'TXTNG KILLS' Anti-Texting Thumb Bands Get Thumbs Up from Police

As part of a new program in Iowa, police are distributing pink and blue thumb bands designed to deter people from texting while driving.

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We've all been guilty of it at some point, especially the harried business travelers among us, but texting while driving is not only illegal in most places -- it can be fatal. Several campaigns are under way to encourage people to kick the habit, including a few smartphone apps (such as Zach Veach's URtxt), and laws in 30 states have made texting while driving illegal. Now, police in Cerro Gordo, Iowa, are taking a more hands-on approach, distributing pink and blue thumb bands that read, "TXTNG KILLS."

Since most people text with their thumbs, law enforcement is hoping the tangible reminder that "TXTNG KILLS" will serve as a deterrent. The bands are reminiscent of Lance Armstrong's popular yellow Livestrong bands, but while Livestrong is a fundraising tool, the thumb bands are being used simply for awareness. Cerro Gordo Sheriff Kevin Pals says his office has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from people looking for the bands, so he hopes they will catch on.

The Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau bought 30,000 bands at 12 cents apiece to distribute to drivers. Pals received 150 for his county, which were gone within two days, and he has since requested 5,000 more. The bands were initially just for people pulled over by police, but Pals says many parents and teachers want them distributed at schools.

Texting was made illegal in Iowa in July, but officers cannot issue tickets until January 1, 2011. In the meantime, anyone pulled over and seen to be texting while driving receives a warning and a thumb band. (Texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means a driver can't be pulled over just for texting.) Sheriff Pals says he and his colleagues see a lot of people texting at stoplights, and hopes the dangerous behavior will be curbed, but added that it will take some time to know if the bands are an effective tool.

The Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau already has plans to order anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 more thumb bands.

Tags: anti-texting, anti-texting bracelets, anti-texting thumb bands, Livestrong, Mobile, News, texting while driving, TXTING KILLS thumb bands

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