WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – Street signs are going up all over southern Utah, reminding drivers of the consequences of texting while driving. It’s the latest effort in a campaign by the family of David Henson, who was killed in April due to a distracted driver.
Close to 100 signs are posted throughout Washington County, a sign of hope for Haley Warner, Henson’s daughter.
“It was a hard weekend, especially with Memorial Day and to think about it,” says Warner. “But the signs were put up right before Memorial Day so that was kind of our way of honoring my dad.”
Henson was walking with his wife Leslee when a driver who was texting hit another car that spun into the couple. David died instantly, Leslee was taken to the hospital in critical condition and is still recovering.
“I think it’s a good way to remind people and to talk,” says Warner. ”It’s gotten a lot of people to talk about it.”
Most of the signs are in Santa Clara and Ivins, but additional signs have been purchased by the Washington County School District and Dixie Regional Medical Center. The City of St. George is in final preparations for their signs to go up.
“We see people do it all the time,” says St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain. “With today’s technology and the ability to have information literally at our fingertips, the temptation to just check our email or text - send those messages while we’re driving, it happens quite often.”
The signs cite Utah Code 41-6a-1715, which defines texting as a form of distracted driving, and a class C misdemeanor.
Drivers we spoke to say the signs are a good start, but believe more can and should be done.
“I think it is important that we educate,” says St. George resident Shallen Sterner. “I think that’s the main way we can prevent these types of issues is through education.”
Warner says that’s their goal: to educate the public. They’re working with cities and private businesses to put up the signs in parking lots as well.
More information on the “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks” campaign can be found at: stopthetextsstopthewrecks.blogspot.com.
To order the “No texting while driving” or “Don’t drive distracted” signs, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Signs are $25 each.