The U.S. Department of Transportation’s summit on distracted driving begins Wednesday, bringing more than 200 experts to Washington to address the problems of texting and using cell phones while on the road.
The summit was inspired by the growing national alarm over the problems of inattentive driving, primarily the potentially deadly practice of text messaging while driving, a practice seen as common among young adults.
The public is invited to view the summit online and to submit questions for the panelists. View the page for the distracted driving webcast.
The DOT will issue a series of actions to deal with the crisis once it hears from the gathering of senior transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives, members of Congress and academics who study distracted driving.
The DOT outlined the two-day summit’s agenda like so:
Day 1: A context setting panel where participants will examine the scope of the issue and the various distractions that exist, followed by a panel that will review currently available research. The day wraps with an examination of distractions caused by technology and efforts made to assess and reduce negative effects caused by current and planned devices. Panelists will also consider technology that can prevent the consequences of driver distraction.
Day 2: A review of legislative and regulatory approaches for dealing with distracted driving; evaluations of the impact of such measures; and enforcement issues. Members of Congress and their staff will also have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. The day concludes with a discussion with teens about their experiences with distracted driving followed by an examination of various public awareness initiatives and research regarding the effectiveness of these efforts.
“The public is sick and tired of people being distracted and causing accidents,” DOT chief Ray LaHood said at an early August press conference announcing the federal summit. “We all know texting while driving is dangerous and we are going to do something about it so that responsible drivers don’t have to worry about it when they or a loved one get on the road.”
Read the full agenda for the distracted driving summit.