Local News

Highway Patrol tackles dangers of texting, speeding, driving

Posted May 28, 2012 10:36 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2012 11:23 p.m. EDT

— The state Highway Patrol launched a campaign this holiday weekend to crack down on drivers who speed and text behind the wheel. The agency is specifically targeting teenagers.

Troopers say the average person spends 4.6 seconds looking down to send or receive a text message while driving. Trooper Michael Dorsey knows first-hand: 4.6 seconds can kill.

"A 16-year-old female was traveling down a two-lane road, looked down to read a text message, crossed the center lane and hit a Ford F-150 pickup head-on," Dorsey said. "She was killed instantly."

It's stories like that which motivate Dorsey and other troopers to enforce the ban on texting while driving aggressively.

"If you're traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour and you're taking your eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds, it doesn't take long (before) you've covered approximately the length of a football field," he said. "There's no text message worth your life."

According to AAA, more than a million people traveled North Carolina's highways and roads this weekend. That made it the perfect time to launch the agency's latest safe driving campaign.

They plan to get creative over the next month, Dorsey said, and put more undercover cars on the roads. They've designated June as No Texting, Just Driving Educational Awareness Month.