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111th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    111-338

======================================================================



 
  EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR DESIGNATION OF NOVEMBER 29, 2009, AS ``DRIVE 
                             SAFER SUNDAY''

                                _______
                                

 November 16, 2009.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Oberstar, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                       [To accompany H. Res. 841]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the resolution (H. Res. 841) expressing support 
for designation of November 29, 2009, as ``Drive Safer 
Sunday,'' having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the resolution be agreed 
to.

                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    H. Res. 841 expresses support for the designation of 
November 29, 2009, as ``Drive Safer Sunday.'' The resolution 
calls on governments of all levels, community leaders, academic 
institutions, and clergy to join together in raising awareness 
of the threats to public safety due to roadway accidents, 
particularly those accidents caused by distracted driving 
involving the use of electronic devices, such as cell phones 
and personal data assistants while driving.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA), 37,261 people were killed in motor 
vehicle traffic crashes in 2008. The number of fatalities 
equates to more than 100 people a day lost on the nation's 
roadways. Over the past five years, an average of 41,500 people 
have lost their lives on the nation's roadways. The annual 
economic cost of motor vehicle crashes to the U.S. economy is 
$289 billion. Many of these fatalities could have been 
prevented by improved driver awareness and the elimination of 
distractions to drivers.
    According to NHTSA data, in 2008, 16 percent of all fatal 
crashes involved distracted driving. On September 30, 2009, 
Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood 
announced new NHTSA research findings that show that nearly 
6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or 
inattentive driver, and more than 500,000 people were injured 
in such accidents.
    The term ``distracted driving'' can refer to anything that 
takes a driver's eyes, hands, or mind away from driving, 
including food and beverages, traffic accidents, adjusting the 
radio, children, pets, objects moving in the vehicle, talking 
or texting on a cell phone, smoking, putting on makeup, 
shaving, and reading. Recently, particular attention has 
focused on the impact that driving while talking on a cell 
phone or texting has on roadway safety.
    In testimony before the Subcommittee on Highways and 
Transit on October 29, 2009, Dr. Tom Dingus of the Virginia 
Tech Transportation Institute, reported that texting while 
driving continues to present a growing threat to roadway 
safety, and the complexity of the electronic and wireless 
devices being used while driving today require a higher level 
of visual and cognitive attention from the driver, thus making 
these devices increasingly distracting. Recent Virginia Tech 
Transportation Institute studies have found that text messaging 
using a cell phone was associated with the highest risk of all 
non-driving tasks and is 20 times riskier than driving without 
distraction. The studies also found that texting required the 
longest duration of eyes-off-road time (an average of 4.6 
seconds) of all non-driving tasks. This amount of eyes-off-road 
time is equivalent to a driver traveling the length of a 
football field at 55 miles per hour without looking at the 
roadway.
    According to the NHTSA National Occupant Protection Use 
Survey, in 2007, hand-held electronic device use by drivers had 
increased to six percent of all drivers. This percentage equals 
1,005,000 vehicles on the road at any given daylight moment 
(7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) being driven by someone using a hand-
held electronic device.
    According to an American Automobile Association Foundation 
2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index, cell phone use while driving 
is growing among all age groups. Specifically, two of three 
drivers aged 18 to 34 reported using a cell phone while 
driving, but 53 percent of drivers aged 45 to 54 also admitted 
using a cell phone while driving. The report also found that 
using a cell phone while driving has been found to quadruple 
your risk of crashing.
    According to the National Safety Council, a nonprofit 
safety advocacy group, several hundred companies have banned 
employees from using their cell phones while driving. The 
National Safety Council states that such bans improve safety, 
help limit the liability of employers when accidents do occur, 
and free employees from feeling pressure to respond immediately 
while they are behind the wheel.
    To combat this growing threat to roadway safety, many 
States and localities have chosen to enact laws prohibiting 
talking on a cell phone or text messaging while driving. 
Numerous bills have been introduced during the 111th Congress 
to address distracted driving, including legislation to 
withhold Federal highway funds from States that fail to enact 
laws barring the sending of text or e-mail messages while 
operating a car or commercial motor vehicle.
    While Congress continues to consider comprehensive surface 
transportation and highway safety legislation, the House of 
Representatives and the Obama administration have taken 
immediate steps to begin combating the threat of distracted 
driving to roadway safety.
    On October 1, 2009, President Obama issued an Executive 
Order banning all Federal employees from texting while driving 
on official business or while using Government-supplied 
equipment or vehicles. With nearly three million civilian 
employees, as well as military personnel, this ban will help 
save lives, reduce injuries, and set an example for State and 
local governments, private employers, and individual drivers.
    In addition, Secretary LaHood announced that DOT will 
initiate rulemakings to ban text messaging and restrict the use 
of cell phones by interstate commercial motor vehicle and bus 
operators, and revoke the Commercial Driver Licenses of school 
bus drivers convicted of texting while driving.
    On November 4, 2009, the Committee on House Administration 
passed Committee Resolution 111-7, introduced by House 
Administration Committee Chairman Robert A. Brady, which 
prohibits House employees from text messaging while driving 
when on official business or using House-supplied equipment. 
The prohibition extends to SMS text messaging, e-mailing, 
instant messaging, and other forms of electronic data 
communication.
    H. Res. 841 seeks to raise awareness of this threat to 
public safety, particularly during the busy driving days of the 
Thanksgiving holiday season. Studies have shown that driver 
behavior can be effectively improved through education and 
awareness. With millions of Americans traveling on the nation's 
highways for the Thanksgiving holiday, the risk of traffic 
fatalities increases substantially. During the 2008 
Thanksgiving holiday travel season, 389 passenger vehicle 
occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. In 
an effort to combat the growing risk of driver distraction, 
this resolution encourages all Americans to practice safe 
driving this Thanksgiving holiday season.

