Transportation Chief asks automakers to fight distracted driving

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Feb 05, 2011 in Car Accidents

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has called upon Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne for their support in stopping distracted driving , typically defined as driving while engaging in phone calls, texting or other distractive behaviors.

While many states, including California, Connecticut, Washington DC, New Jersey and Maryland have banned drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving, other states have not implemented anti-distracted driving measures in order to prevent car accident s. West Virginia, for example, currently allows all drivers except for those in the learner or intermediate stage to use cell phones for both texting and calling while driving.

Thirty states currently prohibit drivers from using their phones for texting while driving. In Michigan, for example, violators of this law receive a $100 fine for their first offense and $200 fines for subsequent offenses.

According to studies performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving played a role in 5,474 motor vehicle deaths in 2009. This figure represents 16% of all driving fatalities in that year.

LaHood has previously conducted similar meetings with top executives from BMW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and General Motors. Although the details of the meeting between LaHood, Ford and Chrysler have not been publicly disclosed, LaHood has expressed his desire for anti-distracted driving advertising campaigns on the part of automakers. "They spend an enormous amount of money selling their products," he said. "We're hoping they'll put their creative juices to work trying to solve this very serious and dangerous problem."

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Transportation chief lobbies Ford, Chrysler to help stop distracted driving," Greg Gardner, 1/25/2011

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