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Distracted Driving Summit

League President Andy Clarke is attending U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s Distracted Driving Summit today. LaHood is hoping the Summit will raise public awareness and lead to a ban on distracted driving.

You can follow the proceedings on the Secretary’s bog Welcome to the Fast Lane and here for video. UPDATE: StreetsBlog DC reports that President Obama has signed an executive order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving a government vehicle — or from texting on a government-provided device while driving any vehicle.

Chanda Causer of the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking asked Alliance Leaders what solutions they’d like to see advanced at the summit.

Dave Snyder, a San Francisco bike/ped advocate, recommends requiring the installation of a black box vehicle data recorder that would be accessible by law enforcement in the event of a crash and would help crash investigators know whether or not the driver applied the brakes at a reasonable time, was talking on the phone, listening to the radio, using their turn signal, etc. It wouldn’t require enforcement but it would be effective, as it would place responsibility appropriately.

Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives in New York City offers a complete analysis in the Executive Order report, which recommends 20 measures covering enforcement, adjudication, transparency, investigation and prosecution all aimed at changing driver behavior to improve safety.

Dan Persky of the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago says their top priority on distracted driving is to stop use of electronic devices by transit operators. Illinois State Rep John D’Amico will be speaking at today’s Distracted Driving Summit, pushing this idea. They are also pushing the need for social marketing like Click It or Ticket for distracted driving. They call the campaign Drive with Care.

Kevin Cronin reports that ClevelandBikes was a part of a coalition that successfully advocated for a no text and drive law, which is not yet in force. The sponsor, Cleveland, Ohio Councilman Zachary Reed is also attending the Summit, representing the League of Cities. ClevlandBikes would go further, including hand-held and hands-free phoning as compounding the risk for cyclists, who are already vulnerable road users.

~Darren Flusche, League Policy Analyst

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