- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 5, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts is launching a new campaign against distracted driving on state roadways.

The state’s highway safety division said Wednesday that fatal crashes rose by 13 percent from 2015 to 2016, an increase that was double the national average. At least part of that increase was blamed on drivers who were texting or otherwise distracted.

The campaign includes highway signs and ads on Facebook, which implore motorists to be fully engaged by “driving present.”

The state is also making $900,000 available to police departments to enforce current laws against distracted driving.

Massachusetts prohibits texting while driving and all cellphone use by teen drivers under 18.

A proposal to ban all drivers from using hand-held cellphones passed the state Senate last year but did not get a final vote in the House.

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