The PSA release coincides with today's NHTSA announcement of a new grant program that will provide up to $17.5 million to states that have laws banning distracted driving in fiscal year (FY) 2013. Authorized by Congress under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a state must have a comprehensive, primary law against distracted driving or a primary law prohibiting texting while driving in order to qualify for the grants. States with secondary laws, which require law enforcement to observe a primary offense prior to enforcing the distraction law, would not be eligible. Under MAP-21, Congress also authorized an additional $5 million for NHTSA to develop paid advertising to support state enforcement of laws against distracted driving.
In June, USDOT released a "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving" that offers a comprehensive strategy to address the growing and dangerous practice of using handheld cell phones behind the wheel. The plan, which outlines concrete steps stakeholders around the country can take to reduce the risk posed by distracted driving, builds on the national momentum that Secretary LaHood and USDOT have spearheaded for the last three years.
To learn more about USDOT's efforts to stop distracted driving, please visit www.Distraction.gov. For more information on the "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." campaign, please visit www.StopTextsStopWrecks.org.