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'Heads Up' Message Keeps Drivers, Cyclists, Pedestrians On Alert

DENVER (CBS4)- The message "Heads Up" is designed to encourage drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings.

The Denver Police Department started their campaign before summer on billboards. Now the campaign is expanding to include TV ads and classrooms.

Police said it's easy to be distracted while moving around on city streets, even in crosswalks. Some of those distractions include earbuds, cell phones, iPads and even other people.

"You're texting, listening to your iPhone and you say, it's okay to run a red light or walk against the light and all of a sudden a car comes unbeknownst to you," said Denver Police Chief Robert White.

Police in Denver said traffic accidents have actually decreased seven percent but they've seen a 106 percent increase in bike vs. vehicle accidents in the past year and a 22 percent increase in pedestrians versus vehicle accidents.

The "Heads Up" campaign is advertised in both English and Spanish to reach a wide variety of the population in the Denver metro area.

One of the spots emphasizes that paying attention is something everyone can do, "It's so easy a grandma can do it. I'm Denver Police Chief Robert White. Heads up Denver."

Two stars of the campaign are Madison and Donna who teach what they've learned.

"I learned that Jaywalking is wrong," said 6-year-old Madison. "You get into trouble."

Police said a ticket pales in comparison to the fatalities they see from people being distracted.

"It doesn't matter if you drive a car, ride a bike or are a pedestrian, we're asking you to take a look at the safety to yourself and the safety to others," said White.

The "Heads Up" campaign is distributing bright green bracelets to students so they can wear them as a reminder to pay attention. The bright green reflective bracelet is two-fold; it serves as a physical reminder to pay attention and also reflects light to bring attention to students as they walk or ride bicycles.

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