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Texting While Driving An "Epidemic" According To Transportation Secretary...

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls texting while driving “an epidemic” that he is committed to helping stop. The secretary appeared at the Newseum in Washington Friday to take part in a special broadcast of the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” devoted to raising awareness of the issue.

“I think if we really persuade people to take their cell phones out of their hands while they're driving we'll save a lot of lives,” LaHood said. “I’ve heard the heartbreaking stories from families all over America who've lost loved ones because somebody thought they could drive safely and talk, or text and talk. You just simply can't do it.”

Winfrey launched her “No Phone Zone” public awareness campaign in January, asking viewers and members of the public to sign a pledge agreeing not to use their phones at all while driving, to stop texting and use only hands-free calling, or to not text while driving. To date more than 234,000 people have taken the pledge, including high profile celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, NASCAR Driver Jimmy Johnson, Randy Jackson and Morgan Freeman.

As part of Friday’s special broadcast, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a law making Michigan the 24th state to outlaw texting while driving.

“It’s an epidemic because everybody in the country has a cell phone and everybody believes they can text and drive, and talk on the phone and drive, and do it safely. You can't do it,” LaHood said, admitting that the most difficult aspect of the campaign will be convincing people to change their behavior.

“People never dreamed that we could get 85 percent of the people to buckle up in their cars. People never thought you could get drunk drivers off the road and because of .08 and good enforcement, a lot of drunk drivers are off the road. We're right at the starting point. We’ll get this done but we have to change people's behavior.”

The secretary added that he was planning a meeting with the CEO’s of car manufacturers and planned to address the issue of technology on the road.

“I know people say ‘I'm on my Bluetooth’ or people say ‘I'm on a voice-activated system in my car,’ or ‘I use the Sync system in my car.’ These are all distractions,” LaHood said. “I'm setting the highest bar possible and I'm going to talk to the car manufacturers about this and we'll see where it goes.”

Tune in to Fox News on Saturday (5/1) at 12:30pm, when we explore this topic in more depth with our guest - Jennifer Smith, president of FocusDriven - a victims' advocacy organization.

http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/04/30/lahood-texting-while-driving-an-epidemic/


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Georgia just passed legislation that made it illegal to text while driving - and also made it illegal for teenagers to use a cell phone while driving:

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/texting-ban-for-drivers-506431.html


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Georgia just passed legislation that made it illegal to text while driving - and also made it illegal for teenagers to use a cell phone while driving:

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/texting-ban-for-drivers-506431.html

I'd have to see the Georgia bill, but I wonder if teens can still use a car based blue tooth connection.

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