Dec. 17, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Distracted Driving Is a Public Safety Concern | Commentary

I also discussed with summit participants industry’s civic responsibility to save lives from distracted driving, and implored them to act boldly and act now. As an example, parents could be given tools to limit distractions for their teenage drivers so their son or daughter can’t talk on the phone, text or update social networking sites while driving. We’ve also heard from plenty of experienced drivers who want the same ability to limit their own smartphone’s functionality while they’re behind the wheel. And many employers are seeking ways to prohibit their employees from texting or talking while driving company cars.

Mobile device-makers, software developers, automakers and wireless carriers could — and should — implement widely available, accessible and seamless solutions that prevent distractions from our smartphones. It’s no secret that I believe companies must fight the urge to feed into consumers’ need for connectivity, without taking into account the safety implications. We all know the car is a unique environment. It’s not a park bench or a subway station. That’s why, for everyone’s safety, the driver’s attention is needed on the road.

I have spent significant time working to prevent distracted driving. To me, this is a critical public safety issue that requires involvement from all sectors if we are to achieve an all-of-the-above solution. If car companies, smartphone manufacturers, wireless carriers and software developers have the tools to join in this solution — and they’ve said they do — then I believe they should help focus drivers on the road ahead.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

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