Jul 27 by GJEL

Can Distracted Driving Reduce Car Accidents?

The short answer to the question above is a definitive “no.” With the rise of technology, distracted driving has become a serious problem on US roadways, contributing to nearly 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries each year, according to the NHTSA. To solve this problem, many have turned to dangerous distracted driving technologies that make it easier, not harder, to text and talk behind the wheel. Safety advocates and government officials have opposed this tactic, noting that it’s the conversation, not the device, which causes distractions. The best way to avoid distractions is to simply put down the phone while behind the wheel. But a new article by Keith Barry for Wired’s Autopia blog states that distractions might not be the worst thing.

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Jul 11 by GJEL

Miss USA Jamie Lynn Crandall Targets Distracted Driving

Like thousands of Americans each year, Utah’s Jayme Lynn Crandall (now best known as Miss America), lost a friend to distracted driving. Her friend was killed by a driver who ran a red light while texting behind the wheel in 2007. The victim’s mother, Linda Mulkey, later founded an advocacy organization “Hang up, Save a Life,” which includes an informative website, awareness resources, and a scholarship fund. Crandall immediately began fighting for this cause, and has pledged to continue this effort throughout the next year, while acting as Miss USA.

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Jul 08 by GJEL

Confusing Distracted Driving Report Blurs Safety Evidence

Acting on accident reports showing that talking and texting while driving is dangerous, nine states nationwide have banned all hand held cell phone use, and 34 have banned texting while driving. Of course, these new laws have ignited the debate about distracted driving, leaving stalwarts of the insurance industry questioning whether distracted driving truly does make roads more dangerous. The newest report denying the link between distracted driving and car accidents, sponsored by the Governors Highway Safety Association and State Farm Insurance, says there’s no evidence to prove that cell phone bans reduce accidents, and adds some confusing details.

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Jun 02 by GJEL

Anti Distracted Driving Accident Campaign Targets Auto Technology

Everyone knows that distracted driving is dangerous. There’s simply no safety replacement for staying focused on the road at all times. But when it comes to improving road safety, people seem divided about whether technology should make texting and talking on the phone easier in order to let the driver’s eyes remain on the road, or whether technology should prevent distractions by blocking cell phone use before the driver’s attention wanders. This week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have provided their answer with an effort to eliminate distracting technology behind the wheel.

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May 13 by GJEL

National Youth Traffic Safety Month Prepares Teen Drivers for Summer Safety

As we’ve learned in past weeks, May is an important month for traffic safety nationwide. May marks National Bike Month, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and National Youth Traffic Safety Month. This mode of driver safety awareness comes at the perfect time, as teen car accident statistics spike during the summer months. As Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood points out on his blog, car accident deaths nearly double for drivers aged 15-19 during May, June, July and August. So do your part to reduce teen car accidents and pay attention to National Youth Traffic Safety Month.

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May 03 by GJEL

National Bike Month Focuses on Reducing Youth Bicycle Accidents

As National Bike Month rolls around, we’re reminded that too many cyclists currently on the road maintain bad habits on city streets. Many adult cyclists don’t wear helmets, obey traffic signs, or use reflective gear at night. Some states have bicycle safety laws that require appropriate bicycle safety behavior for children and teenagers. But as Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood writes on his blog this week, National Bike Month should encourage smart bicycle safety from the top down. If you have children, be a good “Roll Model” during May as National Bike Month.

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Apr 25 by GJEL

Ray LaHood to Expand Auto Safety Laws After Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to a close this week, it’s helpful to look back at what lawmakers and safety advocates have accomplished over the past few years, when distracted driving was really on the rise. While most states hadn’t even considered distracted driving laws five years ago, about 7 now ban the use of handheld cell phones, and more than 30 states prohibit texting while driving. Fortunately, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood isn’t only thinking about distracted driving during April every year. He’s laid out a forward-looking plan that promises to get even more comprehensive as the year progresses.

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Apr 05 by GJEL

California Distracted Driving Awareness Month Stresses Enforcement

Though 2010 marked the first annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month, California did not participate in an official capacity. So this year, California is making an impact with a statewide crackdown on distracted driving. About 225 local police agencies will team up with the California Highway Patrol to implement 103 CHP Area Commands and a “zero-tolerance policy” against offenders. A first-time offence carries a $20 fine, but with additional charges, the economic damage can reach over $200. So during Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, remember to be safe and avoid distracted driving, or your wallet could regret it.

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Apr 04 by GJEL

DOT Boasts Drop in Car Accident Deaths

Based on preliminary data, the Department of Transportation estimated last week that 32,788 people were killed in car accidents in 2010, the lowest number in more than 60 years. The death toll remains way too high, but it’s particularly impressive considering that the number of miles driven last year increased by 21 billion and over the past five years alone, traffic deaths have dropped 25 percent. Praising DOT initiatives, one NBC reporter said the drop was likely due to “safer better cars, DUI enforcement, even the roads we drive on.”

