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Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009

Fighting Driving and Dialing in D.C.

By editors

By Richard Doege

Last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hosted the Distracted Driving Summit, where it was noted that 80 percent of all automobile accidents are related to driver inattention. And among all of the possible driving distractions, the use of cellphones was identified as the No. 1 source.

In July 2004, the District was one of the first places to ban motorists from operating hand-held cellphones while driving, but the practice seems rampant today. I see drivers phoning and texting at pedestrian crossings, in front of schools and on highways. The greatest hazard is texting, which according to a study of commercial drivers by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Center for Truck and Bus Safety increases the risk of an accident by a factor of 23.2.

The District should get back in the lead by stepping up enforcement.

Schools must reach students, who are the youngest and least experienced drivers, and, not coincidentally, are among the worst offenders. Parents should give their car keys to their children only on the condition that their cellphones be turned off while they are driving. Employers must prohibit their workers from using cellphones while driving for business.

With children and pedestrians at great risk, traffic safety is a political no-brainer. Mayor Adrian Fenty should launch a campaign: Don’t Dial and Drive in D.C.

By editors  | October 7, 2009; 12:12 PM ET
Tags:  accidents, cellphones, driving  
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Because the cops are hypocrites. They stay on the phone while driving.

Posted by: Chinky | October 7, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

To an extent I do agree with this message. The fact of parents making their childern turnoff their phones while driving is also a hazard. If there is an emergency and the phone is turned off, there is no way of contacting the driver. But, in favor of this message, it is a distraction not only in safety hazard in school zones and neighborhoods but on roadways and highways.

Posted by: hisboo4lf | October 7, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Things should stay the way they are. Someone's already started up a petition to keep driving and dialing legal:

Posted by: cooldude91 | October 7, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

People still use cell phones because the tend to be selfish idiots.

In a perfect world, these people will get brain cancer. We can only hope.

Posted by: kenk3 | October 8, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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