Kansas launches campaign against texting while driving - KCTV5

Kansas launches campaign against texting while driving

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Six Kansas universities have started a campaign to discourage people from texting and driving while on the road. (KCTV5) Six Kansas universities have started a campaign to discourage people from texting and driving while on the road. (KCTV5)
JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

Deaths on Kansas highways are up more than 30 percent, and experts say distracted driving is a big part of the problem.

That's why there's a new initiative to discourage Kansans from one of their biggest distractions - their phones - and that initiative focuses on university students.

Six Kansas universities have started a campaign to discourage people from texting and driving while on the road. Their campaign includes two main hashtags on social media. One of them is #ItCanWait.

A friendly college rivalry, including University of Kansas, Kansas State University and four other Board of Regents universities, is the focus of an online pledge which aims to get 40,000 to 50,000 Kansans to sign the #ItCanWait pledge.

The latest study from the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office shows 10-percent of Kansas drivers have driven distracted this year. This is up nine percent from last year.

The study also shows the younger the driver, the more likely chance that driver will text behind the wheel.

"There are so many things going on on the road at any given time. It could be raining, somebody could stop in front of you," said Darla Jaye, public information officer for the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

Jaye says the numbers are concerning, and officers hope drivers will make the choice to limit distractions before enforcement needs to happen.

"They'll still be there waiting for you. They're not going to think you're ignoring them. And wouldn't it be better to get where you're going safely, answer the people that have the text for you, and arrive alive?" Jaye said.

Police also ask people to wear their seatbelt at all times. Kansas ranked 39th out of 50 states according to the latest national numbers in seatbelt usage.

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