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Articles Tagged with distracted driving

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distracted driving can cause accidentsMost drivers who were using their cellphone and as a result killed someone in a car accident usually don’t get more than a few days in jail.

Fair Warning reviewed approximately 100 prosecutions of distracted drivers over the last 5 years and found that light punishment is usually the norm. Only in a few cases drivers were sentenced to serve for a month or two or were fined with amounts of more than $1000.

Fair Warning also found that the risk of going to prison is almost zero for drivers who were “only” using their phone before they killed someone on the road. Drivers who got sentenced to prison usually committed at least one additional illegal action such as drinking, taking drugs or using a hand held cell phone while driving a commercial truck.

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old woman using cell phone behind the wheelDistracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in New York City  and in the US.  While teenagers and young drivers are often perceived as the most susceptible to use their cell phone while driving, a new study indicates that seniors are indeed as bad or even worst than the kids.

While previous statistics indicate that around 50% of young drivers recognize that they are talking on the phone while driving, a new study found out that nearly 60% of seniors say they are doing exactly the same.  Conducted by a group of researchers from the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the study looked at the driving habits of 397 Southern Californians age 65 and older. Among the 82% of them who said they  owned a cell phone, 60% said they spoke on the phone while behind the wheel.

These statistics are extremely alarming as when people get older their driving can be reduced by additional factor such as a medical condition or medication use. Alertness and mental processing also often decrease as people are getting older.

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digital billboard mix for slideshow 4As billboards are getting more and more sophisticated, the risk of car accidents caused by drivers distracted by these billboards is increasing.  Jerry Wachtel,  a traffic safety consultant just released a compendium of 22 recent studies related to potential consequences for driver distraction from Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS) along the roadside. The author released a previous study in 2009 warning about the dangers of such billboards. More recent studies are showing that as billboard became more sophisticated, drivers also became more distracted increasing the risk of accidents. Below is a summary of the  most relevant findings:

  • While experienced drivers are more cautious than young drivers in keeping their eyes away from distractions that are inside the car (i.e. phone dialing or map searching) they are not as cautious when it comes to external distractions such as electronic billboards.  Both younger and older drivers have a tendency to often glance for more than 2 seconds at external distractions such as electronic billboards instead of focusing on the road in front of them. When a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for two seconds or more the risk of an accident is high.
  • Drivers pay less attention to relevant road signs but focus more on electronic billboards when both types of signs are on the same road
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Use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving is dangerous and can cause fatal car accidents. Most drivers know this but they still use their cell phones or other mobile devices to text, look at travel directions, check their emails, consult their calendar appointments, surf the web or play video games.

According to the latest National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) “Driver Electronic Device Use in 2011“, texting or manipulating an hand held device while driving significantly increased from 2010 to 2011.

The trend is particularly alarming among young drivers and women.