This DOT-FCC joint effort will also include outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, and other distracting behavior that can lead to deadly accidents.
My position on this epidemic is clear:
We must put an end to distracted driving. It is costing us lives and inflicting injuries across the nation’s roads and railways. It's wrong, and I want to see it reduced.
It turns out that Chairman Genachowski is right there with me in this fight. At a Senate hearing last week, he said:
“Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable. There’s no way around it--this is an urgent problem that simply must be addressed.”
So, I'm not at all shy about working with Chairman Genachowski and leveraging DOT and FCC combined expertise on technology. Safe driving is in our wheelhouse, communications technology theirs. Teaming up just makes sense.
And Chairman Genachowski agrees:
“I welcome this collaborative effort to eliminate the increasingly deadly practice of distracted driving. Changing this ingrained behavior will require us to develop creative solutions using both technology and education. By combining the resources and expertise of the DOT and the FCC, I am confident that we can have a major impact on this problem.”
Here's how it will work--officials from DOT and FCC will:
- Establish a joint task force to evaluate technology-based solutions to the problem of distracted driving; and
- Coordinate consumer outreach and education.
I have said that we really need to change behavior so that distracted driving feels just as wrong as driving without a seat belt or drunk driving. But, technological approaches to curbing this dangerous practice can also help. Just as action by the States can help.
With 6,000 traffic fatalities last year attributable to distracted driving, we cannot afford to ignore any viable avenues to increased safety.
Working together, DOT and FCC hope to achieve greater gains in making our rails and roadways safer. I thank Chairman Genachowski for his commitment, and I look forward to a successful interagency partnership.