11 events throughout Illinois on the “No Text on Board” pledge day. Other supporters included Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White, and officials of the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Tollway and IDOT. AT&T also premiered a new public service announcement from Chicago basketball star Derrick Rose that will appear on the AT&T website, Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

To take the pledge, you can log on to www.ItCanWait.com.

“Our goal is to save lives,” said John Quinn, External Affairs Director, AT&T Illinois. “Too many lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. We’re challenging everyone to take the pledge to never text and drive and to make it a lifelong commitment.”

Parkland College Vice President for Student Services Dr. Linda Moore said that to promote safe driving among students, the college will provide an informational posting on its student intranet, as well as promoting the initiative through social media and its website.

“We want to ensure our students are safe and understand the message that texting and driving can have serious consequences. We want our students to stay on the path to a brighter future, and part of that path is traveling responsibly when driving,” Moore said.

“We believe community colleges are uniquely positioned to help in the effort against texting and driving and we fully support the initiative from Lt. Governor Simon and AT&T,” said Geoff Obrzut, president and CEO, Illinois Community College Board.

"I am confident that my colleagues from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents join with me and Lt. Governor Simon in enthusiastically supporting the ‘It Can Wait’ anti-texting while driving campaign," said Margaret B. "Peg" Lee, Oakton Community College President and President of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents.



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