St. Francis H.S. students sign pledge against texting while driving

ST. FRANCIS -- As Wisconsin marked the second anniversary of its law banning texting while driving, students at St. Francis High School learned about the dangers of texting and driving, and were encouraged to sign a pledge to never text behind the wheel.

Teens have the strictest rules for cell phone use behind the wheel. With cell phones a big part of their everyday lives, officials say the trick is getting kids to listen.

St. Francis High School teamed up with AT&T, AAA, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Mayor CoryAnn St. Marie-Carls in a public awareness campaign to urge the school’s 600 students, and all Wisconsin drivers, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving.

The all-school assembly featured AAA’s distracted driving simulator. Students had the chance to experience firsthand the dangers of texting and driving. Students were also shown an AT&T documentary called “The Last Text” -- sharing real stories about lives altered by someone’s decision to text and drive.

"The cell phone is just such an integral part of what they do, all their socializing, all of their connections with family and friends -- things like that," Wisconsin State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable said.

If the law banning texting while driving is broken, it could mean a fine of up to $400. 

Not only does breaking the law mean a hefty fine, but teens on the school's basketball team said they realize texting while driving could get them killed.

"I know a lot of people that do that and I think it's stupid. I have friends that have actually gotten hurt from texting and driving," Chase Nowak said.

Wisconsin marked the second anniversary of its no-texting-while-driving ban on December 1st. Wisconsin is among 39 states that ban text messaging by all drivers.

The St. Francis assembly was part of a series of high school events that AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol are holding this school year to drive home the dangers of texting and driving.