Recycled cell phones send a message to drivers

Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price unveils a distracted driving sculpture in...
Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price unveils a distracted driving sculpture in Sioux Falls.(South Dakota Department of Public Safety)
Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 9:44 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The South Dakota Department of Transportation has an interesting way to recycle cell phones; turn them into art with a message: “Put down that phone!”

The sculpture commissioned by the DPS Office of Highway Safety, has 250 recycled cell phones tucked into 250 small coffins. It represents the 250 drivers killed or injured in distracted driving crashes last year in the state.

“A top priority for the Department of Public Safety and its agencies, such as the Office of Highway Safety, is to promote safe driving and decrease the number of crash related fatalities in South Dakota,” DPS Secretary Craig Price said in a release. “This sculpture is a different and unique way to do that.”

The sculpture is currently at the Sioux Empire Mall in Sioux Falls but it will make its rounds to other cities. It is a hard-to-miss sculpture, weighing 200 pounds and standing more than four and a half feet high and six feet long.

Safety experts caution that distracted driving is just one cause of crashes that could be avoided.

“While this sculpture focuses on the danger of being distracted by cell phones, there are other distractions, such as talking to a passenger or changing the dial on the radio, that can cause you to lose focus and result in a serious crash,” said Office of Highway Safety Director Amanda Kurth.