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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has announced its first-ever nationwide advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving. The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign consists of shocking English and Spanish television, radio and digital ads that will run this week. In addition, state and local police will step up enforcement in states that have distracted driving bans from April 10 to 15.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released results from distracted driving demonstration programs in California and Delaware that prove this method of pairing impactful advertising and high-visibility enforcement reduces hand-held cell phone use. At each program site, handheld cell phone use dropped by approximately one-third.

Distracted driving is no small problem in the United States. NHTSA has found that 71 percent of teens and young people say that they have composed text messages while driving and 78 percent say they have read a text message while driving. In addition, NHTSA estimates that 3,328 people were killed and killed and 421,000 more were injured in distraction-related collisions in 2012. Currently, 43 states, D.C., Puetro Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers; 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit drivers of all ages from using handheld cell phones while driving; and 37 states and D.C. ban cell phone use by novice drivers.

NHTSA has found that among teens and young people

  • 71% say they have composed text messages while driving
  • 78% have read a text message while driving

Distractions often lead to dangerous driving behaviors like red-light running. Last year, NCSR and Focus Driven released an analysis that examined the impact of distracted driving on red-light running. Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety analyzed a sample of 118 intersections with red-light safety cameras across the country and used the findings to estimate that more than 7.3 million U.S. red-light violations in 2012 involved distracted behavior.

For more information on the U.S. DOT’s campaign and ways to get involved, visit Distraction.gov.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads is built on the premise that technology can improve driver behavior and save lives on our country’s roadways. We advocate for the use of camera technology to deter drivers in communities across the country from dangerous behaviors like red-light running and speeding. Yesterday on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller – Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – convened experts from the traffic safety and automotive industries to discuss technology’s role in minimizing distracted driving.

Over-Connected and Behind the Wheel: A Summit on Technological Solutions featured panels that discussed the current state of distraction behind the wheel and efforts to reverse the trend; recent developments in technological solutions to distracted driving and ways to make them more accessible; and collaborative efforts to build on existing success in reducing distracted behavior. Panelists – who hailed from government entities, large tech companies, automobile manufacturers, and non-profit organizations – joined forces to examine which technological advancements are working to reduce distracted driving and which ones simply accommodate a driver’s desire to engage in distracted behavior.

Representatives from AT&T, Google, Samsung, Apple, Cellcontrol and several automakers discussed various technologies that exist to deal with the issue of connectivity and distraction. Some of these advancements aim to control or suppress connectivity behind the wheel, while others facilitate phone-related activities in ways that do not require the use of the driver’s hands or eyes.

“Distraction is inherent in the task of driving,” said David Teater, Senior Director of Transporation Strategic Initiatives at the National Safety Council. “We have made great strides in mitigating it, but I don’t know why we would want to add additional distractions,” he continued, in reference to in-car infotainment systems that offer onboard connectivity to drivers.

To conclude the summit, Sen. Rockefeller echoed the sentiments of his recently published op-ed that expressed “hope and expectation that the summit will spur industries to proactively seek technological solutions that can be widely adopted, readily available, and highlight to the public the life-or-death matter of staying focused behind the wheel.”

Distractions like those targeted by these technologies often lead to incredibly dangerous driving behaviors like red-light running. In June, NCSR and Focus Driven released an analysis that examined the impact of distracted driving on red-light running. Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety analyzed a sample of 118 intersections with red-light safety cameras across the country and used the findings to estimate that more than 7.3 million U.S. red-light violations in 2012 involved distracted behavior. Technology has the power to not only shed more light on the prevalence and impact of distracted driving, but it can also mitigate distracted behavior behind the wheel.

While for some driving a car often feels as familiar and comfortable as riding a bike, a driver’s memory of his/her first few forays without supervision never truly fades. The sense of freedom – and terror – that comes with powering a car by one’s self for the first time is not one that is easily forgotten – though the sense of responsibility is, according to a new study.

“Novice drivers are more likely to engage in high-risk secondary tasks more frequently over time as they become more comfortable with driving,” said Charlie Klauer, one of the study authors and group leader for teen risk and injury prevention at the transportation institute’s Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety.

Findings from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development show that teens begin their driving habits with great caution, but begin to multi-task at a higher frequency than other populations within a matter of months. Researchers compared the results of a one-year, 100-car study with drivers between 18 and 72 years of age and an 18-month study of 42 teens who had drivers’ licenses for less than three weeks at the start of the study. Compared to experienced drivers, novice drivers engaged in secondary tasks less frequently during the first six months. However, they matched experienced drivers between months seven and 15, and were engaged in non-driving tasks more often than experienced drivers during the last three months of the study. Overall, teen drivers demonstrated a two-fold increase in risky distractions during these final months.

