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Advocates speak out against distracted driving

4:13 AM, Apr 3, 2012   |    comments
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DENVER - Despite the growing popularity of mobile devices, tragedies continue to escalate as drivers become more and more distracted. Recently, many safety advocates are speaking up to promote the overall safety of mobile device use.

TAKE THE GREAT HANG UP PLEDGE

It is no secret that distracted driving endangers lives. Unfortunately, Merry Dye, mother of Mariah West, knows this lesson all too well. Her 18-year-old daughter was killed in 2009 while texting and driving. Dye says she always knew this accident loomed because her daughter could never put the phone down.

"We had identified early on that she had a problem with being too attached to the phone. It was in her hand constantly," Dye said. "We saw this pattern and we tried talking with her and showing her examples of tragic stories. However, none of it seemed to reach her."

Director of National Organization for Youths Safety, Sandy Spavone, notes that phones are becoming a part of teenager's lives. She says that kids are acquiring phones at earlier ages, and the devices are being integrated into their identity.

While numerous methods are available to sway teenagers from texting and driving, Spavone says the best teaching tool is becoming a role model.

"One of the most important things we can do is become a role model, Spavone said. "We have to role model that when we are behind the wheel, there is nothing more important than just focusing on driving."

Spavone noted that if the desire of answering a phone is too strong, AT&T has an available phone application to help. The app sends an automatic reply to people that try and contact you while driving. All you have to do is select "drive mode" to avoid being distracted with a phone.

For more information on this application, visit http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2964  

Garrett Boyd contributed to this article.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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