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Cell phone company CEO advocates against distracted driving

Over the last few years, traffic safety agencies both in Colorado and at the federal level have launched intensive anti-distracted driving campaigns, aimed at educating drivers on the dangers of talking, texting and emailing behind the wheel. And yet distracted driving-related car accidents continue to occur and even increase in frequency. Why aren't drivers getting the message?

Perhaps the reason that distracted driving remains so common is that no one is leading by example. For example, many parents tell their children about the dangers of texting behind the wheel but continue to do it themselves as their kids watch. However, one notable person is working to change his own habits and to speak out on the dangers of distracted driving in the hopes that it will inspire others to do the same. That person is Randall Stephenson, the chairman and CEO of telecommunications company AT&T.

Stephenson recently took the stage at a conference on the state of the telecommunications business and began his speech with an impassioned request on a completely different topic: texting behind the wheel. Stephenson has made similar statements in recent months, at investor conferences and in conversations with other telecommunications CEOs, and even at this year's AT&T's annual shareholder conference.

Stephenson says that he was motivated to begin advocating against distracted driving when someone close to him was texting behind the wheel and caused a car accident a few years ago. And since he started speaking out on the issue, he says, several people have come forward with their own stories of similar distracted driving incidents, some of which were fatal.

What do you think of Stephenson's efforts to educate about distracted driving? Do you think they will be effective?

Source: New York Times, "AT&T Chief Speaks Out on Texting at the Wheel," Matt Richtel, Sept. 19, 2012

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