September 21, 2011 — Coral Gables — The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six is partnering with the University of Miami to launch a new safety campaign called “Put it Down” to inform drivers in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties about the dangers of distracted driving.
“With advancements in technology and the dependence on mobile phones and other handheld devices, it is more important than ever that drivers understand the risks involved in distracted driving,” says District Six Secretary Gus Pego. “When you’re behind the wheel, your focus should be on the road and getting where you need to be safely.”
The campaign is targeting younger drivers, ages 16 through 24. As a result, FDOT has partnered with several agencies and academic institutions, including Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the University of Miami, Florida International University and Miami Dade College.
“Our partners share our commitment to the safety of younger drivers,” added Pego. “We’re very grateful for their support and for their efforts in helping us spread the word throughout the community.” Other campaign partners include the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and South Florida Commuter Services.
The campaign continues throughout all of September and October. Several outreach events will be held on school campuses throughout these months to educate drivers about how serious this epidemic is. In 2009, over 5,000 drivers were killed and an estimated 448,000 plus people were injured in accidents reported to have involved distracted driving.
The University of Miami will hold an outreach event on Wednesday September 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Rock on the Coral Gables campus. Several organization such as, UMPD, MADD, Pier 21, Coral Gables Police Department, AAA, BikeSafe, FHP, and FDOT Traffic management will be holding demonstrations and handing out awareness brochures.
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