NHTSA discovers how to combat Nashville distracted driving car accidents

Distracted driving sometimes feels like a fact of life in Nashville. It is not uncommon to see a driver texting while driving, preoccupied with the radio tuner, or even applying makeup while in driving around the city. Although many Nashville drivers have accepted distracted driving as a fact of life, these habits are dangerous and place everyone at a serious risk for personal injury in a car accident.

To combat this problem the NHTSA launched a highly publicized campaign to educate drivers on laws regarding texting while driving. Local law enforcement agencies at two test sites also supported the campaign with checkpoints and saturation patrols to catch drivers distracted by cell phone use. Data from the pilot program sites indicates sharp declines in cell phone use while driving.

"The success of these pilot programs clearly shows that combining strong laws with strong enforcement can bring about a sea change in public attitudes and behavior," said NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland.

"Based on these results, it is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgment, especially when half a million people are injured and thousands more are killed in distracted-driving accidents," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was the cause of 16 percent of car accident deaths in 2009. Approximately 5,500 deaths and 500,000 injuries were attributable to distracted driving car accidents that year.

Source: The Washington Post, "Fines lower drivers' use of cellphones," Ashley Halsey III, 7/10/11

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