ATA commends DOT, LaHood
for focus on driver distraction
Aug 11, 2009 12:06 PM
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) commends the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for taking action to highlight the dangers of driving distracted, including distractions from writing, sending, or reading text messages while driving.
The DOT announced that in late September, senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives, and academics will convene in Washington DC to discuss how to best combat distracted driving. ATA will be part of these safety discussions.
Since October 2008, ATA has advocated policies that would minimize or eliminate driver distraction caused by using electronic devices while operating any type of motor vehicle. ATA’s safety agenda explains that electronic communication devices hinder driver performance by taking the driver’s eyes off the road. Drivers may also become so absorbed in their text message that their ability to concentrate on driving is impaired.
ATA also supports the safety objectives in the “Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting (ALERT) by Drivers Act of 2009.” The bill, introduced July 29 by US Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC), encourages states to ban texting while operating a motor vehicle. The bill requires all states to within two years of the bill’s passage ban writing, sending, or reading text messages using a hand-held mobile telephone or other portable electronic communication device. States that do not comply with the legislation risk losing 25% of their annual federal highway funding.
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