DON'T DRIVE DISTRACTED!

DON'T DRIVE DISTRACTED!

Welcome to the KidsAgainstDistractedDriving.com Blog

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 6,000 people died and more than 515,000 were injured on American roadways in 2008 in crashes that involved distracted driving. The problem is growing, and young drivers are most at risk.



KADD was founded by Scott D. Camassar and Stephen M. Reck of the Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck, LLC in North Stonington, CT, to help educate kids of all ages about the dangers of distracted driving. We’re dedicated to responsible driving and keeping kids safe. We don’t want to see kids injured or killed by texting and driving, or by others’ texting and driving. Please join us in this campaign, and go to KidsAgainstDistractedDriving.com and take the pledge today.



THE PLEDGE: "I pledge to not text or use my cell phone while driving. I understand the serious dangers caused by distracted driving and will talk to my family and friends about these dangers, to help make the roads safer for everyone."


Interested in being a KADD sponsor? 100% of all sponsor dollars cover promotion of the site including give-aways and prizes for kids. Contact Scott at 860-535-4040 or sdcamassar@gmail.com for more info.





HOT OFF THE PRESS! Read the National Safety Council's new paper, “Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior”






Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Miss South Dakota Speaks Out Against Distracted Driving

Miss South Dakota Loren Vaillancourt, whose brother was killed by a distracted driver last year, talks to students about the dangers of distracted driving.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

From Automotive Fleet:
Enforcing stricter distracted driving laws has become a top priority for states across the nation, as many are beginning to re-evaluate state crash data statistics and perform distracted driving studies. Every day, between 4,000 and 8,000 crashes related to distracted driving occur in the United States. Though cell phones are among the top distractions for drivers, the federal government includes eating, drinking, talking to passengers, interaction with in-car technologies, and use of portable electronic devices under secondary task involvement. State-proposed laws that target distracted driving are materializing quickly, with 11 laws taking effect in 2010 alone. State governments are quickly drafting new legislation to help deter the rising number of distracted driving-related crashes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Man Blames His Dog for Causing Him to Crash

A 22 year old CT man blames his dog for causing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash head-on into an oncoming car, killing the other motorist.  Story here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Texting Leads to Increase in Distracted Driving Deaths

Texting while driving likely caused more than 16,000 road fatalities between 2002 and 2007, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.  "After declining from 1999 to 2005, fatalities from distracted driving increased 28% after 2005, rising from 4572 fatalities to 5870 in 2008."    The authors concluded that distracted driving "is a growing public safety hazard. Specifically, the dramatic rise in texting volume since 2005 appeared to be contributing to an alarming rise in distracted driving fatalities."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Second Summit on Distracted Driving

Officials at Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's second summit on distracted driving said they have "made progress in pushing states to target drivers who send text messages and use mobile devices from the road, but too many people are being killed because of inattentive motorists."  LaHood said, "Every time someone takes their focus off the road — even if it's just for a moment — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger."  Read more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Distracted Driving Caused 16% of Fatal Crashes in '09

"Distracted driving – including the use of a cell phone behind the wheel – resulted in 5,474 deaths in the U.S. last year, the Transportation Department announced Monday."  Read more.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New App Prevents Distracted Driving

A new Blackberry smartphone app known as LifeSaver is a "GPS-enabled zero-tolerance distracted driving application that eliminates the temptation to text, email or talk while driving."  Read more.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Distracted Driving Campaigns Haven't Reduced Crashes or Insurance Rates

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the promotion of anti-distracted-driving campaigns and the widespread prohibition of handheld-phone use behind the wheel has not effected typical vehicle crash patterns. Although the bans reduce phone use behind the wheel, drivers seem to be finding other distractions. The president of the IIHS, Adrian Lund, said, “Reducing crashes and saving lives is what highway safety is all about … and by this essential measure the benefits of hand-held cell phone bans are nil.” The IIHS says that "for crash rates, and eventually insurance rates, to be reduced, there need to be major developments in and implementation of new crash avoidance features. Until then, the insurance campaigns and bans may make a dent in phone usage but perhaps will not have much of an effect on crash rates." Read more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

KidsAgainstDistractingDriving.com Announces Logo Design Contest

You could win a $100 U.S. Savings Bond if you submit the winning entry for the official KidsAgainstDistractingDriving.com (KADD) logo! Winning design will be featured on the KADD website and used in promotional materials. Contest open to all school-aged kids under 18. All entries become property of The Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck. Mail your entries with your name, contact info, age, and school to:

Scott D. Camassar
Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck, LLC
P.O. Box 431
North Stonington, CT 06359

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Distracted Driving Caught On Tape, Courtesy of NBC News

Watch this video. Then make sure you share it.

