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Contest Focuses on Texting Accidents

The number of pedestrians injured while using cell phones has more than doubled since 2004, according to a study published in the August 2013 edition of "Accident Analysis and Prevention." Young people were especially at risk, with 16- to 25-year-olds most likely to be injured as "distracted pedestrians."

In an effort to combat this growing trend, the Middlesex County Comprehensive Traffic Safety Program was developed, and it is promoting a contest for students to create a radio public service announcement or a poster or infographic explaining the dangers of distracted walking or cycling.

The first prize is $500; second prize is $300; and third prize is $200.

"The significant rise in pedestrian accidents caused by walking and texting is a major concern and we hope that this awareness campaign will help change habits that place walkers at risk," said Middlesex County Freeholder James Polos, chairman of Public Safety and Health.

The Distraction Awareness Contest is open to students enrolled at Middlesex County College or Rutgers University.

The aim of the campaign is to change the culture of distraction so everyone becomes focused on themselves and those around them and realizes the effects on others when distracted. For more information and official rules, go to http://mctrafficsafety.com/contest.