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Texting While Driving

WNYC News

New York State to Crack Down on Texting While Driving

Friday, April 10, 2015

WNYC
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says state troopers will aggressively target motorists who use handheld devices behind the wheel.

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WNYC News

NYS Thruway Will Offer More Places to Pull Over and Text

Monday, September 23, 2013

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a continuing effort to combat texting while driving, says the state Thruway will offer more places to pull over and answer text messages or make cell phone calls.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Open Phones: Do You Text and Drive? Be Honest.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Werner Herzog released a new documentary on the dangers of texting while driving called "From One Second to the Next." Call in with your tips on how to resist the temptation to text while you're driving, and how you teach your teenage drivers to do the same. And if you can't resist the temptation, tell us what makes it so hard to change your habits.

 

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Transportation Nation

WATCH: Werner Herzog Takes on Texting While Driving

Friday, August 09, 2013

The latest subject for Werner Herzog -- the filmmaker behind such grueling works as Fitzcarraldo and Grizzly Man -- is the danger posed by texting while driving.

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Transportation Nation

Florida Allows Texting While Driving, Local Dad Fights to Change That

Monday, March 18, 2013

(Photo by Jason Weaver)

(Ariana Prothero, WLRN -- Miami, Fla.) Florida is one of just six states without any ban on texting and driving, even though experts say it makes you 23 times more likely to get into a crash. One Florida dad has made it his mission to get a texting ban passed.

Steve Augello lives in Spring Hill, Florida, just outside of Tampa. Like a lot of parents, he always made his 17-year-old daughter, Alessandra, check-in with him when she was out. Augello also had a rule.

“You weren’t allowed to have that cell phone out while you’re driving,” Augello remembers telling Alessandra. “I even tested her a few times I called her when she was driving and it always went right through to the recorder.”

On November 10th, 2008, Alessandra called her dad around 7 p.m. telling him she was about to head home from rehearsal for a school play. That was the last time they would speak. As Alessandra was driving home, 19-year-old Alyssa Dyer suddenly veered across the center line hitting Alessandra head-on and killing them both. Florida Highway Patrol records show a text message went through to Dyer’s boyfriend shortly after the accident.

When Augello got Alessandra’s belongings back later that night, he found her cell phone zipped up in her purse, just like he always told her to do.

Augello has been telling this story a lot lately because he’s trying to persuade lawmakers in Tallahassee to pass a ban on texting while driving.

That is exactly what Republican Senator Nancy Detert fromVenice is trying to do. This is the fourth year in a row Detert has filed a bill that would make texting and driving a secondary offense. In the past, the legislation had trouble gaining traction but this year both the Senate and House versions are snowballing through their respective committees.

“We don't even need a study,” said Detert. “Everybody who drives the highway on a daily basis sees this everyday of their life and it's outrageously dangerous and needs to be stopped.”

More than a third of drivers reported reading a text or email while driving in a 2012 survey by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In Florida, over 4,500 accidents last year were attributed to drivers being distracted by their cell phones or other electronic communication devices.  Of those crashes, 255 were directly linked to texting. But, those numbers don’t paint a full picture. State law enforcement officials say the issue is under reported and there’s no way to count near misses.

As part of a recent pilot study, researchers at a driving simulation lab at Florida International University asked people to compose text messages while in the driving simulators. Denis McCarthy, who helps run the lab, says participants often weren’t even aware that they were making mistakes.

“It’s the way we’re hardwired,” explained McCarthy. “Humans can do one task really well, but studies have shown when we divide our attention between two tasks, we don’t do either well.”

McCarthy says the research clearly shows that texting and driving causes accidents.

But, where the research is less clear is whether bans on texting and taking on cell phones actually work. Studies investigating that link in other states have turned up mixed results. Some found an increase in overall crash claims after laws were passed. Other studies reported a drop in crashes specifically linked to texting or a decrease in the number of people using their phones while driving where the laws were strictly enforced.

However, people who want a texting ban say that the point is to change the driving culture. Democratic State Senator Maria Sachs supports Senator Detert’s bill. Sachs says when her kids text and drive, she threatens to take off her seat belt.

“And they’re very concerned about seat belts,” said Sachs. “See, this is interesting. They grew up with having to put on a seat belt on, I didn’t. But they would never get in a car without putting a seat belt on. We need to make the same education with distracted driving.”

