At an event Jan. 20 marking the one-year anniversary of FocusDriven, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for victims of distracted driving, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reaffirmed his commitment to ending distracted driving.
LaHood unveiled new public education initiatives and discussed the leadership role businesses play in promoting safe driving behavior.
To show the devastating real-life effect of distracted driving, DOT unveiled the latest in its “Faces of Distracted Driving” video series, which explores the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving. To watch, or find out how to submit a video, visit: www.distraction.gov/faces.
Also at the event, FocusDriven President Jennifer Smith launched a new anti-distracted driving PSA. Titled the “5500 campaign,” the 30-second public service announcement includes pictures of hundreds of distracted driving victims, putting faces to the fatalities that occur on American roadways.
On the employer side, Shannon Campagna, vice president of Federal Government Relations for Safeway grocery stores, spoke about the company’s decision to institute an anti-distracted driving policy for all Safeway truck drivers. The policy prohibits Safeway’s 1,525 truck drivers from talking or texting on cell phones, or from using hands-free devices while driving.
Bill Windsor, NETS chairman, also announced the results of their 2010 Drive Safely Work Week campaign. The campaign, which promoted anti-distracted driving employer policies, reached 5,000 public and private organizations representing more than 20 million U.S. employees. Of the 4,690 organizations that downloaded the NETS electronic tool kit, 88 percent currently have or expect to have a cell phone policy in place within the next 12 months.
While public awareness about America’s distracted driving epidemic has grown in recent years, the problem still looms large. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. To learn more about DOT’s efforts to stop distracted driving, go to www.distraction.gov.