Russell Wilson practices what he preaches

Posted Mar 22, 2013

Breaking the texting-and-driving habit is difficult. Just ask Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who not only took the “Save it Seattle” pledge but rewarded students at Roosevelt High School on Friday who did the same.

Texting and driving is not a good idea. But still people do it.

Sometimes it helps to get a reminder about the perils of texting while driving. And if the message is delivered by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, all the better.

That was the case at Roosevelt High School on Friday, when an appearance by Wilson rewarded the Roughriders for getting the most pledges among four Seattle schools – more than 800 – to stop texting and driving as part of the Verizon Wireless “Save it Seattle: Pledge to Stop Texting and Driving” program.

The Seahawks’ QB signed autographs and poised for picture with select students, between the news conference and school assembly portions of the event. And the fact that it was Wilson who was delivering the message put the promotion over the top.

“Obviously you’re not going to want to do something like that,” said Anthony LaGuardia, an 18-year-old senior who is heading to Notre Dame in the fall. “But without someone specifically telling you that, I mean my parents are never like, ‘Oh, make sure you don’t go out and text and drive.’ It’s not something people talk about a lot.

“So to have this reminder, it was huge for the students to think about. And having a Seahawk come to our school – the best Seahawk on the team, in my opinion – that was huge for us to think about it that way.”

LaGuardia, who competes in golf, swimming and baseball for the Roughriders in addition to being the student government secretary, was among the first to take the don’t-drive-and-text pledge and spread the word to others.

“We printed off 1,000 forms, because we thought this would be a great pledge for our school,” he said. “I personally know a lot of friends who text and drive. I’ve been guilty of it in the past as well. It’s definitely a very dangerous thing to do. I mean you take your eye off the road for a second and disastrous things can happen.

“So I thought it was important for our school to initiate something that said we weren’t going to do it again in the future.”

Those are the same reasons Wilson decided to lend his support and notoriety to the program.

“The whole ‘Save it Seattle’ idea is just so fascinating to me,” Wilson said. “Because obviously – especially with teenagers, and myself even and my teammates – with technology just continuing to grow and grow and grow, texting is a very big thing. So it’s a problem.”

Wilson wasn’t just a figurehead spokesman. He knew the statistics, throwing out that it’s 23 times more likely for someone to get in an accident while texting and driving.

“I think that it’s an important thing, and I’m proud of Roosevelt High School for stepping up and taking that challenge,” Wilson said.

And breaking the texting-and-driving habit is a challenge.

“It’s very tough for kids, and just myself, to stop texting and driving,” Wilson said. “I made that pledge with Roosevelt High School. They did a great job with it. It’s definitely a challenge and something you always have to constantly think about because texting is a habit.”   

So far, better than good for those who took the pledge.

“I know never to text again,” LaGuardia said. “It’s tough, but it’s doable. And this pledge definitely has gotten a lot of people thinking about it, and people who wouldn’t think about it at first. It became the norm."