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NHTSA Announces Distracted Driving Guidelines

“Voluntary” rules meant to keep drivers’ eyes on the road.

by on Apr.24, 2013

U.S. Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood.

Battling against a distracted driving “epidemic” blamed for causing more than 10% of all U.S. highway fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unveiled new voluntary guidelines meant to keep driver’s eyes on the road rather than on smartphones and in-car devices displaying text messages and Web content.

The guidelines are meant to limit the amount of time drivers look away from the road even when doing mundane tasks like changing radio stations or checking onboard navigation directions. The proposal appears to take particular aim at text messaging and posting to social media sites like Facebook.

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Among the proposals, NHTSA would like to see the industry to find ways to block motorists from texting while behind the wheel.

According to NHTSA, motorists should not need to take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds at a time – and since some functions require paging through multiple screens, no task should take more than 12 seconds, according to the nation’s top auto safety regulators.

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Four of Five Drivers Admit to Distracted Driving Behavior

Men (surprise!) admit to being the worst offenders.

by on Jun.27, 2012

Government data reveals that while highway fatalities are declining, distracted driving deaths are up..

If you’ve ever texted while driving or sent out a Tweet, well, you aren’t alone.  In fact, you’re far from the minority, it seems.  A new Harris Poll reveals that more than four out of five motorists admit to making some sort of distracted driving behavior in a typical month.

Men, it turns out, are more likely to engage in this potentially dangerous behavior, according to the latest Harris AutoTechCast study, particularly when it comes to taking or making a phone call.  Younger motorists are more likely to do things like texting.

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Some of the behaviors might not normally land on a list of dangerous activities, such as drinking a beverage, but the risky behaviors begin to add up – to an average 37 different distracted driving activities over the last month, according to Harris Interactive, which conducted the poll.

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NTSB Wants to Ban Use of All Electronic Devices While Driving

Over 3,000 died in 2010 due to distracted driving.

by on Dec.14, 2011

Texting was blamed for this August 2010 crash that killed two.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to ban the use of all electronic devices while driving. That includes not only handheld phones and texting, but even the use of hands-free phones, Internet-connected devices and other high-tech systems.

The recommendation – which does not in itself carry the weight of law – comes days after another federal agency revealed that roughly one of every 11 Americans killed in traffic accidents in 2010 died due to distracted driving.

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“It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

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Ford Calls for Nationwide Handheld Cellphone Ban

But new study warns current bans having little to no impact.

by on Jul.13, 2011

Automakers and lawmakers alike appear to be growing increasingly concerned about distracted driving.

Ford Motor Co. has become the first automaker to openly call for a nationwide ban on the use of handheld cellular phones.

The maker’s unusually public pronouncement, which lent support to a measure now before Congress, comes as a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association releases results of a new study on distracted driving.  It found that in 80 out of 100 car crashes studies the driver had turned away from the road at the time of impact.

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In particular, the GHSA study revealed that drivers are four times as likely to have a crash while using a handheld phone as those not talking while behind the wheel.  But the data also raised a note of caution about efforts to curtail distracted driving, reflecting recent studies finding that existing bans on the use of handheld phones already in place have had limited impact.

A proposal by NY Democrat Carolyn McCarthy would compel all 50 states to ban motorists from using handheld phones while driving.  And Pete Lawson, Ford’s Vice President of Government Affairs, has hailed that as a positive step.

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