Government Holds Two-Day Summit On Distracted Driving | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

In the wake of several shocking studies concerning texting, cell phone use, and distracted driving (including one study conducted by Virginia Tech), Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood held a two-day summit in Washington, DC, last week to talk about the issue of distracted driving and increased car accidents.

The distracted driving summit had several focuses, including teens that text and drive, truck drivers who use mobile devices and drive, and government employees who text behind the wheel.

At the summit, LaHood summarize a few sobering finding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According the NHTSA, 16 percent of young drivers were distracted at the time of their car accident. All in all, distracted drivers caused 6,000 highway deaths each year and 500,000 injuries last year.

After looking at the numbers and discussing the wide affect that mobile technology is having on car accidents, car accident injuries, and car accident fatalities, the summit focused on how to solve the problem. Many at the distracted driving summit believe that public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving is an important first step, while others cited that 18 states have already banned texting and driving.

Government officials also considered tying federal highway funding to a ban on texting and driving.

President Obama contributed to the distracted driving summit by passing down a presidential order that stated all government employees should cease texting while driving – both while on official work business and while using a government-issued mobile device or cell phone.