Archive for the Category Distracted Driving

 
 

States Curbing Distraction In Myriad Ways, According To The GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a new study that examines the state of distracted driving laws in place throughout the country, and the results show that officials everywhere are taking steps to curtail the threat, even if they’re doing so in different ways.  The organization points out that South Carolina, Arizona, and Montana are the only holdouts to having a distracted driving law of some type on the books.  However, various cities within those states have enacted their own measures, and it’s often possible to pull a driver over anyway if their distracting action leads to a reckless maneuver that would itself be deemed illegal.  The report also acknowledges the dramatic jump in texting and driving bans and the various awareness efforts that have been enacted to cut down on distraction.

For more about this study, click here.

Connecticut Enacts Stricter Laws Against Cellphone Driving

Two separate measures that aim to curtail distraction at the wheel have been signed into law by the governor of Connecticut.  At the moment, talking on a handheld cellphone can only prompt a ticket from the officer if the vehicle is actually in transit.  The new law would change things so that a driver could be pulled over and slapped with a ticket even if the automobile is stopped at a stop sign, traffic light, or traffic snarl.  The other law ratchets up the fines currently in place in regard to the cellphone ban.  In addition, a point system will be created that allows insurance companies to raise premiums once a texting and driving ticket is issued.

Click here for more information.

GHSA Study Illuminates Distracted Driving Laws Across The Country

A new report references a Governors Highway Safety Association study that took a look at the various laws states have enacted in regards to distracted driving.  With nine out of citizens across the country having a cellphone and half of the country in possession of a Smartphone, the issue will only continue to grow in importance.  The study’s lead author said that most states are at the very least making some strides in fighting this epidemic,  especially among the country’s youngest drivers.  Many states that have yet to ban texting or talking on a phone are at least enacting various educational efforts and mandates affecting employees.  37 states don’t allow teen drivers to use phones, but only 11 states have made the leap to ban all handheld cellphone usage among all drivers.

Click here for more about states’ various efforts.

Washington State Patrol Attributes Traffic Jams To Texting and Driving

A new press release from the Washington State Patrol explains that many traffic jams in the modern day can be attributed to texting and driving.  The thought is that persons texting at the wheel are getting in the types of minor traffic accidents that don’t necessarily lead to severe injuries or fatalities but that do tie up the roads.  The Chief of the Patrol explained that relatively few concrete statistics are available about these types of crashes because minor crashes are classified as civil infractions.  But with cellphones becoming increasingly common at the wheel, the department suspects that texting can be to blame for a large swath of wrecks and subsequent backups.

For more information, click here.

Texting and Driving Ban Not a Concern For Rapid City

South Dakota is one of the last remaining holdouts to a ban on texting and driving, and although some cities have already taken steps to ban texting or cellphone usage as a whole, others aren’t so keen to put a law on the books. Rapid City is one such city that isn’t eager to ban texting at the wheel.  The city’s attorney has noted that, although he has received numerous queries from media officials about the city’s possible pursuit of a texting ban, the same requests have not come in from local residents.  A Councilwoman explains that she is all for a ban but worries about issues of enforceability, while the city’s Police Chief hopes that the state will ban the act among younger drivers.

Follow this link for more information.

Debate Arises Over Google Glass’s Place In An Automobile

Google Glass hasn’t even arrived yet and a debate has already sprung up over the safety of such a device at the wheel.  Bills that would preemptively outlaw such systems among drivers are already scheduled to be taken up by lawmakers in Delaware and West Virginia, the thought being that Glass can distract an individual the same way that a telephone conversation might.  And yet app developers are already starting to think about how Glass can be used in conjunction with a driving system.  These two contradictory approaches to the device are destined to butt heads at some point down the line.   Google itself acknowledges the inappropriateness of the device in certain situations but has not made a statement about its usage in vehicles.

For more information, click here.

Fort Wayne City Vehicles Dubbed First in Nation To Limit Distraction

The Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana is touting his city’s adoption of technology that places a limit on the potential distractions that a police officer might face when piloting his or her vehicle.  The technology in question, known as Archangel II, monitors the officer’s speed.  Once they reach a certain level, the touch screen and keyboard functions will be shut off so that the officer can focus their full attention on the road.  At the same time, the officer will still be able to activate the call screen if they need to communicate due to an emergency or some such situation.  And it’s not just police getting in on the action.  The city will be installing Archangel II in vehicles operated by public works, fire, and utility department workers.

