COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
IT CAN WAIT CAMPAIGN'S "DRIVE 4 PLEDGES DAY"
SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Good morning. It is a treat to be here today--and an honor to stand before you
representing the Federal Communications Commission. It is also just exciting to share the stage
with my colleagues from the Department of Transportation, not to mention Coco Jones. But I
especially want to welcome the students here who have traveled to Washington from across the
country, and commend them for speaking up to stop distracted driving. I also want to thank the
wireless carriers--AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile--for joining their chorus and taking
this issue on.
Let me start by sharing with you a single sentence.
"I can't say go play."
That sentence haunts. It chills. And if you haven't seen the Werner Herzog film, "From
One Second to the Next," you may not be familiar with it. "I can't say go play" is what Valetta,
one of the stars of the film, says about her son, Xzavier.
Xzavier is no longer able to play outside.
Because he is eight years old and on life support.
Because going outside requires a suction machine and a ventilator and a wheel chair.
Because Xzavier was hit by a driver--a driver too busy texting to pay attention to the
road ahead. A driver too distracted to know that the false urgency of a single text could change
Xzavier's life forever.
But Xzavier's story is just one of thousands each year. Because according to the National
Safety Council, over 100,000 automobile crashes occur every year due to distracted driving. That
is an epidemic.
But these crashes--and the injuries and deaths that result--are preventable. The cure lies
in education and advocacy. Because if we raise public awareness, people will know to keep off
the phone when on the road.
At the Federal Communications Commission, we have been working to do our part. We
now talk to elementary, middle, and high school students about the dangers of texting while
driving. This year we hosted our first distracted driving technology showcase where over 400
people were in attendance and 20 exhibitors were present--including wireless carriers, software
developers, and government agencies.
So we are invested at the agency where I work. But I am also invested, too. Because I
am the mother of two small children, and never want to see them at risk because someone behind
the wheel believes that paying attention to a text is more important than paying attention to the
But we need to go beyond what we do and say here in Washington today. Take the
pledge to not text and drive. Talk to everyone you know about it. Get them to pledge, too. And
set a good example yourself. Because if we work together and raise awareness, I bet we can do
something big--we can put the brakes on distracted driving.