DOT seeks big rig cell-phone ban

The federal Department of Transportation wants commercial drivers to shut up and drive. The DOT released a plan Dec. 17 that would ban handheld cell phone use by interstate truckers and bus drivers. "Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This proposed rule will go a long way toward keeping a driver’s full attention focused on the road." The DOT cannot tell states how to regulate their roadways -- or outright … [Read more...]

Distracted Driving Summit agenda

The second Distracted Driving Summit will devote several hours to using the media to combat text messaging and handheld cell phone use by motorists. Attendees at the one-day session on Sept. 21 will hear presentations on the topics "Social Media: Reaching the Younger Generation and Beyond," "Public Service Ads: What Does and Does Not Work," "Communications and Media," "Marketing/Advertising Using Traditional Media" and "Media Relations/Earned Media." In keeping with the media outreach theme, the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit will be webcast live from Washington at “One … [Read more...]

Sequel to U.S. distracted driving summit

Citing a "powerful momentum" from last year's national summit on distracted driving, the Department of Transportation plans a sequel for Sept. 21. DOT chief Ray LaHood sent out the call to transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement, mobile phone and auto industry reps, safety researchers, and those whose lives have been shattered by distracted drivers. The event will be in Washington, D.C. LaHood, who has seen his personal brand soar with his campaigning on the distracted driving issue, says a new national summit is needed: "We've learned a lot in the past year, but there … [Read more...]

Safety law foes quit after LaHood lashing

Washington lobbyists who planned to fight distracted driving laws and legislation have backed down after a scolding from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The would-be DRIVE Coalition withdrew its proposal for a corporate-backed campaign after the DOT's Ray LaHood blasted the initiative at a press conference, dubbing it "a new effort to rile up corporate America and undermine the achievements of our campaign against distracted driving." A spokesman for DRIVE said it had achieved the goal of expanding the distracted driving debate beyond electronic devices. The lobbyists had … [Read more...]

U.S. Senate panel OKs state incentives

A key U.S. Senate panel has signed off on "the Distracted Driving Prevention Act," which would bring $94 million in incentives to states that ban dangerous activities such as texting and cell-phoning while behind the wheel. On June 9, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the driver safety legislation (SB 1938) from Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. It now goes to the full Senate. The approval was no surprise since Rockefeller is chairman of the Senate committee and Hutchison is its senior member. Hutchison noted that the … [Read more...]