What DOT’s Blueprint means for distracted driving

What DOT’s Blueprint means for distracted driving

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood released his ‘Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving’ last week, announcing $2.4 million in funds for pilot projects in California and Delaware.

What the blueprint lays out for drivers, states, and OEMs

Secretary LaHood hopes that this blueprint will move the remaining 11 states to take action. Nearly every state has passed laws banning cell phone use while driving in some manner, including provisions for hands-free driving and banning texting. Find out what your state’s laws are at distraction.gov.

The agency will also expand pilot programs to California and Delaware through federal aid. California’s will be focused around the state’s capital region of Sacramento, while Delaware’s will be state-wide. Similar to pilot programs launched in Syracuse, NY and Hartford, CT, these will aim to examine how enforcing these laws impact driving behavior.  The initial tests yielded good results, including a drop in texting by 72 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse.

“We know from the success of national efforts like ‘Click It or Ticket’ that combining good laws with effective enforcement and a strong public education campaign can – and does – change unsafe driving behavior,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Now, along with two great state partners, we’re using this proven formula to help tackle distracted driving.”

DOT and NHTSA have also released guidelines for automobile manufacturers as part of their overarching plan. We discussed the first of these recommendations recently with NHTSA Administrator David Strickland – more on that here.

Education remains a key tenet for bringing up our future drivers and, like other life lessons, making sure they understand the consequences of driving distracted. NHTSA data shows that drivers younger than 25 are two and three-times more likely than their older counterparts to text or email while driving; however, adults are not immune to the temptation.

Going beyond the campaign

What I find to be one of the more interesting part of this traditional education and law enforcement campaign from the Administration, is that they are going beyond just pointing and telling drivers what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

DOT provides citizens the tools to make an impact in their local communities. The distraction.gov website encourages a number of actions, including taking  a pledge, working to enact a policy, and downloading educational materials. Learn how to get involved.

So what does this all mean?

LaHood’s blueprint is a baptism of sorts. It means that the DOT and NHTSA are outwardly professing exactly what it is they believe in – preventing unnecessary traffic injuries and deaths due to distraction.

Ultimately, giving way to temptation – no matter what the distraction – is a choice that could permanently impact more than just the person sitting in the driver’s seat.
Related Articles from becarchic.com:

Industry Pulse: NHTSA’s Strickland says distracted driving comes down to personal responsibility (May 2012)

State Farm survey: teens find drunk driving deadlier than texting, parents should be more involved (April 2012)

Letter from the editor: committing to distraction-free driving (February 2012) 

Industry Pulse: NHTSA Administrator David Strickland talks distracted driving (June 2011)

 

Read more about Be Car Chic’s ongoing Distraction Free Fridays campaign.

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.