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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.

 

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.

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.

Another Police Distraction Related Fatality

A 68-page report released by the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) shows the results of an investigation into a February 2013 fatal crash, and says that the FHP officer involved was distracted by his laptop (Mobile Data Terminal) at the time.

The trooper had been driving an unmarked FHP vehicle on his way to an off-duty security detail when the accident occurred. He was reportedly driving at between 79 to 88 miles per hour when he crashed into the other vehicle, causing it to overturn several times. The occupants of the other vehicle suffered serious injuries to two adult passengers and the death of an unborn child.

The investigation showed that the officer started using his computer at 9:09 p.m., and accessed the FHP computer network via his laptop – opening various programs and accessing msn.com as well as emails. The crash was called in at 9:15 p.m.

The report states:

It is believed that Trooper Reyes was distracted by the laptop computer in his patrol car at the time of the crash also:

Phone records revealed that Trooper Reyes was not on his cellular phone at the time of the crash

The family involved are looking into legal action against FHP.

This is another reminder of the tragic personal cost associated with such accidents, and a warning to all employers about the potential punitive and financial cost of allowing their workers to drive distracted.

As reported on news-press.com and others. Also see previous posts related to this issue, including: Police Distracted Driving Accidents Investigated and Another Police Distraction Accident.

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.

Driver Distraction Blamed For 7.3 Million Red-Light Violations

traffic-light-image-01Autoblog.com reports on a new study commissioned by the National Coalition for Safer Roads and FocusDriven. The study found that approximately 12 percent of red light violations are caused by distracted driving.

The research looked at 118 intersections in 19 communities over a three-month time span. After reviewing stoplight camera images from those intersections, researchers found that roughly 12 percent could be attributed to distracted driving. Extrapolating that evidence to the US at large, the two safety organizations claim distracted driving could be responsible for as many as 7.3 million red light infractions across the United states in 2012.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has said drivers running red lights is the leading cause of accidents in urban settings. Combined with the fact that the National Safety Council has highlighted cell phone use as a factor in 21 percent of all crashes and it’s easy to see need for action to address driver distraction.

See more here: www.StopDistractionOnRed.org

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

Motion Launches In-Vehicle Computing Solution to Maximize Safety and Productivity of Mobile Workforce

Motion Computing Solution PartnerOur Solution Partner, Motion Computing, has launched an integrated in-vehicle computing solution which incorporates Blank-it  and is promoting it with the CL and X5 Vehicle Docks to transform mobile workflows all over the world.

Their flexible, space-saving & ergonomic solution easily integrates with Motion Tablet PCs to enhance mobile computing capabilities of public safety, utility and field service fleets

“Over the past 12 years, we’ve helped optimize the performance of mobile workers through purpose-built, rugged tablet PCs, tailored accessories and services,” said Peter Poulin, vice president, marketing at Motion. “We developed our In-Vehicle Computing Solutions for the growing number of mobile workers who rely on tablets inside their vehicles. As with all our solutions – the In-Vehicle Solution is designed to be flexible enough to enhance multiple workflows. It is also durable enough to meet both the safety and quality standards demanded by fleet managers at water utilities and other field service organizations.”

Motion’s in-vehicle docks feature Blank-it built-in to limit the use of computer displays while the vehicle is in motion. Blank-it also allows the fleet manager to configure what applications are accessible by the driver. And, for fleets with a driver-passenger set-up, the optional Swingaway/Blank-it solution provides full computing access for the passenger, even when the vehicle is in motion.

See the Blank-it website: https://www.blank-it.com

See the Motion website: https://www.motioncomputing.com/products/vehicle_solutions.asp

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for operators of fleets of all sizes, and 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.

Mobile Device Fines Top $10Million Per Month

Cost of Distracted DrivingFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Fines Surpass $10 Million Per Month.

Further proof that employees who use cell phones or other display devices while driving pose significant financial liability to their employers.

According to FMCSA data (compiled by Peoplenet) there has been a steady and growing increase in the fines issued to truck drivers and carriers for violations of regulations that prohibit use of hand held devices while driving commercial vehicles.

The monthly fines issued to date in 2013 are:
Jan: $1,614,250
Feb: $4,081,000
Mar: $6,688,000
Apr: $10,070,500

The message should be clear: Drivers and carriers who ignore these rules can expect to pay a significant financial penalty, quite apart from the safety and OHS issues associated with distracted driving and any legal consequences that may arise through distraction related accidents.

Employers who are pro-active will use technology to promote safe and legal use of mobile devices while their employees are driving on the job. As part of that technology solution, Blank-it is the best way to address distraction issues relating to computer use in the vehicle or cab.

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At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for operators of fleets of all sizes, and 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.

 

NHTSA Releases Guidelines for Automakers to Limit Driver Distraction

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has released distraction guidelines that encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk associated with electronic devices built into their vehicles – e.g. communications, entertainment and navigation devices.

“Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation’s roadways,” said LaHood. “These guidelines recognize that today’s drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives.”

Issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the voluntary guidelines establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured.

The guidelines include recommendations to limit the time – two seconds at a time and 12 seconds total – that a driver must take their eyes off the road to perform any task. The guidelines also recommend disabling several operations unless the vehicle is stopped and in park, such as:

  • Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and Internet browsing
  • Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing
  • Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages and social media content.

The recommendations outlined in the guidelines are consistent with the findings of a new NHTSA naturalistic driving study, The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk. The study showed that visual-manual tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.

“The new study strongly suggests that visual-manual tasks can degrade a driver’s focus and increase the risk of getting into a crash up to three times,” said David L. Strickland, NHTSA administrator. “The new guidelines and our ongoing work with our state partners across the country will help us put an end to the dangerous practice of distracted driving by limiting the amount of time drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and their attention away from the task of driving.”

The study found text messaging, browsing and dialing resulted in the longest duration of drivers taking their eyes off the road. Text messaging increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by two times and resulted in the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 23.3 seconds total. Visual-manual activities performed when completing a phone call – such as reaching for a phone, looking up a contact and dialing the number – increased the risk by three times.

See more on the NHTSA site: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/U.S.+DOT+Releases+Guidelines+to+Minimize+In-Vehicle+Distractions

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 with distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

Distracted Driving in the News – Oct 2012

We have a couple of items for you in this update relating to recent Distracted Driving research.

Can the Font on an in-screen display reduce distraction?

This video covers the results of a study that shows a reduction in glance time/distraction when using ‘humanist’ fonts on a display rather than ‘grotesque’ fonts.

 

Developers Set to target in-car apps

According to a survey commissioned by Appcellerator:

74% of developers say they will be building apps for cars by the 2015

See the full article here: https://www.inc.com/maeghan-ouimet/how-mobile-will-change-business.html

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 with distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.