NEW YORK - The four biggest cell phone companies are joining forces for the "It Can Wait" campaign to put a stop to texting while driving.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile are launching the multimillion-dollar ad campaign to warn against the deadly distraction, calling it an epidemic.

According to the U.S. Transportation Secretary, sending messages behind the wheel can make drivers up to 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Teens are one of the most common culprits, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says auto accidents are the leading cause of death for that age group.

A survey presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies also found that 43 percent of teenage drivers surveyed in 2011 admitted to texting and driving at least once in the previous 30 days.

The "It Can Wait" ads will start popping up this summer.