Yesterday, I reminded the Senate Commerce Committee of two things readers of this blog have heard from me repeatedly:
Transportation safety is the Department’s highest priority. And distracted driving is a serious and ongoing threat to safety.
Now, this trend distresses me deeply, and I am personally committed to reducing the number of injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.
But I also know that legislation will not be enough. Education and awareness--including targeted outreach campaigns--must be part of the mix.
Here's a start: Experts agree that there are three types of distraction--
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive – taking your mind off the road.
While all distractions can adversely impact safety, texting is particularly troubling because it involves all three types of distraction. In the words of Dr. John Lee of the University of Wisconsin, this produces a “perfect storm.”
Not convinced? Our latest research shows that nearly 6,000 people died last year in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million people were injured.
At our Distracted Driving Summit, we heard from several victims of this behavior whose lives have been changed forever. Mothers and fathers who lost children, and children who lost a parent, told us their stories.
And I want you to know I promised these families that I would make this issue my cause. And I will.