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DOT, FCC Partner to Curb Distracted Driving

in Broadband Updates/FCC/National Broadband Plan by

The Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Transportation will team up in an effort to reduce the incidence of distracted driving -- the use of mobile e-mail and text messaging devices by drivers while vehicles are in motion. The heads of both agencies announced the partnership on Wednesday while testifying during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Curbing the use of mobile devices has been a focus of both the executive and legislative branches in recent weeks. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the same topic last month, while the Obama administration released an executive order which forbids the use of mobile devices by drivers of federally-owned vehicles or by government employees driving any vehicle on official business.

The DOT-FCC partnership will include outreach efforts to educate the public on the danger of distracted driving -- as well as research into new technologies to maintain drivers' attention, said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "I look forward to working with [FCC] Chairman Genachowski...on this critical issue," he said.

FCC Chairman Julus Genachowski told the subcommittee he was similarly optimistic on the merits of the "collaborative effort to eliminate the increasingly deadly practice of distracted driving." The combined resources of the FCC and DOT can have a "major impact" on the problem, he added.

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