Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s an unprecedented move by the nation’s top cell phone providers. Normally fierce competitors, the four companies have now banded together to fight the epidemic of texting and driving.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the campaign.
Studies show people who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. Now those companies are taking a stand to save lives.
Maryland native Heather Hurd landed her dream job, she met her dream guy and was planning a wedding—but her dreams ended in an instant.
“Stopped at the first traffic light and was hit by a tractor trailer driver who was texting and was killed instantly,” said her father, Russell Hurd.
Since that day in January of 2008, her parents have been on a mission.
“We need to just make the driving public aware of just how dangerous these practices are,” Hurd said.
Now, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile have come together, asking people to take a pledge against texting and driving in a campaign called “It Can Wait.”
“It’s a powerful yet simple message but really shows that no text is worth dying for,” says AT&T Spokesperson Whitley Miller.
According to a new study, texting and driving is now the leading cause of death for teenage drivers—even surpassing drunk driving. Three thousand teen deaths a year are linked to texting and driving, as well as 300,000 injuries nationwide.
Now AT&T has launched a new app called “Drive Mode,” which automatically responds to text messages letting people know you’re on the road.
“And then it lets their friends and family know, `Wow, this person is taking it serious. Maybe I should do it too,” says Miller.
The Hurd family is hoping this campaign could prevent tragedy.
“We can’t count the people that we may have saved but I know that if it’s just one, then it’s well worth it,” Hurd said.
The Drive Mode app is now available on Androids and Blackberries.
Texting while driving is illegal in the state of Maryland. Heather Hurd’s family has dubbed the law “Heather’s Law.”