The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it has the legal authority to regulate cellphones that interact with cars and trucks. At a Congressional hearing last week, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the agency plans to issue voluntary guidelines for smartphones in vehicles next year that will be broader in scope than ones issued earlier this year. Strickland said that NHTSA already has authority under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to regulate cellphones that work with systems in cars. The MVSA covers motor vehicle equipment.
Tag: distracted driving
…new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a cellphone while driving does not increase crash risk. Published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the study uses data from a major cellphone provider and accident reports to contradict previous findings that connected cellphone use to increased crash risk.
Oops. If this study, which appears to be organized along some fairly rational and defensible lines, turns out to the best representation of reality we have available, it will mean that the sole purpose of all the anti-talking-while-driving and mandatory-handsfree laws that have fast-tracked through the states in the past decade has actually been to, um, increase revenue from ticketing harmless motorists. If this in any way surprises you, then you might well be an exceptionally naive and trusting person and a few years from now I’d to introduce my son to any biological daughters you might have. This is government in the modern (and perhaps any) age: create a fear that shouldn’t really exist, manipulate the public into hysterics, extract cash from the public and divert it to the most favored recipients. It’s a tactic with an exceptional success rate and an appeal that spans the entire spectrum of political beliefs.
With that said, when the phrase “the public” is used, it refers to us. You and me. As individuals. Can’t we do better than providing the desired knee-jerk responses to whatever soundbites Messrs. Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Stewart, and Maddow scream and snark into our ears?
Werner Herzog directed the surprisingly good Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans a few years back, and now he’s put his not inconsiderable talents to work making a film about the consequences of distracted driving.
New York is one of 40 states that have banned texting while driving. In the four or so years since the ban went into effect in New York state, a bit more than 11,000 tickets have been issued for all hand held phone violations, including texting.
We are bombarded with messages about the dangers of drunk driving, of the hazard of talking and texting on cell phones while driving, and the need to give a wide berth to folks driving Zipcars. We think there are many other varieties of unsafe motorists that get no attention from the media. As a public service, let’s take a look five subtle, but equally scary, drivers that make the highways a real challenge. (Read More…)
According to current information on Distraction.gov, “in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.” There is an all-out war against distraction of drivers, especially against cellphones. At the same time, current information at the NHTSA says that “In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States.” Will walking be outlawed? We better stay at home then. Which can be even deadlier: Every year, 18,000 Americans die from accidental injuries that take place in the house, making our homes the second-most deadly place to be. The deadliest place is still the car. 32,367 died in a car in 2011, says the NHTSA.
Compared to walking or staying at home, especially compared to simply being in a car, distracted driving appears to be life-extending. At least when looking at the raw numbers. No wonder that the anti-cellphone movement is getting nervous, and is looking for more dead to bolster their case. (Read More…)
As part of their campaign against “distracted driving”, NHTSA has released new voluntary guidelines governing the use of in-car infotainment systems.
In a move that will undoubtedly
create a flood of profitable tickets save uncounted lives, Virginia has made “distracted driving” a primary offense and raised the fines to the proverbial ceiling.
They do that in South Africa. Use your phone for texting or gabbing, and police in Cape Town will arrest your cell. (Read More…)
Citing New York’s leadership in banning hand-held cell phone use in cars, NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart urged the Empire State to become the first to ban all use of personal electronic devices while driving. Though careful to call it a state issue, Hart did hint that state compliance with forthcoming NTSB recommendations could be tied to federal highway funds (he has separately called for a national ban).
And indeed, New York’s legislators seemed to see the issue of distraction as an issue for federal action (but then, why not make the feds pay for it?). At the same time, everyone understands that the problem is near-ubiquitous and any full ban on personal device use in cars would be near-impossible to enforce (short of Assemblyman McDonough’s suggestion that automakers equip cars with cell-phone signal blockers)… which raises huge questions about federal-level action.
Distracted driving is very much in the news, and so far, cellphones were fingered as the culprits. Now, there is a study that finally identifies the biggest distraction: Passengers. A study by State Farm, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health goes to the bottom of what experts have known for long: Peer passengers increase driver crash risk, especially amongst adolescent drivers. (Read More…)
This is a guest article by our reader levaris. We wanted to see what the Best & Brightest think.
According to an Associated Press article today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that States “should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies”. How using a phone during an emergency is safer for the driver than when they aren’t calling about an emergency isn’t made clear, but that is not the biggest problem with this latest public safety cry.
The article mentions that this recommendation is made because of a crash in Missouri involving a semi cab (no trailer), a pickup truck, and two school buses. The driver of the pickup was killed, as was a student on one of the buses; a further thirty-eight people were injured. (Read More…)