As the evidence piles up showing that teens are still distracted behind the wheel to an unsafe degree, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has introduced a new initiative aimed at ending the dangerous habits of texting or emailing while driving.
Jiving with what Consumer Reports found in a recent survey of teens, where 29% of teens admitted to driving while texting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted its own research, and found that one in three teens nationwide admitted to texting or emailing while behind the wheel.
The DOT is attempting to take that phenomenon on with its new “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving,” which addresses the dangers of using phones while driving. It urges the 11 states without distracted-driving laws to pass them, calls on automakers to develop technology to reduce distractions from devices built or brought into cars, and partners with driver-education programs to include distracted driving in curriculum materials.
Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy and the Washington Office of Consumers Union, said of the DOT’s plan:
“Too many drivers are paying more attention to their phones than the road. Distracted driving has led to thousands of deaths, and hundreds of thousands of injuries. We’ve learned that the number-one way to convince young drivers to stop texting behind the wheel is to educate them on just how deadly the risks are, and that’s a big part of this blueprint by the Transportation Department. It’s a great initiative that will help save lives.”