                       SUMMARY OF THE LEGISLATION

    H. Res. 841 expresses support for the designation of 
November 29, 2009, as ``Drive Safer Sunday.'' The resolution 
encourages high schools, colleges, universities, 
administrators, teachers, primary schools, and secondary 
schools to launch campus-wide educational campaigns to urge 
students to be careful about safety when driving. The 
resolution also encourages national trucking firms to alert 
their drivers to be especially focused on driving safely during 
the holiday travel season and reminds clergy to speak to their 
members about the importance of safe driving. Further, the 
resolution encourages law enforcement personnel to remind 
drivers and passengers to drive safer, and all people of the 
United States to use this as an opportunity to educate 
themselves about the dangers of distracted driving and highway 
safety.

            LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On July 16, 2008, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit 
held a hearing on NHTSA's behavioral highway safety programs.
    On October 15, 2009, Representative Jim Gerlach introduced 
H. Res. 841. This resolution has not been introduced in a 
previous Congress.
    On October 29, 2009, the Subcommittee on Highways and 
Transit held a hearing on ``Addressing the Problem of 
Distracted Driving.''
    On November 5, 2009, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session to consider H. Res. 841, and 
ordered the resolution reported favorably to the House by voice 
vote with a quorum present.

                              RECORD VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the House of Representatives 
requires each committee report to include the total number of 
votes cast for and against on each record vote on a motion to 
report and on any amendment offered to the measure or matter, 
and the names of those members voting for and against. There 
were no recorded votes taken in connection with consideration 
of H. Res. 841, or ordering the resolution reported. A motion 
to order H. Res. 841 reported favorably to the House was agreed 
to by voice vote with a quorum present.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

                          COST OF LEGISLATION

    With respect to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, H. Res. 841 is a resolution of 
the House of Representatives, and therefore does not have the 
force of law. As such, there is no cost associated with this 
resolution for fiscal year 2010, or any fiscal year thereafter.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(2) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee advises that the resolution contains no measure that 
authorizes funding, so no comparison of the total estimated 
funding level for the relevant programs to the appropriate 
level under current law is required.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee advises that the resolution contains no measure that 
authorizes funding, so no statement of general performance and 
objectives for any measure that authorizes funding is required.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee advises that the resolution contains no measure that 
authorizes funding, so no cost estimate nor comparison for any 
measure that authorizes funding is required.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XXI

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee is required to include a list 
of congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits, as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of 
rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives. H. Res. 
841 does not contain any earmarks, limited tax benefits, or 
limited tariff benefits under clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of 
rule XXI.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H. Res. 841 is a resolution of the 
House of Representatives, and therefore does not have the force 
of law. As such, clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII does not apply.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    H. Res. 841 contains no Federal mandates.

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee states that H. Res. 841 does not 
preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 
legislation.

                APPLICABILITY TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the resolution does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (P.L. 104-1).

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H. Res. 841 makes no changes in existing law.