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At Georgia Southern, it’s drive now, txt l8r

POSTED: October 31, 2011 6:38 p.m.

Georgia Southern University is launching an anti-texting and driving campaign aimed at young drivers on its campus and around the state.

The “txtl8r” (text later) campaign consists of a series of radio and television public service announcements and digital signage images that will be featured on campus, and will also be distributed to media around the state of Georgia. The campaign features Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel, Ph.D., Eagles head football coach Jeff Monken, University students and athletes and a professor who had to break the news of a texting and driving death to one of his classes.

“It only takes a split second for a text message behind the wheel to turn into a tragedy,” said Keel. “While texting and driving is illegal in the state of Georgia, we know that thousands of young drivers engage in this potentially deadly behavior every day. With the ‘txt l8r’ campaign, we are sending the clear message that no text is too important to wait.”

Georgia Southern biology professor Lorne Wolfe, Ph.D., decided to become involved in anti-texting and driving awareness after one of his students had a relative killed in an accident where texting and driving was involved.

“I looked into this classroom filled with young people and told them that one of their classmates wasn’t there because they had gone home to bury a loved one killed by texting and driving,” Wolfe said. “As shocking and sad as that message was, I knew many of those same students would continue to text and drive.”

Wolfe partnered with Georgia Southern’s Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Office of Marketing and Communications to develop the “txt l8r” campaign. Students involved in Greek organizations, ROTC and athletic teams are featured to send the message that members of the Eagle Nation do not text and drive.

“The Georgia Southern Eagles practice safety on the field every day because we want to win,” Monken states in one of the public service announcements. “I’m recruiting your support while you’re driving so that we all win.”

In addition to targeting Georgia Southern’s 20,000 students, the public service announcements will be distributed to media around the state. Statistics by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that in 2009 distracted driving — which includes texting — was a factor in nearly 5,500 traffic deaths and a half million injuries. Studies show those most likely to be killed or injured are under the age of 20, while the second most likely group is between the ages of 20 and 29.

“Our students fall into the age groups most likely to be hurt or killed by texting and driving,” said Keel. “So that makes this campaign very personal for me and everyone involved. We don’t want our students’ great potential squandered by a moment of inattention at the wheel. The message is clear. Don’t text and drive — text later.”

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