No Texting, No Talking: Feds Aim to Curb Distracted Driving in NY

Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 7:29 AM EDT
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Each lost a leg when their Harley was hit by a distracted driver.

Each lost a leg when their Harley was hit by a distracted driver.

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Federal officials are working on the best ways to prevent drivers — particularly young people — from dangerous texting and use of cell phones.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be talking about distracted driving Thursday in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y. Grants for demonstration projects in those cities will allow police to test how well high-visibility enforcement works.

The most recent government statistics show that almost 6,000 people lost their lives — and an estimated 515,000 were injured — in crashes during 2008 that involved at least one form of driver distraction.

Federal officials say the percentage of young drivers illegally using electronic devices has increased since 2007.

In New Jersey, a couple who lost their left legs after an accident on their motorcycle has been leading the charge to toughen distracted driving laws. They say the 18-year-old who hit their bike appeared to be focused on his phone, not on his driving, and so far, has been issued just three tickets for the accident that changed their lives forever.

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