NYC's DOT Finds Distracted Driving is Leading Cause of Pedestrian Injuries & Deaths

A newly released report on pedestrian safety by NYC's transportation department "found that driver inattention was the most frequent cause for cars to collide with and seriously injure or kill pedestrians in New York City last year,"  notwithstanding that use of hand-held cell phones while driving is illegal in New York City.  "Police in New York City issued an average of more than 600 summonses a day to drivers who used handheld cell phones. During a 24-hour blitz in January, it issued more than 7,000." Read more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seattle Writer Calls for Tougher Enforcement

She writes: "What would really help with distracted driving is not simulators that teach people to avoid other cars on the highway. It’s tougher laws that actually penalize people who kill or maim people with their cars."  Read more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get the Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck August E-Newsletter

Our August newsletter includes articles on distracted driving plus news about our firm, corporate polluters,  preventable hospital infections, pedestrian safety, dangerous product recalls and more. Click here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Survey: Teens Still Driving Distracted, Even When They Know It's Dangerous

USA Today reported that "Nearly nine in 10 teenage drivers have engaged in distracted-driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cellphone although most of them know that their actions increase their risk of crashing," according to a new survey by Seventeen magazine and auto club AAA. The survey "highlights the difficulty of the nation's efforts to stop texting while driving, especially among young drivers."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hartford Area Enforcement Going Strong

The West Hartford News reported on 7/28 that "Police have issued over 300 citations in the past three days, 129 of which were given out for distracted driving."  The effort was part of a Distracted Driving Enforcement Program taking place in the Hartford area, according to West Hartford Police Lt. David Dubiel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lobbyists Oppose Anti-Distracted Driving Campaigns

NY Times blogger Matt Richtel writes that "A major electronics industry trade group and a Washington lobbying firm have been pushing separate efforts to reframe the debate over the dangers of distracted driving, in response to moves by state legislators and regulators to restrict motorists’ use of cellphones and other devices."  A document from a Washington lobbying firm, the Seward Square Group, says the distracted driving issue has been “hijacked” by national transportation authorities and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, who has encouraged motorists to pledge to put down their devices, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and calls for the creation of  a powerful industry coalition to counter these campaigns.  Read more

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Survey: 40% of Drivers Have Been Hit/Almost Hit by Distracted Drivers

According to a June Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company phone survey of 1,004 people, conducted by Harris Interactive, about 4 in 10 drivers have been hit or nearly hit by a driver distracted by their cell phone.  Also, an April Nationwide survey indicated that more than one in four "smart phone" users admitted to using mobile applications while driving.  Read more.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Survey: 40% of Drivers Want Vehicles Wired for Internet

A new Autobytel "What's Hot Now?" report, Wired-in-the-Car, suggests that "distracted driving has the potential to exponentially increase" as consumers age 35 and under "increasingly hit the road with their iPhones, iPads and various other mobile Web-surfing devices."  The report also indicates that these consumers "have little interest in technology from auto manufacturers that improves the safety of having wired devices and built-in electronics in their new cars."  The report, based on a survey of consumers who visit Autobytel's network of sites, "indicates that drivers continue to be conflicted between their desire to be 'plugged-in,' with 40% overall wanting the Internet in their vehicles; their concerns about safety, with 87% believing in-vehicle Web access is a safety issue; and their actual behavior, with over 50% still admitting to, at some point, illegally texting/phoning while driving (even though 95% want the Internet banned or restricted in vehicles)."  Read more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Congressman Describes Distracted Driving Close-Call

Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. describes his recent experience as a distracted driver, calling it a "miracle" that he didn't hurt himself or others.

GHSA Survey of States' Anti-Distracted Driving Efforts

A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association describes the efforts to combat distracted driving by the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Guam and American Samoa. The report details the various approaches states are implementing, including stronger laws, increased data collection, new education programs, public/private partnerships and a growing reliance on new media to spread the message.  Get the report here.

Study: Adults Just As Bad As Teens About Texting While Driving

A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that "adults text as often while driving as teenagers and are actually more likely than teens to talk on the phone when behind the wheel."  Read more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Texting While Riding a Bike is a Stupid Idea Too

As state's continue to crack down on distracted motorists, bicyclists are next.  Read more.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Doctors Urged to Warn Against Distracted Driving

"Physicians should tell patients not to send text messages or use cellphones while driving, just as they advise them against smoking or to use seat belts, a doctor said in the influential New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday."  Read more.

