City launches massive campaign against distracted driving

ST. GEORGE – The City of St. George is set to launch a large scale distracted driving campaign beginning with a press conference to be held this week of Thanksgiving. The goal of the campaign is reduce the number of accidents involving distracted driving.

The first phase of the campaign will create awareness of the epidemic that is distracted driving and how it affects the St. George community. The second phase will focus on enforcement efforts that are scheduled to begin January 2014.

A press conference open to the public will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the parking lot across from Dixie Rock on Red Hills Parkway. City officials addressing the public will include Mayor Dan McArthur, Police Chief Marlon Stratton and Erik Sorenson, president of Sorenson Advertising, the city’s partner overseeing the launch of the campaign.

“This is an epidemic that is affecting our community,” McArthur said. “St. George wants to lead the charge in the state of Utah to help save lives and avoid the pain and tragedy that results from driving distracted.

An estimated 421,000 Americans are affected each year by distracted driving and this problem hits close to home. There have been several incidents involving distracted driving in St. George and the problem is growing.

The press conference comes over one of the most dangerous driving weeks of the year. When most driving awareness campaigns are focused on drinking and driving, the City of St. George is targeting distracted driving because of similarities in driving patterns and their ability to cause accidents.

Following the press conference, a campaign will be launched on multiple media. A website will be launched as well as a social media campaign where residents can become part of the solution by signing a pledge that they will not drive distracted.

About Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes was 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. Currently 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.

Event recap

  • When: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 11 a.m.
  • Where: The parking lot across from Dixie Rock on Red Hills Parkway

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  • DOubleTap November 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Now if only the campaign included aggressive enforcement of the law with stiff penalties. There are literally thousands of local drivers texting at any given time, just waiting for an accident to happen. Unfortunately, the accidents will continue by the distracted/texting drivers in the community.

  • Jeff Voorhees November 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

    All these things will be illegal in St. George?
    Using a cell phone or smartphone
    Eating and drinking
    Talking to passengers
    Reading, including maps
    Using a navigation system
    Watching a video
    Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

    • Simone November 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      I hope they do. nary a day goes by when i don’t see a “almost accident” caused by some idiot doing any one or more of those things you mentioned.

  • JOSH DALTON November 25, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    GOOD!!! I am glad they are cracking down! Texting period is for the foolish.

  • Simone November 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Dear Drivers who choose to drive distracted,

    You know who you are. You are a danger to everyone around you. Not a day goes by that i don’t see one of you idiots cut someone off, run a red light, almost hit someone in the crosswalk, make an illegal turn or any one of 100 other dangerous things because you were paying more attention to your cell phone, food, book or you tube video then your driving. You are operating a 3,000 pound vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. When you hit someone because you were talking on your cellphone or texting and didn’t see the light change, you will seriously injure or kill them and the other people in their car or party. i don’t care what your excuses are, that cell phone call or youtube video can wait until you can safely pull off the roadway to a shoulder, parking lot or (preferably) your house. If you still choose to drive distracted I hope that you are caught given a stiff fine and learn your lesson before you kill someone. Choosing to drive distracted is stupid. There is absolutely no reason for you to do it. None. I’ll say it again, I don’t care what your excuse is. If you choose to drive distracted and kill someone because of your stupidity, I hope the judge is unforgiving when he throws you in prison for years to come.

    Thank you,

  • Gerry November 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    So has law enforcement given up on drunk driving campaigns or has society just accepted it? For years they have been arresting drunk drivers given them heavy fines, jail time and other serious deterrents. Doesn’t seem to have solved anything yet. Same thing with “click it or ticket”
    These electronic devices have become a serious drug to most people who own them. A much more serious drug than alcohol. It will be interesting to see where this latest campaign against drivers will go and what affect it will have..

  • shut up and drive November 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Thats great and all but what about all the idiots who run red lights, cut off someone or almost hit someone and its because they just think they own the road? I see more of that than I see texting. And if you are staring into someone elses vehicle to see what they are doing, arent you just as distracted?

    • Simone November 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Those people need to be stopped too.

  • Rya Webb November 26, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Yeah, another law, another reason for police to pull people over and give people hefty tickets…that will solve EVERYTHING! I’m so glad there will be police deciding if I’m drving distracted or not every time I look at my phone for the time or switch the radio station because I MIGHT have been texting. This will get rid of all the problems just like every other law (seatbelt law) did…stupid.

  • Rya Webb November 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Not saying its not a problem I just don’t think this is going to fix anything and will actually makes things worse for those who don’t text and drive but who may glance at their phones for other reasons like checking the time or switching a song on the playlist.

  • DoubleTap November 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

    #1…Observe distracted/texting driver.

    #2…Record license plate number with description of vehicle.

    #3…Call police.

    #4…Follow vehicle till stopped by police and sign complaint.

    #5…Observe look on the drivers face….priceless.

    This system works for me. I encourage other drivers do the same.

    • Roger November 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Does just an observation really work? or would a photo from my smart phone of their distraction while i’m driving work better?

      • My Evil Twin November 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        Right, and while you are taking your picture with your smart phone, then YOU are committing “distracted driving!”

  • JB November 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Great news! Now we will have to make a new law against vigilante wannabes distracted/ causing accidents trying to “police” the city! Priceless!

  • My Evil Twin November 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I am a firm support of law enforcement. That being said, it bothers the heck out of me to see numerous St. George P.D. Officers, driving around while chatting on their cell phones. And ignoring their turn signals. Come on you guys, you are supposed to be “role models.” Not models of what NOT to do.

  • Wickeman December 4, 2013 at 8:18 am

    A massive campaign? With teeth aka actual enforcement and penalties? Or just posted signs?

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