Gov. Walker proclaims October "It Can Wait: Distracted Driving Awareness Month"

MADISON -- As students settle into a new school year, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed October as It Can Wait – Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout Wisconsin and is urging all residents, particularly teens, to take the to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.

New research from AT&T shows that smartphone use has grown beyond texting, with 7 in 10 people engaging in smartphone activities while driving.  Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent.  But other smartphone use behind the wheel is now common, with 4 in 10 drivers tapping into social media.

“Today’s drivers are engaging in far too many smartphone distractions behind the wheel that are very dangerous and potentially deadly,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald.  “We are encouraging all drivers to put down their phones and keep their focus on the road.”

The Wisconsin State Patrol, AT&T and AAA also announced Thursday, October 1st that they are teaming up for the sixth year on a series of high school events around the state to drive home the dangers of distracted driving.  25 assemblies will be held at high schools across Wisconsin throughout the 2015-16 school year.

The effort is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign, which has been expanded this year from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone activities now common behind the wheel.

“When we launched the It Can Wait campaign five years ago, our message was simple – no text is worth a life,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin.  “The same applies to other smartphone activities people are now engaging in while driving.  We are urging people to please keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”

More than 25 percent of people use Facebook while driving, according to AT&T’s new research.  About 1 in 7 say they’re on Twitter behind the wheel.  Almost 3 in 10 surf the net, and surprisingly, 1 in 10 video chat.

The events at Wisconsin high schools this school year will feature a viewing of how one young man’s dreams of playing college football ended instantly when another driver hit his vehicle after glancing at their phone.

Teens will also get a chance to experience AAA’s distracted driving simulator, which gives students the opportunity to experience the dangers of smartphone activities behind the wheel in a safe setting.

“AAA has long been warning the public of the dangers of distracted driving,” said AAA Wisconsin Regional President Victoria Hanson.  “By partnering with educators, the State Patrol and AT&T, we hope to get the message across to even more Wisconsin drivers that texting and driving is a dangerous mix.”

As part of AT&T’s new #Tag5toSave5 campaign, students will also be encouraged to tag their top 5 contacts in a social media post asking them to take the pledge and pass it on.  New research shows 2 in 3 people have most of their smartphone communications with just 5 people, and those “top 5” have a lot of influence over each other.  The campaign hopes to spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving and help save lives.

AT&T first launched the It Can Wait campaign in 2009 to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and encourage consumers to take the pledge to not text and drive at

The campaign has now turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all across the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA.  Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in 76 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching nearly 31,000 high school students.

It Can Wait campaign has also inspired over 7.3 million pledges to not text and drive.

For more information on theIt Can Wait campaign, please visit: