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...]

‘Selfies’ led to Cessna crash, feds say

The story remains yet to written about "selfies" and distracted driving, but safety experts have no doubts the craze for cell phone photography is contributing to the crash total on the nation's highways. And in its airways, apparently. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a May crash in Colorado found that the pilot and passenger apparently died because they were busy taking selfies. "A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation," the NTSB report said of the crash of a two-seat Cessna 150. … [Read more...]