Distracted driving wrecks more than cars

Distracted driving news conference speaker panel
Left to right: Truman Medical Centers Director of Trauma Services, Truman Medical Centers Teresa Lienhop, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Bill Lowe, Missouri Department of Transportation Director of Highway Safety Dr. Leanna Depue, and Chad Kitzman, survivor of crash involving distracted driving and ThinkFirst speaker.

 

Between 20 and 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in the Kansas City area involve distracted drivers. MARC hosted a news conference on Sept. 26 to discuss regional data on distracted driving; local, state and law enforcement efforts to combat the behavior; and impacts to public health. Chad Kitzman, a speaker with ThinkFirst of Greater Kansas City, shared the powerful story of his distracted-driving-related crash and traumatic brain injury, which doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of surviving.

The Destination Safe Coalition and MARC advocate broadening Missouri restrictions on texting while driving to apply to all drivers (not just those under age 21), and restricting cell phone use for young drivers who lack driving experience under graduated driver license programs. Kansas has adopted bans on both already. These legislative priorities did not pass in 2012 and are likely to be included again in MARC’s 2013 Missouri legislative platform.

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