"To borrow from an overused modern expression: The board is speaking common sense to power. While there are reams of studies available on the dangers of texting while driving, is there really anyone out there who believes that typing messages while behind the wheel isn't dangerous?"
Previous efforts to change societal views about drunken driving and to increase compliance with seat belt laws and motorcycle helmet requirements took root over years, traffic safety experts said, with a three-pronged approach of tough laws, enforcement and education.
Safety advocates added that distracted driving poses a challenge similar to that posed by smoking: being able to communicate with friends or loved ones at all times may carry a certain cool factor, as cigarettes did in the 1950s and '60s. Like cigarettes, they can be the default solution to restlessness or boredom.
And, scientists said, the phone is very hard to resist. "There is absolutely an issue with compulsion," said David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine who runs a clinic called the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.
A November 2011 study concludes that the California ban on cell phone usage while driving did not lead to any reduction in traffic accidents.
The NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts from 2009 concluded that sixteen percent of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. Of those people killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (or eighteen percent of fatalities in distraction-related crashes).
18% of 16% is 2.9%. So less than three percent of all fatal crashes involved cell phone usage. (And that's just ones that "involved reports" of a cell phone, not ones that were actually determined to be caused by the cell phone distraction.)
If you include just the injuries instead of fatal crashes, the total goes up to twenty percent of total crashes involved distraction, and five percent of those distractions were cell phones.
Posts: 1116 | Location: Waxahachie | Registered: December 09, 2004
As of January 3, 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration deemed it illegal for those driving under a commercial license to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. This is great news to those concerned with highway safety, after all the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and 448,000 were injured, while one study at Monash University found that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
As always, that's a good baby step in the right direction. But to be honest, who's the bigger danger with a cell phone: the professional driver, with hours and hours of specialized training and who drives in traffic for a living; or Mr. or Miss inattentive driver, who may have barely passed drivers' ed (if it was taken at all) and who may or may not even have a license or be insured?
The answer is neither one is more immune to inattention blindness. The truck driver who glances down at his phone is no more able to see what's ahead of him than the minivan driver. Perhaps the professional driver is better at tuning out the distraction caused by the cell phone conversation itself, but that is not at all certain.
The size of commercial vehicles frequently makes their crashes more horrific when they do occur. So they get news coverage where everyday crashes usually don't. But to focus only on their more destructive distraction-related crashes is to ignore the thousands and thousands (or millions) of "normal" distracted drivers who surround us every time we're on the road. Those Priuses and Tahoes may be a lot smaller than CMVs, but there are a LOT more of them out there. What will we do about them?
Posts: 114 | Location: Bryan, Texas, USA | Registered: January 02, 2003
"Much has been said in recent years about the dangers of text messaging while driving," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown told Jones at her sentencing. "And yet it persists. This case serves as a tragic precautionary tale. The defendant engaged in reckless and senseless behavior.
"Now, as a result of the incidents, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a brother-in-law and an uncle is dead."
At first, I thought there were a lot of drunks in Georgia. At 8 a.m., no less. Here was this woman in front of me, swerving all over the road as I drove past Macon. When I finally felt I had enough time to get by her, I made my break, only to look over and see her paying all her attention to her iPhone, which was resting on the steering wheel. She was texting. Bless her little heart, as they like to say in the South.
Anyone successfully charged / prosecuted either criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter based on allegation that driver inattention was related to texting or cell phone use? If so, give me a call or email me. Thanks.
Posts: 9 | Location: Bay City, TX, USA | Registered: August 29, 2001
quote: Last month, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency published a dense document with guidelines for automakers on how to minimize the distractions caused by in-vehicle electronics. Buried among equations for determining optimal display viewing angles and testing procedures is the recommendation that navigation devices should only show static or near-static images, which would essentially eliminate their usefulness.
Section V.5.b of the document titled Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for In-Vehicle Electronic Devices says that "Dynamic, continuously moving maps are not recommended."
The section, which deals with photographs or videos, says that static or near-static maps for the purpose of driving directions are acceptable. Near static is defined as being updated every few seconds.
Every current installed navigation system uses the car as a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area.
Posts: 143 | Location: Fort Worth | Registered: August 08, 2001
University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer is researching distraction for a study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. When people in a simulator were using a system that let them receive e-mails and choose whether to have them read to them, which is offered on many smartphones and cars, it took "significantly longer" to react to brake lights ahead than when they were listening to the radio or talking on a cellphone, Strayer says.
With statistics increasingly showing that texting could be a factor in traffic deaths, Houston officials are urging drivers to think twice before texting behind the wheel with a new safety campaign.
The Houston Fire Department, Houston Police Department, State Farm Insurance and Clear Channel Outdoor are launching the initiative, posting signs that say "Texting Distracts - Watch the Road!". The billboards will be in 20 locations around the city starting this week through May.
If you’re driving through Chapel Hill, N.C., and your cellphone rings, don’t answer it. Starting June 1, you can get a $25 dollar ticket for talking on your cellphone while driving within the city limits. In a close 5-4 vote, the town council decided to ban any phone calls made while operating a vehicle – that includes hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth and speakerphones.