The "It Can Wait" campaign emphasizes the dangers of texting while behind the wheel.
Ferre Dollar/CNN
The "It Can Wait" campaign emphasizes the dangers of texting while behind the wheel.

Story highlights

"It Can Wait" aims to end the practice of texting and driving

On September 19, AT&T is hosting No Text on Board -- Pledge Day

43% of teens admit to texting while behind the wheel

Gripping ads feature victims injured or killed while texting

CNN —  

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, was watching the Olympics with his daughter when she saw it – an ad featuring a man in a wheelchair suffering from a severe brain injury and holding a sign with the text: “Where r.”

“This is the text message that caused the car accident that changed my life forever,” the man said.

According to Stephenson, the ad did its job.

“She said, ‘Dad … that’s heavy’,” he said. “I said, it’s supposed to be heavy. It got your attention and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Massachusetts teen convicted of homicide in texting-while-driving case

The ad, from AT&T, is part of the mobile company’s “It Can Wait” campaign. First launched in 2009, the campaign aims to curb texting and driving, especially among young drivers. It will be ramping up between now and September 19, or what the campaign is calling “No Text on Board – Pledge Day.”

AT&T is asking all Americans to visit on or before that day and take a pledge to not text behind the wheel.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, texting while driving increased 50% in one year (2010), when 20% of all drivers admitted to texting or sending an e-mail while driving.

Teens report doing so at more than twice that rate, with 43% admitting to doing so in an AT&T survey.