Click here for more information.

Missouri Teens Question Efficacy of Anti-Texting Awareness Efforts

A series of interviews with teenagers in Cape Girardeau, Missouri reveals that many young people question how effective various awareness efforts focused on texting and driving really are.  Some said that teens are minimally aware of these messages, while others are afraid to speak up when a friend is texting even if they themselves don’t take part in the activity.  But all is not without hope. Some of the same teens interviewed stated that they don’t text because of fear of repercussions in the form of a crash or a ticket. One teen stated that anti-texting efforts seem to be more successful when police actually show up for school assemblies to discuss the danger.

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Teen Drivers Officially Barred From Cellphone Usage in South Dakota

South Dakota may have failed to secure the votes necessary to ensure the passage of a texting and driving ban, but lawmakers were able to achieve a favorable outcome for a measure that will inhibit the ability of younger drivers to legally use such devices.  Starting today, persons with a restricted minor’s permit or a learner’s permit will be banned from using a cellphone at the wheel.  The South Dakota Safety Council is in support of the measure, with a representative referring to texting as an activity that endangers more than just the individual engaged in the act.  A couple of California residents were interviewed for a news story, and they looked favorably upon the law, perhaps due to the fact that cellphone usage has been banned in California for quite some time among all drivers.

Click here for more about the new law.

Oregon Law Raising Cellphone Violation Costs Unlikely To Pass

At the moment, persons caught driving while on their cellphones in the state of Oregon can expect to be slapped with a $500 fine.  However, the president of the Senate this year has been in the midst of trying to raise those penalties even higher than they currently are.  He was in support of a proposed measure that would double that initial fine drivers would have to pay if ticketed, but he now notes that the bill stands little chance of making it to passage prior to the end of this year’s session.  At the moment, the bill is still trapped in committee.  The law would have also earmarked funding for signs alerting drivers to the serious ramifications of texting or talking on a cellphone at the wheel.

Click here for more about the likely failed law.

Results Come In For 6 State Trooper Project

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan recently banded together for something known as the 6 State Trooper Project.  Over the course of a week, state police officers took to the roads to crack down on drivers texting, talking on a cellphone, or conducting any manner of other distracting activities.  During that timeframe, just under 2,000 tickets were issued to those who could be considered distracted at the wheel.  A similar effort being held this September will focus on citing drivers who are high on or in possession of marijuana while driving.  Over the same aforementioned timeframe, troopers across those states also attributed over 200 crashes to a driver being distracted in some manner.

Click here for more about the operation.

Texting Ban Enforcement Proving Difficult in Sioux Falls

Texting and driving has been illegal in the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota for nine months, but drivers would be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t.  In that timeframe, only 19 people have been on the receiving end of a ticket from a police officer.  A news crew was with one officer when the latest ticket was issued to an allegedly texting driver.  The officer notes that the law, which specifically bans texting, has actually led to a drop in tickets.  Before the measure was passed, officers could pull people over under the pretense of careless driving, a much easier offense to prove.  That same officer notes that careless driving could still apply if someone’s cellphone usage leads to an ill-timed driving maneuver, even though cellphone usage is in itself not necessarily illegal.

For more information, follow this link.

New Jersey Drivers To Face More Severe Texting Ban Penalties

Yesterday, the Governor of New Jersey affixed his signature to a law that will see violators ticketed for texting and driving paying much higher fines than before.  Although not scheduled to go into effect for more than a year, fines will rise to between $200 and $400 the first time a driver is caught, a marked change from the current $100 standard.  For third offenses, that number can escalate to as high as $800 and lead the law breaker to get a suspended license for three months.  The money acquired from such traffic stops will reportedly be partially used for the creation of public awareness efforts that will attempt to explain to motorists the dangers of texting and the financial impact a ticket could have.

