By Carol McCracken (Post # 715)
Senator Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland County) is co- hosting a one day summit on the dangers of texting while driving. The summit will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, February 16, at the Ocean Gateway, Portland. Since texting is more prevalent among younger people, there will be a strong focus on youth, said a press release received from the Senator’s office yesterday.
Local high schools have been invited to attend the conference and there will be a student panel to discuss awareness, education and ways of addressing the problem. There will also be demonstrations, videos and even simulators to graphically show how dangerous an activity texting while driving is.
The keynote speaker at the summit tomorrow will be Ron Medford, the Acting Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Medford is a lead safety expert at NHTSA, which is the part of the Federal Department of Transportation whose mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce vehicle-related crashes.” Senator Diamond and others will be speaking as well.
Senator Diamond has submitted a bill in Augusta that, if passed, will impose penalities on those who text while driving, entitled “An Act to Prohibit Texting While Driving.” “The problem of texting while driving is reaching epidemic proportions,” Semator Diamond said. “Even though we have a law on distracted driving, this problem is becoming so pervasive that it needs its own law, it is time we joined over 30 other states by enacting a law banning the practice.”
He realzes that more than legislation is necessary, however. “A key component in the fight against texting while driving is education,” Diamond added. We need to reach out to people, especially young people, and show them how dangerous this behavior is.”
Tomorrow’s summit at Ocean Gateway is co-hosted by AAA of Northern New England.
For more information, please email Rayette Hudon of AAA of Northern New England at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Senator Diamond’s office at 287-1515.