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Illinois 4-H Joins AT&T in the "It Can Wait" Campaign Against Texting While Driving

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2013


URBANA, Ill. – Illinois 4-H announced this week that it will join AT&T in the "It Can Wait" campaign as its members encourage drivers to take the pledge not to text while driving.

Illinois 4-H members are asking drivers to help make the state safer and to save lives by sending a simple text message. To take the pledge, anyone can text "4H4ICW" to "50555." Standard text and data rates apply.

"It's a small way to make a big difference," said Angie Barnard, executive director for the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

Barnard said when AT&T approached Illinois 4-H about partnering with the company during the month-long initiative to curb distracted driving, leaders saw this as a "perfect fit" in meeting one of 4-H's goals to promote advocacy skills in its members.

AT&T presented these facts in the effort to end texting and driving:

* More than 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting (Source: National Safety Council)

* 75 percent of teens say texting and driving is "common" among their friends (Source: AT&T Wireless Survey)

* 97 percent of teen drivers say texting while driving is dangerous ― yet 43 percent admit to doing it. (Source: AT&T Teen Driver Survey)

"The members of Illinois 4-H are committed to making a difference in the 'It Can Wait' campaign, and we will be encouraging friends and family members to take the pledge to never text and drive," said Barnard. "We're excited to spread the message through the state with our 23,000 members in 1,250 4-H clubs."

The first results of the Illinois 4-H text pledge campaign will be announced on Sept. 19, the national "Drive 4 Pledges Day" in the "It Can Wait" campaign.

"At AT&T, we want to save lives. We recognize that texting while driving is not only dangerous, it can be deadly. That's why we continue to spread the message that when it comes to texting and driving ― 'It Can Wait,'" said AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza. "We welcome the energy and influence of Illinois 4-H members among their peers and their family members as they help encourage more pledges against texting while driving leading up to the Sept. 19th 'Drive 4 Pledges Day' in our national campaign."

The announcement was made Tuesday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, IL, in a presentation by Illinois 4-H and AT&T officials.

To learn more about the dangers of texting while driving and the "It Can Wait" campaign against it, visit ItCanWait.com.

Editor's note: A photo of the campaign launch can be found at http://tinyurl.com/n6pkyk9




Source: Angie Barnard, Director of Development, abarnard@uiuc.edu