Just Let it Ring campaign kicks off

We're all told to drive defensively, and the one thing we can all do to make us safer drivers is to put down that cell phone while you're behind the wheel.

No doubt cell phones have made our lives easier.

They also can be deadly, especially if you use yours to text while driving.

It is against the law in 30 states, including Illinois and later this year in Iowa, to text while behind the wheel.

Right now, Missouri drivers under age 21 are not allowed to text and drive, but the legislature is working on a bill to ban everyone.

April is Distracted Driver Awareness month, and Monday KHQA, along with Shottenkirk Kia, Shottenkirk Chevrolet, Simmetry Wireless, and Kennedy Wealth Group are kicking off an important campaign called Just Let it Ring.

You have the chance to win a 2011 Kia Soul and a bunch of other prizes by getting on board with the Just Let it Ring campaign.

How do you do that?

Simple ... stop texting and driving.

Distracted driving of any kind killed more than 5,400 people across the country in 2009.

448,000 more were hurt in a car accident involving a distracted driver.

We're asking you to log on to KHQA's Just Let it Ring page and sign a pledge that says while you're behind the wheel, if you get a text, you'll just let it ring.

KHQA President and CEO Mara Clingingsmith says, "The act of signing it, 85 percent of people who sign it are more likely to live by it than if I just say, 'I'm going to do it'."

And that's what we want - you, your family, your friends, your co-workers to sign the pledge card and commit to just letting it ring.

By committing to the program, you will be entered for a chance to win the car and many other great prizes.

The car will be given away on eleven, eleven, eleven, that's November 11, 2011.

KHQA is partnering with with several local sponsors, and we want to let you know why they feel it's important to be involved in the Just Let it Ring campaign.

Jeff Kennedy says, "What we're interested in is creating a legacy that people can leave to their children and grandchildren. And it's not just financial. Leaving a legacy is more than passing on what you've earned. It's also passing on what you've learned."

Shottenkirk Kia Sales Manager James Neill says, "Kia spends a lot of money in research and development on new vehicles and making them as safe as possible. The one thing they can't control is what the driver does while driving the vehicle. We want to prevent as many accidents as possible."

Craig Freeman is the General Manager of Simmetry Wireless.

He sent us this statement, "As the only local cellular carrier - Simmetry Wireless has a vested interest in all the communities that we serve. We sell communication tools that enhance people's lives. We want to help remind the public and our children about the importance of safe and proper cell phone usage."

As part of this program, we hope to reach out to schools, service organizations, and whatever groups we can to talk about the dangers of texting and driving.

We've also partnered with several communities in the Tri-States to see how else we can spread the word to Just Let it Ring.

We look forward to raising awareness for this issue, so stay tuned to our station and check the Just Let it Ring page frequently for new updates!