NTSB roundtable tackles electronic distractions behind wheel

The NTSB is trying to figure out ways for drivers to prevent accidents caused by portable electronic device (PED) use. | Contributed photo
A meeting hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last month focused on the growing role that mobile phones and other portable electronic devices (PEDs), as well as in-vehicle entertainment systems, are playing in auto accidents.

The roundtable, “Disconnect from Deadly Distractions,” was held in Washington, D.C., and was attended by modal experts, researchers, advocates, educators and others. They shared their experiences and talked about ways to cut injuries and deaths caused by distractions.

“New technologies are connecting us as never before – to information, to entertainment and to each other,” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said before the roundtable. “But when those technologies compete for our attention while we’re behind the wheel of a car or at the controls of other vehicles, the results can be deadly.”

Since 2003, the NTSB has found that PED use factored into 11 major accidents that killed 50 and injured 260. The need to find ways of fighting driving distractions is growing because more people are using PEDs, and more cars and trucks are being equipped with infotainment systems.

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