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Congress Offers Million to States Combating Distracted Driving

December 31, 1969

Safe driving advocates and lawmakers nationwide are still fighting the fight against distracted driving. These kinds of accidents continue to take the lives of thousands every year. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working to reduce the risks by offering money to states who beef up their laws.

There's a new grant program that's offering close to $18 million to states who have strict, primary laws against distracted driving during the 2013 fiscal year, according to TruckingInfo.com. According to the NHTSA, there were more than 3,090 people who were killed on our nation's roadways in distracted driving car accidents in 2010.
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"This new grant program will provide states that have distracted driving laws with important resources to help save lives and prevent injuries," said Ray LaHood, Secretary with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)

Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys understand that all drivers in the state are prohibited from talking on a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. They're prohibited from text messaging while driving too, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, California drivers may dictate, send or listen to text-based messages if they're using voice-activated, hands-free devices.

The funds that are being offered to states through this grant program are to help to combat distracted driving. States are urged to raise awareness about the problem, step up enforcement against it and beef up the consequences for being busted doing it.

For a state to qualify for this program, its got to make sure that that it has a comprehensive, primary law against distracted driving or a primary law prohibiting texting while driving, which allows law enforcement personnel to stop violators solely for distracted driving. Secondary laws require that a driver be observed braking another law before they can be pulled over and cited for distracted driving.

States that have distracted driving laws as secondary laws are not eligible. Congress has also set aside nearly $10 million for officials with the NHTSA to create and push paid advertising to support state enforcement of laws against distracted driving.

The funds provided through this program are all a part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which was recently approved by Congress.

Driver awareness work through public campaigns. Public campaigns, whether for seat belt usage, for drunk driving or for distracted driving, have been proven to reduce the number of fatal car accidents.

States will be allowed 45 days to apply for these funds following publication in the Federal Register.

Until then, drivers are asked to be safe and cautious behind the wheel and to keep distractions out of the driver's seat! When a driver sends or receives a text message behind the wheel, they take their eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact personal injury attorney Vincent Howard for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925 today.

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