For nearly a decade, our It Can Wait® program has shared a simple message – please don’t drive distracted. And while we want all drivers to be safe on the road, we know that this time of year can be the most dangerous for teen drivers.
According to AAA, the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the “100 deadliest days” on the road, especially for teens. As they head out for vacations, summer jobs, days at the beach or neighborhood pool, we want teens to remember that no text, post or selfie is worth a life. But, no matter how much we say it, we know this message means the most when teens hear it from their friends and peers. In fact, our research shows that 57% of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger pressures them to.
That’s why we were so encouraged by the teens who took action to prevent distracted driving across the country this past school year as part of our collaboration with DECA. For more than 70 years, DECA has impacted the lives of students by providing opportunities for them to enhance leadership and business skills as part of their school curriculum. Their impressive student members are go-getters who eagerly stepped up to the challenge to get friends and classmates to put down their phones while behind the wheel.
Across the country, local DECA chapters organized social media campaigns, video advertising and in-school pledge drives to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and encourage their classmates to take the It Can Wait pledge. Through a state text-to-pledge competition, DECA’s members generated over 15,000 pledges, surpassing their goal. It took hard work and creativity to get the job done. We were honored to recognize the students’ achievements recently at DECA’s national conference in Orlando with financial awards to the states that generated the most pledges.
However, more important than the number of pledges and awards, were the teens’ efforts to speak up about the dangers of distracted driving. For almost 10 years, we have brought our It Can Wait program to schools across the country. Every time we see students engage with the program and make it their own, we are impressed with the result. Our collaboration with DECA was yet another example of the great work teens do with the It Can Wait campaign.
Thanks to DECA, and their student members, we hope our roads will be a little safer this summer. Take the pledge at ItCanWait.com and always remember to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.