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Public Statements

Drive Safer Sunday

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, again I rise in strong support of the resolution and remind my colleagues that during this holiday season we have an opportunity to help remind drivers of the harmful consequences of distracted driving and that harmful consequence on loved ones and others. So I encourage all Members of Congress to join me in supporting this resolution.

I would like to insert into the Congressional Record correspondence received from the AAA organization.


Washington, DC, November 2, 2009.
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN GERLACH: AAA supports your resolution on distracted driving, H. Res. 841, to designate November 29, 2009, as ``Drive Safer Sunday.'' Your effort is in line with our own work to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by distracted driving.

Recently, AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety encouraged all drivers to participate in ``Heads Up Driving Week'' from October 5-11. We asked drivers to take a first step toward driving distraction-free by trying it for one week, and then continuing that good habit for life. Drivers were urged to sign a pledge committing to distraction-free driving, and were provided 10 tips on how to eliminate distractions from their daily travel. For your information, I am enclosing the 10 tips that support the campaign.

AAA has also launched a state legislative campaign to pass laws banning text messaging while driving in all 50 states by 2013. Enacting texting while driving bans is an important step in reducing the incidence of this dangerous practice among motorists nationwide. We'll also continue our work through public education, driver training, and other safety programs to discourage motorists from engaging in the broad range of distractions that tempt them while behind the wheel.

AAA and a number of other safety groups recently sent a letter urging Congress to take a comprehensive approach to the issue of distracted driving. We urge Congress to support funding for research, data collection, public education, law enforcement and roadway countermeasures.

We support your goal of drawing public attention to the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of traffic safety. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.

Jill Ingrassia,

Managing Director, Government Relations
and Traffic Safety Advocacy.

AAA 10 Tips To Minimize Distracted Driving

AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety will be asking motorists to participate by making Heads Up Driving Week a distraction-free week of driving.

Using a cell phone, text messaging, or emailing are just some of many possible distractions that divert drivers' attention. Eating, talking with passengers, reading maps or the newspaper, writing, personal grooming, and looking at things outside the vehicle are among countless activities that could create a substantial crash risk.

Below are 10 quick and easy ways drivers can minimize distractions.

1. Plan Ahead. Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.

2. Stow Electronic Devices. Turn off your phone before you drive so you won't be tempted to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.

3. Prepare Kids and Pets for the Trip. Get the kids safely buckled in and situated with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need additional attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets appropriately in your vehicle before getting underway.

4. Satisfy that Craving Off the Road. Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if driving long-distance.

5. Store Loose Gear and Possessions. Stash away loose objects that could roll around and take your attention away from driving.

6. Get Your Vehicle Road-Ready. Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped. Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you better.

7. Dress for Success Before You Get in the Car. Your car isn't a dressing room. Brush your hair, shave, put on make-up, and tie your necktie before you leave or once you reach your destination.

8. Get Your Brain in the Game. Focus on the task at hand--driving safely. Scan the road, use mirrors and practice commentary driving, identifying orally events and conditions you may have to react to. Really focusing on maintaining your thoughts about the road, when you're on the road, can help enhance your engagement, your overall awareness and behavior as a driver, and help you see the importance of ``being in the game.''

9. Evaluate Your Own Behavior From the Other Side of the Road. When you're on the road as a passenger or a pedestrian, take a look around and honestly evaluate whether you might have some of the same driving behaviors as those who you're a little worried about as a passenger or pedestrian.

10. Enlist Passengers. Ask a passenger to help you with activities that may be distracting.

These tips and further information about distracted driving are available at

I yield back the balance of my time.


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