U Drive. U Text. U Pay. National Texting Enforcement Campaign

To kick-off April 2014 National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Transportation is launching its first-ever national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving - U Drive. U Text. U Pay. According to DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2012.

At a news conference in Washington D.C., NHTSA unveiled its advertisements, which remind the public about the deadly consequences of texting and driving, as well as the penalties of getting caught. The campaign will run in English and Spanish and begin airing nationwide on April 7.

This $8.5 million national advertising campaign supports the first-ever national distracted driving high-visibility enforcement (HVE) crackdown, which will run from April 10 to April 15, 2014. Thousands of law enforcement personnel nationwide will use a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive. The national campaign builds on the success of two federally funded distraction pilot programs that took place in California and Delaware, Phone In One Hand. Ticket in the Other.

Data released today from distraction pilot programs in California and Delaware show effective advertising coupled with increased high-visibility police enforcement of distraction laws could reduce distracted driving over a widespread area.

California police issued more than 10,700 tickets for violations involving drivers talking or texting on cell phones and Delaware police issued more than 6,200 tickets, over the three enforcement waves. Observed hand-held cell phone use dropped by approximately a third at each program site from 4.1% to 2.7% in California and from 4.5% to 3.0% in Delaware.

Currently, 43 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages; 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit drivers of all ages from using hand-held cell phones while driving and 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.