Truckers to feds: Hands off our phones

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should stop worrying about distracted truck drivers and focus on vehicle standards, a drivers group says. "NHTSA continues to overstep its authority and continues to fail at its mission of saving lives and improving safety," Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association charged. "NHTSA should concentrate a great deal of its efforts on the Federal Motor Vehicle Standards." Spencer, executive vice president of the truckers organization, made his comments in reference to the NHTSA's second phase of its "Driver … [Read more...]

Traffic deaths: ‘Troubling increase’ in 2015

U.S. traffic fatalities show a "troubling increase" for the first six months of the year, federal officials say. The 2015 fatality estimate is up just over 8 percent from deaths in the same period last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Nov. 24. Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all crash fatalities in 2014, killing 3,179 people, the DOT said. The DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that while the spike in 2015 deaths could be reduced as final numbers come in, "the estimated increase represents a troubling departure from a general … [Read more...]

U.S. traffic deaths up 14% so far in 2015

U.S. traffic deaths are up 14 percent for the first six months of 2015, with serious injuries posting a 30 percent increase, the National Safety Council says. At least three states are reporting midyear spikes in fatalities, and all of them are being linked to distracted driving. Through June, almost 19,000 died in traffic crashes across the nation. More than 2.2 million were seriously injured, compared with the first six months of 2014. The numbers have "the country on pace for its deadliest driving year since 2007," the NSC warns. "Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on … [Read more...]

Congressmen link cell phones, DOT grants

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...]

April: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, entering its fifth year. It's an event without an official sponsor, but the NHTSA seems to be taking the lead with its "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign. Meanwhile, law agencies are taking the opportunity to crack down on distracted drivers. Hawaii, California and Connecticut are among the states warning motorists of distracted driving sweeps in April, backed in large part by federal funds. The National Safety Council once again took the occasion to promote the idea that hands-free use of electronic communications devices was no safer than … [Read more...]