September 11, 2009

Ford Backs Law Seeking To Ban Texting While Driving

New federal legislation pressuring states to ban texting while driving as a way to reduce dangerous driver distractions was backed by Ford Motors on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

Ford safety executive Sue Cischke released a statement citing research that shows drivers who take their eyes off the road for extended periods increase the risk of accidents "“- which includes drivers who send text messages on hand-held devices while behind the wheel.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y. introduced the legislation in July, which would require states to bar drivers from texting while driving or risk losing a quarter of their annual federal highway funding.

So far 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal.

Cischke said the legislative approach addresses a nationwide problem we could all agree is necessary to improve safety.

She said Ford supports the use of handsfree and voice-activated wireless devices to keep drivers more focused on driving.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers of heavy trucks who texted behind the wheel had a collision risk 23 times greater than when they were not texting, according to the study released in late July.

The study warned that the results applied to all drivers, not just truckers.

Furthermore, cell phone use and texting while driving will be discussed during a Sept. 30 summit of experts in Washington. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will hold the meeting.


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