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...]

Google points finger at distracted drivers

Google's self-driving cars have been hit 14 times, all the fault of humans operating other vehicles, the technology's developers say. "Not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision," Google's project leader Chris Urmson says in a blog post. "Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention." Put another way: "Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road." Ouch. The most recent incident, well publicized, came in early July when a vehicle hit one of Google's modified Lexus … [Read more...]

U.S. drivers: Get tough on texting

Three out of four U.S. drivers support tougher punishments for text messaging and driving, a recent poll suggests. There was little support for the current penalties, which vary widely and are for the most part established by states and municipalities. More than half of those surveyed in the National Safety Council poll backed the use of a point system that would eventually lead to a loss of the driver's license or increased insurance premiums. A majority also backed "large monetary fines" and escalating penalties for serial offenders. "Most people recognize that it will take more than … [Read more...]

N.Y. signs off on ‘texting zones’

New York is setting up "texting zones" on state thruways and highways, with rest stops, Park-n-Ride lots and the like doing double duty as safe harbors for text messaging. Sorry, no cyber cafes or blazing-fast wireless service. The initiative appears to boil down to 298 highway signs going up urging motorists to pull off the highway -- safely and in designated areas -- instead of engaging in distracted driving. "We are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next texting zone," … [Read more...]

Bieber stays the course with text pledge

Kid singing star Justin Bieber hasn't forgotten about his promise to campaign against teenage texting and driving. On a recent episode of "Makeover: Home Edition," he found time to help the Brown Family of Wellman, Texas, whose daughter and sister Alexandra died in a crash caused by a texting driver. "Makeover" built the family a new home while they went on a freebie trip to New York to meet Bieber and see his concert. Alexandra's kid sister Katrina, 12, got to hang out with the singer before the show. "It's been a big part of my life to influence others not to text and drive," the singer … [Read more...]