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The 2010 national Distracted Driving Summit was designed to shine a light on the dangers of distracted driving, and it’s not just us regular drivers that are getting a stern warning in the form of a law. It’s also commercial truck and bus drivers who are banned from texting while driving.
This new ban covers drivers who transport hazardous materials, commercial truck and bus drivers, and rail operators. Many companies have already jumped on the band wagon – already, 1,600 corporations have banned distracted driving (this affects 10.5 million drivers), while another 500 companies will follow suit in the next year.
The pilot enforcement campaigns have been running in Hartford, Connecticut and Syracuse, New York. In Hartford, Connecticut 4,956 tickets have been passed out to texting or talking drivers, while in Syracuse, New York, another 4,446 citations have been issued. These results show that efforts have already dramatically reduced distracted driving behavior in both cities.
In addition to these new policies, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been working closely with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) to engage the private sector to promote anti-distracted driving policies in the workplace.
Distracted driving in a huge issue and the numbers don’t lie. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009.
Ads to appear on the first day of the Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving Summit
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: