Gibault students learn dangers of texting while driving

Gibault junior Emily Kaiser sits behind the wheel of an AT&T device that simulates the effects of texting while driving during an assembly last month. (Kermit Constantine photo)

When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait. That is the simple, yet vital, message AT&T is sending drivers — particularly high school students.

To drive home this message and make the roads safer, AT&T brought an in-car virtual reality simulator to Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo last month to let teen drivers experience first-hand the dangers of texting and driving.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports 11 teen deaths every day are attributed to texting while driving. Texting is the number one mode of communication for teens, who text on average 60 times a day.

One text takes a person’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field completely blind.

Since launching its “Texting and Driving… It Can Wait” program in 2009, AT&T has integrated anti-texting-while-driving messaging in its stores across the nation and designed a free DriveMode mobile app to help curb texting behind the wheel.

During a Friday assembly, Gibault students were shown a documentary titled “The Last Text,” and were urged to sign a pledge not to text and drive.

In addition, Gibault students tried the AT&T simulator, attempting to drive and text on a simulated city street while receiving and sending a text message.

Gibault junior Emily Kaiser flunked her test when she failed to stop for a red light.

AT&T representative Katie Nagus said a recent survey found that 97 percent of teens say they know texting is dangerous. The survey also found 75 percent of teens surveyed say texting while driving is “common” among their friends.

Almost all teens (89 percent) expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less, she added, and 77 percent of teens report seeing their parents text while driving.

For more information on the dangers of texting while driving, visit online at

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