National

Sep 20, 2010 8:29 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Distracted driving deaths fall in 2009

The government says the number of people killed in crashes connected to driver distraction fell last year but still remain an epidemic.

The Transportation Department said Monday that 5,474 people were killed in 2009 in crashes reported to have involved distracted driving, a 6 percent decline from the more than 5,800 people killed in 2008. Distraction-related deaths accounted for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009, the same percentage as in 2008.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the problem is still an epidemic and the data could be the "tip of the iceberg." He says many police reports don't document whether distraction was a factor in vehicle crashes.

LaHood is kicking off a second summit on distracted driving Tuesday.

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