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August 25, 2009  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

DOT sets dates for distracted driving summit


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold its summit on distracted driving Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the summit in early August, with the aim of addressing the dangers of text-messaging and other distractions behind the wheel and to determine the best ways to reduce the number of crashes and deaths due to distracted driving.

The summit will bring together senior transportation and elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement and private sector representatives, and academics to address reducing accidents through enforcement, public awareness and education.

Speakers will lead interactive sessions on key topics, including the extent and impact of distracted driving, current research, regulations and best practices. Participants will also examine distractions caused by automotive devices, such as navigational systems. The summit’s second day will feature a panel of state and local officials to discuss solutions from their perspectives.

To accommodate the strong response, the summit will be available live by Webcast, and members of the public will be given the opportunity to submit questions online for each individual panel discussion. The DOT has created a Website to provide information and updates on the summit at

A number of deadly accidents involving text messaging behind the wheel have called attention to the problem of distracted driving. Last year, a commuter train crash in California involving an operator who was texting on a cell phone killed 25 people and injured 135 others. In another incident, a Florida truck driver admitted to texting moments before a collision with a school bus that killed a student.

"The bottom line is distracted driving is dangerous driving," LaHood said. "Following next month’s summit, I plan to announce a list of concrete steps we will take to make drivers think twice about taking their eyes off the road for any reason."

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