Monday, June 7, 2010

CT Bolsters Distracted Driving Law

Gov. Rell signed the law banning texting, strengthening the law banning cell phone use without a hands-free device.  Read more.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Text/Phone Blocking Apps

We've previously mentioned that there are some new apps to block texting or even calls while driving.  Here are four of the popular text-blocking applications ("apps") available for your cell phone:

1. Textblocker will turn off your cell phone completely while in the car, making it unable to send or receive texts, e-mails, or calls. It can tell a parent or boss that your phone is turned off. 
2. Izes Up also turns off the phone and disables its functions.
3. Zoom Safer will block text messages and phone calls, and send an auto reply message that you're driving if someone tries to contact you. This service has a one-time fee (rather than a monthly fee).
4. Cell Safety prevents you from texting or surfing the web while driving, but you can still make phone calls.
Each of the apps uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) to detect when a cell phone is in motion and can turn off or block a signals to a caller when they are in a car.  Unfortunately, they only work on "smart phones," such as Blackberries, iPhones and Droid phones.  Eventually, the technology should be available on all phones.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Texting Picture of the Day

Photos From a Fatal Crash in Salt Lake City

Truck Driver Watching Porn Going to Jail for Fatal Distracted Driving Crash

Police say a tractor trailer driven by Ohio truck driver Thomas Wallace hit the rear of a disabled car on a New York State highway while his laptop computer was streaming pornography.  "The December crash killed Julie Stratton, whose car was disabled in the passing lane after she hit a deer. Authorities say Wallace also had little sleep before the crash." He pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and now faces five to 15 years in prison.

Monday, May 24, 2010

6th Graders Take a Stand Against Distracted Driving

Article here.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Automakers: Technology Can Solve Distracted Driving

“Digital technology has created a connected culture in America that has forever changed our society,” said Dave McCurdy, President & CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Managing technology is the solution, and that’s why automakers developed Driver Focus Design Guidelines to help drivers keep their eyes on the road. Drivers are going to have conversations, listen to music and read maps while driving, and automakers are helping them do this more safely with integrated connectivity technologies.”  Alliance members support applying their Driver Focus Guidelines to help design connectivity technologies that are no more distracting than common manual radio controls."  Read more.

NJ Data Indicates Hands-Free Cell Use Just as Dangerous as Hand-Held

New Jersey statistics show that talking on a hands-free cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held phone.  Read more.

AT&T Gives $250k to Traffic Safety Groups

AT&T awards $250,000 to safety organizations during National Youth Traffic Safety month, in honor of those who have taken the pledge to not text and drive.  Read about it here.

Columnist Has Close Call

David Collins writes about how he was almost taken out by a State employee on the phone.  Read his column here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Speakers Share Their Distracted Driving Tragedies

Panelists tell local young people that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.  Read why.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Get Off the Phone!" Car Signs Available

Order your own "Get Off the Phone!" car window sign here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Block Your Kid's Texting? There's an App for That

From Trendhunter Magazine: "The tXtBlocker cellphone app uses GPS to decipher when and where the user is allowed to text, call, email, or browse the Internet.  tXtBlocker is marketed mainly towards control-freak parents or employers, as you can set up “safe zones” to limit the use of certain functions in schools or in offices. You can even receive texts if the phone user is speeding and locate the phone’s location if it’s lost, or if you want to find out if your adolescent is really at the library after all.  All Big Brother jokes aside, the tXtBlocker cellphone app could make a serious dent in distracted driving."  Time will tell.

Don't Be This Kid

Police in Sandy, Utah, say "the 15-year-old driver of a vehicle that launched into the air and smashed a traffic light pole Sunday night was unlicensed, took his parents' vehicle without their permission and crashed as a result of distracted driving."  Article here.  Don't be that kid!  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Parents Turn Tragedy into Advocacy

Here's the story behind FocusDriven, "the first national nonprofit organization devoted to raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving."  

Visit FocusDriven here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Distracted Driving Crash Kills 11

Distracted driving is blamed for one of Kentucky's worst traffic accidents, when a truck driver who was speeding and using a cell phone crossed the line and collided with a vehicle carrying a Mennonite family to a wedding.  The truck driver was killed along with 10 Mennonites from the other vehicle.  Read more.

Texting Increases in CA Despite Ban

"After an initial drop, texting while driving appears to be on the rise 15 months after California's texting ban was implemented, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's latest observational roadside survey of drivers."  Read more.

** Click here to go to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety website.**

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CDC Says Leading Cause of Death of Teens is Motor Vehicle Accidents

New data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows an average of 16,375 teenagers age 12-19 years died in the United States every year from 1999 to 2006; the five leading causes of death among teenagers are accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, suicide, cancer, and heart disease. Accidents account for nearly one-half of all teenage deaths. Of those accidents, motor vehicle fatalities are the leading cause of death of teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths.  Read more.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pew Internet & American Life Project's Report on Teens & Mobile Phones

A new report by the Pew Research Center finds that "Daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teens texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. And it's not just frequency – teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting – averaging 20 messages per day."  Read the report here.

Grieving Parents Try to Use Tragedy to Educate Others

Heather Lerch, of Washington, was killed in a one-car crash in February.  Police reports and phone records indicated "she was texting and driving at the time of the crash.  Innocuous texts, trivial texts, "cool, let's hang out some time" kind of texts, just meaningless teenage blather that cost Heather her life and Dan and Wendy a daughter."  Now her parents are "using the tragedy to educate others about the dangers of 'distracted driving,' in particular, driving while phoning or texting."  Read more.

