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Webster's names 'distracted driving' as top word of the year

Posted On Tue, November 17, 2009

A concept that plays into the potential for higher auto insurance rates has made a recent splash in the vocabulary world.

"Distracted driving" was named as Webster's New World 2009 Word of the Year, beating out words like "cloud computing" and "wallet biopsy" to take the top spot. Some studies have shown that distracted driving can lead to an increased chance people will get into an accident, which can lead to higher auto insurance rates.

"A sign of the times surely, distracted driving is another reflection - and consequence - of our ongoing romance with all things digital and mobile and the enhanced capabilities they provide," Webster's New World noted.

Distracted driving is the practice of doing other things while driving a car. Those tasks could include using a cell phone, eating a sandwich or putting on makeup. Because people are more tied to their electronic devices, thereby increasing their use, the subject of distracted driving has become important as of late.

So important, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Transportation recently held a summit examining ways that distracted driving could be reduced. As a result of the summit, President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning federal employees from using cell phones while driving cars on official government business.
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