LaHood: Texting drivers put lives at risk

| 9/30/2009

OOIDA and its members tuned in Wednesday, Sept. 30, to see where the summit on distracted driving this week in Washington, DC, will lead. Much of the emphasis on the first day of the two-day summit was on texting while behind the wheel.

Truckers and their concerns were represented on site by OOIDA, which accepted an invitation from the DOT to participate in the summit. Those not among the 200 speakers and safety groups invited to the forum have tuned in by Internet feed or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook..

The summit is interactive. Many social networkers have been tweeting (sending messages via Twitter) and participating in the online forum provided by the U.S. DOT.

Many want to know whether new laws regulating texting or e-mailing while driving are right around the corner for states that are not already pursuing them. The answer that U.S. senators have given is that “we’re working on it.”

During the summer, Democratic lawmakers led by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York filed legislation – essentially an ultimatum – urging states to adopt anti-texting laws for drivers or face rationing of the federal transportation funds they receive.

Few can argue that distracted driving isn’t a big deal. New studies show that death and injury from crashes involving distracted drivers are more prevalent than before.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is hosting the forum, said distracted driving puts lives at risk.

“Every single time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road – even for just a few seconds – they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” he stated. “Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible, and in a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”

The summit continues Thursday, Oct. 1. To catch the live Internet stream or to view the archives upon completion of the summit, click here.

– By David Tanner, staff writer