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Op-ed: Government should focus on technology to reduce distracted driving

March 13, 2013

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Morgantown, WV – Driving while texting or talking on a handheld cell phone is a problem created by technology, and thus requires technological solutions, according to researchers from the West Virginia University School of Public Health.

In an opinion piece published online March 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers said legislative efforts such as driver cell phone bans may not have enough impact. Instead, they said, the federal government should mandate the use of technology designed to prevent cell phone use while driving. This also may increase the use of hands-free devices, which the reseachers suggest are safer.

The National Safety Council disagrees with the belief that hands-free devices are safe. “Experience and research show that laws work and hands-free cell usage provides no safety benefit,” NSC said. “The National Safety Council supports [the researchers’] call for distracted driving legislation, but that legislation must [address] all forms of cell phone use, including hands-free systems and the use of built-in manufacturer systems that could be used by drivers to make or receive phone calls and texts, watch videos, or access the Internet.”

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