U.S. DOT rolls out new campaign to fight distracted driving - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

U.S. DOT rolls out new campaign to fight distracted driving

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The government is ramping up its crackdown on texting and driving with a graphic new ad campaign.

The Dept. of Transportation announced the new national campaign to crack down on distracted driving on Thursday, kicking off National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

As part of the new campaign, the DOT rolled out a series of new public service announcements using the phrase, "U Drive, U Text, U Pay." The ads will run from April 7-15.

In addition, there will be a law enforcement crackdown on distracted driving in Georgia.

The images are shocking, but the DOT hopes the ad set to air next week as part of their national campaign to combat texting and driving sends a clear message.

"Hopefull parents will see this and kids will see this," said grandparent Tammy Quirk. "Hopefully it will make an impression. I don't think it always does. These things become just a nose in the background, which is sad."

While texting and driving is against the law in 43 states, including Georgia, that hasn't stopped people for using their phones behind the wheel.

"We're still losing more than 3,000 lives every year and hundreds of thousands are injured because of crashes caused by distraction, and that is why today, as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the US Dept. of Transportation is launching to crack down on distracted driving," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox. "The message is simple,  you drive, you text, you pay."

"I think it's a good idea," said Quirk. "I have grandchildren that are teenagers and I have one that is getting her license in a couple of months and we have emphasized over and over, no texting and driving."

"I have had a couple of friends in high school that actually died while texting and driving," said Jonathan Crapse. "Everyone is guilty of doing it. I am guilty of doing it, but it really is not a safe thing to do. People need to be aware of it and reminded how dangerous it is. People need to pay attention to the roads."

"I don't know how they would catch you texting," said Alei Nunniitia. "If they do that and the fines are high enough, it may work."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2012, more than 3,300 people nationwide were killed and about 420,000 were injured in distracted driving related crashes.

Texting while driving is illegal in the state of Georgia and in Beaufort, SC. South Carolina is still working to make it a law.

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