A growing number of people do see it as an issue. AAA reports that nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said they believe other drivers using cell phones are a threat to their personal safety.

Last year the The Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 polled 800 registered Florida voters. Of those, 71 percent said they wanted a ban on texting while driving.

Arianna Prothero is a reporter with WLRN - Miami Herald News in South Florida. You can find more of WLRN's transportation reporting at wlrn.org.
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Transportation Nation

Virginia to Crack Down on Texting While Driving

Monday, February 04, 2013

(Jessica Jordan -- WAMU) Texting while driving is already punishable by a $20 fine in Virginia, but it's a secondary offense, which means police can only write a ticket if they have already stopped the motorist for another violation.

[Listen to this story on WAMU.]

A bill set to be discussed Monday, would increase the fine to $250 and make it a primary offense, allowing police to stop and ticket anyone they spot texting behind the wheel.

Other legislation on the docket would make texting while driving punishable as reckless driving, which can result in up to a year in jail.

The General Assembly faces a Tuesday deadline for each chamber to act on its own bills.

[Also on WAMU: International Tensions Causing Higher Gas Prices]

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Transportation Nation

Texting-While-Driving Tickets Quadruple in New York

Thursday, July 12, 2012

(Photo by Kate Hinds)

Police in New York have written over 20,000 tickets since a more stringent texting-while-driving law took effect in 2011 – more than four times the amount than in the prior year.

"These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel," said Governor Cuomo in a press release.

The law went into effect on July 12, 2011. It made driving while using any portable electronic device a primary, rather than just a secondary offense -- meaning that drivers can be stopped solely if they are found to be using such a device while driving.

When he signed the bill into law last year, Cuomo said it was "common sense — but sometimes you need law enforcement, and you need laws, to remind society of common sense and enforce common sense."

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called texting while driving "a national epidemic" and said it's responsible for about ten percent of all traffic fatalities.

A county-by-county breakdown of tickets issued before and after the law can be viewed below (source: NY Governor's Office).

COUNTY

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/10- 7/12/2011

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/2011-7/12/2012

ALBANY

75

539

ALLEGANY

5

14

BRONX

91

900

BROOME

22

103

CATTARAUGUS

10

45

CAYUGA

9

76

CHAUTAUQUA

23

130

CHEMUNG

27

92

CHENANGO

4

40

CLINTON

16

73

COLUMBIA

5

54

CORTLAND

22

85

DELAWARE

1

18

DUTCHESS

59

324

ERIE

226

1,418

ESSEX

6

10

FRANKLIN

5

27

FULTON

5

21

GENESEE

8

50

GREENE

11

16

HAMILTON  

1

HERKIMER

11

52

JEFFERSON

12

73

KINGS

540

3,234

LEWIS

4

31

LIVINGSTON

23

50

MADISON

19

75

MONROE

110

687

MONTGOMERY

17

45

NASSAU

162

505

NEW YORK

807

3,714

NIAGARA

73

214

ONEIDA

38

126

ONONDAGA

797

479

ONTARIO

8

87

ORANGE

67

292

ORLEANS  

8

OSWEGO

14

46

OTSEGO

7

61

PUTNAM

22

75

QUEENS

401

3,334

RENSSELAER

21

163

RICHMOND

157

205

ROCKLAND

69

151

SARATOGA

42

326

SCHENECTADY

18

69

SCHOHARIE

4

9

SCHUYLER

3

4

SENECA

8

41

ST LAWRENCE

12

265

STEUBEN

14

108

SUFFOLK

185

908

SULLIVAN

5

32

TIOGA

13

67

TOMPKINS

20

139

ULSTER

54

246

WARREN

15

166

WASHINGTON

10

21

WAYNE

6

74

WESTCHESTER

148

720

WYOMING

3

18

YATES  

2

TOTALS

4,569

20,958

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Confessions of Drivers Who Text and the New Law NY Gov Has Just for Them

Friday, June 10, 2011

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user poka0059)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced legislation proposing strict new penalties for distracted driving Friday. The law, if passed, would make using a mobile electronic device while driving a ticketable offense worth three points on your license, even if a driver isn't breaking any other laws or driving dangerously at the time. Thirty-three states already have laws against texting while driving. However, According to a crowdsourcing project by our partner The Takeaway, the practice is common and not everyone agrees it should be banned, and most people don't think behavior is changing. (See interactive map below.)

