Following the unanimous vote by the Newport City Council passing a resolution to not text and drive and to encourage all that live and visit Newport to never text and drive, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin praised the City Council for taking a leadership position on the important public safety issue of texting and driving.
On hand at the meeting to thank the City Council for their commitment, Attorney General Kilmartin said, "We all know the dangers of texting and driving, yet too many people continue to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel to send or read a text, to post a tweet, or to update their status on Facebook. I applaud the Newport City Council for taking the pledge to personally not to text and drive, and more importantly, for encouraging Newport citizens and visitors alike to do the same."
In 2012, Attorney General Kilmartin partnered with AT&T, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) and the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) to bring AT&T's "It Can Wait" public awareness campaign to high schools across Rhode Island.
The "It Can Wait" campaign, which discourages texting and driving, is making a difference: one in three people who have seen the texting while driving documentary say they have changed their driving habits. To date, the "It Can Wait" program has been brought to more than 35 high schools where more than 15,000 students have taken a pledge not to text and drive.
"We encourage all Rhode Islanders to follow the example set by the Newport City Council and pledge to be safer drivers," said David Darlington, RITBA chairman. "The safety of drivers across the four Aquidneck Island bridges is the highest priority of the RITBA, and we heartily support the efforts of the It Can Wait Campaign because we know it's effective in saving lives."
"We commend the City of Newport for taking this important step in protecting lives on our roadways," RIDOT Deputy Director Phillip Kydd said. "Too many headlines recently have documented the human tragedy that often results from distracted driving. Taking a bold step forward to discourage this dangerous practice, as Newport is doing, will go a long way toward advancing public discourse and ultimately shifting the social norm."
"We applaud the City of Newport for its leadership on this important issue," said Patricia Jacobs, President, AT&T New England. "Our goal is to make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving and that means sharing the 'It Can Wait' message across all communities and to all drivers. No text is worth the risk – it really can wait."
Anyone interested in learning more about the It Can Wait campaign and to take the pledge to not text and drive can visit www.riag.ri.gov or www.itcanwait.com.