Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

Recently, The Charlotte Observer reported an 80-year-old driver blew through a stop sign and crashed into a marked police cruiser in New Jersey. Ironically, the patrolman in that vehicle had been assigned to enforce the state’s “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign aimed at curbing distracted driving. iphone

The driver was reportedly distracted by his cell phone navigation feature at the time of the crash. He failed to see the stop sign and breezed right through it, suddenly slamming into the police officer, who suffered a hand injury.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the National Safety Council recently conducted a survey showing 47 percent say they are “comfortable” texting while driving. Meanwhile, The Charlotte Observer reports pedestrian deaths in North Carolina have risen to the highest they have been in 40 years – a trend police attribute to higher rates of driver distraction. And a new report by CNN Money reveals distracted drivers are resulting in higher than ever insurance rate hikes. In fact, as The Charlotte Observer reports, the state Department of Insurance in North Carolina reported there will be an average 13.8 percent increase in auto insurance rates. If approved, those rates would go up Oct. 1st. Drivers “addicted to smartphones” are cited by the insurance industry as a top reason why insurance rates must go up.  Continue reading

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 10 percent of all car crashes are caused by distracted driving. Approximately one in six crashes are caused by either distracted or drowsy driving. These driver errors are responsible for thousands of deaths annually, including hundreds on North Carolina and South Carolina roads. eye

Unfortunately, until every vehicle on the road is fully autonomous, we probably aren’t going to completely escape this problem. Competition from driver attention is everywhere – from smartphones to kids in the back seat to increasingly interactive dashboards. There is a lot of talk of beefing up anti-texting laws or ramping up enforcement, but the reality is these types of laws are difficult to widely enforce on a regular basis. Based on a National Safety Council survey, 55 percent of Americans concede to “occasionally” making a phone call while driving, and 32 percent said if there was no law against it, they would probably text and drive. (The reality is many of those still do, regardless of the law.)

Still, there is hope that technology might be helpful in curbing this serious problem after all – and perhaps sooner than anticipated. A new system has been introduced that uses embedded computer vision to determine when a driver is either drowsy or distracted. Using an infrared camera, the system follows the driver’s eyes, while the computer vision detects the driver’s state and conducts a real-time analysis.

Continue reading

Almost every state in the country has some form of distracted driving law on the books. In North Carolina, we have primary laws that ban all cell phone use for bus drivers and novice drivers (those under 18), as well as a prohibition on texting for drivers of all ages. South Carolina bans texting for drivers of all ages. In total, 46 states plus the District of Columbia ban texting by drivers. However, only 14 states ban the use of any mobile device while operating a vehicle. broken phone

Every year, thousands of people continue to die in distracted driving car accidents nationwide. In 2015, the last year for which federal data is available, it was 3,400 lives lost. That figure is likely lower than reality because distraction is not as easy to measure as, say, alcohol impairment. The latest statistics show that in the last year, traffic deaths have occurred at a rate faster than at any point in the last 50 years.

Now, California is taking a hard line on the issue. The New York Times reported that effective January 1st, the state no longer allows drivers to hold any type of mobile device while operating a vehicle. The measure builds on an earlier statute that banned both talking and texting but failed to outlaw the use of apps like Facebook and Twitter or streaming video. The laws that exist were mostly written before the age of the smartphone. That’s why they don’t specifically reference the kinds of features that now compete for the attention of motorists who should be focusing on the road. Interactive features now are standard on these mobile devices, and there are many from which to choose. If states want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to distracted driving, they are going to have to update their laws with modern technology in mind.

Continue reading

A five-year-old girl was buckled snugly into her booster seat in the back of her parent’s Toyota passenger car. It was the the day before Christmas 2014. She and her family – her mother, her father, and her older sister – were on the Texas interstate. Up ahead, police had stopped traffic. The girl’s dad, behind the wheel, applied the brake. The vehicle stopped in the left lane. The driver of the sport utility vehicle behind them, though, never saw the brake lights. At the time, he was using the video chat application on his Apple iPhone 6 Plus, known as FaceTime. The brakes on his 5,000-pound vehicle, traveling at full speed, were never applied. iphone

Everyone was hurt, but the injuries of the little girl and her father were especially serious. He survived. She did not.

Now, in Modisette v. Apple, the family is suing the manufacturer of the iPhone and its FaceTime application, which comes pre-loaded onto all iPhones and iPads. The plaintiffs allege that Apple has the technology to determine when a user is operating a motor vehicle and can disable the video chat application, which can dangerously consume a driver’s attention.

