DOT Debuts National Advertising Campaign to Stop Distracted Driving

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. To promote the cause, the Department of Transportation debuted its first-ever national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown, in an attempt to stop drivers from bringing distractions onto the road.

Television, radio, and digital advertisements using the phrase, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” ran from April 7-15, corresponding with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states where distracted driving is banned.

“This campaign puts distracted driving on par with our efforts to fight drunk driving or to encourage seatbelt use,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: If you’re caught texting while driving, the message you receive won’t be from your cell phone, but from law enforcement – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

Distracted driving consequences

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-related crashes in 2012. The new advertising campaign was designed to remind drivers of the consequences of bringing distractions onto the road ─ in addition to informing them of the penalties for getting caught violating state distracted driving laws. Campaigns will run in both English and Spanish and draw attention to the dangers of cell-phone related car accidents.

The $8.5 million national advertising campaign coincides with the first-ever national distracted driving high-visibility enforcement (HVE) crackdown, which ran from April 10-15. Law enforcement professionals from across the country will use a combination of strategies to target motorists who text and drive. The campaign serves as an extension of two federally funded distracted driving state demonstration programs held in California and Delaware.

“National campaigns like Click It or Ticket and local efforts like Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other show that combining good laws with effective enforcement and strong public education campaigns can – and do – change unsafe driving behaviors,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to urge drivers to put down electronic devices and focus on the task of driving.”

Data recently released from the distracted driving programs in California and Delaware revealed that effective advertising campaigns, paired with increased high-visibility police enforcement of distraction laws, lowered hand-held cell phone use over an extensive area.

California police issued more than 10,700 tickets to drivers talking or texting on cell phones, during three different enforcement waves and observed hand-held cell phone use dropped from 4.1 percent to 2.7 percent. Delaware police issued more than 6,200 tickets and observed hand-held cell phone use dropped from approximately 4.5 percent to 3.0 percent.

At present, 43 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws in place banning drivers of all ages from sending text messages.

New York distracted driving accident

Have you recently been involved in one of the thousands of texting and driving accidents in NY? If you have suffered an injury in an auto accident as a result of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for all related medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma and other non-economic losses. The skilled NY car accident attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye offer legal advice to anyone who has been harmed in a distracted driving accident.

Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a complimentary case review today.