The U.S. Department of Transportation hosted its second annual conference on distracted driving today in Washington, D.C. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took his opportunity as host to criticize automobile manufacturers’ attempts to make cars into mobile entertainment centers. Within the last few months both Ford and General Motors have announced plans to enable their vehicles to be mobile internet hotspots, or to enable drivers to surf the internet, answer e-mail, and post to Facebook. Safety studies show that when peoples’ attentions are diverted, or when their eyes move away from the road, or when their hands stray from the steering wheel, accidents rates go up.
Secretary LaHood says he plans to meet with the automakers and work with them on new safety guidelines that place safety over entertainment value. To his credit, LaHood has been very proactive on this issue of distracted driving. He has led the passage of new rules that prohibit tractor-trailer drivers from texting while driving. Similarly, he is pushing a major initiative to encourage corporations to be tough on their own employees about distracted driving.
As a Florida personal injury attorney who specializes in automobile accidents, cases have been on something of a campaign against distracted driving for a while now. Whether it is someone driving by a roadside emergency on a cellphone, or a plastic surgeon texting on Twitter, recent stories have made it clear that distracted driving, texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, and/or eating and drinking while driving can be extremely dangerous.
We’d love to hear what you are doing to reduce the risk of distracted driving.