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Distracted Driving

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Thursday, July 01, 2010

State bans on texting and driving start today in Michigan, Georgia and Kentucky.

Ford stock hits seven-month low, as company funds pension, pays off $4B debt.  (Free Press)

Commuter-airline that serves United, US Airways faces $2.5 million penalty for maintenance lapses.  (WSJ)

Sappy, wet kiss from Washington Post to Secretary LaHood.

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Transportation Nation

Talking, Texting and Bumping Into Things

Monday, June 21, 2010

(Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation) We've tried to keep up with the federal government's push to get drivers off of their cell phones.  The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has added a few data points to that debate now.  Among the new survey's findings:

  • Overall, 44% of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.
  • Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are substantially more likely to have talked on the phone while driving.
  • Almost half of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone.

The survey is a short and interesting read.  But there's a nugget inside it that may be the most foreboding:

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Transportation Nation

The Secretary's Cause Knows No Bounds

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(United Nations - Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation) - Distracted driving is a top priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Which isn't saying much some days.  Secretary Ray LaHood talks about it a lot.  The department is funding researching into how cops can write more tickets for talking and texting while driving.  LaHood often appears in public with people from Focus Driven, a non-profit that he helped create to raise awareness.

But the secretary's push faces a world moving the other way.  Cell phones have maps and GPS, automakers do things like put Twitter in the dashboard, and minivans are becoming wireless hot spots.  According to LaHood, the world now has 4.6 billion cell phone subscriptions and 600 million cars.  The math adds up to drivers who must resist many distractions.  And, even in the U.S., most cities, states and cops have yet to pass or enforce laws and regulations to back new behavior.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Toyota pays $16.4 million over recall of sticking gas pedals (nyt)
Civil fine is the largest allowed, but car company avoids admitting fault.  Hey, the proceeds go to the Treasury!

DOT to expand cellphone ban to all who work on commuter trains (kpcc)
Rail operators are already prohibited -- this would extend the ban to conductors, switchmen, and other crew members.

New iPhone app will find you a parking place in San Franciscio (Chronicle)
Tool will find spaces, provide rates and meter info.  Will drivers spend less time in traffic, or become more distracted?

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Transportation Nation

LaHood's Fight Against Distractions Expands to the Cockpit

Monday, April 26, 2010

(Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation, April 26) The Secretary of Transportation mentions his fight against distracted driving once a day, it seems -- his tenure will certainly be marked by this effort against drivers and their cell phones. In a sign of how tough that fight is amidst our tech-loaded lives though, the FAA announced today that it's bulking up crew training requirements to address temptations in the air. “Every aviation professional needs to take distractions in the cockpit seriously,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Who can forget to two Northwest pilots who flew past their destination because they were playing with personal laptops. Who writes the tickets at 30,000 feet?

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Transportation Nation

Shannon Trice Will Stop You, Distracted Drivers

Thursday, April 08, 2010

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(Syracuse, NY - Transportation Nation) On the window sill next to Captain Shannon Trice's desk, there's a toy cop car. Instead of the badge of the Syracuse Police Department, where he's worked for the last 20 years, it has the logo of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Trice is a traffic nerd.  He's worked on a bunch of federal-state-local programs, reads the studies.  The toy car is one of a few awards he's won for traffic safety programs.  He's a modest man, but you can almost get him to brag about how many tickets he's written as part of New York State's "Click It or Ticket" program -- something he does for an hour now and then just to get out of the office.  He has served long enough to see the difference his work has made.

But Trice and the Syracuse PD are now taking on a new challenge.

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Transportation Nation

New Front for Distracted Driving: Drivers Shaving Bikini Line

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The definition of distracted driving is expanding under the Obama Administration -- they're fighting talking and texting while driving, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has asked for a ban on just about everything behind the wheel.  Here's the secretary recently reciting his list, which includes combing you hair, putting make-up on and yes, shaving:

meganbarnesOn Tuesday, March 2, Megan Mariah Barnes (right) helped LaHood's cause.  The 37-year old Florida woman crashed while "shaving her bikini area," according to the Key West Citizen. She was traveling 45 MPH -- within the speed limit -- but hit a car traveling about 5 MPH. The three people in the car Barnes hit were treated for minor injuries.

Even worse -- the day before the wreck, Barnes was convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license., reports the Citizen. She faces a year in jail for Tuesday's collision.  So far, no word from Secretary LaHood on the incident. -- Collin Campbell

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Transportation Nation

The Takeaway: Washington Convenes 'Distracted Driving' Summit

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Call it Driving While Distracted, or DWD.  It may not sounds as serious as DWI, but driving and texting or twittering or "just" checking your email is as serious enough issue that dozens of elected officials, transit groups and law enforcement agencies are gathering in Washington today to look at what can be done about it. We hear from Kristin Backstrom of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, who will be at the conference, New Jersey State Trooper Segeant Stephen Jones and his daughter Alicia Jones, who admits to texting while driving.

Listen to the full story.

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