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”






Friday, December 14, 2012

Avoid Distracted Walking Too

Texting and walking liked to dangerous pedestrian actions--read more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Norwich Tech Students Experience Driving Simulators and Take Safe Driving Pledge

More than 100 students at Norwich Technical High School took a pledge last week not to text and drive, and seniors "listened to sobering stories" about what can happen when young drivers are distracted when driving.  Read more.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Text on Dashboards Can Distract

USA Today reported that "Text size and type font used in dashboard displays may be overlooked culprits in distracted driving.  Changing the typefaces on displays reduced the amount of time male drivers looked away from the road by nearly 11% in two experiments, according to the study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England University Transportation Center. That difference in 'glance time' represents about 50 feet in distance when traveling at highway speed, says David Gould of Monotype Imaging, which sponsored the study."   Bryan Reimer, one of the study's authors and a research scientist at MIT's AgeLab, whose studies include the impact of vehicle technologies on driver behavior, says "Given this reality, text needs to be as easy to read as possible."  Read more.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New App Prevents Distracted Driving, Coaches New Drivers

A new app called DriveScribe, while similar to other apps that prevent the sending and receiving of text messages or phone calls while a vehicle is moving, goes even further "and becomes a virtual 'safe-driving coach,' giving the driver a summary of how he or she actually drives."  Read more.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The "Designated Texter"

Similar to the designated driver concept, some have appointed themselves the designated texter when riding with friends.  Read more.   The driver should never be texting, period.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Experienced Video-Gamers No Better at Driving When Distracted

Jeff Nesbit observes: "A new study by the Visual Cognition Laboratory at Duke University found that experienced video gamers, despite years of juggling, say, a game controller with a combo of 20 buttons/sticks/directional arrows in one hand and junk food in the other, are actually no better at operating a simple steering wheel and two foot pedals while talking in the real world than regular folks. It's a fact these gamers might be too distracted from figuring out until it's too late."  Read more about this interesting study and what it means for you.




Tech Tools to Fight Distracted Driving

Parents: a few more apps and accessories to prevent distractions--read more.

The Dangers of Spitting When Driving

Wisconsin woman rear-ends a car after spitting out the window. Really.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Teen Brain: Higher Risk for Distracted Driving

While drivers under age 25 are up to three times more likely than older drivers to send text messages or emails while driving, the problem is more complex: "Teenagers are also at a developmental stage where getting distracted is more problematic than it is for older drivers.  Teenagers are still developing something called 'regulatory competence.' That's the ability to regulate their attention and emotions so they can function well under challenging circumstances.  Read more.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Traffic Fatalities Up in 2012

CNN reported that "Despite efforts to build cars to better withstand accidents and reduce threats posed by distracted driving, traffic fatalities for the first three months of 2012 have shown a 'significant increase' compared with government statistics from a year earlier.  An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes for the first quarter this year, a 13.5% increase compared with the same period in 2011, when there were 6,720 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."  Read more.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Even Hands-Free Phones are Dangerous When Driving

The Norwich Bulletin ran my letter as Guest Commentary, read it here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Driving Simulator Helps Teach Lessons of Distracted Driving

USA Today reported that advocacy groups around the country "are turning to a driving simulation program that focuses on the long-term consequences of distracted and drunken driving.  One Simple Decision, created by Virtual Driver Interactive Inc. (VDI), one of the nation's largest driving simulator manufacturers, seeks to modify driver behavior by showing drivers what can happen if they have a crash while driving under the influence or texting while driving."   Read more.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Survey: Distracted Driving a Growing Problem

WRC-TV Washington reported on its website: "New statistics from the NTSB show just how big of a problem distracted driving in work zones really is in the Washington region." A new survey released "by Transurban-Fluor, in partnership with AAA Mid-Atlantic, shows that 40 percent of drivers in work zones use their cell phones." NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman commented, "NTSB issued a recommendation last December recommending to states that they ban talking or texting on the phone while behind a wheel, except for emergency situations."


