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Distracted Driving
Distracted Driving

According to NHTSA, "In 2015, distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives, and 391,000 more were injured. During daylight hours approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving, which creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on America's roadways. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. We'd like to encourage you to continually talk to teens, and everyone else, to spread the message that distracted driving is dangerous, in all forms, whether it be texting, eating, or even reading social media, and must be stopped."

The federal agencies involved with traffic safety are putting special emphasis on distracted driving. There are many distractions both within and outside of the vehicle that can cause drivers to take their eyes from the road long enough to put themselves and other roadway users in serious jeopardy.  Generally distracted driving enforcement concentrates on those distractions that are self imposed by drivers, such as texting, the operation of a cell phone or other electronic device, eating or putting on makeup.  A recent study was performed by the UA Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS) that identified a number of interesting aspects of this serious problem.  The study, which concentrated on electronic device distractions, discovered a number of interesting facts with regard to this type of distractive driving.

To read the study, Click Here.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov.
Newser - Texting on Road Impairs our 'Sixth Sense'
Newser.com discusses the research from Scientific Reports, particularly drivers who are 'emotionally' or 'absent-mindedly' distracted.

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NTSB Press Release April 2017
The National Transportation Safety Board, in collaboration with Stopdistractions.org, DRIVE SMART Virginia and the National Safety Council, will host its second roundtable on distracted driving to facilitate discussion about the life-threatening problem and specific solutions for eliminating distracted driving on our highways.

More than 15 survivor advocates of distracted-driving crashes are scheduled to join law enforcement officers, insurance industry representatives, safety advocates, and lawmakers April 26, 2017, at the “Act to End Distracted Driving” roundtable, an event designed to improve public awareness about the deadly problem and establish better coordination among state and local governments, employer fleets, and law enforcement. NTSB Acting Chairman Robert Sumwalt will moderate the participant-driven discussion.

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Distracted Driving Comes with a Cost: Your Life
Drivers know about the dangers of drunk driving and driving without a seat belt. Unfortunately, a relatively new danger has crept into the nation’s driving habits: distracted driving.In 2015, distracted driving killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000.

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Professor Behind Designated Drivers Takes on Distracted Ones
A Harvard University professor who introduced Americans to the concept of designated drivers to deter drunken driving is now taking on the deadly problem of motorists distracted by cellphones and other electronics.

Jay Winsten is consulting with federal and Massachusetts officials to develop a new generation of public awareness messages.


"We wanted to find out why all efforts to date to tackle distracted driving have utterly failed," Winsten said.


Distracted driving killed 3,477 people in 2015
, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Governors Highway Safety Association recently cited it as contributing to a surge in pedestrian fatalities last year. Just last week, after a crash killed 13 people in Texas, a witness said a pickup driver who collided with a minibus acknowledged he was texting; the crash is being investigated.


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Distraction.gov Website
Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2014 alone, 3,179 were killed in distracted driving crashes.

Click Here to View More About the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving

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NHTSA Proposes ‘Driver Mode’ in Devices to Curb Behind-the-Wheel Distractions
ASSHTO Journal: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in new voluntary guidelines, is encouraging makers of cellphones and other mobile devices to build in a "driver mode" function that could automatically block certain functions for motor vehicle drivers in order to curb behind-the-wheel distractions.

"NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. "With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers' eyes where they belong — on the road."


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Dangers of Distracted Driving
WSFA: According to the annual AAA foundation traffic safety culture index 80 percent of drivers cite distraction as a serious problem and a behavior that makes them feel less safe on the road. Nearly half of all people surveyed say they feel less safe than they did five years ago because of distracted driving.

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Why Hundreds are Killed in Crashes in Parking Lots and Garages Every Year

CBS News: The National Safety Council finds as many as two-thirds of drivers may be pulling into shopping centers distracted. One in five accidents happen in parking lots.

