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...]

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...]

California: 10% of drivers on phone

California's Office of Traffic Safety reports a "shocking" increase in use of cell phones by state drivers. The OTS and Highway Patrol released a study July 14 suggesting a 39 percent increase in the percentage of California drivers using the wireless devices. Results showed almost 10 percent of drivers -- 9.2 percent -- were using cell phones while behind the wheel. Not all uses reported were in violation of state law, however. More than 3 percent of the drivers were employing headsets and/or Bluetooth devices, which is legal in California and all other states with restrictions on … [Read more...]

75 percent of U.S. now on smartphones

Three out of four mobile phone users in the U.S. now has an Internet-connected smartphone, according to an industry study. That translates to about 182 million people in the U.S. with the advanced mobile phones -- with smartphone penetration at an all-time high of 75 percent, according to the comScore report. The quick market adoption of smartphones has been seen by safety experts as a factor in the widespread problem of electronic distracted driving, with the phones providing speedy access to email, instant messaging, Web browsing and social media access, as well as video and … [Read more...]

Study: Primary enforcement saves lives

"Primary enforcement" of distracted driving laws leads to lower death rates in states with texting laws, while secondary enforcement does not, according to a new study. Meanwhile, another research team found that California's handheld device failed to lower the number of vehicle crashes in its first six months. The study on primary enforcement should bolster state lawmakers seeking to give police the ability to stop and cite distracted driving offenders. "Very little is known about whether laws banning texting while driving have actually improved roadway safety," said researcher Alva … [Read more...]