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Kennedy Praises Statewide, National Efforts to End Distracted Driving | News

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Kennedy Praises Statewide, National Efforts to End Distracted Driving



Discussion in Washington, D.C. today focuses on accomplishments and challenges; State Police launch new phase of ‘Operation Hang Up’ 


BUFFALO, N.Y. – Distracted drivers kill thousands of people every year. At any given moment, across this country, more than 800,000 people are using a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To save lives, a determined effort to end distracted driving is needed. This week, national and statewide attention has been focused on making our roadways safer. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the New York State Police have launched programs to encourage drivers to put away their cell phones when they’re behind the wheel.

Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy, who led the effort to ban texting while driving in Erie County, praised the efforts.   

“Distracted driving is an epidemic. It kills thousands of people every year, and still, people continue to text and drive,” Kennedy said. “While we instituted the legal measures to ban texting while driving in Erie County – giving law enforcement officials the tools to make our streets safer for all travelers – we must continue to spread awareness of this issue and convince all drivers to keep their eyes on the road and off their phones.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation held the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit to discuss accomplishments, challenges and the path forward to ending distracted driving. This week, starting Monday and running through Thursday, as part of the fourth phase of “Operation Hang Up,” the New York State Police have stepped up their enforcement effort of the state law that prohibits cell phone use behind the wheel. 

“I applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation and the New York State Police for their work to end distracted driving,” Kennedy said. “This type of commitment from government and law enforcement will go a long way to make our streets safer.”

After New York State made texting while driving a secondary offense – meaning a motorist can only be ticketed for texting while driving if he or she is pulled over for another traffic infraction – Kennedy and his colleagues in the Erie County Legislature picked up the ball where the state dropped it and passed legislation to ban texting and driving in Erie County. Kennedy worked closely with parent and safety advocate Kelly Cline – who lost her son, A.J. Larson, in a texting while driving accident – to push the law through the County Legislature.

Kennedy encouraged Western New Yorkers to text their friends – when they’re not driving – a quick message to remind them how important it is that they never text and drive.

“Texting while driving is deadly, but a quick message from you could make all the difference in the lives of your friends and family,” Kennedy said.




Note: More information about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Summit is available here: http://www.distraction.gov/. Information on the New York State Police’s “Operation Hang Up” is available here: http://www.wben.com/State-Police-Reminding-Motorists-to--Hang-Up-/8176519


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