CORRECTION: AT&T launched the “It Can Wait” texting movement in 2009.
OKLAHOMA CITY — While it’s nothing new to some, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said texting and driving is 23 times more risky than driving without using a phone.
That’s why Tuesday, the University of Central Oklahoma students joined the “It Can Wait” movement AT&T started, aiming to stop the dangerous habit.
Texting crowds are a familiar sight on campus and texting drivers can be a familiar sighting on the road.
It hits home for Janelle Archer whose friend was hit by a texting driver.
“It could really kill people. My friend came this close to dying,” Archer said.
One by one, Michaela Kohler asked fellow students to join the pledge.
“It’s a very dangerous situation. There are so many people who get into accidents over texting and driving,” Kohler said.
Those accidents are going up.
In 2009, 1,862 Oklahoma drivers crashed because they were distracted by an electronic device; up more than 50 from the previous year, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Ten of those were fatal wrecks.
Police said texting and driving can be a lot more dangerous than tuning the radio.
You’re looking down at your phone causing you to be distracted physically because you’re texting.
Police said you’re also distracted mentally because you aren’t giving your full attention to driving.
While many students agreed, some resisted.
One student said, “Sometimes you gotta text.”
But Archer said, “You think it’s not going to happen to you but it can.”
She hopes this pledge can cut back on the accidents.
Wednesday students will present the signatures to representatives from AT&T at their store at 1255 E. 2nd St. in Edmond near Bryant.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a proclamation making Sept. 19, “No Texting While Driving Awareness Day.”
They’ll even have a texting while driving simulator so students can see how well they can drive while using their phones.