With thousands of deaths last year, there’s a growing message to drivers to put down the phone before someone else gets hurt.  Kai Jackson explains how Maryland families are helping put a face to that message.

Transportation officials say distracted driving isn’t like a mechanical problem in your vehicle you don’t know about.  It’s 100% preventable and soon some compelling stories will help reinforce that message.

Faces of Distracted Driving is a series for the web that the US Transportation Department is using to underscore the dangers of distracted driving.

“Public education works,” said Colleen McCahill.

Distracted driving is considered anything that takes a person’s attention away from driving.  In recent years, mobile phone use–including talking and texting–have contributed to road disasters.  In 2009, distracted driving killed nearly 5,500 people and injured a half million more.

Faces of Distracted Driving is a reminder of what distracted driving really is–not just mobile phone use but anything that takes your attention off the act of driving.  That includes adjusting the radio, CD player, MP3 player, eating, putting on makeup or even talking to a passenger.

Laurie Kelly lives in Takoma Park.  She’ll be in one of the videos.  Her 23-year-old son, Dan, was driving in Colorado, using his mobile phone.  He crashed into a stopped vehicle and died two hours later.

“He didn’t have time to react.  Those few seconds that he was on the phone or texting were the seconds he needed to put on the brakes on time and he couldn’t do it,” Kelly said. 

Three stories are running on the website right now.  To see more, click http://www.distraction.gov/faces.


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