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Entries in Distracted (4)

Friday
Dec302011

California to Crack Down on Distracted Drivers, Even Those Eating

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- With all the emphasis law enforcement agencies have been putting on distracted driving lately, more drivers are suddenly becoming aware that perhaps talking on the phone or texting may not be the smartest thing to do behind the wheel.

But the California Highway Patrol is going one step beyond that this weekend, warning motorists that they can be ticketed if a cop feels that food is causing risky driving.

Eating while driving in the Golden State between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday could mean as much as a $1,000 fine if it impairs a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle.  But the likelihood of such a steep penalty isn't great since texters usually face a $20 ticket on a first offense.

Cops will also be on the lookout for other forms of distracted driving, such as reading newspapers or applying makeup.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

No Evidence Cellphone Bans Are Effective, Report Shows

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite nationwide initiatives to curb cellphone use while driving, there is no evidence indicating that the bans are effective, according to a report out Thursday.

Nevertheless, the 40-page document urged states to enact cellphone and texting bans, even as it declared that there is "no solid evidence that any [ban] is effective in reducing crashes, injuries, or fatalities."

The report, Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, developed by a host of transportation safety officials, also called on employers, the automobile industry and the federal government to continue to develop tests and implement measures to combat all forms of distracted driving.

The report summarized all research on distracted drivers available as of January 2011 and focused its attention on distractions caused by cellphones and text messaging.

One recent study said that about two-thirds of all drivers reported using a cellphone while driving.

The new document found that there was no conclusive evidence whether hands-free cellphone use is less risky than hand-held use.  It suggested that texting may carry a higher risk than other forms of cellphone use, but again found there was no conclusive evidence to verify that claim.

As of June 2011, 34 states and the District of Columbia had enacted texting bans for all drivers, but a 2010 study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI) found that the bans did not reduce collision claims.  In fact, claims increased slightly in states enacting texting bans compared to neighboring states.

HLDI suggested two possible reasons for the increase.

"Texters may realize that texting bans are difficult to enforce, so they may have little incentive to reduce texting for fear of being detected and fined," the HDLI report said.  Or, the institute suggested, texters may have responded to the ban by "hiding their phones from view, potentially increasing their distractive effects by requiring longer glances away from the road."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Government Targets Distracted Teen Drivers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Kids today are engaging in some very dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

That opinion was delivered by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Monday at Consumer Reports' headquarters in New York.  Specifically, LaHood warned that too many adolescents have fallen prey to distracted driving by fiddling with cell phones and other devices when they should be devoting all their concentration to the road.

LaHood cited a poll that reveals almost two-thirds of teens talk on the phone while driving, while another 30 percent admit to sending text messages.

The Consumer Reports study finds that young drivers aren't particularly concerned about bad habits, which LaHood says may be due to the fact that there's never been a time when they haven't had access to mobile phones and other hand-held contraptions, unlike previous generations.

According to the Department of Transportation, 5,550 vehicular fatalities and half-a-million injuries can be attributed each year to distracted driving, with about 18 percent of these accidents involving cell phone usage.

To help educate youngsters, the DOT has joined parents and teachers in a program to hammer home the message that teens need to focus on driving instead of multi-tasking behind the wheel.

To that end, the government is promoting a new website, Distraction.gov, and rolling out a series of public service announcements that deal with the problem.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan252011

Lawmakers Seek to Crack Down on Distracted Pedestrians

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lawmakers in New York and Arkansas are taking aim at pedestrians who are distracted by electronic devices while running or walking on sidewalks and streets.

New York Sen. Carl Kruger is looking to impose a fine on walkers or joggers using a cell phone, iPod, or other electronic device while crossing the street in a big city.

"If somebody is found using a cell phone or texting or receiving an instant message while crossing the street then they would be subject to a $100 fine," Kruger said.

The senator added that the fine would not be wiped out by simply mailing in a check.

"You get the fine, you have to appear in court, you have to lose some time.  You have to appear before a judge.  You're gonna get admonished for what you did.  And you're going to have to pay that civil fine," he said.

Kruger said the proposed fine is not a ploy to raise money but rather the result of reported deaths around the country in connection to distracted pedestrians.  Of those deaths, two were in his district in Brooklyn, where, in one incident, he said "a gentleman was standing on the corner, ready to cross the street, wired into his iPod, crosses over, walks right into a New York City bus."

Moreover, Arkansas Sen. Jimmy Jeffress is proposing a bill that would forbid pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears when they are on or near streets, intersections or highways, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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