April 08, 2014 10:20 ET

First National Texting Enforcement Crackdown

Area Law Enforcement Join Others Across the Country to Reduce Texting While Driving to Save Lives

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2014) - Motorists from all over the country are reminded that from April 10-15, 2014, law enforcement personnel will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text while driving. This effort is a part of the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement (HVE) campaign that combines periods of intense enforcement of anti-texting laws with advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement and convince them to comply with the law.

"Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous actions you can take on our roadways," said Chris Murphy, Regional Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), Region 7. "So we are launching this new enforcement campaign -- U Drive. U Text. U Pay. -- to offer a tough lesson to any drivers using a handheld cell or texting."

Avoid the dangers of distracted driving. Remember to:

  • Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach;
  • Include in your outgoing message that you can't answer while you are driving;
  • Don't call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving.

In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in distraction-affected crashes. The University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute reports that a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, and 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

The successes of the Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns have proven that the combination of tough laws, targeted advertising, and high-visibility enforcement can change people's risky traffic safety behaviors. This strategy was implemented as part of the Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other distraction demonstration effort in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, in 2010 and2011, and then to Delaware and Sacramento County in 2012 and2013. In both projects, texting (and cell phone use) declined dramatically. Based on these encouraging results, DOT has developed the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. national campaign.

The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign is national in scope, and States that applied and that have primary enforcement of their text messaging laws were awarded approximately $8 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support this and other efforts designed to fight distracted driving. The national U Text. U Drive. U Pay. enforcement blitz is also supported by an $8.5 million national advertising campaign, designed to raise awareness about the enforcement effort and remind people about the deadly consequences of driving and texting.

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