NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #37

You Can Participate In Next Week’s Distracted Driving Summit

On Wednesday September 30th and Thursday October 1, over 200 safety experts, researchers, elected officials and members of the public will gather in Washington D.C. to discuss the ramifications of distracted driving, and to develop recommendations that can impact motorists for many years to come.

The Distracted Driving Summit discussions will be made available live by webcast, and listeners will also have the opportunity to submit questions online for each panel discussion.

Look no further than a quote from the host of the Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, to understand the tone being set for the conference. “We must act now to stop distracted driving from becoming a deadly epidemic on our nation’s roadways,” said LaHood. “This Summit will give safety Leaders from across the nation a forum to identify, target, and tackle the fundamental elements of this problem.”

Individual panels will discuss/debate the following topics:

  • Driver Distractions and Inattention – Definitions and Data
  • Research Results – How Risky is Distracted Driving?
  • Technology and Distracted Driving
  • Legislation, Regulation and Enforcement of Distracted Driving
  • Public Awareness and Education (Youth Program)

The NMA alerted members in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia of this Summit last week, and we encourage attendance (in-person or online) where practical to help shape the discussions.

While the focal point of the conference should be on that last topic, there will likely be emphasis on new legislation and enforcement techniques. Few realize that each state has clear distracted driving laws in place that, short of preempting a range of specific behaviors while operating a vehicle, can be used to effectively address the actions of inattentive motorists.

With momentum shifting toward more stringent measures against distracted driving, primarily because of those who seem to feel that they can drive effectively while text messaging, conferences like this Distracted Driving Summit will push harder for stricter enforcement measures.

But where is the line drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors while driving. Turning your head to address the front seat passenger or to yell at unruly children in the backseat? Drinking from a can of soda? Munching on a snack?


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