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July 4 display sends powerful message on deadliest day of the year for drivers

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 17:32:10-04

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- It's the deadliest day to be on the road. That’s why one New Port Richey business is using their July 4 display to send a powerful message about distracted driving.

On July 4, many people think of fireworks and celebration, but one man wants people to also think of this: "Don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive."

It's a message that All-Hour Towing owner Mike Schmidt wants everyone to see. That's why he's placed two wrecked cars in front of his business on Trouble Creek Road.

"In just the blink of an eye, you look down to read a text and you look up: boom!" said Schmidt.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's research shows that more people are killed in vehicle accidents on July 4 than any other day of the year, largely to do with alcohol.

"The worst thing you can do is get a call in the middle of the night or have someone knock on your door and give you a notice that your child, mother, father or someone you know that someone has passed away, due to an auto accident for something that was totally avoidable," said Schmidt.

Schmidt’s 15-year-old daughter goes to calls with her father and has seen a lot.

"I hope they see it and they see the wrecked cars and they take a minute and think, 'OK, my phone is in my hand,'" said Tara Schmidt.

Schmidt says 80 to 90 percent of the calls they go to are because of distracted driving.

"I have four kids myself so whenever we drive past it I point it out and say, see this is what happens, it only takes a second," said Debbie Pennell who works nearby.

Because of code enforcement rules, Schmidt says he can only keep his display out for a short amount of time, but he hopes in that time, it makes a difference.

"If it saves one person’s life, it's done something," said Schmidt.