Nationwide campaign against texting and driving kicks off

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - You can take a stand against texting and driving Thursday. A nationwide campaign kicks off and 2.5 million drivers are expected to join the "It Can Wait movement" by pledging not to text and drive September 19 and beyond.

Several events are scheduled in Kansas and Missouri to draw attention to and raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.

AT&T, Sprint and community leaders are joining together for a Drive 4 Pledges Day kick-off event beginning at 10 a.m. at the Johnson County Community College Commons Courtyard.

Johnson County Library will offer people the opportunity to commit and pledge not to text and drive by signing a banner at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park and picking up stickers for their cars. They may also write on the Library's magic wall about the dangers of texting and driving.

In Overland Park, Sprint will be holding an employee awareness event beginning at noon featuring a screening of the Werner Herzog documentary, "From One Second to the Next," at its headquarters campus.

Across Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation and Kansas Turnpike Authority will be posting "It Can Wait" messages on electronic signboards along major highways.

Elsewhere in the region, from Overland Park to St. Joseph to Blue Springs and beyond, communities, libraries and schools are mounting efforts to encourage drivers young and old to take the pledge never to text and drive.

People can now sign up at ItCanWait.com to get resources that will help them share their commitment on social media while not behind the wheel.

Nearly 2,000 Drive 4 Pledges activities will be held in communities across the nation, including more than 1,500 at high schools.

Organizers say the simple pledge can make a big difference.

A survey by ConnectSafely.org found the pledge can make a big difference, particularly on teens.

According to the survey, 78 percent of teen drivers say they're likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it's wrong. Ninety percent say they'd stop if a friend in the car asked them to. Ninety-three percent would stop if a parent in the car asked them to. Forty-four percent say that they would be thankful if a passenger complained about their texting while driving.

The survey also found one-in-three people who've seen the texting while driving message say they've changed their driving habits.

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