In New York, it is already a crime to text while driving, but it is a classified as a secondary offense, which means drivers can only get a ticket for texting behind the wheel if they also break another law. The law Cuomo wants to pass would make it a primary offense to use any portable electronic device while driving. We assume that excludes GPS devices, but we're checking.

The Takeaway, interviewed a mother who has been advocating for a tougher law in New York after her son was killed texting while driving. All week long The Takeaway has been asking listeners what they think about the safety risk and potential laws around texting and driving. The audience was split down the middle about whether they do it and how dangerous they think it is. Here's a map of their responses. Click on the pins for the comments.

As you can see, not everyone is in favor of the new laws. As one Massachusetts listener put it, "I'm driving while texting this response. It's only deadly if the driver is uncapable to drive [sic] and text. I drive for a living and do it frequently." Most respondents however, admit the practice is dangerous, even if they do it. A driver from South Carolina confessed, "I do it all the time. No accident yet, but I've come close a few times... I know I shouldn't do it! And I'm trying to stop."

The topic has gotten national attention in recent weeks following a trio of fatal crashes in Michigan, California, and Georgia. Still, most people in who responded to The Takeaway think the practice is here to stay. "I'm not sure what the solution is. My state now has laws against texting while driving and I'd imagine it hasn't affected anyone's behavior. As a driver, I don't text while behind the wheel unless I'm stopped. As a cyclist, I'm more afraid of texting drivers than I am of drunks," said a more responsible respondent from Madison, Wisconsin.

Transportation advocates, however, are applauding Cuomo's proposed legislation for New York and want to see more done. "Distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "Nobody should be texting or updating Facebook while piloting a two-ton piece of machinery on public streets. New Yorkers will applaud Governor Cuomo for this groundbreaking effort to stop distracted driving." His organization just released a report on traffic safety that finds that more New Yorkers are killed in traffic accidents than by guns.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit Taking Corporate Naming Bids, Metro Detroit Must Integrate Transit -- Or Else, and Rahm Emanuel: Power Bicyclist

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

(robotbrainz/Flickr)

NJ Transit is taking corporate bids for naming its stations, terminals, and trains -- and one bidder is crying foul. (The Star-Ledger)

If regional Detroit can't agree on an integrated rail and bus system, they risk losing millions in federal dollars -- and what may be "our last, best opportunity." (Detroit Free Press)

Mayor Bloomberg floated a new plan to expand taxi service in the outer boroughs by setting up hundreds of stands where livery cabs could legally pick up passengers on the street. (Wall Street Journal)

US DOT head Ray LaHood went to New Orleans for the groundbreaking of their streetcar expansion project. (Fast Lane)

Is texting while driving as dangerous as we think -- and is a ban the right way to prevent it? (The Takeaway)

Delta is scrambling to do damage control after charging a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan $200 each for extra bags. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

It took two years to plan for parking at the upcoming US Open in Bethesda. (WAMU)

Chicago will get protected bike lanes, and Rahm Emanuel bikes 25 miles on weekends. (Chicago Sun-Times)

97 degrees in Minneapolis = Twin Cities highway damage. (Boing Boing)

A dancing traffic cop has become a sensation in Manila. (BBC News video)

Owning a Harley-Davidson in China is a status symbol for a small slice of the aspirational Chinese consumer. (Marketplace)

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Transportation Nation

Indiana Becomes 32nd State to Ban Texting While Driving

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

(Photo: Flickr user William Holtkamp)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law Wednesday banning texting while driving. The law, effective July 1, makes texting while driving punishable with a fine up to $500. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from any cell phone use while driving.

U.S. Department of Transportation cheered the law, calling it "stiff" and "tough." In a statement, U.S.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said “Distraction is still a factor in too many serious crashes. But the bill signed today by Governor Daniels will help make Indiana roads safer.”

This makes Indiana the 32 second state (along with the District of Columbia) to ban texting while driving. Curbing distracted driving has become one of LaHood's hallmarks, who says that drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are four times as likely to get in a serious crash.

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