For more about the finalized law, click here.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Mull Cellphone Driving Ban

Although lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts banned texting and driving back in 2010, handheld cellphone usage has remained legal.  However, that could change if a measure on the agenda of this session receives support.  The bill is currently in front of the Transportation Committee of the legislature, and both chairs of that committee have acknowledged their support for the matter.  If passed out of the committee, the bill will have to secure the votes of the Senate and House, a move that was squelched the session prior before the ban could even be brought to a vote.  One Representative believes that if a cellphone ban is going to be too difficult to pass, a partial ban in school zones should be pursued.

Click here for more about the proposed ban.

California Safety Grants Target A Number of Areas of Interest

A series of grants have been awarded throughout California so that safety in numerous areas can be improved.  At the University of California-San Diego, for example, nearly half a million dollars will be provided for efforts designed to improve safety among older drivers and to discourage distracted driving of all sorts.  Other colleges have received funds earmarked for such things as the enacting of anti-drunk driving campaigns and studies into seatbelt usage and collisions involving motorcycles.  The 274 projects receiving the $87 million in grant money are being given these funds due to the state’s Department of Transportation.

Click here to learn more about these safety grants.

Anti-Texting and Driving Event Held At Washington State

Washington State University was the site of a conference bringing in teenagers from across the state to learn about the dangers of texting and driving.  The event, known as “Text or Call, It Could Wreck It All,” has become a yearly fixture in Washington.  On hand  this year was a representative from the State Patrol to discuss the illegality of certain distracting acts while at the wheel.  A representative from AAA was also around to explain to teenagers that avoiding texting is a lot easier when one puts their phone out of reach when driving.  Other teenagers discussed their experiences with tragedies created by an errant text.  When the event reached its completion, attendees had the option to pledge not to indulge in cellphone usage while driving.

Follow this link to learn more about the event.

“Talk To You Later” Campaign Takes Aim at Texting and Driving

A national event known as the Talk To You Later Initiative has been put forth by an organization called Kars4Kids.  The organization, concerned about the increased prevalence of texting and driving and other distractions, especially among teenagers, hopes that the effort will lead to greater awareness about the issue.  To that end, teens are encouraged to head online to learn more about the campaign and the dangers of texting.  Visitors are invited to take a pledge never to text while behind the wheel of a vehicle, and the first thousand people who agree to this will be able to obtain an anti-texting thumb band.

For more about the campaign, follow this link.

New Jersey Senate Approves Texting Ban Signage Bill

Texting and driving is already illegal in New Jersey, but lawmakers want to make sure that anyone traveling through the state understands both the danger and illegality of the act.  Yesterday, members of the Senate followed the lead of the Assembly and unanimously passed a bill that will clear the way for new signs to be placed along state roads telling motorists that texting is against the law.  The measure, which previously received the approval of the Assembly in March, now just needs to be signed by the Governor before the signage gets the final green light.  Named after a teenager who lost her life last year, the measure is designed to raise awareness and cut down on the types of behaviors that lead to tragedy.

Click here for more about the law.

Study Shows Distracted Walking Injuries Are Becoming Common

A new study out of Ohio State shows that distracted walking might actually lead to more injuries than distracted driving.  Researchers analyzed emergency room check-ins starting in 2004 and leading up to 2010, compiling information on all those persons who submitted to treatment after being injured as a cyclist, a driver, or a pedestrian.  These incidents, which were found in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, showed that 1,506 pedestrians were injured because of distracted walking, a number that’s actually higher than the same number for driving.  Researchers figure that the number of incidents is greater once you take fatalities and non check-ins into account.  Among the injurious incidents flagged were a teenager on a phone walking into a ditch and an adult male walking into a pole.

Click here for more about the research.

Distracted Driving Ever-Present in California and Riverside County

The California Office of Traffic Safety has released the results of a study which sought to analyze the various rates at which drivers in the state engage in dangerous driving activities.  The agency estimates that 7.4% of drivers are using their cellphones on the road at any given moment, a decrease from last year but about the same as the year prior.  A Sacramento-based spokesperson says that this is probably the low end of the spectrum.  On months when distracted driving crackdowns are not in effect, about 36,000 tickets are handed out.  A reporter sought to compile anecdotal information at the Riverside County level by watching a local intersection.  In doing, he found that 7.7% of drivers were using cellphones, but around two thirds failed to stop completely at the stop sign.

Click here for more information.