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U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Latest Video in “Faces of Distracted Driving” Series

Family raises awareness of Remember Alex Brown Foundation and texting risks on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) “Faces of Distracted Driving” series.  The new video features the Brown family, whose 17-year-old daughter, Alex, was killed in a 2009 crash because she was texting while driving on a rural road in Wellman, Texas. The family recently appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, raising awareness of the Remember Alex Brown Foundation and the dangers of distracted driving.

WATCH: “Alex Brown, 17” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDKOiMSkLxY

“Alex Brown wasn’t a statistic – she was a beloved daughter and a sister, and her death left a hole in the heart of her family members and friends,” said Secretary LaHood.  “I hope that everyone who hears the Brown family speak about their tragic loss will realize that no text message or phone call is worth the risk. Additional media attention, like ABC’s helping share the Browns’ story with the viewers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is also vital.”

“She’s a huge part of our lives that’s just gone,” said Jeanne Brown. “But maybe we can reach one young person or help keep someone else’s daughter from doing this.”

“Faces of Distracted Driving” is a video series exploring the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving.  It features 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 series is part of Secretary LaHood’s effort to raise greater awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

WATCH: “Faces of Distracted Driving” – www.distraction.gov/faces

USDOT is also encouraging others who would like to share their distracted driving experiences to post videos on YouTube and email the links to: faces@distraction.gov.

The department’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) issued a rule prohibiting text messaging while operating a commercial motor vehicle in September 2010.  In December 2010, FMCSA issued a proposal to restrict the use of cell phones by commercial drivers while operating. 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. The public is invited to comment on the proposed rulemaking.

To learn more about USDOT’s efforts to stop distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov.                          ...

The Remember Alex Brown Foundation (RAB) honors Alex’s memory by educating others about the dangers of texting while driving. Their website encourages others to share their distracted driving stories and pledge online not to text while operating a vehicle.

You can learn more about The Remember Alex Brown Foundation at http://www.rememberalexbrownfoundation.org/index.php.

Monday, January 31, 2011