A recent summit conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) focused on one of the most serious traffic safety issues in the U.S.: distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during 2008, police reports cited distracted driving as a causal factor in traffic accidents in which 5,870 people were killed. An estimated 515,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving accidents during the same year, and the numbers may be understated; it is difficult for law enforcement responders to accident scenes to identify driver distraction as a causal factor.
At the summit's conclusion, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced three action items DOT will implement, including placing permanent restrictions on the use of cellular telephones and other electronic devices in rail operation; banning text messaging and restricting cellular telephone use in interstate truck and bus operations; and disqualifying school bus drivers convicted of text messaging while driving from maintaining their commercial drivers licenses.
DOT will seek state support in passing state and local laws and ordinances against distracted driving and increasing local compliance efforts.