Taking the pledge

More than 100 teens and adults made a pledge Friday at La Cañada High School to not text messages on their cell phones while driving as part of Allstate Insurance’s “X the TXT” campaign.

Allstate Insurance’s “X to TXT” truck, part of a national campaign designed to make teenagers and their parents pledge they won’t text while driving, has been touring the nation, stopping at local high schools. The truck made an appearance Friday night at La Cañada High during the La Cañada Classic, a high school boys’ basketball tournament.

“What this is, is a support of teen safety,” said Robert Feldman, an Allstate agent in La Crescenta who was at the site. Pledgers were asked to dab their thumbs in blue ink and place a thumbprint on the banner to promote awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. Photos of the participants were posted on facebook.com/thumbsuppledge.

Feldman said texting while driving is similar to cell phone use, but there are indications texting is more dangerous because the driver’s eyes are not on the road.

According to the National Security Council and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text-messaging while driving takes your eyes off the road on average of five seconds at a time, and results in 330,000 distracted driving injuries every year.

Allstate cites the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s fatality data that show texting while driving was responsible for 11 teen deaths per day in the United States last year.

“That’s why we’re really focusing on this,” Feldman said. “We want people to know how dangerous texting is and how many kids don’t come home because of it.”

Some La Cañada High students were all too familiar with the possible side effects of text messaging while driving.

“A friend of mine crashed into a parked car while texting,” said La Cañada High junior Daleep Sandhu. “Fortunately, everyone came out safely, but it’s a serious matter.”

About 100 students and adults took the pledge Friday night, said Jim Klapthor, a senior communications consultant for Allstate.

“We’ve had more than 6,000 people become fans of the cause on Facebook since visiting La Cañada,” he said.

Since Nov. 17, the banner has been taken across the United States. La Cañada was the 27th stop out of 30 planned. The final stop is at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Dec. 31.

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