Pennsylvania newspapers and AT&T highlight dangers of texting while driving

  • Jan 15, 2015

Pa NewsMedia Association Hosts It Can Wait Editorial Contest; Open to High School Students --

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Pennsylvania newspapers, and AT&T are joining together to host an It Can Wait editorial contest to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.

The contest, which begins January 20, is open to high school students across Pennsylvania and provides students with the opportunity to win a $500 prize for a column or editorial that best answers the question, "Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive?"

"Across Pennsylvania and the country, texting while driving is an epidemic, which is why we decided to host an It Can Wait editorial contest with AT&T and our member news media organizations," said Teri Henning, President of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

Texting while driving is involved in more than 200,000 vehicle crashes each year, often involving injuries and death. Despite knowing the risks of texting while driving, 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving.

However, there is an opportunity to change behavior, as ninety percent of teen drivers say they would stop if a friend in the car asked them and 78 percent say they are likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it is wrong.

Local news media plays an important role in educating communities about important public safety issues. By encouraging participation in the It Can Wait editorial contest, the PNA and its members can do a great public service and help to make our roadways safer for Pennsylvanians.

The It Can Wait editorial contest is open to students enrolled in any Pennsylvania public or private high school. Local news media companies are encouraged to host local contests and determine which entries are submitted to the PNA in consideration for the statewide prize. The PNA will announce the winning statewide entry March 13. As part of the contest, the PNA will award the winner a $500 prize.

It Can Wait is a national movement tapping into the power of social media and personal networks to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. It urges drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge not to text and drive, and share their pledge with others via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook. It also offers a host of educational resources and information on the issue, including a documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents.

To date, more than 5 million pledges have been made to never text and drive and more than 2,500 organizations along with tens of thousands of individuals have joined the movement to raise awareness and change behavior.

For more information about the contest, visit the It Can Wait section of the PNA website.

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