distracted driving

Transportation
11:29 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Distracted walking compounds danger of distracted driving

pedestrian with cell phone

A new survey suggests the danger of distracted driving is being compounded by distracted walking.

Dave Melton of Liberty International, the parent group of Liberty Mutual, says more and more pedestrians are chatting and texting on their cell phones as they cross streets.

55% of people surveyed agree it's dangerous, yet nearly half admit to doing it.

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Environment & Science
11:05 am
Mon May 6, 2013

U-M study: Most parents are distracted drivers

Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel, Mom.
textinganddrivingsafely.com

A new University of Michigan survey finds many parents are distracted behind the wheel.

The U-M researchers surveyed more than 600 parents to find out what distractions they face while driving with their children.

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Auto
4:07 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

'Multitasking is a myth,' regulators seek limits on car touchscreens

An example of where a person using a cell phone looked.
Transport Canada National Safety Council

U.S. traffic safety regulators have proposed voluntary measures to keep drivers from being distracted by in-car touchscreens.

In a study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.

Regulators fear in-car devices could lead to distracted driving as well.

The government's voluntary guidelines establish recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are built.

The guidelines seek to limit the time a driver must take her eyes off the road to manipulate a device to two seconds at a time - and twelve seconds total to complete the task.

The voluntary guidelines also recommend turning off several operations while the vehicle is in motion:

  • Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and internet browsing;
  • Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing;
  • Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content.

In a press release, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said:

"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said Secretary LaHood. "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives."

A spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told the Associated Press they're concerned regulations on in-car devices would encourage more use of mobile devices while driving.

The National Safety Council put out a report on "understanding the distracted brain" in which they write "Multitasking is a myth."

Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain handles tasks sequentially, switching between one task and another. Brains can juggle tasks very rapidly, which leads us to erroneously
believe we are doing two tasks at the same time. In reality, the brain is switching attention between tasks – performing only one task at a time.

Here's one example of a distracted brain:

Stateside
4:37 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

New study found that adults text more than teenagers while driving

Texting while driving is more common among adults than teenagers
C. Todd Lopez Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

When you think about someone texting and driving, who comes to mind? A teenager? If you said yes, you're wrong.

A survey conducted by AT&T as a part of the "It Can Wait" campaign found that 98% of adults that they surveyed admitted that they texted while driving.  In contrast, 48% of teenagers said they texted while driving.

The AT&T study also found that 60% of adults surveyed said that they didn't text while they were behind the wheel three years ago. 

What's going on with drivers in America? Is it smartphones? Or are we becoming more reckless drivers?

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Law
2:32 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Michigan ban on teen drivers using cell phones starts tomorrow

Bonnie Raffaele speaks at a news conference announcing an education campaign for "Kelsey's Law". The law is named for Raffaele's daughter, who died in a 2010 car accident while using her cell phone.

A new state law takes effect tomorrow that bans teenage drivers from talking on a cell phone behind the wheel.

“Kelsey’s law” is named for an Upper Peninsula teen who died in a car accident while using her mobile phone in 2010.

Kelsey’s mother, Bonnie Raffaele, lobbied hard for the law.

“Kelsey’s law will undoubtedly save lives,” says Bonnie Raffaele, “We may not know the exact number that it will save, but we know that it will save lives.”

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Politics & Government
6:26 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Snyder OKs ban on phone use by teen drivers

Will Merydith flickr

New drivers in Michigan will soon face restrictions on cell phone use while they’re behind the wheel.

Governor Rick Snyder signed “Kelsey’s Law” Tuesday.

It bans cell phone use by teen drivers who still have their probationary licenses unless they use a hands-free device or are reporting an emergency.

The law is named for 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele. The 17-year-old Sault Sainte Marie girl died in a car crash two years ago while talking on her cell phone.

Her mother, Bonnie Raffaele, lobbied for the law and attended the signing ceremony.

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Education
3:58 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

UMTRI launches website for Parents of Teen Drivers

A website is launching just in time to help parents monitor and improve winter driving skills for teen drivers.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute is launching the site called  Safer Driving for Teens.

Jean Shope serves as an associate director of UMTRI and says parents find it's worthwhile.  “We do find that teens whose parents have used this program, and they’ve had an agreement, drive in a less risky manner…and in other studies certainly have less crashes.”

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Politics & Government
2:32 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Michigan law bans cell phone use for new drivers

anitapeppers MorgueFile

Michigan lawmakers have passed a bill that will ban cell phone use by new drivers. 

The bill was named after 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele, who was killed in a car crash three years ago. She was talking on her phone while driving and lost control of her car.

A year and a half ago, Kelsey's mother, Bonnie Raffaele, started a campaign to ban cell phone use for drivers with probationary licenses.

"If we can teach them at a young age to not do it, and it's the social norm not to do it when you're driving, they'll carry that on to adulthood," Raffaele says.

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Newsmaker Interview
5:13 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Kelsey's Law, ban cell phone use for teens who drive

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Bonnie Raffaele, mother of Kelsey Raffaele, a teenage girl who died in a car crash on January 24, 2010 while using a cell phone. Bonnie has been advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 756. The bill, also known as Kelsey’s Law, would prohibit novice teen drivers from talking on the cell phone while driving. The bill, passed by the Senate earlier this year, will be discussed tomorrow in a House Transportation Committee Hearing.

Transportation
4:11 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Stateside: When the phones endanger the roads

Distracted driving persists throughout drivers across the country
C. Todd Lopez Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

You may want to rethink those seemingly innocent glances at your phone while driving.

Distracted driving continues to be a problem for many of those on the road today.

NPR's Sonari Glinton discussed the relationship many drivers have with their phones and how one’s urge to stay connected should not consume one’s commute.

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Transportation
5:26 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

Campaign targets distracted drivers

Flickr user poka0059

Organizers of a new campaign want to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving. The project is called "Remembering Ally: Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign." It was named in honor of Ally Zimmerman. She was sixteen when she was killed by a distracted driver.

Jim Santilli is executive director of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan. He says one simple mistake made by a distracted driver can change the lives of many people.

On Tuesday TIA will hold a conference at Zimmerman’s former high school in Romeo. The speakers will include members of her family as well as government and safety officials. A new, graphic video that details what happens in a car crash will also be shown.

The campaign is geared toward teens and young adults, but Santilli says older adults are also guilty of distracted driving.