AT&T urges Americans to stop texting while driving

John Egan

Wireless service provider AT&T is calling on Americans to stop texting while driving. The heart of the campaign is "No Text on Board Pledge Day" on Sept. 19.

Supporters of the campaign want drivers to visit Sept. 19 to take the no-texting-while-driving pledge, then share their promise on Twitter and Facebook.

In 2010, nearly 3,100 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and another 416,000 were injured in such crashes. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia ban texting by all drivers. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls texting while driving and other types of distracted driving "an epidemic on our roadways."

As of Aug. 20, more than 826,000 crashes have been linked to talking or texting on a cellphone while driving in 2012, according to estimates from the National Safety Council.

If you're driving distracted and cause a crash, your auto insurance premium almost certainly will go up. Furthermore, your premium could rise if you're ticketed for distracted driving.

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson says in a news release: "Our goal is to save lives. I hear from far too many people whose 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. Texting and driving should be as unacceptable as drinking and driving."

Among other things, AT&T is challenging device makers and app developers to work with AT&T so that devices like smartphones include a pre-loaded, no-texting-while-driving feature.

The National Urban League is among the supporters of "No Text on Board Pledge Day."

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the civil rights organization, says in a news release: "African-Americans have a high rate of wireless device usage. African-American teenagers, in particular, use text messaging as an essential form of communication. Many are unaware of the multitude of consequences that can result from sending a text message behind the wheel of a car."

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