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Students tell other students to put the phone down

The University of Utah launched a new campaign targeted at eliminating distracted driving on Thursday. (PHOTO: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The University of Utah launched a new safety campaign, which they hope will get students to put their phone down while in the car.

Their thinking is simple: who better to reach students than students?

A message for passengers, not just drivers

The University and UDOT reached out to AdThing, a student-run advertising agency, to develop the campaign.

The campaign they landed on was “You drive. I’ll text.”

According to them, it’s an all-encompassing idea that puts the focus not only on the driver.

“It’s not just your life that’s put into danger, it’s the people around you,” said the president of AdThing, Kyra Ott. “It’s the passengers in the car, it’s the bystanders, it’s the people in the cars around you.”

Their message is the passenger in a vehicle has major responsibilities. Whether it’s texting, or any other phone-related distraction, the vehicle passenger needs to ensure the driver stays focused.

“You drive, I’ll post, you drive, I’ll scroll,” said Ott. “And if it’s not that important, it can wait.”

Students and phones on campus

It’s a message everyone should follow but rings especially true at a busy location with a lot of young, inexperienced drivers, like a college campus, Ott said. And the movement around students and phone use quickly gained support from on high.

“Every day, thousands of individuals travel to and from the University of Utah,” the president of the University of Utah, Ruth Watkins, said. “This is vital.”

Those involved with the planning of the message hope they can shift opinion in people their age similar to how other campaigns have been successful.

“The same way the anti-smoking campaign shifted cultural behavior, our aim is to shift the culture and remind drivers the responsibility they have behind the wheel,” Ott added.