AAA: Driver use of cell phones widespread

About 70 percent of U.S. drivers confess to recently using a cell phone while behind the wheel, a new survey suggests. About 1 in 3 of drivers say they use the cell phones "fairly often or regularly," according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The group cited a "culture of indifference" toward unsafe driving behaviors. Just over 42 percent of the drivers self-reported reading a text or email while driving within the past 30 days. Nearly 1 in 3 admitted to typing or sending a text or email, the AAA report says. An overwhelming number of the drivers said, nonetheless, that … [Read more...]

Survey: Distractions still on the rise

Drivers continue to reduce their use of handheld cell phones for talking, while text messaging is on the rise, according to a nationwide survey. The annual survey sponsored by State Farm also found year-to-year increases in usage of the Internet and, specifically, social network web sites. Among drivers 18-29, however, increases in electronic communications activity were found from 2014 to 2015 in cell phone talking, texting, GPS programming, the Internet and social media. "Younger age groups perceive many of these behaviors as less distracting and report being more likely to … [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...]

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, entering its fourth year. As with past years, it's an event without an official sponsor, but law agencies are taking the opportunity to crack down on distracted drivers. Distracted driving sweeps and educational campaigns were announced in several major states, including California, Wisconsin and Tennessee. In California, for instance, four days -- April 3, 8, 17 and 22 -- have been earmarked for distracted driving sweeps. "The increased enforcement aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number … [Read more...]

Voice-control systems tax drivers

Drivers using voice-controlled systems take their eyes off the road more than expected, safety researchers have found. The total "glance time" for some interactive tasks appeared to exceed the federal guidelines for visual-manual interactions by drivers. The MIT study delivered a mix of good and bad news: "Both positive features and concerns associated with the use of the voice interface were identified." Age seemed to be linked with the challenges of using these interactive dashboard systems: The results suggested that older drivers tended to be more distracted than younger subjects, … [Read more...]