distracted driving

Distracted Driving

Senator Jay Rockefeller led a summit on Feb. 6 to discuss solutions to curb the growing danger of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 3,000 people died in both 2011 and 2012 in accidents caused by distracted driving. Another 421,000 were injured in 2012 in accidents caused by distracted driving.The problem is especially prevalent among teens. According to the NHTSA, 11 percent of teen drivers in deadly accidents were distracted. Cell phones account for 21 percent of all teen driver distraction.In a recent survey by NHTSA, 25 percent of teens said that they text at least once every time they driver. Twenty percent said they regularly have extended, multi-text conversations while driving. Research has shown that sending a single text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded.Senator Rockefeller and the rest of the Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation met with representatives from Apple, Google, Samsunt, Verizon and AT&T. Cell phone executives were pressed on what their companies were doing to reduce distracted driving. Most companies pointed to voice-activated technology.Google and Apple both indicated that they were developing in-car systems that would allow drivers to operate their phones without using their hands. Apple is also developing a system called Siri Eyes Free that allows drivers to use their phones and keep their eyes on the road. Other carriers said they were experimenting with "Safe Driving Modes" that would limit text and email notifications while the car was in motion.While no firm initiatives came from the summit, the event did sharpen the focus on a growing problem that is especially dangerous for teen drivers and the importance of such courses as Driver's Education.Driver Ed Teen