Congressmen link cell phones, DOT grants

A trio of congressmen have filed federal legislation seeking to limit distracted driving grants to states that ban handheld cell phone use and adopt primary enforcement. U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida and Mark DeSaulnier of California introduced the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2015. The federal legislation would "amend the (U.S. Department of Transportation) process of granting money to states that have passed statutes to address distracted driving." While most states have texting & driving laws, only 14 have laws prohibiting the use of handheld cell … [Read more...]

Distracted driving incentives survive

Distracted driving incentives survived an official challenge from the U.S. House, as the federal transportation bill was approved and sent to the president for his signature. The bill provides about $78 million in incentives for states that ban text messaging for all drivers and the use of handheld cell phones by young drivers. States that do not would not share in this additional funding but would not lose existing funding. States receiving the distracted driving grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation will be required to spend some of the money on enforcement and education. The … [Read more...]

NTSB seeks total cell phone ban

Horrified by the findings of its probe of a fatal text messaging crash, the NTSB has come out in favor of a nationwide ban on the use of portable handheld electronic devices by drivers. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving," NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said at a Dec. 13 hearing on the 2010 multi-vehicle wreck. "How many more lives will be lost before we, as a society, change our attitudes about the deadliness of distractions?" Electronic distracted driving "is becoming the new DUI," board member Robert Sumwalt said. "It's becoming … [Read more...]

Teen license act to ban talking & texting

Federal lawmakers have renewed their campaign for a nationwide standard for graduated driver licensing that would outlaw use of cell phones and text messaging for the young motorists. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., reintroduced the Safe Teen And Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP Act) this week. Parents who lost teens in traffic accidents joined with safety and insurance groups Tuesday on Capitol Hill to show their support for the act, previously introduced in 2009 and 2010. It failed to become law in the previous Congress. A day earlier, the … [Read more...]

LaHood to critics: ‘We won’t be deterred’

Shrugging off his critics, DOT crusader Ray LaHood reaffirmed his passion for the fight against distracted driving. In a Washington ceremony marking the first anniversary of FocusDriven's founding, the Department of Transportation chief responded to recent public criticisms of his zeal from the former leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: "We will not be deterred by false choices about addressing distracted driving on the one hand and alternative critical safety issues on the other," LaHood told his audience. Jeffrey Runge, the former highway safety official, told … [Read more...]