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Transportation Secretary in Tampa to Help Ban Texting and Driving

Steve Newborn

The need to be in constant communication can have tragic consequences if you're driving. An epidemic of crashes caused by distracted drivers is behind a new campaign to change people's behavior behind the wheel. 

It's not just texting while driving. It's talking on a cell phone or even "heads-up" displays in new cars, that project information onto the windshield. Nationwide, more than 3,000 people were killed last year alone by distracted drivers.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was the keynote speaker at the state's first Distracted Drivers summit, held at the Tampa Convention Center. LaHood says he's leaving it up to the states to make the decision - and it's up to the people in each state to pressure their lawmakers.

"Personal responsibility, number one, good laws, number two, good enforcement, number three. That's the right combination to solve distracted driving," he said. "It's not up to Ray LaHood to persuade the legislature, it's up to the voters of Florida to do that."

But Florida lawmakers haven't produced a single distracted driving law. Earlier this year, a bill to ban texting & driving never made it out of committee.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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