Police in Iowa are trying a new tactic against texting by drivers by distributing thousands of colorful thumb bands that read: “TXTNG KILLS.” The Wall Street Journal says the bands are part of a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving under a new law prohibiting the practice that took effect July 1. The state ordered 30,000 of the bands and plans to order another 30,000. State employees have been distributing them at events such as the Iowa State Fair, high-school football games and the Iowa-Iowa State college football game.
Several national groups are handing out similar thumb bands, including insurance giant Allstate Corp., whose “X the TXT” campaign has persuaded more than 100,000 people to pledge to stop texting while driving since last November. Thirty states ban texting while driving, including 11 that enacted laws this year, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in 2008 nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving some type of distracted driving, including cellphone use and texting. In Iowa, 16 people have died in accidents involving cellphones since 2001.