The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, will call for a summit to address distracted driving across the country. According to a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction contributes to about 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes.
Driver distraction is something that The Century Council has been concerned about for some time. Most recently we developed an award-winning eCard for National Teen Driver Safety Week called "The Concentration Game," in which the user is faced with simulated distractions (cell phone, food, and loud music) to replicate the disruption in concentration and subsequent difficulty of operating a vehicle. The Council is currently working on additional materials for this year's National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18-24, 2009. The Council has also partnered with several state Attorneys General, national law enforcement organizations, and the National Transportation Safety Board to advocate for safe driving practices.
Secretary LaHood stated that the goal of the summit is to produce a set of "concrete steps" that we can all follow to make our nation's roadways safer. Many states have already instituted bans on hand-held cell phones for the driver of the vehicle, and several have also recently passed legislation to prohibit texting and emailing while operating a vehicle.
Losing concentration can immediately put your life (and/or someone else's) in danger. It is important to reinforce the idea that once a vehicle is in motion, the driver must devote his or her full attention to the task at hand – operating their vehicle safely.
We support Secretary LaHood's efforts to make our roads safer, and we will continue our education efforts as well.