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Scaring young drivers into putting down their cell phones

The U.S. government is launching a multi-million-dollar campaign featuring a series of graphic ads intended to combat texting and driving.
Graphic ads aim to shock drivers into putting down cellphones 01:52

The last time 19-year-old Liz Marks texted while driving she almost died.

"I slammed into a flatbed tow truck that was fully stopped in my lane," Marks said.

The year of Liz Marks' accident more than 3,300 people died in distracted-driving accidents CBS News
Was she driving distracted as it's called?

"Yes, I was texting and driving," Marks said.

She suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull and a collapsed lung.

Liz Marks suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident CBS News
The accident happened in 2012 and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that year more than 3,300 people nationwide were killed and about 420,000 injured in distracted-driving related crashes.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is launching a campaign to combat a growing trend.

But why now and has it taken too long?

"It's because people think they can take a second or two off the road," he said. "And what we have to do is constantly remind people."

A new series of ads are meant to shock people into putting down their phones CBS News
They will do that with a series of graphic ads that will begin airing next week.

In 43 states and the District of Columbia, texting while driving is against the law.

The last text Marks received before her accident came from her mother, Betty.

"And it was me," she said. "That was the last text that was open. She was reading my text. I almost lost my little girl over a stupid text."

The national campaign will cost about $ 9 million. The Department of Transportation found that when ads were coupled with enforcement, cell phone use while driving dropped by about one-third.

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