Automakers will be asked to curb distracted driving

Texting while driving

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Alright so you probably agree that talking on your cellphone or texting while driving is dangerous. Well, sadly even though distracted driving kills more than 5,400 people each year, not everyone has gotten the message. So the Department of Transportation is holding talks this week and may ask carmakers to help curb the urge to talk or text and drive.

From WNYC, Alex Goldmark has more.


ALEX GOLDMARK: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is normally mild-mannered. But he does have a pet issue.

RAY LAHOOD: We've been on a rampage against distracted driving for nearly two years.

And he's taking that energy to Detroit tomorrow where he'll meet with the CEOs of Ford and Chrysler. In a press conference last week, LaHood said he'd already talked with a handful of other carmakers.

LAHOOD: My meeting with car manufacturers have given them a lot of opportunity to think about how they can be helpful to us.

One way is advertising. He thanked Suburu for a commercial that discourages teens from talking and driving. But he'll likely bring up some other ways to help, all voluntary of course. John Ulczyki of the National Safety Council knows what he'd bring up -- eliminating technological incentives to talk.

JOHN ULCZYCKI: Automakers are developing products that automate the calling process. They make it easier to dial a phone, some of them even have voice to text kinds of systems.

But asking carmakers to drop these features that attract new buyers will be a tough sell.

In New York, I'm Alex Goldmark, for Marketplace.

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