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VW’s Clever Texting and Driving Ad

Various governments, transport and health departments etc have produced campaigns to highlight the dangers of distracted driving, a few of which we’ve highlighted in the past.

Now Volkswagen have just released a very clever campaign of their own which is probably the best example we’ve seen so far of demonstrating just how dangerous distraction can be.

To set the exercise up, Volkswagen took a crowd of people to a movie viewing and obtained their mobile phone numbers as they entered. Before the expected movie was shown, the screen displayed  a ‘first-person’ view of someone starting a car and driving on a rural road. The audience have no idea what they’re watching but they are looking at the screen to see what will happen next.

Then, the organisers used location-based messaging to send everyone in the cinema a text. Nearly everyone takes their eyes off the screen to read the text message.

Watch the video to see what happened next.


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.

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

Are Your Mobile Workers Safe?

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.

While the Blank-it solution is aimed at managing the use of vehicle-mounted computers, we are also well aware of the distraction dangers posed by the use of mobile phones.

Dangers

Research suggests that both the physical and cognitive distraction caused by using mobile phones while driving can significantly impair a driver’s visual search patterns, reaction times, decision-making processes and their ability to maintain speed, throttle control and lateral position on the road.*

Blank-it & Fleetsafer

Blank-it has teamed up with Aegis Mobility to provide your workers with the ultimate safety tool for preventing mobile phone driver distraction.

Introducing Fleetsafer® – software for smartphones and tablets that detects driving state and automatically puts the device in “safe mode” while driving. In safe mode a “curtain” blocks access to the keyboard and screen. All notifications and alerts are silenced – including incoming calls, texts and emails.

When the device detects that it is stationary full functionality is returned to the user.

Find out more about this comprehensive and vital software for the safety of your enterprise workers.

*Monash University Accident Research Center – Report #206 – 2003
Authors: K. Young, M. Regan & M. Hammer

LaHood Still Weighing in on Distracted Driving

man-with-laptop-in-car-4As the New York Times reports, ex-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is still vocal about the dangers of distracted driving and the seeming reluctance of auto-manufacturers to fully commit to reducing distraction in the vehicle.

In an interview in July, LaHood said that car companies and technology companies must wake up to the deadly dangers their products can pose. He also made a point that voice-recognition systems for cars do not meet his standard for safety. There has been an industry ‘push’into those technologies, asserting that they are a safer alternative than using a hand-held phone, but some safety advocates disagree, as we have reported previously.

Mr. LaHood said he wants to see the technology and car industries be part of sending the message to consumers about the risks. We need to get that same kind of commitment from the tech industry. They’re not there yet, and neither are the car companies. They have to be part of the solution.

For now, Mr. LaHood said, they are often part of the problem in two ways: by building technology for cars that takes drivers away from the task of driving, and by glorifying the idea that it’s fashionable, even important, to be connected all the time.

His comments highlight one of the major problems with Distracted Driving. Polls show that drivers know using a cellphone or other electronic device behind the wheel is a risk, but that they do it anyway.

The responsibility of car companies, he said, should not be to create a cool factor around dangerous technologies.

It’s expensive technology, and only people of means can afford it but it lends legitimacy to everyone else who can only afford a BlackBerry or cellphone to say: “if you’re putting it in the car for these folks, then I can use mine.”

The solutions involve having tough laws, tough enforcement of those laws and public service messages that reinforce the legal risks, plus personal responsibility. On top of that, effective policies at a company level, and technology itself must form an important part of any effective solution.

Mr. LaHood said he would like to see tech and car companies disable the functions that are not directly related to driving when the car is in motion.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/lahood-says-companies-must-wake-up-to-distracted-driving/?_r=2

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.

Fatal Distraction – Australian Newspapers Launch Pledge Campaign

fatal-distraction-01News Ltd papers in Australia have launched a ‘pledge’ campaign highlighting the death and injury toll associated with driving and texting.

Under the heading “Please put the phone away: how one text at the wheel can kill” the campaign aims to increase awareness of the dangers of driving and texting.

The News Limited analysis of police, court and coroner’s records reveals text wreck victims over the past decade include drivers, their passengers, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

According to the article, the mounting death toll has prompted a coalition of grieving relatives, road safety groups, mobile service providers and others to unite in a bid to stop such accidents.

