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Feds Launch New PSA To Warn Teens Not To Text And Drive

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new national campaign to warn motorists of the dangers of distracted driving.

CBS 2's Susanna Song reports the bold push to save lives gets right to the point in a new public service announcement.

According to the NHTSA, nearly 8 out of 10 teens and young adults admit they read text messages while driving.

A new PSA announces loud and clear: texting while driving and kill you.

The 30-second video – posted to YouTube, and running on TV stations throughout the country – shows a group of teens driving and chatting, when the girl behind the wheel gets a text message.

As she reads the text, she runs a red light, and the car is T-boned by a truck, sending the car rolling down the road – the teens flung about as shattered glass and debris flies through the interior of their car.

The video ends with a message from a police officer.

"Nobody likes to be stopped by the police, but if I'd seen her texting while driving, and given her a ticket, it just might have saved her life," he says, as a graphic displays the message "U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY."

Illinois law bans the use of any handheld device while driving. Motorists are only allowed to use their cell phones or other devices if they have a hands-free device, such as Bluetooth or features that route the phone through a car's speaker system.

Illinois State Police have issued approximately 2,200 tickets for texting while driving this year. Officials said the number would be higher if they weren't giving drivers warnings first. State police have issued about 3,400 warnings for distracted driving since Jan. 1.

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