U.S. Mandates Reversing Cameras in Vehicles by 2018

The National Highway Safety Transportation Agency (NHTSA) recently announced a new rule that will require vehicles built from May 1, 2018 onwards to have a reversing (also known as a “back-up”) camera. This rule will apply to all road-legal vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4.5 Tonnes).

The NHTSA cites an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries from “back-up” or reversing accidents every year, and notes that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of the deaths.

According to the rule, all vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018 will have to be equipped with a rear-view camera. It also included specifics on response time after the vehicle’s transmission is shifted into reverse (2 seconds) and “linger time” of how long the camera remains active after shifting from reverse (between 4 and 8 seconds).

Introducing View-it

view-it logo 2016

View-it allows a reverse camera feed to be relayed direct to an in-vehicle computer display, thus avoiding the need for a separate display screen.

As soon as the vehicle is put in reverse the image from the reverse camera is instantly displayed on the computer screen. Once reverse is dis-engaged, the display reverts to its previous state freeing up the screen for normal use.

View-it is suitable for any vehicle fitted with a compatible camera and offers the following advantages:

  • Cost Avoidance – No need to buy an expensive reverse camera set-up. Use your existing in-vehicle computer for the reverse feed image.
  • Safety – Reduce the distraction by reducing the amount of mounted monitors in the vehicle.
  • Unobtrusive – Initializes a full-screen image containing the camera feed. When not reversing view-it is completely invisible to the user.
  • The view-it product includes software and smart cables ready for installation.

View-it is a stand-alone product that also integrates well with the Blank-it distracted driving solution and we recommend that all fleet owners consider installation of Blank-it & view-it as a vital part of their safety/OH&S obligations.

Find out more about view-it

 

Police in-vehicle Laptop use and Driver Distraction

Police use of in-vehicle laptops and the related driver distraction has been featured a number of times in this blog.

A recent item on the Today.com website puts this issue in the spotlight again, with increasing evidence of the number of distraction-related accidents where police use of an in-vehicle computer is involved.

It is interesting that the distracted driving issue is now making it into mainstream media such as the Today show. It really starts to bring the problem forward and centre where it should be.

Bryan Vila, a professor at Washington State University in Spokane, is one of the world’s leading experts on distracted police driving. He put Today’s reporter behind the wheel in the driving simulator he uses to monitor officers’ eye movement and reaction time.

Once use of an on-board computer was added to the simulation, the reporter ran off the road. Review showed that his eyes were off the road, looking at the computer screen, for almost four seconds. “That’s enough to cause a hell of an accident,” Vila said.

Some police departments across the country are trying to address the issue in fairly basic ways. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, police officers’ in-car computer won’t allow them to keep typing after going 10 to 15 miles per hour. And in Fort Worth, Texas, officers aren’t allowed to use their computers at all while driving, unless it’s an emergency.

More sophisticated solutions are required however, to allow Police Officers to perform their duties effectively without endangering the lives of other road users.

“We believe that with Blank-it, the solution is already there. Blank-it makes it possible to greatly reduce the interaction with an on-board computer whilst leaving enough there to make it a usable tool for the officer. Blank-it can disable touch-screens or keyboards, keeping audible components active and restricting what is visible when the vehicle is moving  – addressing the major components of driver distraction without reducing officer efficiency.”

Blank-it does all of this from a rugged USB Multi-motion sensor fob that can easily be retro fitted to an existing fleet or incorporated into new installs. The easy to install and configure Blank-it software allows the officer to perform their job but keep their eyes on the road.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).

 

 

See original article here: http://www.today.com/news/distracted-police-driving-researchers-seek-solution-1D80406085

Also view two NBC videos on this subject:

No charges for Deputy who killed Cyclist while Driving Distracted

deputy-napster-distractionCalifornia prosecutors have decided NOT to file charges against a sheriff’s deputy who struck and killed a prominent entertainment attorney and former Napster executive with his patrol car last year.

Deputy Andrew Wood was reportedly distracted by his mobile digital computer when his patrol car drifted into the bike lane, allegedly typing an email at the time he ran over cyclist Milton Olin Jr.

Prosecutors said in a letter cited by Los Angeles Daily News that because Wood was acting within the course of his duties when typing into his computer, criminal charges are not warranted.

Under current legislation, law enforcement officials are allowed to use electronic wireless devices while carrying out their duties. However – the victim’s family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department and accused Wood of negligence and an online petition has been launched on Change.org demanding that charges be brought against the deputy.

While typing an email on his computer, it is alleged that “Wood briefly took his eyes away from the road precisely when the narrow roadway curved slightly to the left without prior warning, causing him to inadvertently travel straight into the bike lane, immediately striking Olin.”

View CBS Report below.

