AT&T on Wednesday revealed plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in a public interest campaign against texting while driving.
"Our goal is to save lives," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. "I hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. Texting and driving should be as unacceptable as drinking and driving."
As part of the vast campaign, AT&T is encouraging its 240,000 employees to take a pledge never to text and drive and urge others to commit to never do so. AT&T intends to work with television and music celebrations to promote its message while launching a social media campaign with advertising on Facebook and Twitter.
AT&T also will challenge device makers and application developers to work with the telecom giant so that all device are preloaded with a no-text-and-drive technology solution.
The company has set up a website for drivers to make a pledge against texting while driving.
Most states including Ohio already have passed laws forbidding the behavior. Thirty nine states ban text messaging by all drivers and 10 states plus the District of Columbia forbid handheld cellular use while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
A person is 23 times more likely to crash if they are texting while driving, according to a U.S. government website, and the National Safety Council estimates that there have been 812,717 crashes to date this year involving drivers using cell phones and texting.