Chris Gipple, BS, CHES 603 S. High St. Apt. 36 Kirksville, MO 63501 Phone: (515) 508-9287 E-mail: crg3756@truman.


Clay County Public Health Center 800 Haines Drive Liberty, MO 64068 Phone: (816) 595-4200 Fax: (816) 595-4201

Date: February 28, 2012 The Liberty Tribune 104 N Main St, Liberty, MO 64068 Fax: (816) 781-0909 DRV NOW, TXT L8R Dear Angie Anaya Borgedalen: Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic crashes in Missouri and across America. In 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes. Distractions can include any number of things, but because texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, it is by far the most alarming distraction. Reading or sending a text takes the driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the same as driving 55 mph across the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. I am asking you to write an article raising awareness of the dangers of texting and driving for teens in Clay County. Those younger than 25 are 2-3 times more likely to text and drive which creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving without texting. Close to 40% of teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a phone in a way that put people in danger. Putting the phone down is something so easy that could directly benefit teens and adults in Clay County. To work to combat these dangers, Missouri became the 23rd state to ban texting while driving in 2009 – but only for those under 21. This law is not widely known, and the fine for a violation is $200. If you have questions or would like any more information, feel free to contact me or set up an interview. It is extremely important for Clay County to become aware of the dangers of texting and driving. Thank you in advance for covering this topic.


Chris Gipple, BS, CHES Child/Adolescent Program Manager Clay County Public Health Center

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