WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA/WJZ)--With thousands of deaths last year, there's a growing message to drivers to put down the phone before someone else gets hurt.
Now some Maryland families are helping to put a face to this message--including a Takoma Park woman featured on 9NEWS NOW's Great Hang Up campaign.
will be in a series of web videos
produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Kelly lives in Takoma Park. Her 23-year-old birth son, Dan, was driving in Colorado, using his mobile phone. He crashed into a stopped vehicle and died two hours later.
"He didn't have time to react. Those few seconds that he was on the phone or texting were the seconds he needed to put on the brakes on time and he couldn't do it," Kelly said.
MORE: See Laurie Kelly's Story
Faces of Distracted Driving is a series for the web that the U.S. Transportation Department is using to underscore the dangers of distracted driving.
"Public education works," said Colleen McCahill.
Distracted driving is considered anything that takes a person's attention away from driving. In recent years, mobile phone use-including talking and texting-have contributed to road disasters. In 2009, distracted driving killed nearly 5,500 people and injured a half million more.
Faces of Distracted Driving is a reminder of what distracted driving really is-not just mobile phone use but anything that takes your attention off the act of driving. That includes adjusting the radio, CD player, MP3 player, eating, putting on makeup or even talking to a passenger.
MORE: See Faces of Distracted Driving Videos
Transportation officials say distracted driving isn't like a mechanical problem in your vehicle you don't know about. It's 100% preventable and soon some compelling stories will help reinforce that message.