Verizon Wireless is reiterating its support for a texting while driving ban, saying there should be state and federal legislation to ban texting and e-mailing while driving. The statement was timed to coincide with the start of the Transportation Department’s first-ever Distracted Driving Summit.
“Because using wireless devices while driving can distract drivers, we wholeheartedly support the Department of Transportation and RITA as they delve into this important topic, share best-practices and consider policy options,” said Steven Zipperstein, Verizon Wireless vice president and general counsel, in a statement.
The issue of texting while driving is expected to get top billing at the Distracted Driving Summit, which starts today. The summit brings together senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives, private sector representatives and academics to examine the best way to deal with distracted driving.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is a fervent supporter of a texting while driving ban but says more than legislation is needed to address the problem. LaHood proposes the government take a coordinated approach that combines both education and enforcement.
A ban on texting while driving was recently proposed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the ALERT Act and has gathered widespread industry support from the likes of CTIA and AT&T.
Verizon also has been a long-term supporter of state-wide legislation requiring drivers to use hands-free devices while talking. The carrier’s own policies require employees to use hands-free devices if they choose to talk on their mobile phones while driving and forbid texting and e-mailing while driving. In addition, Verizon Wireless has been credited by California State Assemblyman Joe Simitian with helping him enact the nation’s first statewide texting ban.