The leading culprit for distraction is the cellphone, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. Be it making calls or texting while driving in a parking lot, researchers say the slower speeds give people a false sense of security. Even though people tend to drive a lot slower in a place like this, the consequences of distraction and other driving mistakes can be deadly.

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Traffic Safety Facts: Distracted Driving 2012
Ten  percent  of  fatal  crashes,  18  percent  of  injury  crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012 were reported as distraction-affected crashes. In  2012,  there  were  3,328  people  killed  and  an  estimated additional 421,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

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Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps
The New York Times: The messaging app Snapchat allows motorists to post photos that record the speed of the vehicle. The navigation app Waze rewards drivers with points when they report traffic jams and accidents. Even the game Pokémon Go has drivers searching for virtual creatures on the nation’s highways.

When distracted driving entered the national consciousness a decade ago, the problem was mainly people who made calls or sent texts from their cellphones. The solution then was to introduce new technologies to keep drivers’ hands on the wheel. Innovations since then — car Wi-Fi and a host of new apps — have led to a boom in internet use in vehicles that safety experts say is contributing to a surge in highway deaths.

After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. And the numbers so far this year are even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

News People and Police Officials are blaming a lot of the increase in fatalities on distracted driving.


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Pokemon GO Distracted Driving
This one (not driving while playing) is obvious. You already don’t text and drive, so why would you want to do something even more distracting while operating a car? Washington state’s Department of Transportation has already released an official warning about Pokémon-catching while driving, and more states could follow suit. Plus, the game is specifically designed for you to discover new Pokémon and Pokéstops on foot—not while speeding through a neighborhood.

LA Times: 10,000 instances of distracted driving a day are due to 'Pokemon Go' - Click Here

NBC News: Pokemon Go Really, Really Distracts Drivers: Study - Click Here

Forbes' 5 Important Safety Tips for 'Pokemon GO' - Click Here

Click Here for tips to help you stay safe while playing Pokémon GO

Driving While Distracted: It's not just texting anymore - CNN

Distracted Driving from Pokemon Go - Mashable Article

Two Teen Pedestrians Killed Playing Pokemon Go After Walking into Street - Click Here



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What Are Your Reason For Using A Phone While Driving?


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Feds: Ignore that Post About Banning Driver Cellphone Use
Click Here to View AP's Article that reports some recent NHTSA activities in this regard.

Public Safety Policy: Texting While Driving in 2016
Capitol Research: In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans. Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions.

Click Here to Read More



UA Promotes: Be Alert While Driving
The University of Alabama Office of Risk Management encourages faculty and staff to be cautious and alert while driving on campus as the University welcomes students, parents and other guests for the fall semester. The level of distraction due to texting, talking, playing games on smartphones and limited hearing due to the use of ear buds is a growing problem. Also, many of our new students and guests are not familiar with campus traffic patterns, marked crosswalks, etc., so the lack of familiarity and level of inattention warrants additional caution. Remember, texting while driving is against the law in Alabama.

Distracted Driving May Lead to Traffic Signal Delays
More often than not, distracted driving is the culprit for these kinds of delays at Austin's traffic signals.

Read the Full Article Here

                

Watch As Motorist Playing Pokémon Go Crashes Into Patrol Car
                       
                                   

Click Here to Read The AL.com Article

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State Trooper Honored for Alabama's First Texting while Driving Manslaughter Conviction

AL.com: An Alabama State Trooper was recently awarded for his investigation into a crash two years ago that led to what a prosecutor believes is the first manslaughter conviction based on the state's texting and driving law.

Trooper Bruce Irvin recently received the citation from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Stan Stabler, according to the agency's Twitter and Facebook pages. Trooper Irvin is assigned to Highway Patrol's Mobile Post.

                                    bruce irvin.jpg
Read More Here

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Traffic Safety Facts: Distracted Driving 2014
NHTSA: 10% of fatal crashes, 18% of injury crashes, and 16% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2014 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.



Read More Facts Here

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Close Call from Someone Who Was Texting while Driving
True story from AL.com explaining how she almost died from texting while driving.

