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Behavioral Changes Necessary to Combat Distracted Driving

America needs strong laws and a systematic approach to make the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving socially unacceptable, said Con-way Inc. Vice President of Government Affairs Randy Mullett on October 29th in a statement before the Subcommittee on Highway and Transit of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Testifying on behalf of the ATA, Mullett said that some new technologies, particularly hand-held electronic devices, distract drivers. Results of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s naturalistic driving study found that text messaging on a cell phone has an estimated combined crash and near-crash risk that is 23 times higher than normal. Mullet said that legislation by itself will not solve the problem, but a shift in public perception and attitudes about distracted driving is needed. ATA and its member carriers support a ban on the use of electronic hand-held devices to read, write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle. ATA’s Executive Committee recently voted to support the ALERT Drivers Act of 2009 that would require states to ban the practice of reading, writing or sending a text message on a hand-held device while driving.

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