CALIFORNIA – California University of Pennsylvania is urging its students to look up from their smartphones, especially while walking around campus or driving.
The university, through an initiative officially launched Tuesday with the state Department of Transportation, is asking students to sign a pledge promising not to text message on their phones under such circumstances.
“Many students are embracing this,” said Cal U. parking and transportation director Christopher Johnston, while he and PennDOT showed off posters and sandwich boards drawing attention to the campaign.
“We’re really excited about the response from the kids,” Johnston said.
A student was killed two years ago in a vehicle accident at off-campus housing that involved distracted driving, he said.
And, many college students today always seem to “have their heads in their cellphones” while walking between classes, said PennDOT safety press officer Jay Ofsanik. “They’re just walking down the street and not looking up.”
Various Cal U. groups, including fraternities, are carrying around the pledge forms. Meanwhile, signs carrying the phrase “TXT L8TR” have been posted on campus and in buses and bus shelters students use to get around the town. The campus television station has also turned the program into a topic for discussion.
“If we can get one kid to remember to wait and return the text when he gets back to his room rather than immediately,” Johnston said.