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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2010

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942, ext. 14
After Hours: Jonathan Adkins, 202-669-9746
jadkins@ghsa.org

States Taking Action on Distracted Driving as Second Summit Convenes

12 New Texting Bans Since 2009 Summit Highlight State Activities

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) will be among the many organizations represented at the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit being held September 21 in Washington. GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha will speak on a panel at 2:40 p.m. ET. She will outline the steps states have taken since the initial Summit last year. In addition to Ms. Harsha, GHSA is being represented by Chairman Vernon F. Betkey, Jr. as well as Governor’s Highway Safety Representatives from Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

According to GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, “States are addressing the distracted driving problem comprehensively. Clearly the highlight is that 12 states have passed texting bans since 2009’s Distracted Driving Summit1. Harsha notes, however, “These laws by themselves are not magic bullets. Enforcement paired with public education about the enforcement are just as enforcement. As enforcement techniques continue to improve and best practices are shared, we expect states to increase their enforcement activity. The public is going to get the message that distracted driving is dangerous and may cost you a ticket, or worse, your life.”

Harsha adds that in addition to stronger laws, states are aggressively pursuing solutions to distracted driving including: increased data collection, new education programs, public/private partnerships and a growing reliance on new media to spread the message. This summer, GHSA published a detailed report summarizing state activity. The report, Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs, details a host of approaches states are implementing. Every state is addressing the issue in some form, and additional activities are expected as more research becomes available and if funding is provided.

Since the report’s publication, states continue to expand their distracted driving activities. Among the recent developments:

GHSA’s “10 Tips to Manage Driver Distraction” is posted at www.ghsa.org. Harsha’s presentation will be posted online at www.ghsa.org on Tuesday afternoon.

1Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.