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Distracted Driving / TEDxYouth@Lancaster

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Jun 14, 2017 8:00 PM
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On the Thursday, June 15th edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

An April report from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shows distracted driving citations increased by fifty-two percent from 2014 to 2016.  Nearly three quarters of the more than 12,000 citations issued in 2016 went to men.  There have been 48 fatalities since 2012 on Pennsylvania roads due to distracted driving.

Distracted driving is defined by PennDOT as wearing headphones while driving, use of an "interactive wireless communication device" (read: cellphone) and any other behavior a law enforcement officer may deem as a dangerous activity while driving.  This could include eating, smoking, playing with the radio - even rubbernecking.

York County's Center for Traffic Safety "develops and implements comprehensive community traffic safety programs intended to reduce the incidence of traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths."  In recent years, they have focused on the dangers of distracted driving.

This week, Pennsylvania State Police troopers announced they are stepping up enforcement of distracted driving, adopting a "zero-tolerance" policy for behavior defined as "any type of driving defined as diverting attention away from the primary task of operating a motor vehicle."

Barbara Zortman, the director of the Center will join Smart Talk to discuss the dangers of distracted driving, point out hazardous driving behavior that we mistake as benign, and an effort that would ban 16 and 17-year-old drivers from using cell phones while driving.

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Barbara Zortman, Director of York County's Center for Traffic Safety

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Also, Smart Talk speaks with a couple smart teens who will be presenting at the weekend's TEDxYouth@Lancaster event.  Franklin and Marshall senior Sarah Hafiz is a Lancaster native focusing on health and public policy with interests in advocacy for Muslim and refugee rights.  Akash Banerjee, a freshman at Warwick High, uses humor and his experiences of growing up in a small conservative town to look at how stereotypes can be used constructively. 

Sarah and Akash will join thirteen other youths from the region who will speak at Millersville University's Winter Center on Saturday, June 17th.  TEDxYouth@Lancaster Executive Director Bob Visale will also be in studio to talk about the event's appeal and the role of TED talks in today's discourse.

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Akash Banerjee, Bob Visale, Sarah Hafiz

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