University/public pledge contest focuses on no texting while driving

Posted September 19, 2016

Students and supporters of seven Kansas universities can advocate for friendly competition this fall while challenging themselves and others to stop texting and driving.

The Kansas Insurance Department, insurance companies and governmental sponsors have created the “Don’t Text #Just Drive” campaign to get university students and supporters to pledge to stop texting while driving.

“We think this is a great way to promote a worthy goal of saving lives,” said Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance. “You pledge to not text and drive, you pick your school and you cast your vote. Alumni, supporters and students of these Kansas schools show their support for the campaign and participate in a friendly competition at the same time.”

Supporters of each participating university will be able to take the pledge two ways: Online or by text messaging. The number of pledges each school receives will be compared to its official fall 2016 enrollment to calculate a percentage. Results will be tabulated and the winner announced during university athletic contests this fall and winter.

The participating schools are the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University, Washburn University and Emporia State University.

Voting begins today and ends Nov. 22. Pledge votes can be cast by texting 50555 and choosing one of the school keywords: KU, Wildcat, Shocker, Tiger, Gorilla, Ichabod, or Hornet. Voters can also go online at More information about the campaign can also be found at

University officials and student government leaders from each university are supporting the contest. They will be promoting the voting/pledge through a number of on-campus and alumni association events.

Kendall Schoenekase, Miss Kansas 2016, is promoting the campaign as well. She has chosen “Stay Alive, Don’t Text and Drive” as her campaign issue during her reign as Miss Kansas. She and Commissioner Selzer filmed a series of public service announcements and recorded radio announcements that will be aired on Kansas media and at athletic contests throughout the campaign.

Major funding for the promoting the contest comes from AT&T, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Automobile Insurance Plan, the Kansas Turnpike Authority, Allstate Insurance Company, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance, AAA and Upland Mutual.

The pledge that each voter agrees to is this: “No text message, email, website or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road. I pledge to not text and drive and will take action to educate others about the dangers of texting while driving. No text is worth the risk. It can wait.”

A national study found that three out of four people surveyed admitted to texting while driving, even though they agreed that the activity is dangerous to themselves and others.

“All Kansans can be winners through this campaign,” Commissioner Selzer said. “We can show pride in our universities and make a statement at the same time by using this phrase: ‘Eyes up. Phone Off. Save Lives.’ ”