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Suffolk Legislator Spencer Teams Up With AT&T to Teach Harborfields Students About Dangers of Smartphone Distracted Driving

It Can Wait Campaign Reminds Young People You’re Never Alone on the Road, Even When You’re Alone in Your Car.

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Suffolk Legislator Spencer wants to educate students about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving.

Photo by: Office of Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer

Greenlawn, NY - Sept. 24, 2018 - Today, Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer teamed up with AT&T to bring the It Can Wait campaign to Harborfields High School to educate students about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving.
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 this, AT&T hosted an assembly at Harborfields High School, where the students came face-to-face with the very real dangers of distracted driving through short documentary films. After the screening, the students discussed tactics to stay safe behind the wheel and signed the It Can Wait pledge.
Two short films screened at the assembly today include the heartbreaking stories of two teenage boys who died in car accidents that were caused by distracted driving through in-depth interviews with their families. Students heard their siblings tell how special their lives were; saw their mothers’ pain as they remembered their loss; and through the collaboration of forensic artists and a visual effects team, students even got a glimpse at what they would’ve looked like today. (Watch the full-length videos on YouTube here and here.)
“The impact of distracted driving does not discriminate. It can devastate any of us and our loved ones in an instant. The good news is that we can avoid it, but with the force of technology driving us to distraction, we must actively join efforts, raise awareness and change behaviors. I am grateful to collaborate with the Harborfields School District and AT&T to educate students on the dangers of this growing concern and empower them to make decisions that will help keep us all safe,” stated Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D.
“By bringing AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to Harborfields, we’re making a district pledge to not engage in distractive driving,” said Harborfields High School Assistant Principal Chris Patronaggio. “We’re confident that making this pledge and bringing awareness to students will help save lives.” 
“AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign has a simple message: it can all wait behind the wheel. We've heard too many stories of lives forever changed as a result of sending a simple text message while driving. AT&T is committed to educating as many people as we can about the dangers of distracted driving, which is why we brought these impactful documentaries to Harborfields High School today,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, Northeast Region, AT&T.
Harborfields High School Senior, Dylan Irgang shared his thoughts after watching the poignant short films , “I think we have to see our vehicle as a potential weapon that can be harmful. During the time we are driving, let’s keep our focus on the road and detach from our phones; they will be there when we get to our destination.”  
It Can Wait is a national movement urging drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones—distracted driving is never OK. The campaign began with a focus on not texting and driving. We’ve now expanded it to the broader dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel.
Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has:
  • Helped grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to nearly all of those surveyed.
  • Inspired more than 30 million pledges to not drive distracted.
  • Collaborated with AT&T data scientists on research that shows how statewide anti-texting laws impact the rate of texting while driving. 
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