Wisconsin Dells (WKOW)-- Transportation officials and cell phone service providers have worked for years to cut down on texting while driving. AT&T started their "It Can Wait" campaign back in 2009 and it's still going strong today.
On Tuesday, the group brought their message to the annual Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Summit in the Wisconsin Dells. The FCCLA meets every year to elect new student leaders and to discuss issues that affect teenagers. One of the issues that was near the top of their list was texting while driving which causes more than 200,000 crashes every year.
"We really want to teach these kids here the importance of not texting and driving," WisDOT Public Information Specialist Katie Mueller says.
For hundreds of students, the WisDOT driving simulator was a fun and engaging way to learn how hard it is to control a car and a cell phone at the same time. For Logan Melgosa however, it's a very serious issue. Four years ago his older brother Matthew was killed in an accident that was caused by a text.
"Ever since then I've been really passionate about it, getting the word out," Melgosa says.
On Tuesday morning he became the brand new president of the Wisconsin Chapter of FCCLA, but he's no stranger to leadership positions. Last year he represented Wisconsin at a texting while driving summit in Washington D.C. Now, he's taking that newfound knowledge and spreading it amongst his peers.
"I have a lot of friends who were like, it only takes a second just to read a message, change a song on my ipod quick. It only takes a second. Well, it took one second and it took Matthew's life."
Lead sponsor of the event AT&T says it's students like Logan who are making a difference in the fight against texting while driving.
"They can go back and drive their message back into their community and frankly amongst their peers and really that's the most compelling message," AT&T President Scott VanderSanden says.
Logan says he will continue to push the message. Later this month he and his peers are hosting a texting while driving summit in his hometown of Barron. He is also scheduled to speak at events in Milwaukee and San Antonio Texas later this Spring.
"I absolutely believe that it can make an impact and hopefully they do put their phones away while they drive," Melgosa says.
There is some hope that the message of texting and driving is getting across. AT&T has collected surveys that show one out of every three teens who hear their message admit to changing their driving behavior and 90% say they would refrain from texting if someone in their car asked them to.
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