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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Summer 2010 Download Newsletter pdf
[2.7 MB, 12 pgs.]

Summer 2010 | Vol. 12 | No. 4

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New GHSA Report Shows States Actively Addressing Distracted Driving

A new report released by GHSA highlights states’ effort to combat distracted driving. The report, “Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs,” details a host of approaches states are implementing on this issue. The report points to stronger laws, better data and a greater focus on distracted driving amongst states. Highway safety offices from every state as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and American Samoa responded to the survey used to compile the report.

Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs cover

Key findings show that distracted driving has emerged as a priority for state highway safety agencies. Twentyseven states, D.C., and Guam indicated that distracted driving is included in their Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs). Since these plans are only updated every few years, GHSA expects this number to increase as additional states update their SHSPs. States also are passing distracted driving legislation, with 28 states, D.C., and Guam now banning text messaging by all drivers. Washington started this trend in 2007, and other states have been following suit. Seven states, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban hand-held cell phone use while behind the wheel for all drivers.

States not only are passing distracted driving laws, but they also are improving data collection efforts and educating new drivers about distraction. In 2003, only 17 states collected information about distraction in crash reports. Now, 43 states and D.C. report distracted driving as a factor in crashes. Similarly, in 2003, AAA found that only five states had distinct distracted driving sections in their driver license manuals. Now, 32 states and D.C. have these sections.

Distracted driving is a component of driver education in 18 states and D.C., and it is a question on the driver license test in 17 states and D.C. Both public education campaigns and public/private partnerships are emerging as tactics to address the dangers of distracted driving. Thirtyseven states and D.C. have education campaigns to warn about distracted driving. Thirty-five states have worked with other state agencies and private employers to address distracted driving. Sixteen states and D.C. worked with other state agencies or private companies to develop distracted driving policies for their employees.

Additionally, 15 states reported using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to educate motorists and promote anti-distracted driving messages.

To view the PDF version of the report, visit A limited number of print copies are available by request. Send inquiries to Kayla Howe at