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New Organization Targets Distracted Driving

With a little help from the US Dept. of Transportation, a new organization called FocusDriven hopes to get everyone's attention about the dangers of driving while distracted, which researchers claim can be just as deadly as driving drunk (Distraction.gov).

But while earlier campaigns against in-car cell phone use focused more on the act of holding the phone to one's ear, FocusDriven hopes to convince people to hang it up completely while driving:

"Whether texting, using hands-free or handheld phones, these drivers not only put their lives on the line, but they risk killing others on the road. "

The National Safety Council, which called for a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving last year, is credited by the new organization for its inspiration. One of the suggestions made by NSC is the creation of a victim support network, which FocusDriven has done.

Stories of distracted driving victims are prominently displayed, along with photographs. For example, 16-year-old Cady (last name not provided) was driving with one of her friends when an SUV driven by a "severely distracted" 16-year-old ran a red light and broadsided her car. She died several hours later. The vignette doesn't give details on just how the other girl was distracted, but the point is clear.

Drivers can become distracted in a number of ways besides texting or talking on the phone, including eating and drinking, applying makeup, changing a CD or fiddling with an MP3 player or talking to passengers.

  • Statistics and Facts About Distracted Driving (Distraction.gov
  • At Least 1.6 Million Crashes are Caused Each Year by Drivers Using Cell Phones and Texting (NSC
  • Chicago DUI Lawyers (FindLaw)