Today, we take a big step forward in our fight against the deadly epidemic of distracted driving. With the release of our Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving, DOT is putting critical safety information into the hands of those who can make the biggest difference.
Parents, teens, driving instructors, automakers, and safety advocates can all use the new blueprint to take this important effort to the next level.
While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured. In 2010, at least 3,092 people were killed on our nation's roads in distraction-affected crashes. That's approximately one in every ten fatalities, and we can put an end to it.
Helping persuade people to take personal responsibility for putting down that cell phone has been an effective first step. Our "Faces of Distracted Driving" video series has made that clear with painful testimony of the tragic costs of distraction and an impassioned plea that "Safe driving starts with you."
I know many of you have made a big change and no longer make calls or read text messages while driving. You're not only driving distraction-free, but you're also demonstrating safe behavior for the young drivers and soon-to-be drivers who ride with you.
But we need everyone to do their part, whether it’s helping pass strong laws, educate our youngest and most vulnerable drivers, or starting your own campaign to end distracted driving. And that's where our new Blueprint comes in.
- Encouraging the remaining 11 states without distracted driving laws to enact and enforce this critical legislation;
- Challenging the auto industry to adopt new and future guidelines that reduce the potential for distractions on devices built or brought into vehicles;
- Partnering with driver education professionals to add new materials that educate novices about driver distraction and its consequences; and
- Providing everyone with actions they can take to help end distracted driving on America's roadways.
We have a very clear challenge to respond to. More than three-quarters of drivers in a recent NHTSA survey reported that they are willing to answer calls while driving. Survey respondents reported feeling unsafe when riding in vehicles in which the driver is texting, yet they acknowledged few driving situations when they would not use the phone or text.
Do Americans understand that distracted driving is dangerous? Yes. Yet this dangerous behavior persists on our roads. While you're reading this, 660,000 drivers are out there, using their cell phones behind the wheel.
I'm proud of the gains we've made during the past three years. But there is work to be done, and we need everyone's help. The Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving builds on what we know and takes us where we need to go.
With this blueprint, we will save lives.