LaHood Signals Tougher Distraction Regulations

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the NHTSA have ensured that the Distracted Driving problem has remained at the forefront of their road safety message. Their aggressive approach and the setting up of numerous public campaigns and Distracted Driving Summits have kept the Distracted Driving problem prominent in the public’s awareness.

Much of the intial focus of these campaigns was on the dangers of cellphone use and texting while driving, and we have subsequently seen the introduction of related legislation in many states.

With the increasing use of in-car technology and computers, LaHood has now signaled a move to broaden the scope of Distracted Driving regulations.

Quoted on the Chicago Tribune website, LaHood says:

“I’m going to stay on my soapbox,” LaHood said. “By the end of the year, we will release a study on the cognitive distractions caused by a radio, cellphones, by GPS, by any number of other things that people now have in their cars. We’re going to get to a place where consumers will have adequate ways to control the distractions in their vehicles.”

Australian road rules already specifically prohibit use of visual displays that can distract the driver, and similar legislation exists in other countries. While much of the emphasis of U.S. regulations has to date been on cellphones, it seems likely that statements such as this indicate a broadening of the rules to specifically cover use of computers, laptops and similar devices.

Blank-IT has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction and 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.

Blank-IT accommodates swing-away brackets to address situations such as Emergency Responder vehicles, where computer access is required for a non-driving crew member. It can also be configured to allow access to legally allowed functions such as aids to navigation and dispatch systems where applicable.

Reasons Cellphones Kill People on Road Trips has published an informative post, listing some of the ways in which cellphone use can contribute to road accidents through driver distraction.  

It’s a neat, brief post and also contains some interesting links.

Find it here:

The 7 main reasons are summarised below:

1. Distracted driving: the number of people killed in distracted driving incidents is up a whopping 22 percent from 2005 to 2009.  The share of accidents belonging to distracted drivers has increased.

2. Cell Phones: cell phones are the top reason for distracted driving, according to various sources.

3. Texting: 18 percent of drivers in the United State have done it in the past 30 days, according to a recent study by the Insurance Research Council. That is probably underestimating the true numbers.

4. Bans are Ineffective: the Highway Loss Data Institute “found that texting bans may not reduce crashes,” writes the Insurance Information Institute.

5. Complacency: teens are more ready to blame drunk driving than texting for traffic accident fatalities.  Many do just not understand the risks of texting and driving.

6. Hypocrisy: About 60 percent of AAA Foundation for Safety survey respondents felt that cell phone use while driving is “a serious safety threat,”  but nearly 70 percent admitted to talking on their phones., and 24 percent texted.

7. Hypocrisy AND Stupidity: while 84 percentof teenagers in a magazine survey said “they were aware that distracted driving increased the risk of a crash,” 86 percent admitted engaging in distracted driving behavior related to a cell phone.

Blank-IT is designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction and use of in-car and in-cab computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS and is fully customisable for different working environments.

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

President Declares December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month

President Barack Obama (via the website) has released a proclamation declaring December 2010 as ‘National Impaired Driving Prevention Month’.

This is another indication of the importance that the Federal government attaches to the issue of driver distraction (amongst other causes of impaired driving).

This portion of the statement is very relevant to employers and members of the workforce who need to use laptops/computers when on the road:

“This National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we must also draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving, including using electronic equipment or texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle..”

Note the specific mention of the use of electronic equipment, not just texting/cell phone use.

The full text of the whitehouse release can be read here:

Learn more about the Blank-IT Distracted Driving and in-vehicle computer management solution.