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Transportation officials want more distracted driving preventions

Federal transportation safety officials have been pushing for all 50 states to ban folks from using their cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. Distracted driving continues to be a common factor in many serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents on our country's roads. Transportation officials believe that current state laws, including distracted driving laws in North Carolina, could be improved to make our roads a safer place.

Throughout the past few years, studies and statistics have revealed that texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are factors in about 30 percent of all auto accidents each year. Distracted drivers are responsible for more than 15 percent of fatal traffic accidents each year.

Although there has been a big push to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, a recent survey suggests that many folks are ignoring the dangers of distracted driving. According to the survey, 24 percent of drivers admitted to texting while driving within the last month.

Now, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is not only putting pressure on states to ban all cellphone use while driving, he is also asking that employers prohibit transportation workers from using cellphones while on the job. Along with the Governor's Highway Safety Association, he said he is hoping to create a way for businesses to establish driving and cellphone policies that will ensure workers are not distracted by their mobile devices while driving.

Currently, about 2,000 companies in the U.S. have policies banning the use of hand-held devices while driving. LaHood is asking for more to do the same.

In addition, police officers are also being asked by LaHood to assess and track behaviors of drivers after an accident, including dialing, eating, typing, texting or other forms of distraction. LaHood said the information is vital for finding effective ways to improve road safety.

With more documentation, more is expected to be known about bad driving behaviors and how these behaviors can be prevented. Better documentation could also help victims of distracted driving accidents and their families when filing personal injury claims.

Source: Washington Examiner, "Bosses pressed to target distracted driving employees," Paul Bedard, July 5, 2012

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