Northport, NY- With a new school year underway, Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer teamed up with AT&T on Monday to bring the It Can Wait campaign to Northport High School. Together, they presented an assembly, which aims to prevent high school seniors from engaging in distracted driving, and comes days after AT&T’s It Can Wait Pledge Day on September 19 and “Don’t Text and Drive Awareness Day” in Suffolk County on September 18.
Research shows that nearly 9-in-10 people admit to using their smartphone while driving,1 and people are doing much more than texting while behind the wheel; they’re checking email, accessing social media and even snapping photos. To illustrate the seriousness of the issue, the students came face-to-face with the very real dangers of distracted driving through a short documentary film. After the screening, the students discussed tactics to stay safe behind the wheel and signed the It Can Wait pledge to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone.
The short film screened at the assembly told the heartbreaking story of a teenage boy named Forrest who lost his life after being struck on his bicycle by a distracted driver. Through in-depth interviews with his family, students gained insight into the far-reaching impacts of distracted driving. They heard his siblings talk about how special his life was, and saw his mother’s pain as she remembered her loss. (Watch the full-length video on YouTube here.)
“I’ve been partnering with AT&T for multiple years now to bring this assembly to high schools throughout my district. It’s a message that our young people, who are just beginning to drive and have a lifetime ahead of them, need to hear over and over again. Students have the power to prevent distracted driving tragedies and to encourage their family and friends to do the same. As administrators, parents and role models we must lead by example, stay vigilant and avoid becoming desensitized to the dangers of distracted driving. I am thankful to AT&T for their support and to the Northport High School for their dedication to spreading this important safety message,” stated Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D.
“We are excited to bring the It Can Wait Safe Driving Presentation to Northport this year. With the tremendous spike in the number of distracted driving accidents, injuries and sadly, deaths, it is important for our young drivers, many of whom have grown up with the access of a smart phone, to understand the dangers that are involved with taking their eyes off the road, even for a brief few seconds. Recent statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are a sobering reminder for our youth about how grave the consequences can be. An average of 9 people a day are killed and over 1,000 are injured in distracted driving incidents and the age group most commonly impacted happens to be teenagers. At a time where many teens are preparing for their futures and to take advantage of the great opportunities on the horizon for them, it is important that we, as a school community, join in the effort to educate them about how the simplest acts, such as looking at a cell phone while driving, can have the largest consequences on their futures,” said Northport High School Principal Daniel Danbusky.
“Smartphones have improved our lives in so many ways – but they have also created a new generation of distracted drivers. AT&T launched the It Can Wait campaign because we’re committed to educating as many people as possible about the dangers of using your smartphone behind the wheel. We’re proud that over 38 million people across the country have signed the Pledge to stop distracted driving, and we’re excited to bring this important program to Northport High School today,” said Amy Kramer, President, New York, AT&T.
To learn more about the initiative, and to take the pledge, visit www.itcanwait.com/pledge.
Senior Class Officers join Legislator Spencer in taking the It Can Wait Pledge
Legislator Spencer and Brandon Ray from AT&T with Northport High School staff. From left to right: Terrence Hinson, Denise Keenan, Brandon Ray, Principal Daniel Danbusky, Carlos Falcon, and Richard McAllister.
1 Online survey with 7,505 respondents (total distracted drivers n=6,438) conducted by Kantar Added Value. Ongoing survey, data
represented here were collected January 2017- December 2017. National panel sample (ages 15-54, drive, and have a smartphone).