Oregon’s new distracted driving law in force

A comprehensive rewrite of Oregon's distracted driving law is now in effect. Targeting various ambiguities in the old law, the new rules focus on the holding of "mobile electronic devices" such as smartphones. "That's the key," says House Bill 2597 author Rep. Andy Olson. “The law doesn’t say you can't use (cell phones and smartphones), you just can’t have them in your hand." The plan also upgrades first-time infractions from Class C to Class B ($260 first offense). Two-time violators are looking at a $435 penalty. Third or subsequent convictions within a decade bring a minimum … [Read more...]

Save a life hack, simplified

Ontario has dispatched a round-mouthed announcer to promote the "save a life hack." The guy can't even pronounce "algorithm," but wonders: "What if the solution isn't more technology, it's less … " Catch the wry video to reveal this low-tech marvel of an idea to fight distracted driving. (It's part of the province's "put down the phone" campaign.) pic.twitter.com/Gr0I0mqzW1— Steven Del Duca (@StevenDelDuca) July 19, 2016 Steven Del Duca is the Transportation minister who last year oversaw Ontario's increase in distracted driving punishments. Canada recently saw a … [Read more...]

Pokemon game raises distraction fears

Safety officials are trying to stop a wave of distracted driving caused by the "Pokémon Go" game before it starts. Warnings have been issued in numerous states about hazards presented by the "virtual" smartphone game, in which players hunt "wild Pokemon" characters in the real world. "Catching virtual creatures to get to the next level is not worth risking your life or the lives of others," officials in New York warned, noting that the craze has taken the safety community by surprise. "No Pokemoning from behind the wheel," the Washington State DOT urged in a Tweet days after the game … [Read more...]

Ad firm tries to bury distracted driving

A new low in advertising? Never say never, but that Toronto billboard encouraging motorists to drive distracted is in fact a public-safety message. "Text and drive," the stark billboard urges in all grim all-caps. Courtesy of "Wathan Funeral Home." Those seeking to do business with the funeral home will be disappointed. The mortuary doesn't exist. It does have a web site, however. Here's what it says: If you're here, you've probably seen our "Text and Drive" billboard. And if you have, you probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like … [Read more...]

Indiana license plate: ‘Put the Phone Down’

We've all seen the bumper stickers that urge motorists to get off the cell phone and drive. Now there's something a bit more official. Indiana now has a sponsored license plate with the bold message: "Put the Phone Down." The state gives $25 of the $40 cost to the Indiana Motor Truck Association, which vows to devote 100 percent of its share to distracted driving education programs such as the Save a Life Tour. The vanity plate was unveiled Jan. 14 by the truckers group, the office of the state attorney general, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the state DOT. The truckers group … [Read more...]