Read Her Full Report Here

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Infographic: Driving While Intexticated


Texting and driving is now the leading cause of death among teenagers. At least 3,000 teens die each year from accidents caused by texting and driving, and another 300,000 are injured. A full 58% of teens aged 18 admitted to texting while driving. Click here to READ MORE and view an excellent infographic that analyzes this dangerous trend.
Girl Dies Seconds After Posting on Facebook


Click here for the full story.
'U Drive. U Text. U Pay.' sweep nets 36 texting-while-driving violations across Alabama



The recent enforcement sweep of Alabama texting-while-driving laws netted 36 citations statewide by state troopers, figures show. The numbers only reflect stops made by state troopers and do not include any local law enforcement citations during the state's participation in the six-day "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Before the campaign, which ran between April 10 and April 15, troopers said they would use traditional and "innovative" methods to catch drivers in the act, including patrols in unmarked cars.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Robyn Bryan said given the shortage of state troopers statewide, troopers did extra enforcement as best they could.

Between Jan. 1 and May 1 of this year, troopers alone have written 485 tickets statewide for driving while texting.

Alabama's texting law went into effect in 2012. The state assesses the following fines for the offense:

  • First violation: $25
  • Second violation: $50
  • Third and subsequent violations: $75

Local total ticket amounts can vary based on localized fees.

One important tool for improving the accuracy and consistency of data for all types of motor vehicle crashes is the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) Guideline, a voluntary set of standards that helps the states decide what information to collect at the scene of a crash. And on Monday, theGovernors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released the 4th edition of the MMUCC, developed with funding from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Adapted from AL.com

SUV Driver Admits to Being Distracted in Deadly Pickens County Bus Crash



PICKENS COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - State troopers say the driver of an SUV that crashed with a school bus in Pickens County, killing the bus driver, admitted to not paying attention and not stopping at a stop sign.

Longtime bus driver Sharon Hood died in the crash near Ethelsville on County Road 30 and County Road 35 on Friday, April 10. Fourteen students from Reform Elementary and Pickens County High School were on board and their injuries ranged from serious to minor.

A report just released by Trooper Reginal King with the Tuscaloosa Alabama Law Enforcement Agency post says the SUV driver didn't stop at a stop sign and hit the bus, which sent it off the road and into a tree. The report says the SUV was traveling north on County Road 35 and the bus was heading west on County Road 30. The SUV failed to yield  to the bus from a stop sign and hit the bus in an “angular front end collision,” the report states.

The driver “stated he was not paying attention and did not see the stop sign,” the trooper report says.

Six of the bus passengers were taken to Pickens County Medical Center in a county bus, according to the report. The driver has not been charged with any crime in connection to the wreck. Pickens County District Attorney Chris McCool says he has yet to review the crash report. He said he could present the case to a grand jury in September and let them decide if the driver should face charges.

School officials said Hood was a 28-year veteran bus driver. Grief counselors were made available for Pickens County students following her death, and a sign outside the school read, "We love and miss you Mrs. Sharon."

Your Brain + Distracted Driving


Learn all about distracted driving and the way your brain works when driving compared to when driving distracted, CLICK HERE.
Better Crash Data a Big Step in the Fight Against Distracted Driving
At DOT, our safety efforts--including our work to end distracted driving--are based on good data and sound science. Collecting accurate and consistent information about crashes is essential to that mission.

When all of the states collect the same basic data about crashes, researchers get a much more useful state-by-state and nationwide picture of driver behavior and vehicle safety. And that helps us design more effective safety programs.

One important tool for improving the accuracy and consistency of data for all types of motor vehicle crashes is the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) Guideline, a voluntary set of standards that helps the states decide what information to collect at the scene of a crash. And on Monday, theGovernors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released the 4th edition of the MMUCC, developed with funding from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



A driver's blood alcohol content is one piece of important information we didn't always collect.

The updated criteria will encourage states to collect more information about distracted driving and other safety threats.

