New ads to discourage texting and driving - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New ads to discourage texting and driving

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SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Some say the new ads are shocking.

As National Distracted Driving Awareness Month gets underway, the National Traffic and Safety Administration is getting ready to kick off the new ads to discourage distracted driving.

According to the NHTSA, research shows these type of ads paired with law enforcement crackdowns can be effective in ending distracted driving.

"I think it's very dangerous, it's a distraction, and it could cause you to be killed in a second," said Kathy King of Sikeston.

Drivers in Sikeston, like 17-year-old Anna Gray, who has only had her license for a few months, agree, that the trend needs to stop.

"I feel that I could never ever live with myself if I was texting and driving and I hit someone and killed them, and so I just put my phone in my purse, and when I get where I'm going, that's when I text," said Gray.

People send billions of text messages each month according to The Wireless Association, but when you type and send while driving, more than 400,000 people were hurt in a distracted driving crash in 2012.

Cpl. Clark Parrott with the Missouri Highway Patrol said texting and driving makes you 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash.

That’s why the safety group is releasing these ads.

More than 40 state have bans on texting, and out of all the Heartland states, Missouri is the only one that does not ban all drivers from texting. However, Missouri does have a ban on texting for young drivers under the age of 21.

Parrott said they tend to target teens with their programs, but said it’s important everyone knows the dangers.

While officers in Missouri can’t ticket someone older than 21 for texting and driving, Parrott said they can still help get the point across.

"You know talking you're apt to drift over and hit the fog line or the center line, those are violations, so I may not have anything for the distracted driving cell phone usage type of thing, but failing to drive on the right half of the roadway, that is a violation," said Parrott.

"They should see all these accidents and kids are getting killed," said King.

Now these new ads, plus fellow drivers, are telling people behind the wheel to put the phone down.

"Nothing is that important," said King.

Parrott said distracted driving isn’t just texting. It can be anything that takes your attention away from driving, like eating, putting on makeup, or looking at a GPS.

You can read more about the stats here

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