Today I addressed the Alabama Distracted Driving Summit hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's University Transportation Center. It's great to see UAB working to solve this problem, and I wholeheartedly support the one-day session's three goals:
- Describe the scope and nature of the distracted driving problem
- Identify meaningful ways to increase public awareness of the safety issues associated with distracted driving
- Identify and review legislative and regulatory approaches for addressing distracted driving in Alabama
These goals seems both useful and manageable. Indeed, I cannot imagine why any of the states that have yet to take meaningful steps against distracted driving would not host similar sessions. And soon.
And the Birmingham Times agrees:
"Lawmakers might ignore the problem, but that doesn't make the problem go away. Conscientious lawmakers must make every effort to attend the Alabama Distracted Driving Summit and learn about this issue."
Three days ago, a woman in upstate New York was killed when her car collided with a tractor-trailer at an intersection. Distracted driving. Three weeks ago, a Texas teenager died after driving her station wagon into a tractor-trailer. Distracted driving.
Some transportation accidents are caused by mechanical failure, harsh weather, or other factors beyond our immediate control. But distracted driving is a consequence of behavior.
And there are proven strategies to help us deal with this.
Today, Alabama's stakeholders will work on those strategies. Tomorrow, I hope the other states will follow.