Online stories reporting the decision have prompted many comments demanding that action be taken and/or the law changed e.g. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2736376/Deputy-killed-former-Napster-COO-drifting-bike-lane-distracted-laptop-NOT-face-charges-answering-work-related-email.html

 

This is just the type of situation that Blank-it is designed to prevent

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

Blank-it also makes it possible to disable input from keyboard or touchscreen to prevent this type of incident happening.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).

Distracted Driving – Legislation Is Not Enough

We have often stated our belief that legislation and education on their own aren’t enough to address the problem of phone or computer related driver distraction. Technology HAS to form part of the solution – and two recent articles only add weight to our argument.Motion | Blank IT

Harm Reduction

In the Ottawa Citizen, Steve LaFleur argues that legislation and associated punishment can only be effective as one part of a wider approach to the distracted driving issue – an approach that also has to include education and technology.

In fact, the article goes further and makes the point that legislation on its own is in fact detrimental as drivers engage in ever more dangerous practices to avoid police officers on the lookout for cellphone users.

Read the article here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/harm+reduction+agenda+distracted+driving/9757133/story.html

Lip Service

On ReadWrite.com, Bradley Berman makes a similar point in a different way. His article bemoans the “half-hearted” approach to legislation, poor driver attitudes and a general unwillingness on the part of manufacturers to provide effective solution.

Berman describes his largely unsuccessful attempts to address the problem of cellphone distraction using currently available apps, noting that much of the problem revolves around the ‘voluntary’ nature of most products.

Given the sorry state of distracted driving technology, you have to be extremely motivated to use these apps. The Distracted Driving Foundation lists about 25 apps on its website—there are a few more on Apple’s App Store—but I couldn’t find a single one that was easy to use. Most were either defunct, required onerous sign-up processes, asked for subscription plans, or simply didn’t work as advertised.

The patchy effectiveness of these products, together with a general unwillingness of drivers to be part of the solution brings us back to the point we are making – that technology HAS to be a key part of the answer to distracted driving and that voluntary/opt-in models are not sufficient.

Read the article: http://readwrite.com/2014/04/30/distracted-driving-lip-service-solution#awesm=~oDx9aA8A8hfz1V

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customizable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

 

 

Google Lobbying Against Distraction Legislation?

Reuters.com reports that Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the emerging wearable technology.

The article describes how a number of U.S. states are considering regulating use of Google Glass and similar technology by drivers, although none have passed any such legislation yet.

It goes on to state:

Google Inc has deployed lobbyists to persuade elected officials in Illinois, Delaware and Missouri that it is not necessary to restrict use of Google Glass behind the wheel, according to state lobbying disclosure records and interviews conducted by Reuters.

The report quotes Delaware state Rep. Joseph Miro as saying:

“I’m not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society, My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver.”

According to Reuters, Google advises people to abide by any applicable local laws that limit use of mobile devices while driving.

An additional issue related to devices such as Google Glass concerns law enforcement officers being able to prove that the equipment was actually operating at the time a driver was pulled over.

To sum up: This is emerging technology that adds further complexity to the whole Distracted Driving problem.

See the Reuters article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/us-google-glass-lobbying-idUSBREA1O0P920140225

 

State Laws Regarding Use of Video Displays in the Car

We came across a very useful resource provided by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  regarding use of video display devices in the vehicle.

This resource from the CEA pulls together information about each U.S. State’s laws regarding use of electronic/video displays in the car. For the most part, most probably due to historical reasons, these refer to ‘video’ displays in the context of TV transmissions but obviously the same dangers (and more) are posed by the driver’s use of computers – which is just the issue Blank-it is designed to address.

Here are a few examples from the list:

  • District of Columbia: “No television equipment shall be installed in or on any motor vehicle in a manner which will make the reception of the television visible to the vehicle operator while the vehicle is in motion.”
  • Florida: “No motor vehicle operated on the highways of this state shall be equipped with television-type receiving equipment so located that the viewer or screen is visible from the driver’s seat.”
  • Maine: “A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a television viewer, screen or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast that is visible to the operator. This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer using a video camera or other video equipment for law enforcement purposes.”
  • New Jersey: “It shall be unlawful to operate upon any public highway a motor vehicle which is equipped with or in which is located a television set so placed that the viewing screen thereof is visible to the driver while operating such vehicle.”

See the full CEA resource here: http://www.ce.org/Consumer-Info/Car-Electronics/Got-It/State-Laws-for-Electronics-Use-in-the-Car.aspx

Most of the emphasis on driver distraction policies and laws to date has been on the use of cellphones, but we have consistently stressed the similar dangers posed by computer use in the vehicle.

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

For the Better – The World’s First Attention Powered Car

The RAC in Western Australia have launched a new campaign to target Distracted Driving.

The campaign, called “For The Better“, has its own website and series of videos following the progress of a very interesting project – the World’s first “Attention Powered Car”.

