Stopping Distracted Driving: What Will It Take?

We seldom think about the high degree of trust we place in an oncoming driver. It does indeed take a village to get home safely! And, sometimes it doesn’t work out. At any given daylight moment across the U.S., approximately 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices. In 2011, 3,331 people lost their lives and 387,000 suffered injuries in crashes involving a distracted driver.
The problem of distracted driving exploded onto the public and policy agendas over the past several years. Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who made it his signature initiative while in office, deserves immense credit for creating a national movement to address the problem….
However, notwithstanding the sharp increase in awareness of the problem that has been achieved in recent years, studies suggest that we’re not yet making a significant dent in changing drivers’ behavior. Which raises the obvious question, why not? And, what will it take to turn this problem around? Moreover, why did another campaign — the designated-driver campaign against drunk driving — succeed? And what’s different about the distracted-driving problem?
Jay Winsten, Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Read the Op/Ed published November 1, 2013 in The Huffington Post



This piece kicked-off the “Road To Nowhere” month-long series produced by The Huffington Post and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication to draw attention to the dangers of texting while driving and asked: How We Can Begin To Curb The Distracted Driving Epidemic?