NORTH CAROLINA SAFETY ENGINEERS SUPPORT BILL PROHIBITING TEEN CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING
GREENSBORO, NC (July 5, 2006) – In a letter sent to North Carolina Senators Stan Bingham, Austin Allran, Tom Apodaca, and William R. Purcell last week, American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) North Carolina members, numbering more than 1100 and with five chapters statewide, declared their support of the bill “Cell Phone Use by Drivers Under 18 Prohibited” and urged legislators to pass the bill and the Governor to sign it.
A 95-year-old organization, ASSE is made up of more than 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental practitioners located worldwide committed to protecting people, property and the environment. A major concern of the ASSE membership is roadway safety as traffic crashes continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job-deaths in the U.S. today. Of the 5,524-workplace fatalities recorded in the U.S. for 2002, 43 percent were transportation related. A contributing factor to these ongoing traffic fatalities are the distracted driver, they may not find themselves in a crash, but can be the cause of one.
“ASSE fully supports SB 1289, but hopes that your bill can serve as a beginning in looking for meaningful ways to deal with the entire issue of distracted drivers,” ASSE Government Affairs Chair for Region VI, Keith D. Robinson, CSP, CHMM, of Greensboro, said in the letter. “ASSE’s position is that operating a vehicle while using a cell phone is one of many potentially unsafe acts drivers do every day and needs to be addressed.
“The same dangers related to cell phones also hold true for a vehicle operator who drives in an unsafe manner while eating, drinking, putting on makeup, reading a newspaper, operating any other electronic device, or some other type of distracted activity where the driver’s mind, eyes, and hands are engaged elsewhere than the road ahead and the steering wheel,” Robinson said. “All drivers should be cognizant of the fact that they could cause or be in a traffic crash due to such behaviors. An accident can happen in a second.”
Robinson noted that national, state, and local government agencies have statutes and regulations limiting the distracted behaviors of drivers on roadways.
“While ASSE supports SB 1289, we would hope that North Carolina can take additional steps to address the issue of distracted drivers in general in an effort to make the roadways safer for all,” Robinson said.
For a free copy of the ASSE Roadway Crash brochure with information on work zone safety, employer safe-driving procedures, commercial vehicle safety, and child passenger safety, and, a copy of the ASSE Distracted Driver Position Statement please contact ASSE customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-699-2929. For more information please go to www.asse.org or www.triadasse.org or www.asse-region6.org.