The message was clear: from April 10-15, law enforcement agencies across the country were cracking down on motorists who drive and text as part of the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. High-Visibility Enforcement (HVE) campaign.
This effort combines periods of intense enforcement of anti-texting laws coupled with advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement and convince them to obey the law.
"People know the law: they saw and heard the ads and the social media, so anyone caught driving and texting was pulled over and fined. We warned everyone that we’re serious about stopping this deadly behavior," said Jacksonville Police Department Sergeant Richard Betterton. "It’s sad that motorists are willing to risk a ticket – or much worse – over a text."
According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nationwide in 2012, more than 3,328 people were killed, and approximately 421,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
"While this particular campaign has ended, motorists need to know that our officers will still be out enforcing the texting ban – and other traffic safety laws designed to keep our roads safe," said Betterton.
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
•Using a cell phone or smartphone
•Eating and drinking
•Talking to passengers
•Reading, including maps
•Using a navigation system
•Watching a video
•Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction, he said.
The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses.
For more information, please visit www.distraction.gov