ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In an era of constant media bombardment, a new state public safety campaign has gone the distance to dramatically discourage texting while driving.
The new public safety announcements -- put out by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety -- portray a teenage boy and adult woman lying in a morgue while still texting.
"I think these ads are really trying to show, using dark comedy, that this behavior can have really dark consequences," said Cheri Marti, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Marti said it's difficult to track how many accidents are due to distracted driving because drivers don't want to share what they were doing before an accident. But Marti says state records verify that one in four crashes is due to distracted driving. Marti said 70 fatal crashes are due to distracted driving every year.
"You may think you're safe. You may think you're in control, but the fact is that driving envrionment can change in an instant," Marti said.
On Thursday night, KARE 11 presented the ad to a group of students taking a drivers' education class through the A+ Driving School. The students unanimously approved of the ad and its strong message.
"You were thinking, 'ah, funny,' but in the back of your mind, you think, 'well, if I text, I will die, too,'" said J.J. Morris, a 16-year-old driver.
"I think this is necessary, because it shows what can and will happen, and what has happened," said Jared Anderson, also 16.
The campaign culminates in a "Distracted Driving Day" event later in the month. On April 21, police will be enforcing the no texting law -- and writing ticts to those in violation.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)