“Novice drivers are more likely to engage in high-risk secondary tasks more frequently over time as they become more comfortable with driving,” said Charlie Klauer, one of the study authors and group leader for teen risk and injury prevention at the transportation institute’s Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety.

Distractions like those observed in these studies often lead to incredibly dangerous driving behaviors like running red-lights. In June, NCSR and Focus Driven released an analysis that examined the impact of distracted driving on red-light running. Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety analyzed a sample of 118 intersections with red-light safety cameras across the country and used the findings to estimate that more than 7.3 million U.S. red-light violations in 2012 involved distracted behavior. The fact that our newest generation of motorists are so likely to engage in secondary tasks poses serious concerns for the safety of not just our intersections, but our roadways as a whole.

For more information on distracted driving, visit StopDistractionOnRed.org.

Source: Autoblog

This Independence Day, you may be one of millions of motorists to hit the road and celebrate summer with family and friends. As you head out on the road, please keep safe driving practices in mind and remember to always stop on red. NCSR found that July 4th ranked as the second riskiest summer holiday for drivers when it comes to red-light running – with more than 6,500 violations issued on the holiday alone in 2012. Of the summer holidays, Independence Day came in a close second behind Memorial Day and ranked higher than Labor Day.

In three states – Illinois, Ohio and Virginia – the 4th of July ranked as the riskiest red-light running holiday of 2012. In addition to the traditional summer holidays, NCSR looked at red-light running during the Super Bowl, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Summertime presents drivers with increased risk on the road as more people are driving longer distances for summer travel. In 2012, AAA predicted that 42.3 million Americans drove 50 miles or more during the Independence Day holiday weekend. In addition, drunk driving is often an issue during the summer holidays. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 780 people were killed during July 4th holidays over the last five years in collisions involving drunk drivers.

An analysis released by NCSR and FocusDriven earlier this summer showed that distracted drivers had a significant impact on red-light running in the summer months of 2012.  The analysis –Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety – found that more than 1.8 million red-light violations from June through August 2012 were a result of distracted driving. The campaign continues to promote safe summer driving by highlighting the dangers of distracted driving behavior.

While red-light running is prevalent during the summer months, it is clear that red-light running remains an issue on roadways year round. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intersection-related vehicle accidents caused more than 8,500 fatalities in 2011. NCSR urges all drivers who are hitting the road this 4th of July to take extra precautions while driving, especially in and around intersections.

(Image Source: Autoblog)

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

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Imagine closing your eyes as you approach an intersection and continuing to drive, not knowing if the light was green or red. Although this scenario seems undeniably dangerous, drivers are basically taking the same foolish risk when they engage in distracted behavior behind the wheel. Distractions take the driver’s attention away from the road, often causing them to commit dangerous and illegal actions such as running a red-light, or worse, causing a collision.

In an effort to jumpstart a safe summer driving season, the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and FocusDriven have launched a new joint campaign effort, Stop Distraction on Red, to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and red-light running. By themselves, these issues represent driving epidemics that negatively impact the safety of our roads and highways. Red-light running remains the number one cause of urban crashes in the United States and it is estimated that 21 percent of all crashes involve drivers distracted by cell phones. This collaboration aims to raise awareness about how distracted driving and red-light running are correlated — and ultimately improve driver behavior.

To kick off the campaign, NCSR and FocusDriven conducted a joint analysis examining the impact that distracted driving has on red-light running. Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety analyzes a sample of 118 intersections in 19 communities across the United States over a three-month period. Using the findings from this sample, researchers estimated that a daunting 7.3 million red-light violations in 2012 involved distracted behavior. The analysis also includes distracted driving-related intersection violation estimates for all 50 states and an examination of the impact of bans on cell phone use while driving.

Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety

 

The following video, which features red-light safety camera images and footage of distracted drivers running red lights, will be a key educational tool in the campaign. The video combines clear captures of distracted drivers with informative red-light running and distracted driving statistics, visually linking the dangerous driving habits with their serious consequences.

A new campaign infographic also aims to educate the public on important distracted driving and red-light running realities by illustrating key findings from the joint analysis. The infographic highlights the dangers of these two road safety issues in a visual and digestible manner.

NCSR and FocusDriven are launching Stop Distraction on Red at the advent of summer to promote safe, distraction-free driving as school lets out and millions of cars hit the road for summer travel and activities. NCSR President Melissa Wandall and FocusDriven Board Member and Survivor Advocate Jacy Good, who lead the campaign, have both been personally impacted by the dangers of red-light running and distracted driving. Throughout the course of the campaign, videos of distracted red-light running and the analysis findings will be used to raise awareness as Melissa and Jacy engage in media appearances, speaking opportunities and collaborations with like-minded organizations.

The effort’s ultimate goal is to influence safer driving practices in and around intersections by stopping distraction on red and  preventing needless deaths and injuries to all who share the road.