They are urging News Limited readers to sign a pledge promising not to text behind the wheel, and also to take action to stop friends or family if they see them in the act.

Find out more here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/please-put-the-phone-away-how-one-text-at-the-wheel-can-kill/story-fni0fit3-1226668022491

Crash Cuts Off Text Mid-Sentence

Police say that University of Northern Colorado student Alexander Heit was typing a text message when he apparently lost control of his car and ran off the road.

While he was texting, US police state that the 22-year-old University of Northern Colorado student drifted into oncoming traffic, jerked the steering wheel and went off the road, rolling his car.

Heit died shortly after the April 3 crash, and his parents and police are hoping that the photo of the mundane text on his iPhone will serve as a stark warning to other drivers.

The photo, published in The Greeley Tribune, shows Heit was responding to a friend by typing “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw” before he crashed.

Witnesses told police that Heit appeared to have his head down when he began drifting into the oncoming lane in the outskirts of Greeley, where the University of Northern Colorado is located. According to police, an oncoming driver slowed and moved over just before Heit looked up and jerked the steering wheel.

Police say Heit had a spotless driving record and wasn’t speeding.

In a statement released through police, Heit’s mother said she doesn’t want anyone else to lose someone to texting while driving.

“In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you,” she said.

Article Link: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/world/final-text-crash-cuts-off-sentence/story-fnhrvhol-1226618691883

 

CDC and WHO Latest Studies on Distracted Driving

Two recently released reports on Distracted Driving make interesting reading.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report covers an analysis of survey data relating to mobile phone use (for making calls and texting/emailing) while driving, both in the United States and Europe. 

Blank-IT is designed to control driver access to computers/laptops when the vehicle is in motion, and most current research addresses mobile/smartphone use, so the most relevant figure from our point of view is that over 25% of U.S. drivers aged between 18-29 reported texting or emailing ‘Regularly or Fairly Often’ – and that is the proportion that actually owned up to it (it is expected that people generally under-report such activity in these surveys).

We have reproduced one of the graphs from the survey below, but please visit the CDC Distracted Driving page for full details.

Texting and Emailing while driving chart - from CDC

CDC chart showing texting while driving stats - reproduced from the CDC website - see CDC link above for full report

Meanwhile, the WHO (World Health Organisation) report (co-funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is a comprehensive study of mobile phone use in relation to Driver Distraction. Again, the focus of the report is mobile phones, but there is also much that is relevant to all technology related distractions, and the report acknowledges distraction caused by laptop and computer use as having many of the same characteristics.

The report covers definitions of Driver Distraction and the extent of the current problem, the effects of technological distractions and potential interventions to address the problem.

The full PDF (2.3MB) can be viewed here: WHO report – Mobile Phones and Driver Distraction

For more information about the Blank-IT Distracted Driving solution, visit the Blank-IT website.

Stop Surfing in Your Car – Get to the Beach

Are you spending too much time being distracted as you’re surfing the net with your electronic media?  Do you have a screen in your vehicle that you can see when  you are driving?  If the answer to these questions is yes, read on and turn off your distractions.

An interesting piece on the Miami Herald site, talking about the increasing use of in-car apps to allow use of social networking sites while driving.

Are we so prone to reading and texting while driving that it becomes a “safety” feature to hear an audio feed of the meaningless drivel our friends post on Facebook?

Read more

NSC and FocusDriven Announce Video Contest

The National Safety Council (NSC) and FocusDriven, an organisation devoted to spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving, have joined forces to sponsor an “On the Road, Off the Phone” public service announcement video contest.

The aim is to to get entrants to produce videos that will educate the public on the dangers of the cell phone conversation while driving.

According to statistics, distracted driving kills at least 5,500 people in the United States each year and the no. 1 distraction behind the wheel is cell phone use. At any given daylight moment, almost 10%  of drivers are using a phone while driving, according to the NSC.

Entrants are invited to submit an original video, less than 3 minutes long, and get the chance to win a cash prize and have their PSA on the NSC and FocusDriven websites. Entries are due by March 31 and winners will be announced in April during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

See the official announcement at : http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/PSAContest.aspx