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Apr 01 by GJEL

Distracted Driving Awareness Month Ignites Driver Safety Debate

As April and Distracted Driving Awareness Month rolls around, you can expect safety advocates and lawmakers to discuss the many dangers of distracted driving. But despite reports that distracted driving kills nearly 6,000 people and injures about 500,000 each year, some have said the impact of distracted driving on highway safety has been exaggerated. So in addition to information about technological solutions to car distractions and a star-studded awareness campaign, expect Distracted Driving Awareness Month to reignite the debate about whether or not we need to eliminate the dangerous practice.

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Mar 31 by GJEL

California Boosts Driver Safety Laws For Distracted Driving Awareness Month

For years, the California Highway Patrol has done a fantastic job keeping our roads safe from dangerous drivers and reducing vehicle injuries and fatalities. That job has grown more difficult with the rise of technology and distracted driving, but the CHP will team up with 225 local California police agencies to establish 103 California Highway Patrol Area Commands and enact a “zero-tolerance policy” to combat distracted driving through April; the country’s second annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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Mar 29 by GJEL

States Boost Safety Laws Before Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is distracted driving awareness month, which means that safety advocates and lawmakers will put the issue front and center, trying to find a solution to eliminating distracted driving, which the federal government says is responsible for 6,000 deaths and 500,000 car accident injuries each year. More than 30 states now have some sort of law against distracted driving, so you can expect the remaining states to catch some negative attention this month. North Dakota seems to have missed this scrutiny, as its Senate passed two major anti-distraction bills right in time for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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Mar 24 by GJEL

Can We Control the Distracted Driving “Arms Race”?

With just about every driving-related sector trying to make distracted driving less prevalent, is dashboard Facebook access necessary? Clearly, no. But that’s the newest development in a distracted driving “arms race” that has engulfed car companies, each trying to develop cutting edge technology designed to make distraction easier and safer behind the wheel. Of course, some are concerned that making technology easier to use while driving will automatically harm road safety. But due to our society’s focus on business, stopping this trend may be difficult.

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Mar 10 by GJEL

Can National Bike Summit Reduce Preventable Bicycle Accidents?

Lawmakers, cyclists, and safety organizations nationwide traveled to Washington DC this week for the annual National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists. In past years, the summit has been a forum to discuss issues pertinent to cyclists, connect with advocates from other cities and states, and discuss future goals. But when it comes to the ultimate goal of making roads safer for bicycles and reducing fatal accidents, the strategy has long been unclear. Will this year’s National Bike Summit make a significant step toward reducing fatal bicycle accidents?

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Mar 07 by GJEL

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Talks Distracted Driving Laws & Enforcement

Consumer Reports is absolutely killing it when it comes to distracted driving coverage. Last week, I reviewed their April edition, in which Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a tireless advocate for stricter distracted driving laws, said he would use his clout to push for a nationwide anti-distracted driving law. Later in the week, the magazine’s car blog profiled some groundbreaking youngsters leading the next generation of vehicle safety advocates. And today, the advocacy group’s website will host LaHood in a conversation titled “Distracted Driving Shatters Lives.”

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Mar 03 by GJEL

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Advocate Federal Distracted Driving Law

Like drunk driving and wearing a seat belt, avoiding distracted driving is becoming more and more of a no brainer. The Department of Transportation has reported that there were 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries caused by distracted driving last year alone, making it the number one killer of teenagers. But as technology becomes more advanced, the temptation to text, email, or talk on the phone while driving becomes even more of a problem. In a major story for its April edition, Consumer Reports has targeted distracted driving, its major opponents, and listed ideas for what regular people can do to end it.

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Jan 24 by GJEL

Will Auto Technology Increase or Decrease Distracted Driving Car Accidents?

At this point, just about everyone is on the anti-distracted driving bandwagon. Safety advocates, major celebrities, cell phone companies and more have joined Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to raise awareness about eliminating the dangerous practice. There are some notable holdouts, including the US auto industry, which has enhanced navigation and entertainment systems to improve slumping sales. This week, LaHood will meet with the country’s major automakers to seek help for his anti-distraction campaign. This raises the question of what role technology will have in distracted driving this year and throughout the coming decade.

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Jan 19 by GJEL

Does New Distracted Driving Study Stretch the Facts on Auto Safety?

Over the past year, the national consensus about distracted driving has solidified as safety advocates, cell phone companies, and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, agree that it is a dangerous practice that must be reduced. Most notably, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has made the fight against distracted driving one of his signature goals. Regardless, a new study by a duo of economics professors has predicted that talking on the phone while driving could actually reduce car accidents. It’s an interesting headline-grabbing thought, but most likely wrong according to the science, statistics, and common sense.

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