Effort underway to fight distracted driving

June 7, 2012 3:14:14 PM PDT
Recent surveys show many drivers are paying attention to more than just the road when they get behind the wheel. This month, however, law enforcement is trying to change that with a campaign focusing on distracted drivers.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  

That's the reason why leaders in Washington have developed a plan to end the deadly trend. It's a plan that includes encouraging states to pass and enforce distracted driving laws as well as educating young drivers about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

"No text is worth your life," said First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, with the State Highway Patrol.

Gordon said since North Carolina banned texting while driving, the State Highway Patrol has issued hundreds of citations.

"We take it very seriously. We're enforcing that, but it is kind of a challenging law to enforce," said Gordon. "We see people every day that are still sending and receiving texts."

In 2011, the Highway Patrol investigated more than 1,500 accidents involving distracted driving statewide.  That same year, they issued 513 texting while driving charges.

This month, they are turning their focus toward education, with a public service campaign called "No Texting, Just Driving." It's a local effort they hope will save lives.

"We have already taken a lot of steps beforehand, and what we're going to be doing now with the national spotlight is just go hand-in-hand," said Gordon.

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