As NHTSA Administrator Strickland said, “Increasing our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers traveling on our roadways is essential to improving traffic safety. The new guidelines will serve as a useful tool for gathering more accurate and consistent crash data on emerging safety issues, including distracted driving.”


While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about the risks of distracted driving, the simple fact is that people are continuing to be injured and killed by this dangerous behavior.

The new standard distracted driving information is more descriptive and includes important facts such as whether the driver was manually operating an electronic communication device--like sending or receiving email or texts--talking on a hands-free device, or talking on a hand-held device.

Law enforcement officers will be encouraged to gather this wider range of information about drivers in crashes who were distracted. Then, DOT and our state and local safety partners can focus our anti-distraction efforts more effectively by directing our resources where they can make the biggest difference in our fight against this deadly epidemic.

I’m confident that this latest update to the MMUCC Guideline will help states further improve the information they collect when a crash occurs. And here at DOT, that will help us continue to make America's roadways safer for everyone.
Combating Distracted Driving
A recent article in USA Today identifies specific proposed rules that DOT would like to see to combat distracted driving.

The rules aim to:
  • Reduce complexity and task length required by the device.
  • Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel).
  • Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds.
  • Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view.
  • Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.
Distracted Driving Causes Pedestrian Causalities to Increase
The USA is getting riskier for people on foot, and experts aren't sure why.

New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that pedestrian fatalities rose 4.2% in 2010 over the previous year. The number of pedestrians injured in motor vehicle crashes soared 19%, to 70,000.

Experts are puzzled by the increase, which comes as road fatalities in most categories are dropping. The jump follows four straight years of falling pedestrian deaths, and a 14% decrease in pedestrian fatalities from 2000 to 2009.

"Quite frankly, I don't know why they went up," says James Hedlund, a former NHTSA official who researched pedestrian safety in January for the Governors Highway Safety Association. "Nobody knows. As far as I can tell, nobody has studied the issue. The data (are) too new."

Possible explanations for the increase vary:
  • Walkers are put at risk by the preponderance of wide, high-speed roads designed to move large numbers of vehicles but not with pedestrians in mind.

    "What we have seen anecdotally around the country is that more people are walking, biking, trying to get to their destination by means other than a car," says David Goldberg, spokesman for Transportation for America, a safety advocacy coalition that reports annually on the deadliest cities for pedestrians (the three worst are all in Florida: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Jacksonville).

    "What we do know is that conditions have not improved substantially for pedestrians. The road design problems we pointed out in our report earlier this year are still out there."

  • Low-income residents and immigrants have been moving to suburban areas. "There are a lot more people walking around in places that were designed for automobile travel," Goldberg says.

  • More pedestrians are distracted by cellphones and other hand-held communication devices. There has been only anecdotal evidence of "pedestrian distraction" as a factor in fatalities, such as a 31-year-old woman killed in March in San Ysidro, Calif., while crossing the street in a crosswalk. Police said the woman was talking on her cellphone and ignored a red light.

    "Nobody has good data," says Richard Wener, professor of environmental psychology at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, who collaborated on studies led by Jack Nasar, an Ohio State University professor. One study showed that people using cellphones were much more likely to step into a crosswalk as a car approached than pedestrians without devices.

    "But there is, by now, a number of studies that indicate that pedestrian distraction is real," he says.

    "It's very much like driving a car and being on a cellphone. You're much more likely to miss something around you. Even worse is texting. The likelihood of an accident being really bad or fatal is higher when you're not protected by 2 tons of steel."

    Wener says one obstacle to obtaining good data on pedestrian distraction in crashes is that police agencies are not required to indicate whether a victim was using a phone or texting. "My guess is that's going to change," he says.

  • Drinking also is a major factor in pedestrian fatalities. Alcohol-impairment — of the driver or the pedestrian — was involved in 48% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2009, according to NHTSA; 35% of the pedestrians killed were legally drunk, as were 13% of drivers involved. In 6% of fatal pedestrian crashes, both driver and pedestrian were legally drunk.

By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY