New distracted driving laws in Mississippi, N.H.

state trooper writes a ticket

Texting while driving is now illegal in Mississippi, while New Hampshire motorists will have to have to put down their wireless devices or face a ticket. Mississippi is a latecomer to the texting & driving issue, being the 45th state to ban the distracted driving practice. Gov. Phil Bryant approved the law in mid-March. Mississippi drivers caught texting while behind the wheel are subject to fines beginning at $25, but they go up to $100 in summer 2016. The originating legislation -- House Bill 389 — also outlaws social media use by drivers, but does not address cell phone use. In an … [Read more...]

Congressmen link cell phones, DOT grants

federal grant money

A trio of congressmen have filed federal legislation seeking to limit distracted driving grants to states that ban handheld cell phone use and adopt primary enforcement. U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida and Mark DeSaulnier of California introduced the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2015. The federal legislation would "amend the (U.S. Department of Transportation) process of granting money to states that have passed statutes to address distracted driving." While most states have texting & driving laws, only 14 have laws prohibiting the use of handheld cell … [Read more...]

75 percent of U.S. now on smartphones

google map on smartphone

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...]

‘Selfies’ led to Cessna crash, feds say

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The story remains yet to written about "selfies" and distracted driving, but safety experts have no doubts the craze for cell phone photography is contributing to the crash total on the nation's highways. And in its airways, apparently. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a May crash in Colorado found that the pilot and passenger apparently died because they were busy taking selfies. "A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation," the NTSB report said of the crash of a two-seat Cessna 150. … [Read more...]

Teens quick to pick up distractions

teen text messaging

Newly licensed teens start out paying close attention to the road but quickly turn into distracted drivers, according to a new study. Multitasking behaviors such as talking on cell phones and eating while behind the wheel peak about a year and a half after the teens begin to drive, the study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers suggested. "Novice drivers are more likely to engage in high-risk secondary tasks more frequently over time as they became more comfortable with driving," said Charlie Klauer, group leader of teen risk at the institute. "This appears to be an … [Read more...]