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OPINION

Senate targets texting in new 'distracted driving' program

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The Senate begins work this week on a spending bill that would set up a new $10 million grant program aimed at helping states combat "distracted driving," which focuses on texting behind the wheel.

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"While there is no definitive data as to how many distracted driving deaths and injuries are caused by cell phone use and texting, 20 percent of the drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2009 were either using or in the presence of a cell phone at the time of the crash, and there is reason to be concerned about whether the recent rise in distracted driving fatalities is linked to the increasing use of electronic devices," according to report language for S. 1596, the 2012 spending bill for the Department of Transportation and other agencies.

That bill will be one of three that the Senate hopes to combine and approve as a "minibus" spending bill as early as this week.

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