GET OFF THE PHONE! car signs on sale

Get off the phone car signs on sale today.

Friday, April 30, 2010

NY, CT Police Crack Down on Chatty Drivers

Police in CT & NY "issued more than 3,000 tickets during a two-state campaign against drivers texting and talking on cell phones."  Read more.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

“We are too smart to be killing ourselves and others by doing what we know is wrong.“
--Martha Meade, of AAA Mid-Atlantic, during a news conference to mark Virginia’s Distracted Driving Awareness Day (April is also the first-ever National Distracted Driving Awareness Month).  Read more.

Distracted Driver Continues Texting After Hitting Cars, House

Story here, in the victim's words.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Idol Winner Joins Transportation Secretary in Appeal Against Distracted Driving

The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock blog reports that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was joined by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks in an appeal against distracted driving directed at teenage drivers.  Sparks said she made "a conscious effort not to pick up my cellphone when I'm driving," echoing LaHood's appeal for drivers to "put that cellphone in the glove compartment until you reach your destination."  Twenty-three states have banned sending or receiving text messages while driving, but LaHood used the event to emphasize his belief that talking on cellphones is an unacceptable risk when driving.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Arbella Insurance Creates "Distractology 101" Program

Arbella Insurance has created a distracted driving simulator to show young drivers just how fast an accident can happen when they take their eyes off the road.  Story and video here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paper Concludes Brain Cannot Multitask Safely While Driving, Even With Hands-Free Device

A white paper recently published by the National Safety Council concludes that even hands-free cell phone use while driving is unsafe.

“Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior” was published following a January 2004 incident in which a motorist talking on a cell phone ran a red light and hit another car in the intersection, killing a 12-year-old boy. "The driver sped past four other cars and a school bus stopped at the red light, and the car the woman hit was about the third or fourth vehicle that entered the intersection on the green light." Researchers call these situations "inattention blindness." Dr. David L. Strayer of the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones "fail to see up to 50 percent of what's on the road."  The white paper includes references "to more than 30 scientific studies and reports, describing how using a cell phone, hands-free or handheld, requires the brain to multitask – a process it cannot do safely while driving. Cell phone use while driving not only impairs driving performance, but it also weakens the brain’s ability to capture driving cues." Read more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Texas Driver Hit with $22 Million Verdict for Crash that Killed College Student

A Texas driver who crossed the center line while texting and struck another vehicle head-on, killing the driver, was found responsible for the crash and ordered to pay damages of $22 million.  The victim was a senior at Baylor University and was driving back to school when her car was hit.  The driver who caused the accident claimed he did not have a cell phone at the time of the crash.  However, his phone records indicated he sent 15 texts and made seven calls in the 45 minutes just before the collision.  KTRK-TV (Houston) reported that the victim's family is unlikely to see much money from the huge verdict; the at-fault driver "declared bankruptcy just before the trial and his insurance has limits far below the $22 million. But [the victim's parents] say it's never been about the money." 

Monday, April 19, 2010

CT Program Uses Tickets, Ads to Stop Drivers from Using Their Phones

A federally funded pilot program that started this month in CT called, "Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other" will "test whether increased law enforcement efforts combined with effective public advertising can get drivers to stop using their cell phones while driving," according to the Day.   The program is similar to
"previous campaigns to curb drunken driving and increase seat belt use among drivers."  The programs will be supported by a paid advertising campaign that focuses on drivers between the ages of 18 and 49. "The purpose of the new ad is to raise awareness and remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel."  In Connecticut, it is illegal for drivers to text or talk on hand-held cell phones.  Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2008 alone, nearly 6,000 people were killed and more than a half-million people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver nationwide.

NY College Student Dies in Accident Blamed on her Texting

A 22 year old student at State University of New York-Geneseo died in a one-car accident that investigators believe "may have been caused by text messaging."  Investigators say Mary Kavanaugh's phone records showed "she was texting seconds before the accident, which a passerby reported at 4:53 a.m."  Read more.

Driving Instructors Say Teens Pick Up Parents' Bad Habits

The Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News reported that driving instructors find that teens pick up bad driving habits from their parents, including distracted driving practices, and that these relatively new problems are growing. Recent teen driving statistics released by The Allstate Foundation in its 2009 study, “Shifting Teen Attitudes: The State of Teen Driving” indicate that "the percentages of cell phone use and texting among teen drivers are up tremendously since initial polling was conducted in 2005." More than 49% of teens polled said they have typed or sent a text message while driving and 82% said they have talked on their cell phone. The 2009 study is not available online, but you can read Allstate's 2005 study here.