Statement by AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet Regarding Senate Commerce Committee Action on S. 1938, the Distracted Driving Prevention Act

Jun 09, 2010, 14:54 ET from AAA

WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by AAA:

"I'm pleased that the Senate today took action to combat distracted driving.  Most of the components of the bill under consideration align with an approach AAA advocated to Congress last October, including incentive grants for enactment of texting while driving bans, a national education program, and expanded research.  

"However, there is one distinction that AAA would like to see articulated as the bill moves forward. As currently written, the legislation also creates an incentive grant program for enactment of handheld cell phone bans. Research indicates that all cell phone use – whether handheld or hands-free – is unsafe when driving.  

"If the handheld phone ban incentives remain in the current proposal, AAA believes that the public education and awareness efforts provided for under the bill must also include key messaging about the serious risks of hands-free phone use (cognitive distraction) among drivers. Absent such efforts, the public could be misled to believe that hands-free devices are safe to use – a notion that is not supported by current research.

"And while I applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for acting on this legislation, it is unfortunate that Congress has failed for close to a year to enact a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill, which could have already put these important safety provisions in place."  

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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SOURCE AAA