"U Drive, U Text, U Pay" Campaign Launches

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To kick-off National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Transportation is launching its first-ever national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving - U Drive. U Text. U Pay. According to DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2012.

The new ads unveiled by NHTSA remind the public about the deadly consequences of texting and driving, as well as the penalties of getting caught. The campaign will run in English and Spanish and begin airing nationwide on April 7.

This $8.5 million national advertising campaign supports the first-ever national distracted driving high-visibility enforcement (HVE) crackdown, which will run from April 10 to April 15, 2014. Nationwide, law enforcement officers will use a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive. The national campaign builds on the success of two federally funded distracted driving state demonstration programs that took place in California and Delaware, Phone In One Hand. Ticket in the Other.

Data released from the distracted driving demonstration programs in California and Delaware show effective advertising coupled with increased high-visibility police enforcement of distraction laws could reduce hand-held phone use over a widespread area. California police issued more than 10,700 tickets for violations involving drivers talking or texting on cell phones and Delaware police issued more than 6,200 tickets, over the three enforcement waves. Observed hand-held cell phone use dropped by approximately a third at each program site from 4.1% to 2.7% in California and from 4.5% to 3.0% in Delaware.

Currently, 43 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages; 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit drivers of all ages from using hand-held cell phones while driving and 37 states and D.C. ban cell phone use by novice drivers.

To prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov

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