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American Motorists Still Engaged in Distracted Driving

Survey shows U.S. drivers not as courteous as they could be.

by on May.19, 2016

U.S. motorists are still exhibiting the same distracted driving behaviors they've been warned about for years.

Despite years of warnings about the dangers of distracted driving, a new study reveals a mixed bag of results about American motorists and those behaviors: U.S. drivers dislike those behaviors, but are still seeing them in big numbers.

They’re also admitting to continuing to do the things they criticize. For example, 22% of people survey for the annual Expedia Road Rage Report said that texters are the most annoying and dangerous drivers on the road. However, 37% of those same folks admit to multi-tasking while behind the wheel.

In the Know!

The survey covered various aspects of driving and how people felt about them. As mentioned, the “Texter” is the most annoying, but “The Tailgater” followed at 14%, and “The Last-Minute Line-Cutter” was a close third, garnering 13% of the votes. (more…)

Parents Finding New Ways to Monitor Teen Drivers

Cameras, Bluetooth combine to keep teens in check.

by on Dec.23, 2013

Teens are easily distracted while driving, but parents have many devices at their disposal to help.

These days its not just Santa wanting to know if kids have been naughty or nice, parents of teenage drivers really want to know as well.

Statistics show that teenage drivers are, well, the worst drivers on the roads. The traffic accident rates for 16- to 19-year old drivers are higher than those for any other age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Plugged In for News!

Young people ages 15 to 24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, but they account for 30% or $19 billion of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (more…)

Ford Owned Volvo Tows Line on Cell Phone Use

The Swedish company renowned for auto safety ignores a key aspect in the cell phone use while driving debate.

by on Sep.29, 2009

There's good reason the National Safety Councile wants a total ban on driving and cell phone use.

The National Safety Council wants a total ban on driving and any kind of cell phone use.

Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) is placing full-page ads tomorrow in issues of USA Today and The Washington Post that call for distracted driving legislation.

Publicly taking a position on the need for legislation is apparently a first for Volvo, and the company chose to do so as the Department of Transportation’s “Distracted Driving Summit” in Washington, D.C., which opens tomorrow.

It is indicative of the high stakes and high profits that potentially are on the line if the government bans the use of electronic devices in cars, including phones, moving maps, Blackberries and video players, among others.

The advertisements apparently attempt to change the subject from the dangers of any kind of cell phone use while driving to a position that hand-free cell phone use while driving is safe.

Peer reviewed scientific studies say that it is the cognitive engagement while using either a hands-free or a hand-held cell phone that is the dangerous distraction.

The issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the mental distraction caused by the conversation itself. That’s the reason earlier this year the National Safety Council urged a total ban on using cell phones while driving after conducting further studies that confirmed previous research on just how dangerous cell phones are.

NSC said cell phone use while driving contributes to 6% of crashes, or 636,000 wrecks, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year. NSC estimates the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.

Simply put cell phone use is as dangerous as drunken driving.

Volvo and Ford Motor Company, along with virtually all other automakers are attempting to preserve hands-free cell phone use, which they enable with optional or standard equipment telematic devices that allow an increasing array of electronics to be used during driving.

We Concentrate on Driving!

We Concentrate on Driving!

Such scientific studies are likely to be contested tomorrow at the Distracted Driving Summit as powerful and wealthy vested interests attempt to protect the increasing sale of electronic devices that are leading to an “epidemic of distracted during,” in the words of Republican Ray LaHood, who heads the Department of Transportation. As DOT head, LaHood also has charge of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is supposed to protect people from unsafe vehicles, driving conditions and practices.

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Cell Phone Use Showdown Coming at Distracted Driving Summit Next Week in Washington

Automakers are enabling deadly driving behaviors with an increasing array of profitable electronic options.

by on Sep.23, 2009

The National Safety Councile wants a total ban on driving and cell phone use.

The National Safety Council wants a total ban on driving and any type of cell phone use.

Next week when the Distracted Driving Summit called for by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opens, the debate will intensify around what to do about a growing public safety problem – the role of electronic devices in an increasing number of auto accidents.

Almost 42,000 lives are lost annually on U.S. Highways. And traffic crashes are the primary cause of incapacitating injuries, as well as the number one killer of Americans under the age of 34. In addition to staggering psychological costs, the annual economic loss to society because of these crashes, defined by lost worker productivity, medical costs, and insurance costs, among others, is estimated at more than $150 billion. No one seriously debates that there is a need for an improvement in motor vehicle safety.

Getting unsafe vehicles off the road is now broadly recognized as common sense more than forty years after the Senate  conducted hearings that led to auto safety legislation in 1967, which automakers fought all the way. Now a new deadly threat is emerging from the practices of automakers and sellers of electronic devices. No surprise given the history, automakers are once again fighting rules that could potentially eliminate a substantial number of accidents.

Driver inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes, responsible for about 80% of all collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Moreover, leading the way in this lack of visual and cognitive attention is cell phone use – either hand-held or hands-free. With more than 100 million people each day practicing dangerous distracted driving behavior, the fatalities and accidents such behavior causes is growing. There is also the growing use of in-vehicle telematics and “infotainment systems” that clearly distract drivers.

Particularly dangerous is the widespread use of cell phones. The issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the mental distraction caused by the conversation itself. That’s the reason earlier this year the National Safety Council urged a total ban on using cell phones while driving after conducting further studies that confirmed previous research on just how dangerous cell phones are.

NSC said cell phone use while driving contributes to 6% of crashes, or 636,000 wrecks, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year. NSC estimates the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion. Simply put cell phone use is as dangerous as drunken driving.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen, contends that hands-free phones are safe – but can supply no studies to support that assertion.

Telephone conversation impairs sustained visual attention

We Pay Attention!

We Pay Attention!

The problem with such an obviously self-serving position is that recent peer-reviewed research shows that holding telephone conversations disrupts one’s driving ability in a way similar to drunken driving. (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2008, 15 (6), 1135-1140 doi:10.3758/PBR.15.6.1135)

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Department of Hypocrisy: Senate Bill on Texting While Driving Ignores the Original Core Issue.

Safety policy needs to address widespread cell phone use as well as other electronic devices automakers are promoting.

by on Aug.03, 2009

Senator Charles Schumer Taxpayer Financed Portrait

This anti-texting movement fails to address the core issue -- cell phone use.

As the debate about the national safety problem cause by distracted drivers using electronic devices heats up, the government agency responsible for traffic safety has come under attack for suppressing studies showing just how bad the problem is, and, worse, for bowing to Congressional pressure not to pursue regulations that would save lives. 

In a joint press release, Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety said that since 2003, the government has known that drivers talking on their cell phones experience the same potentially deadly distraction whether they are using a handheld device or hands-free technology. The pressure groups made the accusations after a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act obtained internal documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“By keeping this information secret from the public for the past six years, the government has endangered even more lives, the groups said. Cities and states across the country have passed laws and ordinances requiring drivers to use hands-free phones, mistakenly believing those devices to be safe and encouraging drivers to use them.”

The suppressed evidence and opinions by safety experts advising NHTSA have since been confirmed by numerous independent studies.

With more than 100 million people each day practicing dangerous distracted driving behavior, the fatalities and accidents causes are growing to proportions far greater than the few swine flu deaths that caused a public uproar. Particularly dangerous is the widespread use of cell phones. The issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the distraction caused by the conversation itself. That’s the reason the National Safety Council urged a total ban on using cell phones while driving earlier this year after conducting further studies that confirmed previous research on just how dangerous they are.

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