Brown OKs new Calif. distracted driving law

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a rewrite of the state's distracted driving laws. The act's sponsor, Assemblyman Bill Quirk, celebrated the overhaul of what he called the state's "archaic laws" regarding use of portable electronic devices while driving. Brown, left, who did not comment on the measure, had vetoed several efforts to increase punishments for electronic distracted driving. Quirk's legislation, AB 1785, did not increase penalties. "This bill targets the deadliest cause of distracted driving-related crashes, the use of an electronic device while driving," Quirk said … [Read more...]

Britain to double mobile phone fines

Britain's new government is following up tough talk on electronic distracted driving with a doubling of penalties for handheld mobile phone use. The new punishments, still being finalized, will be be at least £200 and 6 points vs. the driver's license, officials says. They will take effect in the first half of next year, the Department for Transport said. The moves are spearheaded by new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, left, who was appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May. Distracted drivers "could kill and cause untold misery to others," Grayling said in a statement Sept. 17. "I … [Read more...]

‘Pokémon Go’ caught distracting drivers

The methodology is a bit odd, but the macro message is clear: "Pokémon Go" is a major contributor to driver distraction. Researchers led by a San Diego State professor mined social media content and news reports for evidence of "Pokémon Go"-related problems. They found over a 10-day period "more than 110,000 discrete instances" of drivers being distracted by the augmented reality game. Safety warnings have been issued in numerous states about hazards presented by the smartphone game, in which players hunt “wild Pokémon” characters in the real world. The characters only appear on the … [Read more...]

Delaware doubles distracted fine

Delaware has doubled its fine for electronic distracted driving. Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation Aug. 31 that upped the base penalty for texting & driving and using handheld cell phones to $100. Serial offenders will pay between $200 and $300. "The increased penalties we're enacting today reflect the seriousness of this issue and reinforce the importance of keeping your eyes on the road," Markell said as he signed the act at the headquarters of AAA Mid-Atlantic, a supporter of the legislation. State Rep. Debra Hudson's legislation was OK'd by the House in mid-June and by the … [Read more...]

Hersman: Blame distracted drivers

No one who has followed the career of Deborah Hersman will be surprised to find her reading between the lines of her own National Safety Council report showing a sobering increase in traffic fatalities this year. The NSC leader has "little doubt" the almost 10 percent increase in deaths is linked to widespread smartphone use by drivers, a Washington Post report says: "We know it's very prevalent," Hersman told a Post columnist. "We know that the people that we're friends with, our family, people we love, we know people are doing this even though they shouldn't be. And our surveys bear … [Read more...]