Texting While Driving
Putting the brakes on the distracted driving epidemic will require both dedication and creative thinking, and the FCC is committed to doing its part to address this growing crisis.
Chairman Julius Genachowski,
Federal Communications Commission
Testimony to Subcommittees of the
U.S. House of Representatives, November 4, 2009
Distracted Driving is Dangerous
The popularity of mobile devices has had some unintended and even dangerous consequences. We now know that mobile communications are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2008 that driver distraction was the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes — 5,800 people killed — and 21 percent of crashes resulting in an injury — 515,000 people wounded. According to the American Automobile Association, nearly 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable.
To stem this problem, the FCC is working with industry, safety organizations, and other government agencies, to inform and educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving and is seeking to identify and facilitate the development of innovative technologies that could reduce the incidence of distracted driving. To help in this effort and share information, we created a dedicated website.
Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse
In addition, to collect and share information about consumer outreach activities and technology that could potentially reduce the problem of distracted driving, the Commission’s staff created the FCC Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse.
Currently there is no national ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, but a number of states have passed laws banning texting or wireless phones or requiring hands-free use of wireless phones while driving. For more information on state laws, visit www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html.
What You Can Do
Give Clear Instructions – Give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. According to Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the easiest way to say it is: “On the road, off the phone.” Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Lead by Example – Children learn from their parent’s behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example for your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.
Become Informed and Be Active – Review the information in our Clearinghouse and the literature on the websites mentioned above. Set rules for yourself and your household regarding distracted driving. Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your children’s’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.
For More Information
For more information about wireless devices and driving, visit the FCC’s Distracted Driving website. For information on other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554.
And now to help you avoid this or to make sure your children are safe from this, check out this App now available on Blackberry, Android, and iPhone! It disables the ability to check your email or text messages while you’re driving to better ensure you’re driving safe!