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The Sideshow

New video aims to scare the bejesus out of texting drivers

The Sideshow

If you text and drive, you'll pay a fine. And that's if you're lucky.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a disturbing new 30-second video aimed to inspire drivers to keep their phones in their pockets while behind the wheel.

The clip features a group of young people driving, checking their cell phones and talking about a crossword puzzle. The driver's phone beeps, she looks down to check it as she drives through a stop sign. A truck plows into their car, rolling it end over end down a deserted street.

A police officer then steps into frame and says, "Nobody likes to be stopped by the police. But if I'd seen her texting while driving, it just might have saved her life."

Texting while driving is an ongoing, and deadly, problem, according to distraction.gov, a government site referenced in the video. Approximately 421,000 people were injured in automobile crashes that involved a distracted driver in 2012, a 9 percent increase over 2011.

Distractions come in many forms, the government site warns: conversing with passengers, adjusting the GPS, eating, grooming, etc.

However, because text messaging requires "visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction," says distraction.gov.

A study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that roughly 25 percent of teens respond to a text at least once every time they drive.

Another study referenced on distraction.gov found that the average time a driver has his or her eyes off the road while texting is five seconds. "When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded."

Problems like distracted driving and speeding are being addressed in other countries as well. Earlier this year, New Zealand released a shocking PSA about when a crash ceases to be preventable.  A recently released video from Japan illustrates the dangers of texting while walking.

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

Related: Dangers of texting and walking.

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