Ray LaHood urges Florida to ban texting while driving
TAMPA, Nov 13, 2012 (Tampa Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called for Florida to join 39 other states in enacting laws preventing motorists from making cellphone calls and texting while driving.
"Florida needs to pass a distracted-driving law," LaHood told more than 200 attendees Tuesday at the state's first distracted-driving summit at the Tampa Convention Center.
The event drew victims of vehicular accidents involving cellphones, elected officials, law enforcement officers, surgeons and other medical field representatives including the Shriners Hospitals for Children and corporate officials with USAA Property and Casualty Group, the session's host.
In 2010, nearly 3,100 people were killed and 416,000 injured nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported. Florida has just begun tallying distracted-driver incidents.
LaHood said Florida residents need to do three things to eliminate what he calls an epidemic in distracted-driver collisions:
* Take personal responsibility. Put cellphones in glove compartments while driving.
* Push legislators to enact legislation prohibiting distracted driving.
* Provide the opportunities for law enforcement officers, who have many tasks, to enforce distracted-driving laws.
"Everyone has a cellphone," LaHood said, explaining why he called the issue an epidemic. "People think they can use them anywhere, any time, any place, including while they are driving."
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