The Washington Post reported, "With miles of highway construction underway in Northern Virginia, the region's police officers say work-zone accidents have increased dramatically because drivers are using mobile devices to talk or text." A new survey by AAA and Transurban "of 409 police officers who patrol Northern Virginia's roadways, found that cellphone use was to blame in one in three work-zone accidents." Approximately "80 percent said banning cellphone use behind the wheel would dramatically reduce road accidents." The article also notes last year's recommended ban on all cellphone use while driving from the NTSB.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

LaHood: US Must Discourage Distracted Driving

The New York Times reported in its "Wheels" blog about US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's address at a news conference organized to publicize the findings of a Bridgestone Americas-sponsored survey on distracted driving. "A goal of the survey," Bridgestone Americas spokesman Dan MacDonald "said, was to determine why many young drivers continued to drive while engaging in distracting behavior despite being aware of the dangers." Results of the survey showed that many "young drivers" deny they have "distracted driving tendencies." Data gleaned from the survey also found that girls are more likely to be distracted drivers compared to boys.


Forbes reported, "According to the results of a new survey being released today by Bridgestone, the younger and less driving-experienced an American teenager is, the more likely that individual is to consider himself or herself a good driver." According to the article, "Young millennials' lack of accurate self-evaluation and inability to see this irony are especially problematic when it comes to distracted driving, as reflected in the Bridgestone survey of 2,000 drivers ages 15-21."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Companies Weigh Risks of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has emerged as an issue for big companies as they grapple with liability issues, new laws and the impact of distraction-related crashes on their businesses.  Many companies are beginning to develop policies for their fleet drivers.  "A new federal law that prohibits commercial vehicle operators from using handheld cellphones while driving affects about 4 million truck and bus drivers, plus tens of millions of other fleet drivers. A commercial motor vehicle is one that weighs more than 10,000 pounds and crosses a state line for business purposes, or any vehicle above 26,000 pounds."  Read more.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Across the country, "the traffic safety community has a simple message for drivers: One Text or Call could Wreck it All."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Researchers: Drivers Don't Need Much to be Distracted

Talking and texting aren't the only problems.  Researchers at MIT say "that if a motorist's mind is deeply focused on any topic — even trouble at home — he is likely to scan the road for hazards less frequently."  Experts are studying inattention blindness, which occurs when a driver's eyes are directed toward the road but his or her mind is focused elsewhere.  The MIT group has found "that a driver's ability to focus on the driving environment varies depending on the 'cognitive demand' of a non-driving activity. That is, the deeper the level of thought in a driver's mind, the less he focuses on his surroundings."  Read more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Automakers Say Mobile Devices Should be Included in DOT Distraction Rules

USA Today reported that automakers planned to testify at a U.S. Department of Transportation hearing that proposed federal guidelines for in-car technology should include smartphone and portable GPS makers. Auto industry spokesmen "argue some drivers will turn to their mobile devices for information they can't get from their cars." Rob Strassburger at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers intends to testify that mobile devices and auto industry guidelines should be addressed concurrently.  Read more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Driving While on the Phone Isn't Multi-Tasking, It's Just Bad Driving

Recent news that teen driving deaths are up is a serious cause for alarm. At a time when motor vehicles are safer than ever and fatalities have decreased, why should teen deaths be increasing? Anyone familiar with teens has to wonder if their cell phones, iPods and other devices are to blame.


According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project (pewinternet.org), 75% of teens (ages 12-17) own cell phones, as do 87% of American adults. In a nation with over 322 million wireless subscribers (CTIA.org), it is no wonder that distracted driving is a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 11% of all drivers at any given time are using cell phones, while the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that more than 25% of motor vehicle crashes involved cell phone use at the time of the crash.

The NSC’s 2010 white paper called “Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior” (available at www.KidsAgainstDistractedDriving.com) should be required reading for all middle- and high school students. The NSC compiled over 30 research studies and reports by scientists around the world using a variety of research methods, all comparing driver performance with handheld and hands-free phones. All of these studies showed that hands-free phones offered no safety benefit when driving. The cognitive distraction caused by paying attention to conversation – everything from listening and responding to the voice on the other end of the phone– contributes to numerous driving impairments.

Hands-free devices only reduce two risks relating to distracted driving: visual (looking away from the road) and manual (removing your hands from the steering wheel). But hands-free devices do not eliminate the cognitive distraction that occurs when using a cell phone. Taking your mind off the road is just as dangerous as taking your eyes off the road.

