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Wireless providers seeking ‘Don’t text and drive’ pledges

PHOENIX — Arizonans were asked to take a pledge on Thursday during a nationwide campaign designed to stamp out texting and driving.

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and more than 200 other organizations have joined a movement called “It Can Wait,” which is asking everyone to pledge not to text while driving.

Arizona Diamondbacks fans heading into Chase Field stopped by the “It Can Wait” exhibit Thursday. They were able to get an autograph from former Diamondback Luis Gonzalez, then sit at a simulator to see how they would do if texting while driving. When I tried it, I received a text message and looked at the cellphone, then immediately crashed into another car.

But the consequence of texting and driving is no simulations for Basha High School teacher Amy Keifer Barard. A year ago, she was hit by a driver who was texting and suffered three skull fractures. She had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat. Doctors said she will feel effects from the injuries for the rest of her life.

“My life is changed forever,” she said. “Was his text message so important that he couldn’t wait? I don’t know that his text message changed the life of anyone that he sent it to, but it changed mine forever.”

It bothers her that the man has never apologized for what he did.

According to the National Safety Council, there are more than 100,000 traffic accidents nationwide each year that involve someone who is texting while driving.

There are several ways to take the pledge. One is to text “ICWAZ” to 464-329. You can also pledge online at he first 200 people to pledge get a free “It Can Wait” t-shirt.