FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 17, 2009
Driver's Ed lesson for all ages: Txting + Vehicles = Unsafe
Look for coverage of this debate or other topics related to text messaging and cell phones, such as polite behavior, new devices or Twitter use.
Safety issues in the news also can involve food, defective products, travel or street crime. See if you can spot a report with tips on reducing any kind of risks.
Find an ad, review or article showcasing new electronic technology you'd like to have. List a few advantages and any drawbacks.
A familiar reminder from parents and driving instructors -- "keep both hands on the wheel" -- is heard across the country as safety experts warn about the deadly risk of text messaging while driving. Police have linked dozens of serious crashes on the distraction of tapping keys on a cell phone or other wireless device -- familiar behavior by adults and teens alike.
Nearly one-fifth of U.S. drivers surveyed last year by an insurance company admitted texting while on the road. Virginia Tech researchers reported last month that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk rose by 23 times. Dialing a phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about six times in cars and trucks.
That scares many people, including CBS News commentator Katie Couric (see video below) and federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He seeks a nationwide ban on sending messages while operating a vehicle or train, and calls for education and enforcement campaigns. LaHood plans a "summit" on the topic next month in Washington, D.C., involving senior government officials, lawmakers, safety specialists and law-enforcers. "We are going to do something about it so that responsible drivers don't have to worry about it when they or a loved one get on the road," the Cabinet member vowed.
Transportation secretary says: "The public is sick and tired of people being distracted and causing accidents. . . . If it were up to me, I would ban drivers from texting." -- Ray LaHood
Lawmaker says: "The federal government ought to pass a law banning this dangerous and growing practice to protect the millions of Americans on our nation's roads. It is a matter of public safety." -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., co-sponsor of new bill
Columnist says: "The image of someone typing while they drive a 4,000-pound car at 70 mph gives me the willies." -- Tom Greenwood, The Detroit News
Front Page Talking Points Archive