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Teens Invited to 2011 Distracted Driving Summit

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Teen Distracted Driving Summit 2011 A coalition of young people’s groups is calling on teens to be part of its 2011 Distracted Driving Summit on October 17 in Washington, D.C. The summit will feature experts from throughout the U.S. who will convene with teens on the subject of distracted driving prevention.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Wednesday on his blog, Fast Lane, that the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), the coalition holding the summit, seeks to train and empower more teens in the fight to end distracted driving. NOYS believes that the most effective distracted driving prevention programs are led by teens. Distracted driving is especially a problem for teens. In 2009, the highest proportion of distracted drivers in fatal car accidents was under the age of 20. The coalition also invites national organizations and business and industry leaders to exhibit at the summit, which is funded by AT&T.

Ray LaHood writes on his blog:

Summit participants will learn all about the most current distracted driving research, and about how to use a wide range of communication tools to persuade drivers to hang up their phones when they get behind the wheel.

After the summit, participants become safety ambassadors, applying what they learned.  They’ll create programs to bring back to their schools and communities to help reduce distracted driving among their peers.

[…] Ending the deadly epidemic of distracted driving will be no easy task.  But I am confident that the young leaders who join the NOYS summit will be prepared for the sustained effort solving this problem requires.

Space at this summit is limited, so if you would like to be considered, please submit your information to

If you’re a young person involved in distracted driving prevention, please consider applying. And if you know other teens who want to make a difference on this important safety issue, please encourage them to apply today!

Consumer Reports offers the following tips for ways to minimize distracted driving, which a Virginia Tech study says plays a part in 80% of all car crashes and causes some 5,500 traffic fatalities annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Before driving anywhere, while your car is still stationary, adjust the interior temperature, choose the music you want to listen to, program your navigation device, and make any other adjustments you need. Review the driving route if you’re not familiar with it. And take care of your personal grooming before you get in the car or before you begin driving.
  • Check phone messages and make any necessary calls. Don’t make calls while driving, as they are distracting even if you can make hands-free calls.
  • Never use your phone while driving in heavy traffic, bad weather, or dangerous road conditions.
  • If you have to use the phone or look at your navigation device, or make any adjustments in the car, pull over somewhere safe first.
  • Allow enough time to make your trip so you don’t have to rush.
  • Don’t travel with pets in the car unless they’re properly restrained.
  • Don’t travel with loose items in the car that can roll around. Many accidents happen when a driver tries to pick something up from the floor.
  • Don’t eat or drink while driving. Trying to clean up a spill can cause an accident.

For more information, see Consumer Reports’ “Guide to Distracted Driving & Teen Safety“:

Here’s a Consumer Reports video dramatizing the problems of distracted driving:

Image by, used under Fair Use: Reporting.


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