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AMA says, 'Put away the phone,' for National Cell Phone Courtesy Month

June 26, 2014

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association is encouraging motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians to put away their phones while using the nations roadways during National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July.

National Cellphone Courtesy Month is an event founded by etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore to encourage cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings. The AMA believes that respect should extend to drivers and pedestrians, as well.

"Cell phones certainly are useful devices for staying in touch with family, friends and business associates and for staying abreast of social media," said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. "But their use on public roadways increases risk in an already dangerous setting and puts motorcyclists in great peril."

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, distracted and inattentive driving have contributed to a significant number of motor vehicle crashes.

"Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes," the NHSTA and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute report. "Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness."

"Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians pay a disproportionally higher price for motor vehicle operator distraction and inattention," Dingman said.

The AMA supports legislation that makes available to the courts harsher penalties for offenders, such as higher fines, license suspension, points assessed against an operator's record, community service, or imprisonment.

To view the AMA position statement on distracted and inattentive driving, see www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/positionstatements

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