SEATTLE — You might want to check a text message or respond to one, but you shouldn’t do it when you’re behind the wheel. That’s the message behind the nationwide campaign “It Can Wait.”
“A second is so long when your eyes are off the road,” Sounders FC star DeAndre Yedlin said.
He told students at Garfield High School about an accident he got into a few years ago.
“I was driving on the road, checked a text, and next thing I knew, I was in a ditch on the side of the road,” he said. “It was pretty scary, because it was my first accident. It definitely opened my eyes to how dangerous it can be.”
Students at 1,500 high schools around the country heard messages like that today and watched a documentary that showed how deadly texting can be.
“I haven’t started driving yet, so I don`t know really know the consequences, how fast it can happen,” student Bronwen Street said. “I was watching the video and I was kind of blown away by how much it can impact people.”
“I personally don’t drive yet, I’m going to start taking my lessons soon,” fellow student Harald Hyllseth added. ”I’m going to make sure to not take out my phone and text, because I see people do it all the time.”
Officer Arthur Garza said it’s good to reach students before they get their licenses and start developing bad habits. He’s seen accidents caused by texting, which is why he has no problem pulling people over and handing out $124 tickets.
“It’s putting other people at risk that I take seriously,” he said. “It’s something that can be corrected. You just need to enforce it.”
Student Bailey Harris says she’s going to become an enforcer the next time a friend or family member tries to grab their phone when she’s in the car. “I’m going to tell them get off the phone, it’s not safe, it’s not worth the risk. You can just wait until you get out the car and text them back — it’ll be fine.”
To find out more about the dangers of texting and driving, go to www.itcanwait.com.