CVSA Releases New DVD and Curriculum for Teens to Prevent Distracted Driving; Texting While Driving Reaches Epidemic Proportions

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The Commercial Vehicle Alliance (CVSA) officially released its Teens & Trucks--Defeating Distracted Driving DVD and curriculum this week at a media event at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC.

DOT Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari addressed youth from across the U.S. at this week's media event officially releasing CVSA's Teens & Trucks--Defeated Distracted Driving DVD and curriculum.

Education and outreach are critical tools to combat the exponential increase of distracted driving behaviors, particularly among our newest and most inexperienced drivers—teens.

There’s a deadly epidemic on our roads and it is called distracted driving. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 70 percent of Americans ages 18-64 say they have talked on their phones while driving in the past 30 days. About 30 percent say they texted while driving. The numbers are even more disturbing for young drivers, in fact, 58% of high school seniors said they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month. About 43% of high school juniors acknowledged they did the same thing.

Stephen A. Keppler, Executive Director for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) says, “Education and outreach are critical tools to combat the exponential increase of distracted driving behaviors, particularly among our newest and most inexperienced drivers—teens. That’s precisely why we’ve created a brand new “Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving” curriculum to powerfully demonstrate the risks of distracted driving. We were excited to announce the availability of this timely educational program in conjunction with Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSF) kick-off event this week in Washington, D.C.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari was on hand to address the group of youth who came from all across the country. He said, “Each and every trip you take in a vehicle requires good judgment and your full attention. I encourage all of you use this new educational tool—the Teens and Trucks, Curbing Distracted Driving DVD, and to visit Distraction.gov for more information and ways to get involved. By working together, we can put an end to distracted driving.”

The new “Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving” curriculum includes a 23-minute DVD on the various forms of distracted driving. In addition, the tragic consequences of distracted driving are powerfully conveyed in a candid interview with a young driver who was texting his girlfriend while behind the wheel and crossed the center line and crashed head on into another vehicle. The two occupants of that vehicle were both killed.

Federal agencies also have taken several steps to counteract distracted driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers—including prohibiting texting while driving and restricting cell phone use by prohibiting unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons. The rules also impose sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for a nationwide ban on the use of personal electronic devices after investigating a crash where a pick-up driver sent and received 11 texts in the 11 minutes before he ran into a truck and caused collisions that killed two and injured 38. NTSB has included “Eliminate Distraction in Transportation” on their most recent Most Wanted List.

CVSA’s “Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving” DVD and curriculum have been developed as part of its Operation Safe Driver program and in collaboration with the Arizona Transportation Education Foundation and Arizona Department of Public Safety with funding support from FMCSA. They are available free of charge from CVSA. Order your copy now.

Members of the working press are invited to access additional information, including radio and TV PSAs.     

About CVSA    
CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprising local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. The Alliance actively monitors, evaluates, and identifies solutions to potentially unsafe transportation processes and procedures related to driver and vehicle safety requirements most often associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security.

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Lisa Claydon
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