Scott: For ten years the National Traffic Safety Board has been investigating distracted driving. But it was this deadly crash last year in Missouri that really got their attention.
A 19-year-old driving a pickup truck, exchanged eleven text messages in the eleven minutes before hitting another vehicle. He and a 15-year-old were killed. Thirty-eight others were hurt in the chain reaction collision that followed.
Yesterday, the board made new recommendations to states to outlaw texting and talking behind the wheel. Even if you are using a hands free device. In fact, they recommend banning the use of all electronic devices while driving period. Now, their recommendations aren’t law but they have big influence on people that create new laws.
“It’s about changing attitudes and changing the level of acceptance.”
Scott: Right now, rules to prevent distracted driving are different all over the country. Some still don’t have them at all. In fact, currently, thirty-five states have laws banning texting while driving and only nine states have bans against the use of hand held cell phones while driving.
But some places, like Somerset County, New Jersey, have made distracted driving a top priority.
“This is a warning.”
Scott: Distracted drivers here are required to watch an online video and take a test, or pay a $100 fine.
“Four little letters. That’s what killed her.”
Scott: The video features people who have either killed someone or lost loved ones in accidents linked to texting. Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano came up with the idea.
Geoffrey Soriano: I think people sit back and say, ‘Wow that could be me someday. I don’t want to be in that position.’
Scott: This month, Somerset County has pulled over a thousand distracted drivers and the video has close to 3 million views. And the message is loud and clear.
“No text, no tweet, no post is worth is human life.”