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

National Safety Council

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...]

Social media a major roadway distraction

teenager distracted by smartphone

Almost half of drivers distracted by their smartphones are busy using social media, a new survey suggests. Key activities self-reported by the drivers -- in addition to texting and using email -- include "surfing the Net," taking selfies and shooting videos. Seven in 10 people who own smartphones and use them daily engage in some form of smartphone activity while driving, a survey conducted for wireless carrier AT&T shows. Most of those activities are against the law, depending on the state. Facebook, of course, takes the top spot in social media, with a quarter of the smartphone … [Read more...]

Texting, driving doubles in Michigan

text messaging behind the wheel

Texting and driving has doubled in Michigan over the past two years, a state study suggests. More than 16 percent of those surveyed by phone admitted to texting & driving, according to the January study conducted for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. Researchers found a high awareness that reading, composing and sending text messages is unlawful in the state. Drivers also were more likely to talk on cell phones while driving. Six out of 10 told researchers they chatted while behind the wheel, up slightly from 2012. About a third of those surveyed said they made or accepted … [Read more...]

Voice-control systems tax drivers

in-dash cell phone system

Drivers using voice-controlled systems take their eyes off the road more than expected, safety researchers have found. The total "glance time" for some interactive tasks appeared to exceed the federal guidelines for visual-manual interactions by drivers. The MIT study delivered a mix of good and bad news: "Both positive features and concerns associated with the use of the voice interface were identified." Age seemed to be linked with the challenges of using these interactive dashboard systems: The results suggested that older drivers tended to be more distracted than younger subjects, … [Read more...]

U.S. drivers the most distracted

U.S. drivers are far more likely than Europeans to drive while distracted by wireless communications devices such as cell phones, a trans-Atlantic study found. Almost 70 percent of U.S. drivers said they'd used a cell phone in the past 30 days, compared with 21 percent in the United Kingdom. The closest nation to the U.S. in cell phone & driving numbers was Portugal, with 60 percent of drivers admitting to the practice. Meanwhile, a new "teens and technology" survey finds that teens who own smartphones (such as the iPhone) access the Internet that way about half of the time, suggesting … [Read more...]