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Big Four Cellphone Carriers Unite on Anti-Texting Ads

PHONES-TEXTINGWEST SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — Another push against texting and driving tonight – as major wireless companies announce a collaborative advertising campaign called ‘It Can Wait’.

Locally, West Springfield High School has a weeklong push against distracted driving, especially with the prom this Friday night.

A demonstration car was parked outside all day with about 150 students waiting to get behind the wheel.   The vehicle is outfitted with a virtual simulator to show students the dangers of distracted driving without actually driving.

“I think it really can give them that feeling of – in a safe way – of knowing what it’s like,” said West Springfield High School teacher, Karen Cousland. “You really do feel like you’re driving off the road and you’re losing control.”

The simulator isn’t anything new and neither are TV spots warning against texting and driving.

But starting this summer, the big 4 wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are teaming up to back a multi-million dollar ad campaign against texting and driving – and that is new.

Not only because they’re all rivals, but because the companies are urging people ‘not’ to use their products.

It’s called, “It Can Wait”, but can it work?

Many of the students we spoke to say the danger of distracted driving was driven home for them when they got behind the wheel, not necessarily by anything they read or watched.

It’s a physical experience – something these students don’t just see, they feel – and that’s just not possible in an ad.

“Some people don’t take posters serious or a commercials serious but if you get in there and you actually crash and see how it can really affect you, it’s more realistic,” said senior Riyadh Asad.

That’s why Cousland says the phone company’s efforts are good… but for her students – the demonstrations are better.

“I think that they need to go thru and see what it really is like.”

Cousland says they’re also trying to cut down on texting and driving amongst students by offering some of the same advice  given to fight drinking and driving.

She says she tells students to make one person in the car the designated texter.

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