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Distracted driving a priority for U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood

Posted on Oct 05, 2009

Distracted driving was the subject of a national, two-day summit held by the Department of Transportation on September 30th and August 1st.    More than 200 attendees listened as United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned about the dangers of distracted driving.  Distracted driving is a major factor in almost eighty percent of traffic accidents and was responsible for 5,870 road accident fatalities or 16% of traffic deaths in 2008.  The year before distraction accounted for 12% of traffic fatalities.
The growing percentage is partly due to increased cell phone use and texting by drivers.  Experts worry that without strong laws, the problem will only get worse.
Secretary LaHood called distractions such as texting and cell phone use a “menace to society.” He said that he would like to see strong laws prohibiting these practices, but that ultimately distracted driving is a matter of personal responsibility.  “We need a combination of strong laws and ongoing public education to make a difference.”
Texting while driving is illegal in California.  Drivers over 18 may use cell phones with a hands-free device.  While, cell phone use and texting are a major distraction to drivers, there are many causes of driver distraction.  A distracted driver is a danger to himself and others regardless of the cause.  

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