‘Close to Home’: Social-media tragedy

The latest video from AT&T's It Can Wait campaign against distracted driving shows the consequences of a mom's glance at a smartphone image posted to social media. In slow motion or full speed, it's not a pretty picture: The public-service ad follows through on AT&T's promise to expand It Can Wait beyond just texting & driving, based on studies that show social media use is a significant threat on roadways. The spot also has 30-second versions. Directed by Frederic Planchon via the agency BBDO New York. … [Read more...]

Google points finger at distracted drivers

Google's self-driving cars have been hit 14 times, all the fault of humans operating other vehicles, the technology's developers say. "Not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision," Google's project leader Chris Urmson says in a blog post. "Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention." Put another way: "Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road." Ouch. The most recent incident, well publicized, came in early July when a vehicle hit one of Google's modified Lexus … [Read more...]

‘Text walking’ lanes lead nowhere in Antwerp

A major mobile phone repairer in Antwerp, Belgium, scored global publicity with establishment of some "text-walking lanes" in the city. The idea was to avoid "collisions with poles or other pedestrians" -- and maybe even save the life of a clueless text-walker. Local government wasn't on board, though, and the company, Mlab, has since admitted its distracted-talking lanes were a marketing gimmick. The lanes reportedly have since been removed as illegal graffiti and the company was fined for mucking about with the social order. Mlab explained its project in Antwerp thusly: Everyone … [Read more...]

Signing off on Oklahoma texting law

Gov. Mary Fallin signs Oklahoma's texting & driving legislation into law May 5. Members of the families of state Troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch stood by her side. Dees was killed in late January in a roadway incident officials linked to a distracted driver; Burch was seriously injured and could not attend due to his condition. The bill was named after the lawmen. Dees' father, a retired trooper, attended the signing ceremony along with the slain trooper's widow. Burch was represented by his wife. Oklahoma's new texting law goes into effect Nov. 1 with $100 fines. Read more about … [Read more...]

Mississippi’s Facebook face-plant

Mississippi appears ready to leave the ranks of states with toothless distracted driving laws, by finally approving a texting & driving bill that includes all motorists, regardless of age. Great news. Perhaps Mississippi will get off that rogue's roundup of states with the lamest traffic laws, prepared annually by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group. But it'll go kicking and screaming from our "dumb-and-dumber states" list. The plan sent to the governor March 10 includes a curious ban on handheld use of "social networking sites" -- meaning only those web sites on which users … [Read more...]