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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2009

Contact: Jonathan Adkins or Kara Macek
(202)789-0942, ext. 13 or 14

Distracted Driving Summit Offers Chance to Address Issue Comprehensively

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) will be among the many organizations represented at this week’s Distracted Driving Summit in the nation’s capital, September 30 and October 1. GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey, Jr. will be joined by GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha as well as GHSA Members from Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Chairman Betkey will present GHSA’s perspective on Thursday, October 1 on a panel entitled “Legislation, Regulation and Enforcement for Dealing with Distracted Driving.” According to Betkey, “GHSA is advocating a broad approach to distracted driving. New laws should not be an ending point, but rather a beginning. Effective enforcement strategies need to be developed and shared. We must also educate the public about how to best minimize and manage distractions behind the wheel.”

To help educate our most distracted drivers, teens, tomorrow GHSA and Ford Motor Company Fund will host a special Ford Driving Skills for Life event focusing on distractions for a select number of D.C. area high school students. This unique course educates teens about the growing danger of driver distractions. Students will receive hands-on instruction and behind-the-wheel training from some of the nation's top driving instructors.

According to Betkey, “Education plays a key role in minimizing driver distraction, particularly with teen drivers, who constantly use cell phones and other electronic devices. High-tech, interactive programs such as Driving Skills for Life effectively complement state laws and graduated licensing programs and offer highway safety officials a tool to address driver distraction.”

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State cell phone and texting laws as well as an overview of the distracted driving issue can be found online at www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html. Betkey’s Distracted Driving Forum presentation will be posted at www.ghsa.org on Thursday morning.

The Ford Driving Skills for Life event will be held at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 29. Sessions begin at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.  Contact Wes Sherwood of Ford at 313-390-5660 for more information.

More information about the Distracted Driving Summit is posted online at: www.rita.dot.gov/distracted_driving_summit.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.