Many drivers do not realize that our brains have a ca¬pacity limit. All of the tasks needed for driving—cognitive, visual, auditory, and manual—are controlled by the brain. Researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are able to see how the brain actually reacts to specific tasks and problems. These studies have shown that the same area of the brain used for conversation is also used for navigation and spatial processing needed for driving. In fact, listening and language comprehension actually draws cognitive resources away from driving.

Research shows there is no such thing as “multi-tasking.” The human brain does not perform multiple tasks at the same time, but rather in sequence, switching from one task to another. Studies show that in addition to “attention switching,” the brain engages in a constant process to deal with the information it continually receives. The brain must:

1. Select the information it will attend to;

2. Process the information;

3. Encode the information (the stage that creates memory); and

4. Store the information.
Different areas of the brain and multiple neural pathways are engaged in these processes, depending on the type of information being received by the brain. Then, the brain must go through two more cognitive functions before it can act on saved information. It must:

5. Retrieve stored information; and

6. Execute (act) on the information.

All of these steps take time and all are affected when the brain becomes overloaded with new information, although people do not realize these processes are going on within their head. The brain essentially screens out information in order to handle distraction overload. But people cannot control the information that gets processed by their brains and what information gets filtered out.

Using a phone negatively affects one’s driving ability because in addition to switching between tasks, the brain also alternates focus and attention. Driving and using a phone are both complex cognitive tasks, and when people try to do both together, the brain must shift its focus, which results in some important information being cast aside and going unprocessed by the brain. This process can result in “inattention blindness” and longer reaction time, both of which negatively affect driving performance.

One of the most shocking facets of distracted driving is so-called inattention blindness. Research shows that drivers using cell phones look at, but fail to see, up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment. In other words, distracted drivers are looking out the windshield, but do not process everything in the environment needed to keep a proper lookout, identify potential hazards, and respond effectively to unexpected events. The danger of inattention blindness is self-evident: when a driver fails to appreciate things in the roadway environment, or notices them too late, it is impossible for the driver to safely respond in order to avoid a crash.

According to the NSC, driving while talking on cell phones, either handheld or hands-free, is four times more likely to result in a crash with injuries and property damage. The research supporting this conclusion comes from studies using various research designs and conducted in different cultures and driving environments, all with similar results.

We cannot allow teen deaths to continue to increase. A survey by Seventeen magazine and AAA found that "Nearly nine in 10 teenage drivers have engaged in distracted-driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cell phone although most of them know that their actions increase their risk of crashing." Still, distracted driving is not just a teen problem. A study by the Pew Research Center showed 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." Distracted driving is everyone’s problem. Make a pledge to be part of the solution.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Teen Driving Deaths Are Up

For the first time in eight years, the number of teen deaths on the highway appears to have climbed

last year, according to the Washington Post, which noted that "More teenagers die in automobile accidents than any other way each year."  Read more.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feds Propose Rules Requiring Automakers to Block Texts

The AP reported that "Drivers won't be able to text, browse, tweet or dial on factory-installed devices if auto manufacturers follow new federal guidelines to disable the gadgets while the wheels are rolling. In announcing the latest step in his campaign against distracted driving Thursday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the government might next extend the guidelines to cover virtually every portable electronic device that might find its way into a vehicle. "These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages," said LaHood.  Read more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Males than Females Cited in CT for Distracted Driving

"Male drivers received between 52 and 54 percent of the distracted-driving tickets annually since 2006. Females comprise slightly more than half the 2.5 million licensed drivers in the state, according to records obtained by AP."  Read more.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Distracted Driver Causes Horrific Crash

A snowplow operator who took his eyes off the road struck a 19-year-old on the side of the road who was refueling his car, amputating the young man's legs and leading to his death. Read more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Some tips to avoid distracted driving, courtesy of MNN:


•Always look where you want to go. "If you see a distraction, you can't let it pull you off the road, ... the car will go where your eyes go."

•Turn off the cell phone while driving. 
•Make sure your passengers, especially children, have their snacks and entertainment at the ready, so you are not reaching behind you.

•Eat, apply makeup and dress before you drive.

•Assign a "designated texter," a passenger in the car to send and reply to texts and calls.

•Read all maps before heading out, and, if you need to check directions, pull over.

•If you are a parent — or have children or teens in the car — be aware that you are an example to them.