U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC today by announcing new anti-distracted driving regulations for drivers transporting hazardous materials, commercial truck and bus drivers, and rail operators.
LaHood said that he is initiating a new rulemaking to prohibit commercial truck drivers from texting while transporting hazardous materials. In addition, LaHood said that two rules proposed at last year’s summit have now become law – rules banning commercial bus and truck drivers from texting on the job, and restricting train operators from using cell phones and other electronic devices while in the driver’s seat. More than 4,000 people died in heavy truck crashes in 2008, but only 15% of them were in the trucks.
“We are taking action on a number of fronts to address the epidemic of distracted driving in America,” said Secretary LaHood. “With the help of the experts, policymakers, and safety advocates we’ve assembled here, we are going to do everything we can to put an end to distracted driving and save lives.”
More than 100 million people each day are now engaging in dangerous distracted driving behavior or DD. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16% of overall traffic fatalities in 2009.