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Texting while Driving

Driver distraction caused the deaths of nearly 6,000 people and the injuries of 500,000 people last year according to new government reports on auto safety. There is a correlation of using mobile devices while driving. This includes texting while driving and talking on the cell. Transportation officials recently released a report that showed driver distraction being involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008. The Transportation report shows that 515,000 people were injured and 5,870 people were killed last year, with driver distraction being involved in the accident.

The Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, government officials, safety advocates, researchers and lawmakers came together last month to discuss ways of setting new restrictions on texting and using devices while driving. Young adults involved in car accidents where they were texting while driving were also involved in the safety discussions. New data supports that 16 percent of all under-20 drivers involved in fatal car accidents were distracted while driving.

Every day, people text and drive, even in places where it’s outlawed. According to Secretary LaHood “We feel a very strong obligation to point to incidents where people have been killed or where serious injury has occurred. Earlier this year, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that collision risks were 23 times greater when drivers of heavy trucks texted while driving. Dialing a cell phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about six times in cars and trucks. The popular magazine Car and Driver released a report that showed texting and driving to be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

This report obviously has caused a lot of controversy and discussions among safety advocates. Some groups want tough laws on the distractions and are asking for restrictions on talking and texting by drivers of tractor trailers, motor coaches and large vans. Automobile Manufacturers and the Governors Highway Safety Association are on the same page in support of restrictions for texting while driving. Surprisingly, 11 automakers have come together on a united front with the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers to support this important issue of auto safety and the use of handheld devices. The Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA) believes that education and enforcement are critical to changing the behavior of drivers.

A series of Public Service Announcements warning teen drivers of the dangers on distracted driving will be paid for by the National Safety Council and CTIA in an effort to promote safe driving. Please be cautious while driving. Nothing is more important than your life and the lives of others.