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Development & Transportation

Billboards Across State To Remind Drivers of Texting Ban

Across the state, drivers should be putting away their cell phones to focus on the road, and will now likely catch sight of signs reminding them of the cost of getting caught texting while driving.

Beginning this week, 60 billboards will run for at least four weeks to inform drivers of the new statewide ban on drivers' texting which went into effect March 8. 35 states and Washington, D.C. prohibit drivers from texting.

Brian Newbacher, public affairs director for AAA East Central said many are outspoken against texting while driving, but they don't always act.

"Even though 95 percent of drivers agree that it's dangerous, 35 percent admit to reading or sending text messages while driving," Newbacher said. "So it's been kind of, 'do as I say and not as I do,' and we're hopeful that the billboards will cause people to realize that."

Newbacher said that drivers' texting is likely to decrease with the new state law that assesses a $50 fine to anyone cited for that offense.

"Well $50 these days will probably be what it takes to fill up the gas tank if not more, so we hope that that's enough of a deterrent to cause people not to text," Newbacher said.

The billboard space was donated as a public service by Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel Communications. The signs will all bear the text "DNT TXT N DRV — It's the Law."

Newbacher said the ban is important because a lot can happen in 4.6 seconds, the average amount of time someone is distracted by texting while driving.

"At 55 miles per hour, that amount of time is long enough to drive the length of a football field, so it clearly is the most dangerous distraction," Newbacher said.