Texting and driving has reached epidemic proportions on the nation’s roadways. Stopping the dangerous practice requires commitment and innovative thinking. The FCC is determined to participate in the campaign against this ever growing problem.
Hazards of Texting While Driving
The common use of cell phones has created unexpected and hazardous driving situations. Studies indicate that using electronic devices while driving drastically diverts driver’s attention, which results in automobile accidents causing injury and death. Statistics received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2008 show that 16% of all deadly road collisions were attributed to inattentive drivers. The report indicates that 5,800 people died and in 21% of the accidents, 515,000 acquired injuries. The American Automobile Association states that at least half of licensed teens confess to texting while driving. Texting while driving jeopardizes the lives of people and poses a risk for personal property damage. The number of injuries reported is staggering and senseless.
To assist in alleviating the concern, the FCC is teaming with electronic device companies, safety committees, and bureaucratic agencies to supply desperately needed public information concerning the hazards of texting and driving. These organizations are researching and striving to develop technologies that will decrease the frequency of texting while driving. As a means of assisting the campaign and providing public information, the organization developed the FCC Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse.
There is currently no federal legislation prohibiting cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. However, individual states do have laws concerning distracted driving. States also have legislation requiring that drivers use hands-free technology while driving.
Assisting with Public Awareness
Parents must provide precise direction to young drivers, such as offering teenagers basic, but direct instructions concerning cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry suggests that the simplest way to instruct youngsters might be to say: “While you’re on the road, stay off of the phone.” Before teens acquire driving licenses, parents must counsel teens as to the hazards involved when even momentarily distracted while driving. Teens should comprehend that looking down at a cell phone for even a brief moment might cost someone serious injury or loss of life.
Practice What You Preach
Children imitate the actions of their parents. No responsible driver should text while driving. Set the example for teenagers. When needing to read or answer a text message, it is much safer to pull over to the side of the road.
Stay Knowledgeable and Take a Stand
Read the data and literature available provided by the FCC Clearinghouse website. Establish standards for all family members concerning texting and driving. Share acquired information with loved ones, coworkers and favorite community groups about the hazards of texting and driving. Share the statistics with community schools and pass the information on to teenagers and adults in the community.
Individuals desiring further information concerning texting while driving can research the FCC’s Distracted Driving website. When looking for information regarding additional communications issues, individuals can call the FCC’s Consumer Center at:
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice
1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY
Concerned citizens might also write to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554.