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AAA Western and Central New York, New York State Police, Destiny USA and the New York State Thruway Authority Teams Up With AT&T to Bring the Company’s Newly Launched Nationally-Touring It Can Wait Simulator to Syracuse

May 11th, 2018

Syracuse, NYAT&T* joined AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY), New York State Police and the New York State Thruway Authority to spread the company’s It Can Wait campaign that educates the public about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving at Destiny USA.   Research shows that nearly 9-in-10 people admit to using their smartphone while driving,1 and people are doing much more than texting while behind the wheel; they’re checking email, accessing social media and even snapping photos. Studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety find that nearly 90 percent of drivers view distracted driving as a growing problem, yet nearly half (49 percent) of drivers admit to talking on a handheld phone behind the wheel.

To drive home the message and illustrate the significant dangers in a safe environment, AT&T teamed up with AAA, New York State Police and the New York State Thruway Authority to bring the company’s newly launched virtual reality experience to Destiny USA, marking one of the stops on its 200-stop nationwide tour throughout 2018. In the simulator, participants came face-to-face with the very real dangers of distracted driving through a memorial wall—a wall of keys representing lives lost and a wall made to look like crushed car parts.

In addition, the It Can Wait 3D virtual reality simulator visit to the Syracuse raises awareness for AAA’s 100 Deadliest Days—the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb. With more young and inexperienced drivers, motorcycles, farm vehicles and bicyclists on the road, as well as pedestrians, it’s a great reminder for teen drivers to put the phone down while driving.

“AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign has one simple message: distracted driving is never OK. We've heard too many stories of people suffering or causing life-altering or fatal injuries as a result of using a smartphone behind the wheel. AT&T is committed to educating as many people as we can about the dangers of distracted driving, which is why we brought the first-hand experience of the simulator to Syracuse in collaboration with AAA, New York State Police, Destiny USA and the New York State Thruway Authority,” said Kevin Hanna, Director, External Affairs, AT&T.

“With summer quickly approaching, we will see more teen drivers on the road, along with more pedestrians, bicyclists, and children playing. Now is the time to disconnect and drive and pledge to keep our roads safe all year long," said Lindsay Kensy, communications specialist at AAA WCNY. "We thank our partners for their efforts to bring a stop to distracted driving.”

“The Thruway Authority's number one priority is the safety of our motorists and our employees,” Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “Distracted driving, in any form, is a danger to every person on the road, including our maintenance crews, emergency responders and state police. We are pleased to participate in AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to educate motorists about safety laws and initiatives and keep the Thruway one of the safest superhighways in the nation.”

“The New York State Police are pleased to be teaming up with AT&T, AAA Western and Central New York, and the New York State Thruway Authority to bring its newly launched “It Can Wait” virtual reality simulator to the people of Central New York,” said Major Philip T. Rougeux, New York State Police Troop D Commander. “The first mission priority of the New York State Police is to “Improve Highway Safety”.  Every day, Troopers strive to make our roads safe for all users, to reduce the deaths, injuries and property damage caused by motor vehicle crashes.  They do this by vehicle and traffic enforcement and educational programs such as this.  Driving while distracted can significantly increase your chances of getting into a crash and seriously injuring yourself or someone else. Distracted driving is a leading cause of serious accidents among teens.  In 2016, Distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives. We urge all drivers to put down their phones and remember “It Can Wait”!

“One second of distracted driving can be one second too many. When driving, everything can wait,” said John Fazio, director of marketing, Destiny USA. "The ‘It Can Wait’ tour has generated nearly 25 million pledges to never drive distracted. With our community spending more time on the road with better weather and longer days, let’s raise that total. We’re thrilled to partner with AT&T and help spread their message on the dangers of distracted driving.”

It Can Wait is a national movement urging drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones—distracted driving is never OK. The campaign began with a focus on not texting and driving. We’ve now expanded it to the broader dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel.

Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has:

  • Helped grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to nearly all of those surveyed.
  • Inspired more than 23 million pledges to not drive distracted.
  • Collaborated with AT&T data scientists on research that shows how statewide anti-texting laws impact the rate of texting while driving. 

To learn more, go to

Below are a couple of links to some video and pictures to give you an idea of what the experience is like:

1 Online survey with 7,505 respondents (total distracted drivers n=6,438) conducted by Kantar Added Value. Ongoing survey data represented here were collected from January 2017- December 2017. National panel sample (ages 15-54, drive, and have a smartphone).

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