Distracted Driving Summit

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced the schedule for its two-day distracted driving summit that takes place Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Panelists will discuss a range of issues including: the extent of driver distraction; research results on the nature of the distracted driver problem; how technology is both contributing to and can prevent the consequences of distraction; proposed legislative and regulatory approaches to address distracted driving; and initiatives to increase public awareness of safety issues. Participants include Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. One of the issues to be discussed is how proposed federal legislation would address cell phone use by bus and truck drivers. According to an article in today’s New York Times by Matt Richtel, the trucking industry says on-board computers that hundreds of thousands of truckers on U.S. roads use for directions and to stay in contact with dispatchers can be used safely and are less distracting than Blackberrys and iPhones, and truckers should be exempt from laws prohibiting texting while driving. However, research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute cited in the article found that those truckers who use on-board computers faced a 10 times greater risk of crashing, nearly crashing or wandering from their lane than truckers who did not use the devices. Check out I.I.I. information on cell phones and driving.

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