distracted drivingThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is putting the final touches in place for its Attentive Driving: Countermeasures for Distraction forum, which will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

The one-day forum will look at the broad range of distractions that compete for driver's attention, characterize the various distracted driver laws, and discuss the differences in how states have adopted restrictions. The NTSB also released a short video highlighting the issues to be addressed at the forum.

"Distracted driving is a serious safety risk on our highways as evidenced by both accident data and laboratory research," according to a statement by the NTSB. The forum will examine countermeasures that can mitigate distracted driving behaviors. Forum panels will consider the findings of distracted driver research and will promote ongoing and future efforts to promote attentive driving and eliminate distracted driving accidents. Specific countermeasures to be addressed include distracted driving laws and enforcement, changing attitudes and behaviors through education and outreach, and technology and design countermeasures.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman will serve as Chair of the forum, and all five of the NTSB Board Members will serve as members of the Board of Inquiry. Expert panelists will include safety advocacy groups, vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement, government, and the research community. This event will take place at the NTSB Conference Center in Washington DC on March 27, 2012 and will be streamed live via webcast.

The NTSB has investigated accidents in all modes of transportation and has seen distracted operations in the cockpit, on the tracks, on the waterways, and in every type of vehicle on our roadways — the cabs of large trucks, in motorcoaches, in school buses, and, yes, in private vehicles of all kinds.

It provided the following partial list of distraction-caused accidents it has investigated:

• August 5, 2010: Multivehicle collision on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, MO: http://go.usa.gov/PkA
• July 7, 2010: Collision between Barge and DUKW, Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: http://go.usa.gov/PkM
• March 26, 2010: an 18-wheeler collided with a 15 passenger van in Munfordville, KY: http://go.usa.gov/Pk6
• October 21, 2009: Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 188, Minneapolis, MN: http://go.usa.gov/PBN
• September 12, 2008: A Metrolink commuter train collision in Chatsworth, California: http://go.usa.gov/Pkt
• November 14, 2004: A motorcoach collided with a bridge overpass on a parkway in Alexandria, Virginia: http://go.usa.gov/Pkh
• May 28, 2002: A BNSF coal train collided head-on with a BNSF intermodal train near Clarendon, Texas: http://go.usa.gov/P0c
• February 1, 2002: A personal vehicle collides with two other personal vehicles, Largo, Maryland: http://go.usa.gov/P01