If you’re anything like the writers at TTAC, Pokémon Go is a strange and scary thing, like what those teenagers might be doing over there.
We’ve avoided writing about the misadventures associated with the nerdy phone app — grown men falling off cliffs, kids finding corpses, awkward romantic escapades — but a moron in Baltimore tipped our hand.
Two nights ago, a Baltimore police officer’s body camera captured a Toyota RAV4 colliding with his parked cruiser. The young male driver, who clearly couldn’t figure out how to cover his ass, immediately admits to playing Pokémon Go behind the wheel.
The National Transportation Safety Board plans to investigate the fatal May 7 Tesla crash to see if the trend of increased automation in driving functions has a dark side, Bloomberg reports.
Already, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the incident and the role the vehicle’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system played in the crash, but the NTSB has a broader scope in mind. As vehicles increasingly rely on electronic aids for safety, drivers could be letting down their guard. (Read More…)
They already came for your cell phone, but a new study on distracted driving could be the spark legislators are looking for to take away your hands-free calling.
Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road means nothing if your brain is busy visualizing something else, say researchers at Britain’s University of Sussex. Their study, published in the journal Transportation Research, showed that hands-free motorists can miss seeing objects right in front of them, especially when they’re not just pretending to listen to the other person.
Having a conversation while driving creates an epic battle inside the brain, with reality and imagination duking it out for dominance, the study found. (Read More…)
As the state of New York debates new distracted driving legislation, an Israeli firm is putting the finishing touches on a “textalyzer” device that could rat out drivers for using their phone before a crash.
Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite developed the data-scanning device, according to Ars Technica, which could become the newest — and most controversial — law enforcement tool since the Taser.
Cellebrite, which sounds like a medication for over-sexed honors students, specializes in data extraction and decoding, and boasts of its 15,000-plus military and law enforcement customers on its website. The firm really knows its stuff — it’s generally believed that they helped the FBI hack into the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino/Apple controversy.
Recently my family was sitting around the table discussing how my youngest sister will obtain her driving permit in a month to begin the wonderful process of becoming a licensed driver. The interesting part of this conversation, and the part I hope you can offer some advice, is when we talked about safety. Are modern cars too safe for beginner drivers?
While many publications and parents say new drivers should be placed in the safest vehicle possible, I have struggled with this concept and can only wonder how safety equipment in car affects new drivers. Comparing the two vehicles that my parents are considering giving to my youngest sister, my older sister’s 2002 Saturn SC2 or my mom’s old 2008 Ford Taurus X, there is a big difference in the safety between these cars. My sister and I were given cars that lacked ABS, side or curtain airbags, ESP, and traction control. Not having features, like AB, taught my sister to be more attentive in slippery conditions.
While I will not argue against the safety these systems provide, nor their existence, I can only wonder if we are hindering the drivers of tomorrow. I wonder how modern features like blind spot monitoring, radar based cruise control, and backup cameras will affect new drivers. Personally, I like to think I am a better driver today because of the lack of safety features I had in my first couple of cars.
Or, at least, that’s what this nifty, little, easily digestible graph from Priceonomics would lead you to believe.
The often utilized and equally abhorred selfie, the act of recording a moment in time of thyself, has been directly linked to the deaths of two people while driving, according to news reports compiled by Priceonomics. That pales in comparison to the 16 people who’ve fallen from great heights to their deaths in their personal quests to capture that perfect MySpace-esque profile pic.
Via the Detroit News, the Michigan State Police reported the death of a Detroit motorist early Sunday morning when he lost control of his car on a ramp between two city freeways, apparently distracted by the pornographic movie he was watching on his cellphone.
MSP reports that Clifford Ray Jones, age 58, was partially ejected through the sunroof when his 1996 Toyota Corolla overturned. He was wearing neither a seat belt nor his pants at the time of the accident. (Read More…)
Yesterday, TTAC’s daily news editor Aaron Cole wrote an editorial calling for a new Ralph Nader to arise and save us from our own refusal to make appropriate safety-related automotive choices. I found the article fascinating, not least because one of my first editorials for TTAC was a skeptical look at the benefits of so-called “advanced driver training”. In that editorial, I argued that the decision to purchase a safe car was far more critical to crash survivability than any amount of special training would be. I then proceeded to prove my own point by selling my Phaetons, buying a Lincoln Town Car, and experiencing an incident (direct, high-speed perpendicular impact to my passenger door) that would have been trivial in said Phaetons but which was crippling in the aforementioned Town Car.
Since then, my thoughts on road safety have primarily centered around the idea of risk reduction. I believe that if you cancel or modify your riskiest trips, you’ll see tangible benefits from doing so. I don’t put my son in the car with me unless I have a specific agenda in mind to minimize risk from that trip. My goal is to reduce his exposure, which means no unnecessary trips, no bad-weather trips, and no trips without a plan.
On the other hand, this past year I put about half of my commuting mileage on motorcycles. That tilts my overall risk profile pretty far away from “safe”. It has, however, allowed me a front-row seat for all sorts of traffic incidents and accidents, playing out in full widescreen all around me.
For those reasons, I’m inclined to disagree with Aaron a little bit when it comes to the role of the government and/or quasi-governmental activists to improve vehicle safety. I’ll explain.
Drivers may take nearly 30 seconds to regain their focus back on the road after using a car’s infotainment or hands-free smartphone systems, researchers announced Wednesday.
The two studies, which were conducted by the University of Utah (Go Utes!) for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, concluded that even modern assist programs could dangerously distract drivers for up to 27 seconds after they’re done using them. Researchers noted that vehicles traveled more than 300 yards for 27 seconds at 25 mph. (Read More…)