At the Department of Transportation, we have been working hard preparing for our Distracted Driving Summit (next Tuesday, September 21). And today I'm pleased to be able to announce the agenda for that Summit.
You can view the agenda at www.distraction.gov/2010summit; it features a terrific range of panels and speakers that should help us make an even bigger dent in the deadly epidemic of distraction.
By now, many readers know that the number of traffic deaths and injuries fell in 2009 to the lowest level since we began recording those statistics. But I hope everyone also recognizes that we can do better, and distracted driving is a key front in that ongoing battle.
Hundreds of thousands of people are still being killed or injured every year in accidents caused by distracted drivers.
That's why, from leading researchers and law enforcement officials to industry representatives and safety advocates, this year's summit will build on what we learned last year to help shape our fight for safer driving habits.
And if you want to follow the day's activities, we have a number of ways to keep you in the loop.
The one I'm most excited about is our live webcast.
It's easy. On the day of the summit, simply visit www.distraction.gov, our one-stop web resource, and click on the link at the top of the page. Even better? You can submit questions in advance by emailing them to DDSummit@dot.gov. But, please help our staff by reviewing the agenda and telling us which panel your question addresses in the subject line of your email.
I hope many of you tune into our webcast, but I particularly want to invite schools and young people to listen in. Imagine classrooms of young drivers getting the message that these distractions kill and that it only takes two seconds to turn off your device and perhaps save a life.
Another way we're working to bring the summit to you is through live blogging. If you can't tune into the webcast, you can visit this blog page, fastlane.dot.gov, where our staff will note the highlights of every panel. You can even add your own comments in real-time! We did this last year, and it was a huge success, with a lively community of participants around the country, some of whom were watching the webcast and using the live blog as comment space.
Finally, we have a couple of Twitter activities planned for the summit. There's our distracted driving Twitter account, StopDistraction, which we'll use to send tweets of highlights throughout the day.
We also have a Distracted Driving Summit hashtag, #d2summit, that we're asking you to add to your comments on Twitter. That way, everyone who's interested in the summit can simply search for that tag. Comments tagged with #d2summit will also be displayed on our live blog.
If I seem fired up about next week's Distracted Driving Summit, that's because I am. I know that, working together, we will save lives.
So, once again, please visit www.distraction.gov/2010summit to see the agenda of distinguished panelists and guests. And--whether online or in person--I hope you'll join us on Tuesday.