Wednesday, September 30, 2009

START HERE ---> Distracted Driving Summit

Webcast - Day Two 7:30am - 1:15pm EST (Day One video link available)
Live Blog -
Agenda -

Consider the Distracted Driving Summit a Start Box on a flow chart. There are many steps to follow, but as a nation we have a common goal: Dramatically Decrease Distracted Driving.

Day One of Ray LaHood's Distracted Driving Summit brought together various industry experts and 300+ participants in Washington, DC as well as several thousand across the county via webcast. A live blog was also utilized allowing people across the USA and beyond to post comments and questions for Summit participants to see.

Expert panels from a variety of industries (Wireless, Research, Safety, Government) discussed the following topics:
Driver Distractions and Inattention - Definitions and Data
Research Results - How Risky is Distracted Driving?
Technology and Distracted Driving

The panel presentations were designed to share information, and the Q & A session after each panel allowed Summit and online participants to get more detail and gain better insight.

The Summit will not answer all questions, nor will it immediately impact change on our roads. Again, it is a START. After Day 2 of the Summit there will be many additional boxes that branch off the start box and generate their own actions toward the end goal of greatly diminishing distracted driving on our roads. In addition to a great information exchange the Summit has also allowed the best minds across several industries to come together, and that can only result in reaching the end goal in a more efficient manner. Relationships have been established today that will have great impact as we travel down the road to improved safety together.

However, you don't need to wait for the government to take action, or for the PSA campaigns to start, or for your employer to create a policy, or for a smart-phone app to disable your phone while you drive. Change starts with Make the decision to not tweet/text and drive. Even better hit the off button on your phone, or silence all alerts. Be socially responsible behind the wheel. Put your hands on the wheel and put the drive back in the driving experience. Notice how ALERT you feel. Then be a advocate for social change and encourage others to focus on driving. #TweetSafe...pass it on
UPDATE: In closing the Distracted Driving Summit, Ray LaHood announces President Obama has signed an Executive Order banning Federal employees from Texting & Driving. Washington Post article. Ray LaHood said "Texting and Driving should feel wrong. It is socially unacceptable behavior and we are going to sharpen the consequences." He went on to say that with the Summit "We have made a tremendous difference. This is a great start. We are going to solve this problem. " As a nation we are traveling down the road to greatly diminish distracted driving. Along the way we will address Laws, education, technology, PSAs, peer to peer teen awareness, social pressure and personal responsibility. Be safe on the roads and encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to be safe on the roads too.

The Summit video will be available for 12 months - Video.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prediction: Employers to play major role in diminishing Distracted Driving

UPDATE: BusinessWeek (@BW) Today's Tip: To Avoid Liability, Create a No-Driving-While-Texting Policy

At the moment employers are a dark horse in the effort to end distracted driving, but may become a major player in the near future. Those who won't stop texting and driving for a state law will have added pressure if they know their job would be on the line. There is a list of companies on the right side of the blog that have policies against distracted driving...and there is plenty of room for growth. In addition to employee safety, one of the major reasons companies have jumped on this issue already is because employees who engage in distracted driving are a liability to any company. The video below from WorkPlace TV discusses how some companies are handling these policies. Some companies will require employees sign waivers saying they will be held solely responsible for any damage caused as a condition of employment. Imagine an employee reaching for their cell phone for one quick text, causing an accident, having to pay for all damages and suits brought against them, AND being terminated for violating company policy...all for one text. Also imagine companies not wanting to hire a potential employee because they have a texting and driving citation on their driving record. It may seem unrealistic for now, but not for long.

If your company has a policy against any form of distracted driving, please leave a comment below and let us know so we can add them to the list. Thank you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Distracted Driving Summit

Update: Distracted Driving Summit Agenda (Click Here)

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has called for a Distracted Driving Summit to be held September 30th and October 1st at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. “This summit will not only bring leaders in transportation safety together to talk about this issue,” said LaHood, “It will also give people from all over the country—and world—the opportunity to be a part of this historic dialogue.” The Summit will be available via webcast (details coming soon.)

