Graphic, new PSA boosts fight against texting & driving; Will it make a difference?

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Graphic, new PSA boosts fight against texting & driving; Will it make a difference?

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Apr 7, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's being called, perhaps, one of the most graphic commercials in the U.S., and it's all to fight a deadly risk! 

The question is: will it make a difference?
 
Take a look.  This new PSA, released Monday, shows teens riding safely, happily, in a car.
 
They are talking, and, yes, they are texting.  That is, until the ride the horrific end.
 
The video, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is sending shockwaves across the country, including right here in Arizona, where texting while driving is legal.
 
Many hope it won't be for long.
 
Aimed at teens, it hits home.
 
"That one was kind of brutal," said one girl.
 
"It was sad.  That got to me," said another.
 
"That traumatized me," added a third.
 
This PSA marks the beginning of National Distracted Driving Awarness month, a reminder that americans desperately need, according to experts and the number of distracted drivers we caught on camera Monday.
 
According to the Department of Transportation in 2012, 3,300 people died, and more than 420,000 were injured, due to distracted driving.
 
In May of 2013, one of those lost was Arizona DPS officer Ttim Huffman, hit and killed by a semi driver who was texting.
 
Arizona is one of seven states without a ban on texting while driving.
 
A few months ago, State Representative Victoria Steele, pitched one of several bills designed to change that.
 
None of them made it to a vote.
 
"It's really disappointing to me," she said.  "I really felt that after the death of a DPS officer, I really thought that we would be able to get this through, that people would wake up."
 
opponents have argued drivers should be able to make their own decisions.
 
So the question remains: will this PSA be enough to deter teens from texting?
 
Answers were mixed.
 
"Seeing accidents would make me not want to do it," said one boy.
 
"Something like this?" asked 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa.
 
"I don't know what it would take to make me stop," said another.
 
This debate comes days after the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gave Arizona a Red Light rating when it came to traffic safety.
 
Either way Steele says she plans to introduce another texting while driving ban bill next year.

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