Iowa’s text message: primary enforcement

Iowa has adopted full enforcement for violations of its texting & driving ban, effective July 1. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the legislation April 17. He also OK'd a road-safety bill whose provisions include a legal presumption that handheld electronic device use while driving is reckless driving. Branstad also hoped for a handheld cell phone ban out of the legislative session, but it did not happen. While the texting & driving change does somewhat toughen the distracted driving laws, it mostly brings to state in line with most of the rest of the nation. It does remove Iowa from a … [Read more...]

GM offers $20 ‘endless entertainment’

Responding to the tremendous growth of vehicle-based Internet use, General Motors has added a $20 unlimited data plan to most of its vehicles. Owners of GM vehicles equipped with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as of today have access to the $20-a-month prepaid plan. The move dramatizes the extent to which vehicles are being seen as living rooms on wheels. The automaker billed the hotspot service as providing "endless entertainment on the go." GM says Chevy owners gobbled up more than 4 million gigabytes of data last year. More than 3 million vehicles have access to the hotspot … [Read more...]

Brits get tough on distracted drivers

Britain's distracted drivers are getting the message as the new doubling of penalties has been accompanied by a national crackdown on use of mobiles. First-time violations of the laws against driving while using a mobile phone bring fines of £200 and 6 points vs. the driver's license, effective March 1. The Daily Mail reported that "scores" of drivers received citations on day 1, including the driver of a 7-ton truck making his way through a roundabout. Norfolk police tweeted that they'd stopped 11 drivers for mobile infractions in an hour and a half. The national crackdown … [Read more...]

Truckers to feds: Hands off our phones

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should stop worrying about distracted truck drivers and focus on vehicle standards, a drivers group says. "NHTSA continues to overstep its authority and continues to fail at its mission of saving lives and improving safety," Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association charged. "NHTSA should concentrate a great deal of its efforts on the Federal Motor Vehicle Standards." Spencer, executive vice president of the truckers organization, made his comments in reference to the NHTSA's second phase of its "Driver … [Read more...]

Group sees ‘red’ over texting laws

Citing an "alarming two-year jump in motor vehicle crash deaths" and a falloff in traffic-safety lawmaking, the group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released its annual report card. The survey of highway safety laws gigs nine states for having ineffective distracted driving laws. Eight of those receive overall "red" ratings for anemic safety laws. Flagged for not having all-driver texting & driving laws are Arizona, Missouri, Montana and Texas. Criticized for anemic secondary-enforcement texting laws are Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. Looking solely at … [Read more...]