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'Don't Text And Die:' Macomb Dakota Student's Slogan To Be On Billboard

The slogan will be part of a distracted driving awareness campaign.

March 21, 2019 - 8:19 pm
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MACOMB, Mich. -- A local high school student has won a contest and will have her design used on billboards across the state of Michigan as part of a distracted driving awareness campaign.

Anna Hunyor of Macomb Dakota High School will have her "Don't Text and Die" slogan used on Michigan billboards during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which takes place in April.

Hunyor's design won a contest launched by the Transportation Improvement Association and will be featured during the campaign, put on by the TIA, State Farm, Michigan State Police, and county and local law enforcement agencies. State Farm put forth a grant of more than $30,000 to make the campaign happen.

Her design was chosen because "the danger of distracted driving is communicated in a short, creative message," according to a press release from the TIA.

Photo: Transportation Improvement Association

"Nationally, 94 percent of crashes are caused by human choice and error," Jim Santilli, CEO of TIA, said in the release.  "As drivers, we need to value all lives by keeping our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.  We truly appreciate Anna Hunyor, a great Dakota High School student, helping us to increase distracted driving awareness throughout the state of Michigan.  Furthermore, we are thankful State Farm generously supports this initiative each year."

Hunyor's design will be seen throughout the state of Michigan during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Officials expect the billboards to make more than 11 million impressions during the month.

"Each of us as drivers have the ability to end distracted driving by committing to limit distractions behind the wheel," said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. "I commend the TIA and our student honoree, Anna Hunyor, for their efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving."

According to TIA, preliminary numbers indicate 75 people were killed and 7,208 were injured in 18,922 motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in the state of Michigan in 2018.
 
In addition to distracted driving education, TIA is working with law enforcement agencies to schedule enforcement initiatives to reduce distracted driving on Michigan's roadways.
 
Throughout April the Michigan State Police, and numerous other agencies throughout the state will begin conducting Operation Ghost Rider, which is aimed at reducing distracted driving deaths and injuries.  

The operation will use unmarked spotter vehicles containing a law enforcement passenger.  When the spotters observe a distracted driver, they radio a fully marked law enforcement unit to initiate a traffic stop.
 
Operation Ghost Rider was revealed at a press conference in Macomb County during 2017.  During a total of 18 hours of enforcement, law enforcement officers conducted more than 907 traffic stops resulting in 726 citations and 34 arrests, according to a press release. In 2018, 49 officers stopped 530 vehicles, issued 440 citations, and made 9 arrests in a 6-hour period.