Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Mike Gallagher (8th District Wisconsin)
WASHINGTON D.C. – Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), and Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced the States Afforded Funding Extensions To Oppose Driving Recklessly In Vehicular Engagements (SAFE TO DRIVE) Act, which creates two supplemental grant programs for states to use for distracted driving prevention. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the bill’s Senate companion, which is cosponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Distracted driving – driving while also trying to text, call, clean, eat, or undertake any other activity – killed nearly 2,800 people in 2018, with over 400,000 people injured in crashes connected to a distracted driver. The legislation reintroduced today aims to reduce these numbers by giving states the proper resources to educate drivers and help enforce distracted driving laws.
“Distracted driving, particularly from the use of cell phones, endangers Americans and leads to preventable tragedies,” said Rep. Gallagher. “The SAFE TO DRIVE Act is a common-sense way to modernize existing guidelines and encourage states to better educate drivers about these dangers – and at no new cost to taxpayers. I’m proud to work with Rep. Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Cohen on ways we can better keep our roads safe.”
“I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to help curb distracted driving and save lives across our country,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi said. “Although distracted driving has always been a danger on the road, the ubiquity of cell phones has dramatically increased its pervasiveness and the risks it creates. We need practical solutions to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving and to enforce common-sense safety laws. The grants our bill would establish will help provide both.”
“Distracted driving is a serious hazard that must be addressed, especially in my home state of Tennessee, which has topped the deadliest states for distracted driving,” Rep. Cohen said. “I’m pleased to introduce this legislation with Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Gallagher because it will save lives.”
“When drivers take their eyes off of the road, they endanger themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This legislation will help ensure states have the resources to create safer roads for all and, ultimately, save lives.”
“Distracted driving has dangerous, disastrous and deadly consequences,” Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) said. “Alarmingly, distraction-affected crash fatalities went up by ten percent in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The tragedy of this problem is that it is 100 percent preventable. Our federal and state elected officials must advance proven solutions immediately including this bipartisan legislation to incentivize states with federal grant money to enact and improve distracted driving laws, as well as to improve transparency in the federal grant determination process. As our Nation continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, simple steps, such as this one, could be keeping motorists out of our overly-burdened emergency rooms.”
“Representative Krishnamoorthi and Allstate are committed to a common cause – making roads safer in our home state of Illinois and countrywide. The SAFE TO DRIVE Act will incentivize states to enact common-sense anti-distracted driving laws that save lives. Allstate has a proud history of advocating for driving safety and will continue to work with the Congressman to see his legislation enacted,” said David Nadig, Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for Allstate.
“Distracted driving is a persistent deadly problem on our roadways,” said Lorraine M. Martin, President & CEO of the National Safety Council, which is located in Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s district. “NSC applauds the SAFE TO DRIVE Act for encouraging the implementation of stronger laws, which we know help change driver behavior. NSC is proud to support this life-saving bill.”
“Distracted driving is a growing epidemic. Providing states with the necessary resources to educate drivers and enforce laws is critical to combating distracted driving and protecting everyone on the road,” said Nat Wienecke, APCIA’s senior vice president of federal government relations. “APCIA and America’s Insurers urge support for the SAFE TO DRIVE ACT.”
“As the largest provider of auto insurance in the United States, with a longstanding commitment to the safety of motorists on our nation’s roadways, State Farm supports efforts to eliminate Distracted Driving,” said Alan Maness, VP for Federal Affairs, State Farm.
The SAFE TO DRIVE Act is endorsed by organizations, including: Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, State Farm, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), National Safety Council (NSC), Farmers Insurance, American Family Insurance, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), Nationwide, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), Families for Safe Streets, Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, National Consumers League, Center for Auto Safety, Trauma Foundation, and KidsAndCars.org