At the Department of Transportation, we have been working hard for nearly two years to end distracted driving. Today, I'm excited to announce that we've joined forces with a new partner in this important campaign: Consumer Reports, one of America's most trusted consumer safety champions.
And our partnership is bursting out of the starting gate with several new weapons to curb this deadly epidemic.
I invite you to join us online later this morning (11:00 EST) for a live web event streaming from the headquarters of Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports.
We'll officially launch our new partnership and unveil our new tools. At noon, we'll host a panel discussion on distracted driving featuring safety experts representing schools, families,and law enforcement.
Young drivers are especially vulnerable to distracted driving because of their inexperience behind the wheel and their sensitivity to peer pressure. By targeting drivers whose habits behind the wheel have not been ingrained through years of experience, we can instill safe practices.
So we've co-produced a new guide for parents and educators called "Distracted Driving Shatters Lives." This brochure offers six simple steps to keep young drivers and their passengers safe.
We also know teens are not the only ones on America's roads tempted to drive distracted. That's why the very first step recommended in our new guide is: "Set a good example by putting down your phone while driving."
Later this morning we'll show a PSA to be broadcast nationwide, and we'll share the compelling results of a new study on driving and distraction. This survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center shows how widespread distracted driving is, particularly among younger drivers.
And, on distraction.gov, you can view the newest video in our Faces of Distracted Driving series, "Kelson Vaillancourt, 21." This new video is narrated by Kelson's sister Loren, the current Miss South Dakota, and you may recall I've written before about her efforts to end distracted driving. I'll have more to say about this video on the blog tomorrow.
The webcast can be viewed right here at fastlane.dot.gov, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EST), and the DOT team will be blogging here about the day's events as they happen. If you're on Facebook, you can see the stream and the live-blog at our Global Call to End Distracted Driving page or on the Consumer Reports page.
We encourage you to, please, add your voice to our live-blog. We'll be weaving in comments from those following along and from those Tweeting about the proceedings on several different Twitter feeds. If you want your tweets in the mix, please use our hashtag, #DD.
In 2009, nearly 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed, and almost half a million injured, in accidents related to distracted driving. Today, we're doing something to bring those numbers down; we hope you'll tune in and take part.