Itasca, IL – National Safety Council President Janet Froetscher today emphasized the leadership of the business community in calling for strong laws and visible enforcement, combined with education, to eliminate cell phone distracted driving. Froetscher made her remarks during a press conference with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood hosted in response to a recent attempt to organize businesses to oppose distracted driving laws that focus on cell phone use while driving.
“Business has led the way with the distracted driving issue,” Froetscher said. “Representatives of the 20,000 organization members of NSC voted unanimously to adopt an NSC policy that called for a total ban on cell phone driving. The leaders of these private and public sector organizations understand cell phones represent the single most significant driver distraction that leads to crashes.”
“All distractions are not the same and do not cause the same number of crashes,” she said. “Many possible driver distractions, such as listening to the radio, are lower risk than cell phones,” she said. “There is no evidence that these low-risk activities cause significant numbers of crashes. Other distractions, such as putting on makeup or turning around to reach for something in the back seat, may be higher risk, but far fewer people are doing these dangerous things for shorter periods of time. Thus, these higher-risk activities are not causing nearly as many crashes as cell phones.”
“Cell phone use is unique when it comes to causing crashes. It is a dangerous distraction that many people do for long periods of time.” She noted NSC estimates cell phone use is involved in 28% of all crashes – much higher than any other distraction.
To address the problem, Froetscher said we need to change the behavior of American drivers. “Unfortunately, we have learned from history that education, by itself, will not change behavior in traffic safety. People who drive impaired – whether by alcohol or cell phone use – may be educated about the risks of their behavior, but they will do it anyway. Strong laws, visibly enforced, are necessary to change behavior and make our roads safer.”
She noted more than 500 NSC member organizations have total bans on cell phone use by their employees while on the job. “The leaders of these organizations understand that good safety is good business. They will not ask their employees to do their jobs in a way that puts them at a four times greater risk of an injury – whether that job is in a factory, warehouse or behind the wheel.”
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
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