ORLANDO, Fla. – Traffic officials are starting a campaign to help curb the distracted driving behind a number of fatal crashes across the state, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
From 2010 to 2019, FDOT said teen drivers had a higher rate of fatal crashes due to immaturity and lack of skills and experience and part of the problem is they get distracted easily, especially when their friends are in the car.
As a result, more than 7,000 people died in crashes involving teens between Memorial Day and Labor Day over this nine-year period, according to transportation officials.
Troopers said across the state last year, there were more than 53,000 crashes involving distracted drivers and nearly 270 of them were deadly.
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“That’s why it’s everyone’s responsibility when they get behind the wheel to keep their eyes on driving and make sure they are aware of their surroundings,” said Lt. Tara Crescenzi from the Florida Highway Patrol.
News 6 got a look inside the FHP and FDOT’s regional communications center, where workers are there constantly monitoring the roads.
Starting June 1, state transportation leaders will launch a “Target Zero” campaign aimed at stopping distracted driving. The multimedia ads run through June with one important goal: keeping drivers’ eyes on the road.
“Put down your phone, only focus on driving. If you need to change to another podcast, pull over and do that,” said Loreen Bobo, District 5 safety administrator at FDOT.
Traffic leaders are putting a special focus on men in their mid-20s and encouraging their parents and grandparents to motivate them not to text and drive.
“We’ve done some research and young males ages 22-27 make up 50% of our fatal crashes, so that’s who we’re focusing on,” Bobo said.
The FHP said if you see someone driving dangerously or distracted while driving, dial *347 to report them.
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