Washington Convenes 'Distracted Driving' Summit

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Call it Driving While Distracted, or DWD. It may not sound as serious as DWI, but driving and texting or twittering or "just" checking your email is a serious enough issue that dozens of elected officials, transit groups and law enforcement agencies are gathering in Washington today to look at what can be done about it. We hear from Kristin Backstrom of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, who will be at the conference, New Jersey State Trooper Sergeant Stephen Jones and his daughter Alicia Jones, who admits to texting while driving.

The Department of Transportation is offering a live webcast of the summit. Watch here.


Kristin Backstrom, Alicia Jones and Sergeant Stephen Jones

Produced by:

Abbie Fentress Swanson


Smriti Rao

Comments [14]


I could not agree with you more FG. This show overall is terrible, but the cavalier coverage of this serious issue in this segment was abhorrent.

Oct. 02 2009 11:52 AM
Hesch from Knickerbocker

Using the GPS in "ALL" phones is very clever, but

(A) I am not sure that "ALL" has taken effect yet - "all new" (what date?), possibly.

(B) That would mean that people on buses, trains, etc. would be "blocked"(?) / "warned"(?). It would also mean that passengers, even in taxis, would be affected.

Too clever for its own good?

Peace - Hesch

Oct. 02 2009 07:56 AM

Time to show Alicia some pictures of victims of accidents caused by this behavior...or maybe a visit to the morgue would help. Unbelievable.

Oct. 01 2009 02:12 AM
Fred Grengich

What I find horrifying (besides the overall low quality of this show) is the lighthearted manner the hosts took with the 19-yr-old texter, as if texting and driving was just an amusing part of teenage life. The only voice of reason in the discussion was the AAA rep.

Sep. 30 2009 06:29 PM
Chuck Connor

I propose that drivers over 60 be banned.

Sep. 30 2009 02:05 PM
Steve Goodrich

Those horrified by the attitude of sergeant's daughter and obsessed by technology may be overlooking a more insidious cultural phenonemon. Whenever, in a film or TV show, a driver and a passenger happen to be conversing, the driver repeatedly turns to look at the passenger, thereby taking his or her eyes off the road. What I find horrifying is the subliminal pervasiveness of a dramatic convention which teaches that eye contact is more important than safety.

Sep. 30 2009 12:42 PM
Patricia L. Jannaco

It made my blood boil to hear Alicia complain that she doesn't want to have to pull over every time a text message comes in. This bespeaks a level of self-importance so high that even personal safety, let alone the safety of others, must be sacrificed to keep up with the latest whatever. How about exercising some patience and maturity?

Sep. 30 2009 10:34 AM

I think too many people, especially kids, don't realize how hard driving is, because most the time, when things are going just fine, it doesn't seem very hard at all. But when another car crosses the divide and is coming at you head on, you need all your brains ready to figure out what to do. You never know when that will happen.

Sep. 30 2009 08:23 AM

Yep - 44 feet per second, people!

Sep. 30 2009 08:20 AM

OBVIOUSLY this is a greater problem the less experienced the driver!

So I propose that texting or cell phone use while driveing be totally prohibited except for drivers over 60!


Sep. 30 2009 08:19 AM
Jeff D

I ride a motorcycle and these nitwits scare the bejeezus out of me. A texter has about as much control over their roll-cage as does a drunk driver, and perhaps even less. Do you know how much ground a car traveling at 30mph can cover during the 5 seconds somebody looks away to text? 220 feet. Right, it's inconceivable anything can move into your path of travel in that short a distance! A message to all these texters/talkers: You're not that important ... Unplug once in a while. Just because the cell rings, it doesn't mean you HAVE to answer it.

Sep. 30 2009 07:06 AM

What does a 19-year-old have to text that is so important to risk other peoples' lives. For that matter, what aspect of John's job is so important that would justify harming another person? It's the I'm-so-unbelievably-important syndrome behind the wheel.

Sep. 30 2009 06:18 AM
chris c.

As a person who commutes by bicycle, I'm terrified at the obtuseness of Ms. Alicia. This is a classic example of a young person believing the bad things just don't happen to them, or her, despite the statistics that show otherwise.

Sep. 30 2009 06:17 AM
Rick Evans

Interesting the John and Celeste introduced this topic offering every justification for this stupid, irresponsible behavior. The productivity argument is a joke. I'm certain 99.9% of cell phone talk and texting is idle gossip. Before cell phones what did this twits do with themselves.

Sep. 30 2009 06:14 AM

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