In preparation for the Summit, lawmakers and Summit participants are looking for citizen comments and questions. Please take a few minutes to leave comments or questions regarding texting and driving and/or distracted driving. Click here to leave comments (Deadline: Sept. 23rd)

From Politico: The Obama administration has gotten such massive interest in plans for a fall SUMMIT on TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING that the event has been expanded from one day to two. And it’ll be held at a Washington hotel instead of at the Department of Transportation, to accommodate more of the hundreds who have asked for invites. The “Distracted Driving Summit” will examine texting and talking while driving. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will kick off, and wrap up, the conversation. Panels will look at research showing that hands-free talking may not be that much safer, because the problem is lack of focus — not holding a phone to your ear. Participants will include law enforcement, academics and administration officials. The audience will include members of Congress. The cell phone industry has asked to participate. At the end of the summit, the department could announce plans to impose new rules on commercial truckers through its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What action steps should our country take to pave the way for safer roads? Do you think each state needs laws to diminish texting and driving? What role should the auto industry, cell phone manufacturers and insurance companies take? Should companies take part and develop policies against employee cell phone use? Is there a need for a strong PSA Distracted Driving campaign similar to Click It or Ticket, and Over the Limit, Under Arrest? Are you part of a group that added interest in making the roads safer? Do you text and drive, tweet and drive, App and drive? If so, what would help you stop? Have you had accidents or close calls? Do you see people texting & driving often? Let the Summit participants hear your comments! Click here for other options to leave comments: mail, fax, hand deliver, or courier.

POLITICO Article on Distracted Driving Summit
New York Times article on Distracted Driving Summit

Additional Distracted Driving Summit Links available on the right side of the blog under "Distracted Driving Summit" heading.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Law or no, it's simple: Don't text and drive

Law or no, it's simple: Don't text and drive is an article by Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald. Leonard Pitts' masterpiece on texting and driving has hard-hitting statements that should be read by everyone coast to coast:

"In the first place, you'd think you wouldn't need a law, that simple common sense would be enough to tell us it's unsafe to divert attention to a tiny keyboard and screen while simultaneously piloting 2 tons of metal, rubber, glass and, let us not forget, flesh, at freeway speeds -- or even street speeds.

"So, yeah, there ought to be a law. And it ought to have some teeth in it. On the second offense, maybe a hefty fine, or brief loss of driving privileges. On the third, maybe you earn a free stay of a couple days and nights at the lovely Graybar Hotel. "

Take a moment to click on the article link above and read the entire article, and then forward it to people who text and drive, and those who don't. This common sense article should be required reading for everyone of driving age in our nation as it reminds us that the only thing we should be doing behind the wheel is....driving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Did one text take Todd's life?

Did one incoming text take Todd Jordan's life? "That is where the investigation is going" according to the WKYC report. Officers believe at the exact second Todd hit a sharp curve, he got a text, took his eyes off the road. Todd's car went straight and hit a telephone pole.

Even after the tragic loss of Todd's life, family and friends still struggle to not use their cell phone behind the wheel. The dangers of cell phone use behind the wheel are all to real to them, but they struggle because like so many people, they are accustomed to immediately responding to the incoming texts, e-mails, social networking alerts, and phone calls.

The next time your cell phone dings, beeps, or rings, think of Todd and many others who have tragically lost their lives prematurely by responding to an electronic communication because we've been conditioned to look at incoming communications quickly. Those communications aren't nearly as urgent as we treat them. They sit there....waiting. They will still be there when you reach your destination, when your car is in park, or when you are out of your car. Immediate response is not necessary...we've all just been conditioned to respond quickly.

Please don't Text & Drive. Keep your eyes on the road and keep your life and all the lives around you safe.

Article: Did text message figure in Norwalk teen driver's death?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DadLabs spotlight dangers of cell phones

Why have we become so addicted to our cell phones? In the past 20 years cell phones have become more available, less expensive, more capable, and have added great convenience to our lives. We use them everywhere to do everything.

We must step back and use some serious common sense and realize cell phones were never created to be used as a typewriter behind the wheel. No matter how skilled you are at texting, the odds are stacked against you if you text and drive. Some of people who text and drive feel so capable, they even text while their children are in the car with them.

The spell cell phones has cast over us is strong, but it can be broken by taking action steps toward eliminating texting and driving from your daily routine. What steps have you taken to eliminate texting & driving? Our followers and blog readers would like to see what changes you made. (Fill out an anonymous comment below.)

DadLabs (@DadLabs) tackle the dangers of cell phone usage behind the wheel, and have suggestions on how to stop.