WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series. The new clip features a mother whose 12-year-old son was killed in 2004 when a young woman driving a Hummer and talking on her cell phone ran a red light and crashed into their vehicle a mile from their home in Spring Lake, Michigan.
WATCH: “Joe Teater, 12” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6iCrZ4AIpw
“Joe Teater wasn’t a statistic – he was a son and a brother, and his death left a hole in the heart of his family members and friends,” said Secretary LaHood. “I hope that everyone who hears Judy speak about the tragic loss of her young son will realize that no text message or phone call is worth the risk.”
"We still miss Joe every day, even after almost seven years," said Joe’s mother, Judy Teater, an anti-distracted driving advocate and founding board member of FocusDriven. "I want to share who he was and how he died so people understand that when you choose to use your phone while driving, you put my life, your life, and the lives of everyone around you in danger. No phone call is more important than someone’s life.”
“Faces of Distracted Driving” is a series of videos exploring the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving. They feature people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is also encouraging others who would like to share their distracted driving experiences to post videos on YouTube and email the links to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video Series Background
The video series is part of Secretary LaHood’s effort to raise public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to support victims. In January, Secretary LaHood joined anti-distracted driving advocate Jennifer Smith when she announced the creation of FocusDriven, the first national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending distracted driving. Judy Teater is also one of the organization’s founding board members.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s campaign against distracted driving is a multi-modal effort that includes automobiles, trains, planes, and commercial vehicles.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a rule prohibiting rail employees from using cell phones or other electronic devices on the job following a September 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, California that killed 25 people.
After a Northwest flight crew distracted by a laptop overshot their destination by 150 miles, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised air carriers to create and enforce policies that limit distractions in the cockpit and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers safely.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a ban on text messaging while operating a commercial motor vehicle in January 2010. A rulemaking proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in September 2010 to work in conjunction with the FMCSA ban would restrict the use of electronic devices by drivers during the operation of a motor vehicle containing hazardous materials. Notice of the proposed rulemaking has been posted, and the public is invited to comment.