Senator Amy Klobuchar
Five seconds. That’s how long your eyes are off the road when you text. That’s how long it takes to drive across a football field at 55 miles per hour. And that’s how long it took for Jane and Dan Phillips from my home state of Minnesota to lose their daughter, Kelly.
Kelly’s friend took her eyes off the road to send a text message or change a song. The car went off the road at a curve and rolled. Kelly and her friend died.
Legislation helps, but the increase in seatbelt use since the 1970s is proof that drivers can be taught that distracted driving is dangerous.
It’s a common story in our tech-savvy world. Much too common. And that’s why, together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Senate, I’ve worked to advance legislation that will help slow the surge of distracted driving.
My bipartisan initiatives, which have been included in the last two transportation bills, encourage states to enact graduated licensing programs, helping new drivers acclimate to the rules of the road and increase funding for states to enact and enforce distracted driving laws. It’s laws like these that make it possible for states to continue educating the public and for law enforcement to step up their efforts. In April, for instance, Minnesota police officers issued nearly 1,000 citations for texting while driving during a weeklong concerted enforcement effort.
There’s more work to do. And, of course, this can’t be just about changing laws, we need to change attitudes, too. But I’m confident that we can do it because we’ve done it before. In 1970, fewer than 15 percent of Americans used seatbelts. Today, 84 percent do.
We need to keep working together until Americans keep their eyes off their phone and on the road. No text message is worth dying for.