Wednesday, March 16, 2011
"Two out of every five drivers, about 41 percent, admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point, with one in 10 saying they’ve done so in the past year, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study." Read more.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The final wave of the "Phone in one hand. Ticket in the other" pilot campaign to test the effectiveness of high-visibility enforcement for distracted driving was conducted recently in Hartford, CT. The program funded by the Department of Transportation was started last spring to test whether increased law enforcement and public advertising could help deter drivers from talking, texting, or checking email with a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel. The previous three waves resulted in over 7,200 tickets given out for handheld cell phone use and texting in Hartford. After the first two waves, handheld cell phone use dropped 56% in Hartford and 38% in Syracuse. Texting while driving was reduced by 68% in Hartford and 42% in Syracuse. Read more.
A new study published by the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found that drivers over 65 were half as likely to notice pedestrians near or moving toward the street as were experienced drivers between the ages of 28 and 45. Compared to younger drivers simulating a drive through a variety of streetscapes, those over 65 tapped on their brakes in response to a "roadside hazard" about half as often, suggesting either that they did not see it or that they did not consider it something they needed to attend to. Pedestrians who were not in an older driver's central field of vision often went unnoticed, the authors noted. The good news is that the older drivers drive about 20% more slowly -- perhaps to compensate for shortcomings in their peripheral vision and attention. Diminished notice of or attention to items in peripheral vision is a well-documented effect of aging. The Ben-Gurion researchers undertook the study because Israeli drivers over 65 have been involved in a steadily rising rate of accidents involving pedestrians since 1999. Read more.
About one in five drivers admitted in an informal online survey to surfing the Internet while behind the wheel despite a national campaign to curb distracted driving. Some drivers say they access the Internet when they are stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. In the November survey, more than 19% reported accessing the Internet on a cell phone at least once a week while driving. That compares with 74% who reported making or receiving calls at least once weekly while driving and 35% who reported sending or receiving text messages at least that frequently. Read more.