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St. George police launch campaign to combat distracted driving

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Posted at 10:06 PM, Nov 26, 2013
and last updated 2017-07-14 19:12:41-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Heads up, thumbs up. That’s the message St. George City is trying to send through a new campaign to stop distracted driving.

The city launched their campaign Tuesday. They partnered with Utah-based Sorensen Advertising to create a website and various media spots to raise awareness against something police officers say they see every day.

“It’s pretty ridiculous how often I see it,” said St. George Police officer Mark Beihl. “That’s the problem.”

Beihl said it’s not just phones. It’s anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road, where it belongs. The officer spearheaded the idea for the campaign, coming up with the slogan and seeking out funding.

Beihl said multi-tasking in the car has become second nature to most drivers.

“As we think about this, as we ask the public, and ask the community to please do not drive distracted. We have to think about the impact that might have,” said St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton.

Santa Clara resident Leslee Henson knows that impact all too well. She and her husband David were hit by a car earlier this year -- the result of distracted driving. David died, and Leslee has been on a crusade to raise awareness ever since.

“This quest, this campaign that our family has been on has been so healing for us,” Henson said. “Just to know that we’re out there doing something about this epidemic.”

One of the main parts of the Heads Up, Thumbs Up website is a pledge that drivers can take to promise they won’t drive distracted, but the real effort happens in the car, following through with that pledge.

“I’m so grateful St. George has taken the lead to really make this a priority in this town and keep our citizens, our residents, our brothers, our sisters, our families safe,” said Sorensen Advertising executive Erik Sorensen.

“We have to think when we go to pick up our phone, or when we’re driving,” Stratton said. What could be the consequence of my action?”

Police say they’ll be stepping up enforcement, but want it to be educational. For the first several months, they’ll focus on warnings.

For more information on the Heads Up, Thumbs Up campaign, and to take the pledge, visit the website at www.headsupthumbsup.com