I'm delighted to welcome the Better Business Bureau community to our fight against distracted driving.
I have said over and over again that DOT cannot end this deadly epidemic alone, and I am grateful for the tremendous response from our many partners. The new and enhanced BBB Consumer News and Opinion blog is launching today, and their efforts to educate consumers and businesses about the dangers of texting or talking on a phone while driving will help us make an even bigger difference.
From the earliest days of our campaign we have talked about the value of strong employer policies against using electronic devices while on company business or in conpany vehicles. President Obama himself took the lead on this in September 2009 with an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or when driving on official business.
In the private sector, businesses across America are recognizing how distracted driving can affect their employees and their bottom line. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), an employer-led public-private traffic safety partnership started with DOT support, has been very effective at encouraging employers to adopt policies that keep their employees safe on and off the job.
BBB will feature on its website a free tool kit that provides employers with suggestions for doing exactly that. The kit, created by the USDOT and NETS, contains materials such as a sample company policy, a sample memo to employees on that policy, and a sample company press release.
- Jacy Good--On the way home from her college graduation, Jacy Good was riding with her parents. A young driver talking on his cell phone ran a red light, causing a tractor-trailer to swerve and crash into the Goods' vehicle. Jacy was critically injured, and both of her parents, Jean and Jay Good, were killed instantly.
- Alex Brown--17-year-old Alex Brown was killed when she crashed her truck while she was on her way to school. She was texting at the time of the crash.
- Julie Davis--58-year-old Julie Davis set off for a hike with her best friend. As they were walking beside the road, a car moving 70MPH struck Julie from behind, killing her instantly. Crash reconstruction reports showed the driver could not have been looking at the road for 8.75 seconds.
These videos present the tragic stories behind the numbers. And if the horrible statistics about distracted driving crashes don't convince people to change their habits, these short, compelling testimonies from those who have lost loved ones ought to do the job.
This department is all about safety, and we won't take a back seat to anyone on that. But sometimes, it's nice to get a little help with the heavy lifting, and today, I want to thank the Better Business Bureau for pitching in.