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Senator pushes for solution to distracted driving dilemma

Almost everyone knows the feeling of pure frustration when driving behind someone who is going to slow, or weaving over the lines, only to see the same driver talking or texting away. It is enough for most people to want to yell, "Get off the phone!" or "Stop texting!"

However, the real issue is -- not only is it annoying -- but these technology-related distractions are dangerous, as it means the driver is attempting to divide their attention between the actual task of driving and whatever is going on with their phone. Some may believe this is possible for those with strong multitasking skills, but the truth is distracted driving leads to accidents all throughout the U.S., including here in Virginia. 

Due to the risk of these distractions, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller is pushing car manufacturers and technology companies, such as General Motors Co. and Google Inc., to get moving quickly on creating standards for in-car technologies. 

During a recent all day forum, Rockefeller pushed the fact that keeping people safe on the roadways needs to be placed higher than profits. 

In looking at the real issue though, John Godfrey, who is the vice president for communications policy and regulatory affairs at Samsung, said people want to be connected constantly. The trick then is finding a way for people to be connected, safely. If not, even though it is dangerous, many will still take the risks to stay connected.

This idea was also echoed by the vice president of a vehicle safety and harmonization trade group. His view is that since we live in a society where people always want to be connected, we need to create a safe way for their devices -- such as a smartphone -- to be with them while driving. 

Overall, as one can surely see, the solution does not appear to be as simple as banning talking or texting while driving or creating in-car technology standards. Especially when it comes to the bans, while many states do have these in place, many drivers still continue to take the risk of getting caught as staying connected is just too tempting for them. 

Looking to the future it will be interesting to see what products companies roll out in order to meet the demands of the consumer, while also making safety a priority.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Senator Presses Tech Firms, Car Makers to Develop Distracted Driving Solutions," Jeff Plungis, Feb. 7, 2014

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