CBS/AP Nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in U.S. auto accidents due to drivers being distracted, particularly by mobile phones, the government said Wednesday.
The Transportation Department brought together experts for a two-day "distracted driving summit" on highway hazards caused by drivers talking on cell phones or texting from behind the wheel. Secretary Ray LaHood was expected Thursday to offer recommendations that could lead to new restrictions on using the devices while driving.
"You see people texting and driving and using cell phones and driving everywhere you go, even in places where it's outlawed, like Washington, D.C. We feel a very strong obligation to point to incidents where people have been killed or where serious injury has occurred," LaHood said.
Hours before the start of the meeting, Transportation officials said in a report that 5,870 people were killed and 515,000 were injured last year in crashes where at least one form of driver distraction was reported.
Public sentiment for banning cell phone use while driving may already be in place. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released Sunday, 90 percent of Americans said that it should be illegal for drivers to send text messages. Nearly all age groups in the poll supported a ban of texting while driving, the only dissenters being those between the ages of 18 to 29, in which only 16 percent agreed with an anti-texting law.