More Efforts Underway to Combat Distracted Driving
The stories are wrenching. A distracted driver on a cell phone runs a red light t-boning another vehicle where the driver's son sits; fails to see a child on abicycle there to be seen; a truck slamming into the rear of a stopped school bus. Years ago groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) successfully changed attitudes towards drunk driving by bringing to life the horrors experienced by real-life victims and families. Based upon that model, two weeks ago the creation of FocusDriven, the first national nonprofit organization devoted specifically to raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, was announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
FocusDrivens new website, www.focusdriven.org, hosts information on distracted driving, help for victims and family members, and ways to get involved. Also, the Department of Transportation recently launched a federal website, www.distraction.gov, with comprehensive information on distracted driving, as well as a national Public Service Announcement featuring U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to raise awareness about this dangerous driving behavior.
FocusDriven also hopes to provide support for victims of distracted driving - a growing epidemic in our society.
FocusDriven is a direct outgrowth of the September 2009 national Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC called by Secretary LaHood. Since the two-day meeting that brought together affected families, law enforcement, researchers, public officials and others, family members of distracted driving victims have worked to establish an advocacy organization with support from the Department of Transportation and the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization that uses leadership, research, education and advocacy to prevent injuries and save lives.
Last week the Oprah Show took up the call with an episode called America's New Deadly Obsession. In the show, it was pointed out that you cant talk and text while you drive even if you think you can. Oprah even has a No Phone Zone Pledge: I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference.
One year ago the National Safety Council became the first organization to call for a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving.
For more information about preventing distracted driving, you can visit www.distraction.gov, www.nsc.org, and www.focusdriven.org.
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