Feature Article

May 15, 2013

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile Team up for Anti-Texting Campaign

What will it take to get people to stop texting while driving? Seriously, are the ghastly pictures of mauled cars and lost lives not enough for you? And what about the terrible commercial where the Mom texts her son and then he replies and dies? Stop it!

That's sort of what the nation's four biggest cell phone carriers are looking to get across to drivers, CBS reports.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile have teamed up to launch a joint advertising campaign against texting while driving.

The campaign's slogan is called “It Can Wait,” which is one AT&T has been using. The companies are aiming to hit radio and TV networks with the message this summer and will be joined by 200 other organizations it what has blossomed into a multimillion-dollar ad campaign.

It's a noteworthy effort because it unites rivals for a greater cause, and also because it represents companies warning against the dangers of their own products. It's as though they are coming out with a giant Surgeon's General warning.

It's funny, because cell phone companies used to oppose the laws that prohibit use of their products while driving. Perhaps their consciences have caught up with them, or maybe, more skeptically, they want to show parents who are often in charge of their teen's (and new driver's) cell phone plan that they're pro-kids not dying in car wrecks.

Of the participating companies, AT&T and Verizon have run ads against texting and driving since 2009. Just before the mass proliferation of texting, Sprint Nextel Corp. created an education program targeting teens learning to drive. Has T-Mobile maybe been too busy trying to save itself, to deal with campaigning about driving habits? 

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in an interview that the issue of texting and driving is one that “needs to be dealt with,” adding that, “I think we all understand that pooling our resources with one consistent message is a lot more powerful than all four of us having different messages and going different directions.”

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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