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Feds Take On Texting and Driving

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texting and driving
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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Common sense gave way to laws, but driving while distracted remains a very real danger.

Alex DeMetrick reports now a new crackdown is coming, and its target is texting while driving.

The video by the federal government is headed to television and social media next week. And the message is blunt: don’t text and drive.

“Sometimes we have to be shocked into recognizing reality. And the reality is distracted driving is not safe,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

A nationwide campaign was unveiled in Washington.

Betty Shaw and her daughter Liz Marks were invited from Delaware.

Marks is a distracted driver survivor. She was answering a text while driving.

“I rammed against a flatbed tow truck that was stopped in my lane,” Marks said.

“And then, to my horror, I realized it was from me. In the time it took Liz to look away from the road and read my simple text, it has changed our lives forever,” Shaw said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2012, more than 3,300 people nationwide were killed and about 420,000 were injured in distracted driving related crashes.

This campaign won’t be limited to just videos and messages. It will involve police in the 43 states with cell phone laws on the books to actively enforce them with tickets and fines.

“The message is simple. You drive, you text, you pay,” Foxx said.

“Nothing can give me back my old life. The only thing I can think of to do is help someone from making the same mistake I made. Texting and driving,” Marks said.

In Maryland, it’s not only illegal to use handheld phones or text while driving. The state legislature is also considering increasing the penalties when those activities lead to injury or death on the road.

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