Report: Volvo Buys Ads In Major Papers Calling for ‘Distracted Driving’ Legislation

Report: Volvo Buys Ads In Major Papers Calling for ‘Distracted Driving’ Legislation
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Tomorrow, if you pick up a copy of USA Today or The Washington Post, you’re likely to see Volvo’s full page ad, calling for legislation on “distracted driving.” The ads come on the very day that the U.S. Department of Transportation begins its two day Distracted Driving Summit to discuss the issue. Along with senior DOT staff, the summit will also host elected officials, safety advocates, academics and law enforcement representatives. Volvo, however, is not a participant, although the company that has built a reputation for vehicles that are, above all else, safe, obviously has something to say on the matter.

“With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents,” said Doug Speck, Volvo Cars North America president and CEO. “Reasonable laws that help focus a driver’s attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives. By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue.”

Along with numerous safety innovations throughout the decades, more recently Volvo prides itself on electronic systems such as lane departure warning or even the new “City Safety” system which debuted on the XC60 (above), that can actually stop the vehicle when a collision is detected.

Currently only seven states have banned cell phone use (without a hands-free device) while driving, while 18 states have laws against texting while driving.

Official release after the jump:

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Sept. 29, 2009) – Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) is placing full-page ads in the Sept. 30 issues of USA Today and TheWashington Post that call for distracted driving legislation.  Publicly taking a position on the need for legislation is a first for Volvo, and the company chose to do so simultaneous to the Department of Transportation’s “Distracted Driving Summit” in Washington, D.C.

The summit is a two-day meeting between senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives and academics to discuss how to combat distracted driving.  The ads discuss how Volvo, which is not a Summit participant, has long been focused on eliminating collisions in which distracted driving is a factor.  Volvo has done this, in part, by building cars that stop themselves and warn fatigued drivers when they waiver from their lane.

“With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents,” said Doug Speck, VCNA president and CEO.  “Reasonable laws that help focus a driver’s attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives.  By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, seven states currently outlaw the use of a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving, and 18 states prohibit text messaging.  Both activities are barred in D.C.  In addition to cell phone use, other common driver distractions include rubbernecking (slowing down to look at an accident), driver fatigue, looking at scenery, other passengers, adjusting the radio and reading newspapers, books or maps.