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State launches new road safety campaign - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

State launches new road safety campaign

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

It's a warning from the state of Vermont to their drivers emphasizing the most tragic consequences. 

It's fairly routine now; the state of Vermont warns its drivers that distracted driving can lead to serious accidents and a new campaign began Monday.

"Yo, where are you?"

That's the question a distracted driver often can't answer when they are on the road. 

A new PSA is the latest from the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance to discourage drivers from using their phone.

"Your first offense is $160, your second is $360," said Officer Chris Hoar, Northfield Police Department.

Hoar has responded to three crashes caused by distracted drivers in the past month and two of them involved injuries. 

"The consequences can be a whole lot greater if someone's distracted for just a second to three seconds. It's quite possible that someone could have traveled the distance of a football field in that time," said Hoar.

If you drive 55 miles an hour, in the time it takes you to send a three second text you'll have already traveled 80 yards, nearly the length of a football field.

"We still see a number of drivers on our highways that are still driving, talking on a cellphone and distracted by other means," said Scott Davidson, Governor's Highway Safety Program.

In 2014, 404 Americans died in crashes where a driver was using their cellphone. Traveling fast enough to cover the length of a football field in three seconds, gives drivers little margin for error. 

"A lot of departments are taking a zero tolerance policy," said Hoar.

To avoid a tragic mistake making a simple game of basketball someone's last.

Data from the United States Department of Transportation shows drivers in the twenties are the boldest on the road.

Drivers 15 to 19 are more cautious on the road. 13 percent of them admit to using their cell. As for 20 somethings, 39 percent use their phone. By the time drivers are age 50 or above, just 9 percent say they're distracted by their cellphone.

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