At this year’s Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, US Department of Transportation officials, legislators, automakers, researchers, law enforcement workers, and traffic crash victims are once again getting together to figure out how to combat distracted driving and decrease the number of motor vehicle crashes that happen each year. US Transportation RayLaHood has called the problem of distracted driving an “epidemic” and he wants a federal law that will crack down on multitasking motorists.
Distracted driving can consist of a number of different activities that a motorist might engage in that takes his/her attention from driving. Text messaging, talking on a cell phone, dealing with the family dog, reading, surfing the Internet, watching movies on a laptop, scrolling through an iPod, fiddling with the radio dial, shaving, eating, and getting into an argument with someone else in the car are all examples of distracted driving acts that can cause the motorist to lose focus and become involved in a car crash, truck accident, bus collision, or pedestrian accident.
At the summit, Secretary LaHood announced new rules that would restrict hazmat truckers from texting and cell phone use for hazmat truckers. He also said that a final rule barring commercial truckers and bus drivers from texting will soon be published.
2009 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Distracted Driving Data:
• 5,474 deaths
• 448,000 injuries
• Teen drivers make up the largest portion of distracted drivers
• 16% of deadly crashes and 20% of injury accidents involved distracted drivers
It is not uncommon for The District’s busy residents to multitask. Politicians, business persons, students, government officials, and others have too much to do and often in too little time. However, distracted driving can cause Washington DC traffic crashes that can result in serious injuries and deaths for those involved.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces 2009 Distracted Driving Fatality and Injury Numbers Prior to National Distracted Driving Summit, NHTSA, September 20, 2010
Texting rules to toughen for hazmat truckers, Land Line, September 21, 2010
LaHood Pushes Federal Law to Quell ‘Epidemic’ of Distracted Driving, PBS, September 21, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving 2009, Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)
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