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Posts Tagged ‘texting’

Voice Texting Still Dangerous, Warns New Study

“Taking mental concentration off the road.”

by on Apr.23, 2013

Even switching to hands-free texting may not reduce the risk of distracted driving.

Even as more states move to bar motorists from texting while driving, a growing number of automakers have been adding supposedly safer voice-to-text features to their vehicles. But a new study by the Texas Transportation Institute warns that the newer technology is just as likely to leave drivers distracted and at risk of a crash.

Distracted driving is responsible for an estimated 11% of all highway deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and texting is generally seen as one of the worst – and growing — problems. The Texas study cites industry data showing Americans send 6.1 billion text messages a day, and other studies have indicated that a sizable share of U.S. motorists – including a significant majority of younger drivers – text behind the wheel.

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With more and more states barring the use of handheld phones, whether to make a call or to text, the auto industry has been trying to fill the gap with hands-free technology such as Bluetooth calling and new voice-to-text apps.  But despite being billed as a safer alternative, the new study indicates that texting in any form is a dangerous distraction.


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.”


Fewer Teens Going for a Driver’s License

Makers struggle to appeal to the smartphone generation.

by on Jul.27, 2012

Teens appear to be more interested in texting than driving, according to a new study.

Nearly a third of American 19-year-olds haven’t bothered to get a driver’s license, according to a new study, continuing a downward trend that finds fewer and fewer Millennials plugging into the American car culture.

Instead, suggest researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, (UMTRI), young people are substituting e-mail and text messaging for the traditional forms of socializing that would have required them to get a set of wheels to stay in contact with friends and family.

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“Virtual contact reduces the need for actual contact,” suggested Michael Sivak, co-author of the new UMTRI study.  “We found that the percentage of young drivers was inversely related to the availability of the Internet.”

The report is the latest in a series showing a steady decline in the number of teens getting their licenses. In 1983, only 12.7% of those aged 19 skipped that traditional rite of passage in the U.S.   But the figure had nearly doubled, to 24.5% by 2008.  The latest study looked at U.S. Census and Federal Highway Administration data to determine that in 2010 a full 30.5% of 19-year-olds didn’t yet have a license.


Feds Wants Crackdown on Driver Texting

White House to demand automakers limit ability to text, use cellphones while driving.

by on Feb.16, 2012

A new set of "voluntary" federal guidelines would limit texting and the use of other distracting technologies while driving.

With the nation’s top automotive safety regulator calling distracted driving an “epidemic,” the Obama Administration is demanding that automakers put a limit on technologies that permit motorists to text or make cellphone calls while driving.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today outlined a series of voluntary steps for automotive manufacturers that would focus on the safe use of in-car infotainment systems.  The proposal would impact navigation and entertainment systems but would put a particular focus on the use of cellphones for texting and voice calling.

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“Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways,” said LaHood, explaining, “That’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel.”


IIHS Questions Need for Cellphone Ban

Existing laws haven’t cut crashes.

by on Dec.20, 2011

Though it agrees distracted driving is a major problem, a key insurance industry group questions the need for a blanket ban on all in-car technologies.

Not everyone believes that a wholesale ban on using cellphones – along with other electronic devices – would make driving safer.

In fact, existing laws that already restrict the use of handheld phones have had no impact on reducing distracted driving crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which questions the value of a recent proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board to take existing laws to a new level.  After studying a series of major incidents linked to distracted driving, the NTSB this month recommended sweeping new rules that would effectively bar drivers from using most electronic devices.

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But speaking with CNN, Russ Rader, a spokesman for the IIHS, cautioned that “distracted driving is much bigger than just phones,” adding that, “”focusing on phones doesn’t deal with the full spectrum of things that distract.”


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.”


A Third of Young Drivers Texting Behind the Wheel

“Deadly epidemic,” says DOT chief LaHood.

by on Mar.07, 2011

Nearly a third of drivers under 30 text while behind the wheel, reveals a new study.

America is facing a “deadly epidemic,” as more and more young people text or use cellphones while driving, warns Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

A new study, conducted by the Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports magazine, reveals that 30% of those under the age of 30 admit testing while behind the wheel.  And 63% acknowledge they’ve used hand-held cellphones.

By comparison, researchers found just 9% of drivers over 30 admitting to texting, and 41% saying they’ve used hand-held phones while behind the wheel.

Significantly, about a third of the young drivers said they don’t consider such activities to be dangerous.

That flies in the face of evidence showing that distracted driving accidents are responsible for 5,500 deaths on U.S. roadways each year, according to federal data.

“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads,” says LaHood, “and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure.”

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Significantly, federal statistics also reveal that crashes are the leading cause of death for teens – who are about three times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than older motorists.

A driver texting, meanwhile, is considered 23 times more likely to have a collision.