PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ)–Maryland State Police are cracking down on distracted drivers. The Department of Transportation is calling attention to the dangers of distracted driving kicking off a national campaign called “U Drive, U Text, U pay.”

Jessica Kartalija has the details.

This month, troopers from around the state will be on the lookout for people who are texting, watching videos, or doing anything distracting while behind the wheel.

The government says distracted driving is technological epidemic. To illustrate the problem – student drivers were told to use their phones while maneuvering on a test track.

Even at 25 miles an hour they were unable to stay within the cones.

“Imagine going 50 or 60. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the repercussions and everything that can happen after.”

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says more than 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2013, many of them were texting.

“More than 1,000 of them were in their twenties or their teens,” said Sec. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Dept. of Transportation.

Foxx says another 424,000 were injured. To help cut those numbers law enforcement agencies nationwide will target drivers using handheld devices.

“Make the responsible choice and remember, if you drive, you text, you pay,” said David Ennis, Chief of Police, Naval District Washington.

It’s not just younger drivers; we did our own test drive with similar results– cones meant to keep us on course ended up under the car.

“Those cones could have been anything in the real world,” said one student driver.

Under Maryland Law, a driver who causes a crash involving serious injuries while talking or texting on a phone can face up to 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The National wide campaign last the entire month of April with aggressive enforcement during the week of April 10 through the 15th.

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