Transportation Department Issues 'Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving'

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM EDT

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Transportation Department Issues 'Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving'

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM EDT

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday released a "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving" that offers a comprehensive strategy to address the growing and dangerous practice of using handheld cell phones behind the wheel.

According to a DOT news release:

The plan outlines concrete steps stakeholders around the country – from lawmakers and safety organizations to families and younger drivers – can take to reduce the risk posed by distracted driving. While unveiling the plan, Secretary LaHood also announced $2.4 million in federal support for California and Delaware that will expand the Department's "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" pilot enforcement campaign to reduce distracted driving.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic. While we've made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured – and we can put an end to it," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Personal responsibility for putting down that cell phone is a good first step – but we need everyone to do their part, whether it's helping pass strong laws, educating our youngest and most vulnerable drivers, or starting their own campaign to end distracted driving."

The "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving" outlines a plan that builds on the national momentum that Secretary LaHood and USDOT have spearheaded for the last three years. Recognizing the extent and complexity of the problem, the plan:

Encourages the remaining 11 states without distracted driving laws to enact and enforce this critical legislation.

Challenges the auto industry to adopt new and future guidelines for technology to reduce the potential for distraction on devices built or brought into vehicles.

Partners with driver education professionals to incorporate new curriculum materials to educate novice drivers of driver distraction and its consequences. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show drivers under the age of 25 are two to three times more likely than older drivers to send text messages or emails while driving.

Provides all stakeholders with actions they can take that go beyond personal responsibility to helping end distracted driving nationwide.

Read the entire news release HERE.