Group Launched to Fight Distracted Driving

Phoning and texting while driving kill an estimated 6,000 people every year. Safety advocates say it is about time a national organization was formed to fight it.

Linda Doyle, 61, of Oklahoma City never saw the crash coming. Neither did the 20-year-old driver who caused it. He was on his cell phone and never noticed the red light.

The accident killed Doyle and turned her daughter, a realtor, into a crusader, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

"We need to just drive," said Jennifer Smith, Doyle's daughter. "Why do you need to be doing anything else when you're driving a deadly weapon."

On Tuesday, she and other victims' families announced a new advocacy group called FocusDriven modeled after Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"In the old days drinking and driving was not considered that serious a thing," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "Today it is, with good enforcement, and that's where we want to get with distracted driving."

They've got their work cut out for them. Only 19 states plus the District of Columbia ban texting while driving. Only six states plus D.C. ban the use of a handheld cell phone. And not one state bans the use of hands-free phones by all drivers, even though research shows those devices can be just as distracting.

"The future will be technology that will limit the times when you can use the phone in your car," said Judy Stone, the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

For example, GPS-assisted systems that would detect when you're on the road and block all calls.

But there are also new gizmos that experts fear will create more distractions. Auto executives insist that internet-ready dashboard computers aren't as distracting as they seem.

"We've done a lot of research in this area and we're focusing on keeping the hands on the wheel and eyes on the road," said Jim Buczkowski, Director of Electrical Systems at Ford Motor Company.

They say the computers would be voice activated so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel. But it's where drivers heads would be that worries safety advocates.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.