Continue reading

One would think that putting an end to distracted driving wouldn’t be rocket science. But as it turns out, that could very well be the case. phone

An engineer/rocket scientist who previously developed motors used on NASA space missions has created a device he says could eliminate distracted driving. Although the device seems to have real promise, he’s been trying to get it on the market for two years. The real trick, it seems, will be getting cell phone makers, technology companies, auto manufacturers, and the federal government on board. At this point, Scott Tibbitts and his colleagues at Katasi say they have at least one mobile phone provider who may be close to rolling out the gadget. Another provider has shown an interest in adopting the technology.

Tibbitts says he’s been fighting for two years now to get top executives to hear him out. He has explained that the firms that would be first on the market with this, “Could be heroes… Save a bunch of lives.” But cell phone and auto makers are gun-shy. The fear is that they will be denying customers the option of being connected while in a moving vehicle. The problem is this “feature” is killing thousands of people every year.  Continue reading

A new study released by the research journal JAMA Internal Medicine reveals statistically what we may have suspected since the unveiling of Pokemon Go several months ago: It poses a safety risk to drivers and pedestrians. phone

In the augmented reality game, players have to move in order to propel their avatar forward in the game. Then, players collect rewards for “catching” Pokemon figures that are placed in real-world locations. It’s fair to say that the game incentivizes physical activity – and this is a good thing. However, it can be dangerous if either:

  • Drivers are using their cars to search for Pokemon;
  • Pedestrians aren’t being mindful of their surroundings as they move through traffic.

Whatever health effects the game may espouse are negated by the risk of serious injury in these scenarios.  Continue reading

A driver who allegedly thought nothing of typing out text messages while simultaneously operating a 4,800-pound vehicle is the reported cause of a fatal crash that killed a 53-year-old mother and seriously injured her husband and 16-year-old daughter. qwertykeyboard

The accused texting driver, 42, was arrested after police say his GMC Envoy rear-ended the victims’ Pontiac van while traveling westbound on U.S. 64. He is charged with texting while driving and failure to wear a seat belt. Authorities say additional charges – potentially vehicular manslaughter – could follow.

“We know that this is against the law,” the woman’s husband told a local news station shortly after his release from the hospital. “Yet we still have people out there that do those same things every day.”  Continue reading

Drivers who exchange texts and e-mails behind the wheel can be held civilly liable and criminally responsible for the car accidents and injuries they cause. We all know that already.

But what about the person on the other end of that communication?phone

Courts in several jurisdictions have held that third parties can be liable for injuries caused by that communication – when that third party knew or had reason to know the person with whom they were communicating was driving. It’s a major legal shift, and it’s a sign that society takes seriously the enormous damage that distracted driving can cause and the society responsibility to prevent it.  Continue reading

There are many different forms of in-vehicle distraction, but this may have been a first.

According to a recent news report from Journal Now, a woman is blaming her pet parrot and its coffee drinking habit for her crashing her car into a guardrail. Authorities report her pet parrot distracted 35-year-old accident victim. Her parrot was riding in victim’s car, and apparently not in a cage or any other type of animal carrier at the time of this accident.

o-que-que-h-1430846-m.jpgShe knows her parrot likes drinking coffee, and while she was traveling down the highway, she apparently saw her pet parrot pecking at the lid of her coffee cup located in one of the vehicle’s cup holders. When she looked down to keep an eye on her pet bird, she took her eyes off the road and slammed her car into a guardrail.

Following this rather bizarre single-vehicle car crash, she stated she noticed bird seed in one of her other cup holders next to the coffee cup, and also found a feather near the cup. When first responders arrived at the scene of this car accident, they found her to have suffered a broken arm and several facial lacerations.
Continue reading

No parent is prepared for the news that they have lost their child in a deadly car accident. After a tragic North Carolina accident, a father tried to reach his son through text messages, but they were never received. While a father warned his son of a major accident on the road, he didn’t realize that his son had been traveling in the backseat. According to state troopers investigating the accident, a 16-year-old was driving recklessly and carelessly when he was involved in a collision that also killed two of his friends and injured another.

Thumbnail image for car-crash-163024-m.jpg

Accident reports indicated that the 16-year-old driver was transporting several of his friends home from school when he lost control of the vehicle and struck several trees before the car overturned. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene while the driver and another passenger were rushed to the hospital. The father of one of the victims heard about the accident and began to text his son. The first text asked simply, “Where are you?” The following texts became more desperate, as the father had gotten word of the wreck less than a mile from the family home.
Continue reading

Contact Information