Traffic deaths: ‘Troubling increase’ in 2015

U.S. traffic fatalities show a "troubling increase" for the first six months of the year, federal officials say. The 2015 fatality estimate is up just over 8 percent from deaths in the same period last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Nov. 24. Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all crash fatalities in 2014, killing 3,179 people, the DOT said. The DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that while the spike in 2015 deaths could be reduced as final numbers come in, "the estimated increase represents a troubling departure from a general … [Read more...]

Siri a winner in Nova Scotia courts

Canadian provinces continue to struggle with the specifics of their distracted driving laws. In the latest case, in Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court sided with a motorist who was ticketed for using the Siri feature on an iPhone to ask for directions. The high court ruled in late October 2015 that employing the voice-activated navigational system did not constitute "use" of the cell phone, which would be illegal. Justice Jamie Campbell said the related wording in the Nova Scotia's Motor Vehicle Act was so simple as to be unclear and behind the times. He said other provinces were more … [Read more...]

Tech hangover for drivers cited

The process of "readjusting to the task of driving" after using wireless communications devices presents a "hidden and pervasive danger," according to a AAA report. Researchers found that driver distractions can persist for almost a half minute after use of some cell phones and in-vehicle information systems. The AAA said its study reveals that hands-free technologies such as in-vehicle voice-activated systems can distract drivers "even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel." "The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other … [Read more...]

Saskatchewan deaths down after impounds

Saskatchewan has seen distracted driving crashes and fatalities fall in the wake of a year-old law that allows for seizure of serial offenders' vehicles. Preliminary numbers for 2014 show "quite a significant decrease" from 2012 and 2013. In 2014, there were 26 fatalities and about 600 injuries linked to distractions, according to Saskatchewan Government Insurance. They resulted from about 3,300 collisions. In 2012, distracted/non-attentive drivers were linked to about 7,500 crashes with 69 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries. In 2010, Saskatchewan set a $280 fine for handheld cell … [Read more...]

Ontario distracted driving fine near $500

Fines for Ontario drivers who plead guilty to distracted driving now begin at $490, with three demerit points. Technically, the distracted driving fines that can be imposed by a judge range from $300 to $1,000 under a law that took effect Sept. 1. The set $490 fine is for drivers who plead guilty. (It includes victim fine surcharges and court fees.) Those who are convicted also receive the points vs. the driver's license. Most distracted drivers in Ontario will receive that punishment. The update to the Highway Traffic Act -- approved by lawmakers June 2 -- is the work of transportation … [Read more...]