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Rhode Island receives federal grant to curb distracted driving

Distracted driving has become a very familiar term in Rhode Island and has contributed to many car accidents in the state and throughout the U.S. To address the increase in traffic fatalities and serious accidents caused by distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is giving seven states a grant to try to increase road safety and reduce car accidents.

Rhode Island is one of the seven states to receive the incentive grant by the NHTSA. Rhode Island will receive $495,000 to create a safety campaign that will reduce distracted driving in the state. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation previously launched their own campaign, "It Can Wait," to educate teen drivers about the risks associated with texting behind the wheel, and they are hoping that the new incentive program will help educate more drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Rhode Island's distracted driving prevention program will include education and community outreach for drivers in the state. The federal funding will also help the state increase enforcement efforts to crack down on drivers who text behind the wheel. The state is expected to launch their distracted driving prevention program in October this year.

The director of Rhode Island's DOT said that the best way to reduce traffic accidents in the state is to make policy changes in addition to educating the public about the dangers of texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors that commonly contribute to car accidents.

The federal incentive program shows just how dangerous distracted driving has become in Rhode Island. Distracted driving can result in very serious injuries and fatalities for anyone involved in these crashes. Victims of car accidents caused by distracted driving should know that texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors can be considered a form of negligence and drivers responsible for the accident can be held liable. Car accident victims should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their specific case.

Source: WPRI, "RI gets grant to end distracted driving," Chris Raia, Aug. 15, 2013

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