Distraction’s toll: $175 billion a year

Distracted driving crashes cost the United States as much as $175 billion a year, according to a federal study. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says all highway crashes add up to $871 billion -- $277 billion a year in economic costs and $594 billion in "societal harm." Distracted driving crashes accounted for $46 billion (17 percent) of the total economic losses. The societal harm was put at $129 billion (15 percent) of the societal harm. Distraction was among the five key factors listed in the report "The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, … [Read more...]

The year in distracted driving: 2013

The year 2013 saw plenty of action on the distracted driving front -- from the legislatures to the courts to the streets. The year started with a bang as the nation's No. 1 fighter of distracted driving stepped down. Here's a look back: LaHood says he's leaving (Jan. 29): U.S. Department of Transportation chief Ray LaHood confirms he's stepping down from his Cabinet-level post. The move, while expected, was widely seen as a blow to the fight against distracted driving at the national level. LaHood, left, detailed a string of DOT achievements during his tenure, beginning with the efforts to … [Read more...]

Wireless carriers gang up on texting

AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign against texting & driving is getting support from some unlikely allies -- rival wireless carriers Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The safety ad campaign will deploy its new resources throughout the summer, which AT&T and AAA call "the 100 deadliest days on the roads for teen drivers." "Texting and driving is a serious social challenge, and we look forward to partnering with leading organizations and experts around the world to answer it," said Verizon Wireless chief Dan Mead. The ad campaign, which kicks off May 20, "will focus on the stories of people who … [Read more...]

Bubblehead wants you — to stop texting

The usual sights on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles include famous street signs, beautiful sunsets, colorful graffiti -- and plenty of law-breaking distracted drivers: SUV owners yakking on cell phones; teens texting away while behind the wheel. Now there's "Bubblehead," a giant Barbarella-like cutie holding up a cell phone whose on-screen message reads: "PLS DNT TXT & DRIVE." Los Angeles artist Mike McNeilly created the 13,000-square-foot billboard as part of his continuing series of public service works starring the Bubblehead character, so named because she's wearing a space helmet -- and … [Read more...]

Texas: Cell phoning, texting getting worse

Texting behind the wheel has gotten significantly worse in the past five years, say 85 percent of Texas drivers surveyed. 80 percent feel the same way about cell phoning while driving. This video from the Texas Transportation Institute runs down the numbers. (Read more about distracted driving in Texas.) … [Read more...]