More than 300 lawmakers and transportation experts are in the midst of a "distracted driving summit," a meeting intended to address roadway hazards. At the beginning of the summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called distracted driving a "menace to society."
According to the Obama administration, there were 6,000 people killed and 500,000 injured last year in crashes linked to driver distractions, including texting while driving. Secretary LaHood said that he will offer recommendations that could necessitate new restrictions on the use of cell phones behind the wheel. He said that on any given day last year, more than 800,000 people were using hand-held devices while they operated their vehicles.
In July, some lawmakers introduced legislation that would require states to ban texting and emailing while driving or face losing 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. The administration hasn't taken an official stance on the initiative, but LaHood said he wants the summit to lay the foundation for finding ways to eliminate texting while driving.