U.S. traffic deaths up 14% so far in 2015

National Safety Council

U.S. traffic deaths are up 14 percent for the first six months of 2015, with serious injuries posting a 30 percent increase, the National Safety Council says. At least three states are reporting midyear spikes in fatalities, and all of them are being linked to distracted driving. Through June, almost 19,000 died in traffic crashes across the nation. More than 2.2 million were seriously injured, compared with the first six months of 2014. The numbers have "the country on pace for its deadliest driving year since 2007," the NSC warns. "Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on … [Read more...]

Teen drivers who text often blame parents

text messaging behind the wheel

Teenagers who text and drive aren't taking all of the blame for their distracted driving -- many point the finger at their parents. A new study of teen behaviors says 55 percent report texting their parents while behind the wheel in order to update them. Nearly 1 in 5 teens told the researchers that their parents expect a text response within a minute, and 25 percent said the folks wanted to hear back within five minutes. Not surprisingly, there appears to be a disconnect. Almost 6 in 10 parents told researchers they did not have expectations about immediate responses to their texts. … [Read more...]

New distracted driving laws in Miss., N.H.

state trooper writes a ticket

Texting while driving is now illegal in Mississippi, while New Hampshire motorists will have to have to put down their wireless devices or face a ticket. Mississippi is a latecomer to the texting & driving issue, being the 45th state to ban the distracted driving practice. Gov. Phil Bryant approved the law in mid-March. Mississippi drivers caught texting while behind the wheel are subject to fines beginning at $25, but they go up to $100 in summer 2016. The originating legislation -- House Bill 389 — also outlaws social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use. In an … [Read more...]

Canadians to distracted drivers: Enough

manitoba canada flag

Manitoba has joined Ontario in stiffening its fines for distracted drivers. Both provinces have punishments that rank among the toughest in North America. The Manitoba government on June 4 unveiled a new 5-demerit penalty vs. the driver's license. The existing $200 fine remains the same. Distracted drivers previously faced a 2-demerit assessment. The new penalty goes into effect July 1. "This is the highest level of demerit points in Canada for the use of a handheld device," said Justice Minister Gord Mackintosh, left. All Canadian provinces use demerits to punish distracted … [Read more...]

Texas texting & driving bill fails

State Rep. Tom Craddick of Texas lashes out

Texas backers of a statewide texting & driving law will have at least two more years to wait. State Rep. Tom Craddick, left, said any texting-related deaths in that period would be "on the back of those senators" who refused to bring his distracted driving legislation to the Senate floor. The distracted driving plan, he said, "will not become law and will not help prevent future injuries or loss of life." Craddick's House Bill 80 was approved by the House in a 102-40 vote March 25. The bill was delayed in Senate committee by an opponent, and then fell one vote short of reaching the … [Read more...]