WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, today applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for hosting the second annual National Distracted Driver Summit in Washington, DC. The summit brought together transportation officials, members of the law enforcement community, highway safety advocates, and health experts to discuss methods to combat the occurrence of distracted driving among Americans.

“I applaud USDOT for its ongoing efforts to promote safety on our roads and highways,” Dent commented. “The National Distracted Driver Summit will enhance awareness of this increasingly dangerous behavior and help educate countless Americans about the hazards of driving while distracted.”

Dent, a leading Congressional advocate for teen driver safety awareness and education, also praised DOT Secretary Ray LaHood for inviting Dr. Robert D. Barraco, Chief of Trauma Outreach and Chair of the Ethics Committee at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), to participate in an expert roundtable discussion at the summit. Dent recommended Barraco’s involvement in the panel discussion in a letter to Secretary LaHood sent last month.

“I commend Dr. Barraco for his dedication to improving driver safety, especially among our nation’s young people,” Dent explained. “Motor vehicle crashes are currently the leading cause of death among teenagers in this country, but the efforts of experts like Dr. Barraco will undoubtedly help prevent otherwise avoidable accidents and ensure more American drivers reach their destinations safely.”

Barraco has worked in collaboration with LVHN' s Emergency Medicine Department on the issue of distracted driving for many years. Specifically, he has studied the effects of interventions on teen driving behaviors as a member of an LVHN research team. This study found a significant reduction in observed cell phone use in teens following interventions. The results of the study have been presented at several national meetings including the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

"It is a privilege to be invited to participate in a forum with so many distinguished leaders all with the common goal of saving lives and reducing injuries by limiting the incidence of distracted driving,” Barraco said.