AT&T came to campus to promote their “It Can Wait” campaign on Oct. 28 in the University Union.
The campaign is part of a nation-wide movement to build awareness about the dangerous effects of texting while driving. Using a car-like mobile app and an Oculus rift, students were invited to participate in the virtual reality of distracted driving.
Since its beginning in 2010, the “It Can Wait” campaign has already gotten 10 million people to take a pledge to drive safely.
“It’s personal responsibility,” tour spokesman Christopher Johnson said. “Is your whole life worth a two second glance?”
The simulation takes the student through the eyes of a driver, who travels through school zones, skids past a father holding a stroller, and eventually gets T-boned after a second of looking down at his phone.
“You don’t see it coming — you get hit without even knowing,” Johnson said. “At the end you actually float up and you get a perspective shot. You can see the whole crash, the ambulance, there’s people, there’s cops, it’s everything.”
Ninety-seven percent of teens say texting while driving is bad but 43 percent admit to doing so, according to campaign statistics. Johnson said they want to make texting while driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving.
“I’m sure lots of us have had close calls and we didn’t even realize it,” he said. “A lot of times, we’re so distracted that there’s accidents that may happen that you don’t even see because you’re on your phone.”
Noberto Cielo, who was visiting Cal Poly with his daughter, a prospective architecture student, gave the virtual reality a spin.
Cielo has been driving for 25 years but has never been in an accident. His daughter has been driving for two and she hasn’t either.
“I’m really proud of her because sometimes I call her when she’s driving and she doesn’t pick up,” he said. “She says, ‘You told me not to.’”
Cielo commutes to work every day and is especially cognizant of the growing danger of texting while driving. The experience with the Oculus Rift, he said, made him feel more aware.
“It’s like you’re sleeping, that’s what it feels like,” Cielo said. “You’re not paying attention.”
More information about “It Can Wait” can be found on itcanwait.com. Anyone interested can also download the AT&T Drive Mode App to help minimize distractions while driving.