New wait to text campaign targets teens

Published: Feb. 2, 2012 at 9:24 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)-  According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading killer of young people.

Last year, 165 young drivers ages 15 to 24 died on South Carolina roadways. Teen drivers are the least experienced drivers on the roads, and when combined with texting it can make for a dangerous situation.

Highway Patrol has teamed up with SUBWAY® restaurants in an effort to change that. On Thursday, they kicked of the W8 2 TXT Safe Driver Awareness Campaign at Socastee High School.

They held a driver safety presentation in front of an estimated 750 sophomores and juniors. At the event, Highway Patrol officers, SUBWAY® representatives, and a collision survivor spoke to students about the dangers of distracted driving.

The goal of W8 2 TXT is to promote the importance of not texting while driving and get students across the state to take a pledge against texting and driving. "Our troopers see the tragic consequences of distracted driving every day," says Col. Michael R. Oliver with the SC Highway Patrol in a press release.

At today's event, 20 year old Ashley Marriah of Greenville, SC, shared her story with Socastee High students. Marriah survived a major wreck last summer and knows all too well how dangerous texting and driving can be.

"I hit a cement wall going 70 miles per hour and my SUV flipped about six or seven times," described Marriah. To this day, she still has scars on her forehead and on her right arm from her injuries.

For Marriah, the car accident was an experience that changed her life after she feared the worst during her long road to recovery. "Everything was going to get taken away from me. I play guitar and I sing. I had gravel and glass stuck inside my hands. I didn't know if I would ever be able to pick up a guitar and play it again."

At today's event, hundreds of Socastee High students signed a W8 2 TXT pledge board. High-school Students who are interested in pledging against texting and driving can visit to sign a virtual W8 2 TXT Pledge.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.