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Fatal Distractions: US Drivers Continue Cellphone Use and Texting Despite Risks

American motorists more likely to take chance than Europeans.

by on Mar.14, 2013

U.S. motorists are far more likely to make calls or text than counterparts in Europe, says the CDC.

They can be “fatal distractions,” but despite the increasingly well-understood risks, American motorists blithely continue to use cellphones or text while behind the wheel – far more than their counterparts in Europe.

Efforts to get drivers to put down their mobile devices and focus on the road have so far failed to yield significant results, according to a new study released by the Center for Disease Control. Other recent studies suggest that this is contributing to what the nation’s top transportation official has dubbed an “epidemic” of distracted driving.

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“The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive,” warns CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Driving and dialing or texting don’t mix. If you are driving, pull over to a safe place and stop before you use your cell phone.”


Device Shuts Down Cellphones While Driving

A digital way to hang up.

by on Jan.23, 2012

Scosche blocks the use of cellphones while a car is in motion.

Some drivers just can’t seem to hang up the cellphone – even with tough fines in place in many parts of the country.  So, a new digital device will do it for them.

Dubbed Scosche, the manufacturer claims the device not only will prevent calls from being made from a moving vehicle but the technology also will prevent text messaging, the use of e-mail, even blocking the use of a cellphone’s camera and other apps.

And should you use the device to try to get your teenagers to focus on driving the system will send its own text message or alert if it’s either tampered with or itself disabled.

Be in the Know!

About the size of an inkjet printer’s ink cartridge, Scosche starts at $129.95 and can be purchased at a variety of locations, including at the mega-website Amazon.  Notably, it’s listed alongside of some other gear the company produces that makes it easier to make calls or use devices like external navigation systems and satellite radio receivers.


Students Design In-Car Apps for Ford Fiesta

Making mobile Internet access easier – and safer, Ford claims.

by on May.14, 2010

University of Michigan student Collin Hockey describes the app developed by his team for Ford's Sync system. Photo (c) Bryan Laviolette

For a growing number of people, the Internet is an ever-present companion, whether they’re using a laptop to pay bills or posting a status update on facebook from their smartphone. In fact, there’s really just one place, doing one activity, where connecting to the Net is a problem: behind the wheel of a car while driving.

Ford is looking for a way to make that possible – safely — and the company has turned to those drivers most connected to the Web to find a solution.  They have formed a partnership with a class at the University of Michigan (U-M) where students are designing apps for use in the car – specifically through Ford’s Sync technology.

The research project has so far resulted in six programs for the company’s new Fiesta, a subcompact due to launch as a 2011 model. Ford uses Sync’s voice recognition technology to make these applications accessible while driving.

“We’re talking about bringing the Internet up to speed,” Alan Hall, technology communications manager for Ford, said. “Voice is what we really see as the primary interface moving forward.”

The Inside Story!

Marrying the Internet to the automobile will also aid productivity, said Venkatesh Prasad, group and technical leader of Ford’s infotronics research and advanced engineering team. He said that commuting to and from work is lost time while the driver has to concentrate only on driving.