New agency aims to reduce Chicago car accidents, traffic accidents caused by distracted driving nationwide

The federal government is launching FocusDriven this month, the first nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Chicago car accident attorneys and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes have been advocates of raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. In October, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog published a report showing an increase of 25 to 50 percent in fatal accidents caused by distracted driving over the last five years.

In 2008, government statistics estimate 1 in every 6 fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers — killing almost 6,000 and injuring more than half a million motorists.

The new agency, FocusDriven, is an outgrowth of a distracted driving summit reported on by Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog in September.

“I first met several of the founding members of FocusDriven at our Distracted Driving Summit, and I’m deeply impressed by their commitment to turn these tragic events into positive actions that will help save lives,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Their stories are not just heartbreaking; they’re also a clear and compelling call to action.”

FocusDriven is modeled after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which has successfully changed society’s attitudes towards drinking and driving and sought the reduction of fatal drunk driving accidents.

“It is my hope that FocusDriven will serve as a valuable resource for those who have lost loved ones as a result of the senseless and preventable destructive practice of distracted driving,” said Jennifer Smith, President of FocusDriven, whose mother was killed by a driver talking on a cell phone in a 2008 car accident. “Secretary LaHood and the Department of Transportation’s attention to this topic have helped make it top safety issue. Their efforts have provided hope that we can quickly eliminate this threat and prevent other families from going through what we have experienced.”

FocusDriven also hopes to provide support for victims of distracted driving, educational services and evaluation of new technologies.

“Just as groups like MADD changed attitudes about drunk driving, I believe FocusDriven can help raise awareness and change the way people think about distracted driving,” Secretary LaHood said. “Together, I hope we can put an end to this dangerous practice.”

For more information, visit www.focusdriven.org.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident lawyers and the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.