As their website states:

WA has the worst road state fatality rate in Australia, but we used to have one of the best. Did you know one of the biggest and least talked about killers on our roads is driver inattention? To do something about it, RAC created the world’s first Attention Powered Car. But you can only learn so much on a test track, so we took the car on a road trip through southern WA and the Wheatbelt with nine local drivers to test the road safety issue of inattention. This was the world’s longest inattention road test at over 1,100 kilometres. But this is just the beginning for the Attention Powered Car – we have finished the road trip, but now will conduct further experiments at the RAC Driving Centre to really delve into specific inattention issues and start testing some solutions. 

You can watch the series of videos following this experiment here: http://forthebetter.com.au/

More information about distraction legislation in WA can be found here: http://www.ors.wa.gov.au/Road-Safety-Topics/Road-Issues/Distractions.aspx

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

NSW Distraction Related Crashes Double in Decade

fatal-distraction-01The drive.com.au site reports that  the number of crashes on NSW roads in which driver distraction was a factor has doubled in less than a decade.

The article appeared after 7 people were killed over 12 hours on NSW roads. Police believe that 6 of those crashes were caused by human error, including one where the driver was reportedly on the phone.

Mike Regan, from the University of NSW Transport and Road Safety group, said attention was increasingly being shifted from the road:

There are more technologies in cars which drivers are interacting with – that’s leading to distractions

According to the Centre for Road Safety, in 2011, drivers distracted by something inside their cars were a contributing factor in 1,585 crashes, compared with 748 in 2004. Over 900 of those accidents in 2011 resulted in injury.

Talking about the increasing integration of technology in cars, Professor Regan said:

We have new ways of a mobile phone connecting with cars that may cause more distractions than a hand-held phone itself

Lauchlan McIntosh, from the Australasian College of Road of Road Safety, said it was difficult to legislate against driver distraction and there should be more investment in solutions that disable devices when cars are moving.

A report by a State Parliament committee on road safety this year recommended better testing of electronic devices for driver distraction effects, and more enforcement of rules relating to in-car technologies.

 

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

New Connecticut Laws Toughen Approach to Distracted Drivers

Cost of Distracted DrivingThe state of Connecticut recently signed into law two bills aimed at Distracted Drivers – laws which introduce new penalties and conditions that will impact drivers and employers.

There are some particular features in these new laws that will increase their impact:

  • They change distracted driving citations to a ‘moving violation’, putting it on the list of serious traffic violations and assigning it points.
  • They allow for the offence to appear on the motor vehicle record of the driver and be available to car insurance companies to use when calculating rates for an insurance policy. A fine is a one-time payment, but an auto insurance company can raise your rates for three years, or more, for a moving violation such as this.
  • The laws make it illegal for motorists to use their handheld device when behind the wheel – including when the car is sitting motionless. That means drivers may not use their mobile devices even when stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. Presently, a motorist must be driving (car in motion) to be ticketed.

It is likely that we will see more of this type of legislation brought in, together with the associated tougher financial penalties, that can have much more impact than a one-off fine. This is something that will impact drivers and employers.

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

States Step Up Efforts to Combat Distracted Driving

ghsa-logoThe Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released its second look at how states are dealing with the problem of distracted driving. The report, titled “2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States”, reveals that more states are enacting and enforcing laws directed at distracted Drivers.

Among the key findings:

  • 39 states and the District of Columbia (DC) identify Distracted Driving as a priority issue, a 43 percent increase from 28 states in 2010;
  • 47 states and DC now have specific laws prohibiting various forms of distracted driving that impact most drivers. Of those states, 41 ban texting by all drivers, compared with only 28 states in 2010 (a 45 percent increase);
  • Law enforcement officers in almost every state are actively enforcing distracted driving laws, a significant change since 2010;
  • 47 states and DC are taking steps to educate the public about the threat of distracted driving, a 26 percent increase from 37 states in 2010;
  • Four states – California, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas – are working with affiliates of the National Safety Council to provide education and technology-use policies to major employers. Delaware and Kentucky have corporate outreach coordinators in their highway safety offices that are responsible for working with employers;
  • Currently, 47 states and DC collect distracted driving-related data via police crash reports and 18 states report that changes and/or upgrades to data collection efforts are planned for the coming year. Several states are also collaborating with colleges and universities to conduct observational surveys and analyze distracted driving crash data to better understand the problem.

GHSA Deputy Executive Director Jonathan Adkins stated:

This latest report confirms that states recognize the threat posed by distraction and are working hard in several areas to address it – States face major obstacles including a lack of funding for enforcement, media, and education. That, coupled with the motoring public’s unwillingness to put down their phones, despite disapproving of and recognizing the danger of this behavior, makes for a challenging landscape.

See news release here: http://www.ghsa.org/html/media/pressreleases/2013/20130717distraction.html
At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.