U.S. distracted driving fatalities slip 2.2%

The number of distracted driving deaths slipped in 2016, bucking the trend in a year that saw overall fatalities rise 5.6 percent, federal officials report. The overall number of deaths linked to distracted driving was 3,450, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That compares with 3,526 in 2015. The decrease was 2.2 percent for "distraction-affected crashes," the DOT said. Deaths related to other reckless behaviors -- including speeding, alcohol impairment and not wearing seat belts -- continued to increase, the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said … [Read more...]

California: 13% of drivers on phone

About 13 percent of California drivers are busy using cell phones while behind the wheel -- up from almost 10 percent in 2015 -- a state study suggests. Almost 8 percent of the state motorists were deemed to be driving distracted due to electronic device use, up from 5.4 percent. The state Office of Traffic Safety called the results of its sixth annual observational study "discouraging, but not totally unexpected." "Typing" and "posting" by drivers were up almost a third in the 2016 study, although "nearly all types of usage were up." The report -- "Observational Survey of Cell … [Read more...]

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...]

Nine states flagged for texting laws

An annual survey of highway safety laws gigs nine states for having ineffective distracted driving laws. Six of those receive overall "red" ratings for anemic safety laws. A majority of the states gigged as falling "dangerously behind in adoption of key safety laws" were lacking texting and driving laws with full enforcement. Those "red" states are Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Florida. "People are needlessly dying on our streets and roads while state elected leaders are needlessly delaying enactment of lifesaving laws," group President Jacqueline Gillan … [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...]