Friday, 2 May 2014

US pushes fellow UN member states to ban texting while driving . . .


US pushes fellow UN member states to ban texting while driving

Cited at:

US Ambassador Power: "No one should die-or kill-because of a text message.”

In a speech delivered Thursday before the United Nations General Assembly, the United States’ ambassador said that she's co-sponsoring a new resolution that would lead to more global restrictions on texting while driving.

“Worldwide, six out of seven people have access to cell phones, and more than a billion cars are on the road,” Ambassador Samantha Power said.

Appeals court notes that in 2006, when law passed, most phones were just phones.“In crowded conditions, with narrow roads and poor infrastructure, bicyclists and pedestrians are at particular risk. Too many drivers simply don’t understand the danger of taking their eyes, even briefly, from the road. And while drinking is episodic, the use of handheld devices is chronic. No one should die-or kill-because of a text message.”

This week, the United Nations adopted a resolution that calls for countries around the globe to enact “comprehensive legislation on key risk factors for road traffic injuries,” including texting while driving. However, the UN does not have the power to enforce bans in member states.

Power also noted that the Secretary General of the UN prohibited the agency’s employees from texting while behind the wheel in 2010 and that President Obama had “adopted a comparable standard for US employees” one year earlier.

According to the United States National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, deaths due to “distraction-affected crashes” fell slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012.

Earlier this year, a California appeals court (PDF) found that the state’s drivers can legally read digital maps on their phones, even though a state law says that they cannot use phones while behind the wheel.

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