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Safety Conference Offers Solutions for Combating Distracted Driving

Over the last several days, safety experts and public health professionals from around the country have gathered here in Tennessee for the 2014 National Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities.

For those unfamiliar with this 32-year-old event, held at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, it is essentially a conference “dedicated to reducing the tragic toll of deaths and injuries on our nation’s roadways.”

One of the predominant themes at this year’s conference was the driving dangers posed by cell phones, handheld devices and various other distractions. Fortunately, some takeaways emerged that drivers can easily understand and incorporate into their everyday practices behind the wheel.

Recognize that cell phones aren’t the only danger

The safety professionals pointed out that while texting while driving remains a very grave safety threat on our nation’s roads and highways, they are other electronic-based distractions that can prove equally dangerous.

For instance, GPS devices and dashboard-based navigation systems can divert a driver’s attention from the road, while voice recognition systems found on many cell phones (i.e., Siri on the iPhone) can also prove equally distracting despite being hands-free.

It’s important to start changing attitudes about distracted driving

One of the more fascinating themes to emerge from the conference was the belief among safety professionals that society is perhaps too tolerant of distracted driving — particularly talking and texting behind the wheel — and that perhaps this needs to change so that this behavior carries the same social stigma as impaired driving.

Some of the ways that experts indicate that attitudes could start changing was if people started making a habit of telling those who call them while driving to wait and call back once they have stopped driving. Similarly, they suggest that people riding as passengers in a vehicle driven by a person using a cell phone or other handheld device could politely ask that they refrain from doing this while the vehicle is in motion.

If the temptation is too great, simply stash the cell phone

Multiple safety professionals also recommended that those drivers for whom the temptation of using a cell phone is too great should perhaps consider taking steps to make things easier on themselves. This might include turning the device to vibrate, turning it off or even putting it in the trunk.

What are your thoughts on these recommendations? Are they steps you would consider taking?

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you or a loved one suffered serious personal injuries in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, drowsy driver or reckless driver.

Source: The Tennessean, “Experts highlight ways to reduce distracted driving,” Josh Brown, April 28, 2014

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