Gov. Scott Walker has made September “Don’t Text and Drive: It Can Wait” awareness month, according to a release. The proclamation urges residents, particularly teens, to never text behind the wheel.
The Wisconsin State Patrol, AT&T and AAA announced Tuesday they are teaming up on a series of high school events around the state to talk about the dangers of texting and driving, officials said. Assemblies are planned for Sept. 19 at La Crosse Logan High School and Waukesha South High School.
According to the release, since 2012, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have held events in 15 cities throughout Wisconsin and have reached over 16,500 high school students.
“Texting has become the way many people communicate today, which means some people are doing it at the worst possible time, while driving,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald said in the release. “While Wisconsin bans texting and driving, we must continue to raise awareness about the deadly consequences of this practice and urge all drivers to never text and drive.”
AT&T is having drivers pledge to stop texting and driving, according to the release. Drive 4 Pledges Day is Sept. 19. Drivers can go online to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge.
The It Can Wait program has released a documentary called "From One Second to the Next" that shows the aftermath of texting and driving, according to the release. The film features the Wisconsin story of Xzavier Davis Bilbo, a Milwaukee boy who is paralyzed from the diaphragm down after he was hit by a texting driver as he was crossing the street.
High schools, government organizations and safety groups across the country will get the documentary, officials said.
Texting is one of the most dangerous activities a driver can do behind the wheel, according to the release. Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. Texting while driving also causes more than 100,000 car crashes on American roadways per year.
Officials said teens are particularly at risk because while 97 percent of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 75 percent say the practice is common among their friends.
Wisconsin’s law, established in 2010, prohibits sending an email or text message while driving and imposes a fine of up to $400, according to the release.