DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to hold discussions regarding texting-while-driving safety measures

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Does allowing drivers to send text-messages while driving pose an increased likelihood of car accidents? United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants to find out.

Does allowing drivers to send text-messages while driving pose an increased likelihood of car accidents? United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants to find out.

LaHood announced on Tuesday that he will be gathering a group of safety experts, law enforcement officials, and members of Congress to discuss the dangers of text-messaging while behind the wheel, according to the New York Times.

Texting while driving will be banned in 16 states and Washington D.C. by the end of 2009 because of concerns that it distracts drivers and leads to more accidents. An increase in accidents likely would lead to higher car insurance rates.

"We've learned from past safety awareness campaigns that it takes a coordinated strategy combining education and enforcement to get results," said LaHood, who added he did not think drivers should be allowed to text at all, according to the Times. "That's why this meeting with experienced officials, experts and law enforcement will be such a crucial first step in our efforts to put an end to distracted driving."

A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that one who is text messaging while driving a heavy vehicle or truck was 23.2 times more at risk for a crash than a non-distracted driver after performing "eye glance analyses."

The study concluded that "texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers" and that it had a potential to create a "true crash epidemic" if it continued to grow in popularity while unmonitored.
LaHood said that he hoped to hold the meeting sometime in September, according to the Times.

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Posted: August 4, 2009

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