Attorney General Kilmartin comes to East Providence High to talk texting

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) are bringing attention to the dangers of texting and driving with a high school awareness tour that will visit East Providence High School on Monday, Dec. 17.

Joined by RIDOT State Traffic Engineer Robert Rocchio, AT&T New England President Patricia Jacobs, Rhode Island State Police Major David Tikoian, the East Providence Prevention Coalition, and school officials, the group will bring AT&T’s powerful http://www.att.com/itcanwait”“Texting & Driving…It Can Wait” campaign to East Providence Senior High School seniors.  After a short speaking program, students (seniors), teachers and guests will view an AT&T documentary featuring families impacted by texting and driving accidents, and will then be asked to sign a pledge to not text and drive.

“We are spreading the message to young drivers across Rhode Island: No text message is so important that it’s worth taking your attention off the road and risking lives in the process,” said Attorney General Kilmartin, who sponsored the state’s landmark legislation in 2009 banning texting while driving in Rhode Island.   “Whether turning the phone off, taking a pledge, or just making it a personal practice, the next time you think about sending or answering a text while operating a vehicle please remember – It Can Wait.”

Throughout the school year, AG Kilmartin and RIDOT will bring the public awareness campaign to area high schools. Interested parties are encouraged to follow the lead of the East Providence High School students and go to  “http://www.itcanwait.com”www.itcanwait.com and take a no-texting-and-driving pledge, and then share their promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook.

A recent AT&T survey found that 97 percent of teens say they know that texting is dangerous.

The survey also found: 75 percent of teens surveyed say that texting while driving is “common” among their friends; Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less; And 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.

Rhode Island State Police Colonel and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Steven G. O’Donnell added, “Distracted Drivers are a serious problem on our roadways.  As the enforcement arm of this campaign, we are pleased to join Attorney General Kilmartin, DOT and educators to get the message out to our most vulnerable population, DON’T TEXT and DRIVE!”

“Young drivers need to learn that the consequences to texting and driving can be deadly,” said RIDOT Director Lewis. “As we visit area high schools, we will be armed with the same safety message:  Don’t text and drive. It Can Wait.”

AT&T first began its It Can Wait campaign discouraging texting and driving in 2009. Its partnership with the AG Kilmartin and RIDOT is just the latest way AT&T is continuing to spread the word about the dangers of texting and driving as part of the “It Can Wait” campaign in Rhode Island and across the country.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Attorney General Kilmartin and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving,” said Patricia Jacobs, President of AT&T in New England.  “We hope that the result of our efforts will be that thousands of teen drivers – and their parents – across Rhode Island will pledge to never text and drive.”

For additional information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, please visit “http://www.att.com/itcanwait”www.att.com/itcanwait.

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