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Driving with a cell phone in hand can be deadly | READER COMMENTARY

One of the essential rules of the road is to avoid cell phone use while driving, especially texting. Not only is this behavior discourteous, it’s also dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving — which includes texting and talking on your phone — leads to thousands of deaths each year. (Andrey Popov/Getty Images).

Distracted drivers caused 3,142 deaths in 2019 and, on average, cause approximately 400,000 injuries on the roads each year. Yet, only 24 states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from using handheld devices while driving. More than 220 million people in the U.S. subscribe to wireless services and it is estimated that as many as 80% of those use their phones while driving. Motorists continue to talk, text, stream and use social media while operating motor vehicles (”US traffic deaths spike even as pandemic cuts miles traveled: ‘It’s kind of terrifying what were seeing on our roads,’” March 4).

On Thursday, the National Distracted Driving Coalition convened in Virginia at the annual Distracted Driving Summit to announce a targeted campaign to end distracted driving once and for all. The coalition, made up of organizations from law enforcement, the public and private sectors, state legislators, government agencies and nonprofits, is dedicated to changing driver behaviors and eliminating the absolutely avoidable tragedy caused by distracted driving.

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America’s insurers are proud to support the National Distracted Driving Coalition. The insurance industry continues to provide informational resources and tools to educate drivers on the severity and tragedy associated with distracted driving and is committed to working to spread public awareness and advocacy in support of stronger state laws. By promoting real data, up-to-date findings on automotive crashes and fatalities, and the stories of families and communities devastated by the tragedy of distracted driving, we can work together to advance policy solutions and end distracted driving as we know it.

Stephanie Strategos Polis, Bethesda

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The writer is assistant vice president of public affairs for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

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