By on September 11, 2018

Chevrolet is releasing a new smartphone app, titled Call Me Out, to help remind motorists to keep their eyes on the road and put their phones in their pockets while driving. Of course, individuals will still have to check their phones to receive the messages, which seems a little counterintuitive.

While the automaker appears to target “new and experienced drivers,” there’s nothing to indicate the product wouldn’t work equally well for experienced operators. Call Me Out basically functions as a guilt delivery system, using a person’s family and friends for ammunition. Once the app has been installed, the phone’s accelerometer and GPS wait until the car surpasses 5 mph. Then the phone plays recorded, personalized messages from the driver’s loved ones, reminding drivers to keep driving and avoid distractions.  (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2017

Texting and Driving

The state of New York is preparing to study the use of a device known as a “textalyzer” that would allow police to determine whether a motorist involved in a serious crash was texting while driving. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he was encouraging the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to examine the technology’s usefulness, as well as the privacy and constitutional questions it could raise.

Named to be intentionally reminiscent of the breathalyzer, likely for marketing purposes, the textalyzer is framed by its designers as a device intended to identify whether a driver was interacting with their phone prior to a serious crash. However, there’s technically nothing stopping others from using this technology during a routine traffic stop down the line.

Last year, New York Senator Terrence Murphy and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz partnered with Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORC) to propose a bill that would allow authorities to examine phones at an accident site. The move created a backlash from digital privacy advocates, who believe the device is an invasion of personal liberties. Governor Cuomo has been supportive of the DORC in the past and has made the elimination of distracted driving a personal project.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

'Distracted Driving Law In Effect' Road Sign, Image: Public Domain

Back in 2012, a Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) spokesman said one reason southeastern Michigan had seen an increase in traffic crashes and deaths is because the area is more urbanized, thus has more motorists than the rest of the state.

In a column the next day on The Michigan ViewThe Detroit News political website, I countered the spokesperson’s claim, arguing “more motorists” logically explained “why” there are more accidents and deaths in urbanized areas, but did not explain the increasing frequency of those rates. (That column is also featured in my second book, Jimmy Hoffa Called My Mom a Bitch: Profiles in Stupidity. Pardon the self-promotion.)

What could be behind the rise after years of declining numbers? Maybe, I argued, it was a regulation legislators began enacting in SE Michigan, the state, and — in fact — the entire country in 2007: the ban on texting while driving.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2017

Texting and Driving

Apple is facing a legal battle in California for neglecting to implement technology that would prevent iPhone owners from texting behind the wheel.

Filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the class-action suit alleges that Apple has possessed the ability to disable texting since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. The lawsuit wants the company to stop all iPhone sales until it installs safety-oriented software on all devices — new and old — via an update.  (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2015

mila+anjelika+dago

Nowadays it seems as you’re almost as likely to see or hear a public service announcement about the dangers of texting behind the wheel as you are about drunk driving, but there are still plenty of “drive sober or get pulled over” billboards and PSAs. Around 4:45 AM on August 14, 2013, a 22 year old Florida woman named Mila Dago driving a rented Smart car apparently ignored all of that advice and allegedly ran a red light and broadsided a pickup truck, resulting in the death of her passenger, Irina Reinoso, also 22.

Not only did she find herself charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide but now there’s a good chance she’ll be convicted because prosecutors have recently obtained a string of text messages she sent to her boyfriend that night including the self-incriminating statement “Driving drunk woo,” sent just minutes before the crash. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2014

texting-driving

Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T.

(Read More…)

By on October 31, 2013

thp10

The murder rate is up in Tennessee for the second year in a row but the state highway patrol has a solution: spending hundreds of dollars per hour to catch drivers who are texting.

(Read More…)

By on August 28, 2013

1567_400x600

Just when you thought things in America’s Litigious Society couldn’t get any weirder:

A New Jersey appeals court has found a person who knowingly sends a text to a driver can share liability if the driver causes an accident… The appeals court says someone who texts a motorist is not liable for the driver’s negligent actions. But the texter has a duty to refrain if the person knows the recipient is driving and likely to read the message.

(Read More…)

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