Local News

Graphic billboards warn against cell phones and driving

Posted April 14, 2009

— Billboards depicting a bloody crash are part of a AAA Carolinas’ campaign to keep drivers from using cell phones while driving.

One billboard along Interstate 95 outside of Benson shows a woman's hand and a cell phone covered in blood. The sign shows the words, “Hang up and drive.”

“I think the image does get your attention,” said Charlene Edwards, of AAA Carolinas.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says 8 out of 10 crashes happen when drivers are distracted. AAA Carolinas points to cell phones as the cause for many of those wrecks.

Graphic billboards warn against cell phones and driving Campaign warns against cell phones and driving

The billboard campaign has gotten the attention of many drivers, who agree with the message.

Franklin Gravitt said his first reaction when seeing the billboard was to hang up the phone. A couple of years ago, Gravitt said he was involved in a cell phone related wreck.

“I was texting instead of looking at the road,” Gravitt said.

A 2008 AAA survey showed 53 percent of drivers admit to talking on the phone behind the wheel. Fourteen-percent admitted to texting while driving.

To be truthful, Edwards thinks those numbers are higher. “That may be conservative. A lot of people may not be honest about it,” she said.

Texting while driving may soon be against the law in North Carolina. A state House of Representatives judiciary committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would make it illegal for drivers to write or respond to text messages while driving.

North Carolina has already banned cell phone use and texting for bus drivers and teenagers under 18. But House Bill 9 would prohibit the practice for all drivers, regardless of age.

The full House could vote on the bill as early as next week, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Hoke, said.

“It is just about safety on the highways,” Pierce said.

If it were to become law, drivers would have to either pull over or wait until they have stopped their vehicle before they could text or e-mail. Violators would be fined at least $100.


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  • ohmygosh Apr 16, 2009

    Graphics billboards near heavily traveled roads have been outlawed in some areas. They caused accidents. Using them to help reduce accidents is a crazy idea.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 15, 2009

    More of the Nanny state trying to protect us from ourselves.

  • 1 of the original Americans Apr 15, 2009

    come on... this is just crazy!!! if you cant handle driving and talking there is a speaker, bluetooth and those ear bud things. But really talking??? Does that mean you should not talk if you have someone in the car with you???

  • LambeauSouth Apr 15, 2009

    actually that is as dumb as it sounds

    Meant to say Not as dumb as it sounds, I just type that way


  • LambeauSouth Apr 15, 2009

    If you really want to solve the problem, eliminate automatic transmissions

    actually that is as dumb as it sounds, I think all childeren
    16 up to lets say 21 should be required to drive nothing but manual.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2009

    I have always advocated putting cars on pallets that were part of a DWI accident and put it at the "Welcome to North Carolina" signs at the interstates.

    The first sign about 1000 yards from it says "Tom was 18"
    The second sign says about 750 yards from it says "He just graduated High School."
    The third sign says about 500 yards away says "He was killed by a drunk driver"
    And the last sign says: "Here is is graduation present" Right in front of the car.

  • shell24 Apr 15, 2009

    On our way back from Mrytle Beach Sunday I saw this ad....and it does get your attention. My husband missed it since he was driving...but as soon as I saw it grabbed me. I told him that the person who thought of this was right...it gets you to think. However if you are like my husband and you are a good driver you will miss it....his eyes were on the road...LOL

  • oldfirehorse Apr 15, 2009

    And quit trying to read billboards in heavy traffic!

  • kcfoxie Apr 15, 2009

    If you really want to solve the problem, eliminate automatic transmissions. Hard to talk on the phone when both hands are required to drive the car. People might then be in favor of taking a bus or train to work, since we're too lazy as a country to row our own gears (despite the enormous savings the manual offers compared to the automatic, from safety to longevity and repair).

  • noreplytome2 Apr 15, 2009

    How about regulating the PRIVILEGE of driving to those whom posses enough sense to multi task. Rather than singling out a few that cannot fathom the consequences of their mistakes while excersizing their perceived "right" to drive?

    Dittos to purplepat777, why single out texting or phones when people are equally distracted by the radio (factory equipped), EATING, READING, or talking to a passenger?

    Should we ban fast-food drive-throughs, since driver who is eating is just as distracted as one that is talking?