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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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Transportation Safety Advocates Unveil

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Invite public to share their firsthand accounts of the dangers of distracted driving The Minnesota Safety Council, AAA Minnesota/Iowa and transportation safety advocates gathered today to roll out, a new website they hope will raise public awareness about distracted driving. Coinciding with the United States Department of Transportation’s 2nd National Distracted Driving Summit also held today in Washington, D.C., safety advocates created the website to collect public input and firsthand accounts from Minnesotans as part of the ongoing effort to improve traffic safety. “Almost everyone has a story about how a distracted driver almost – or did – cause a crash," said Carol Bufton, President of the Minnesota Safety Council. “People are looking for a place to tell those stories. We invite them to use to do that. We’ll use those stories – without personal identifiers – in our work to encourage drivers to pay attention when they are behind the wheel.” Comments entered on can be made anonymously and will not be used to report distracted drivers to law enforcement, said Bufton. Common forms of distracted driving are cell phone use and texting, but Gail Weinholzer, Director of Public Affairs, AAA Minnesota/Iowa said anything that takes hands or eyes or mind off the road takes your focus away from being a safe driver. “Distraction is an issue for all drivers, but particularly for teens,” said Weinholzer. “AAA’s efforts focus on taking a safe driving message into schools’ drivers education and health classes, supplemented with a distracted driving simulator that provides teens the opportunity to experience the effects of distraction in a safe environment.” Consistently teaching all drivers the importance of keeping eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on the task of driving will continue to be the focus of the traffic safety advocates. Between 2006-2008, nearly 60,000 crashes occurred in Minnesota resulting in 216 fatalities and 1,037 serious injuries. Distraction affects a driver’s perception, judgment and actions. The Minnesota Safety Council, founded in 1928, is a non governmental, not for profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Minnesota by preventing unintentional injuries. It is a chapter of the National Safety Council. AAA Minnesota/Iowa, which includes more than 778,000 members, offers automotive, travel, insurance and financial services. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG clubs belong to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization, with more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada.