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Distracted Driving    

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Leon James, Ph.D.
January 2000
www.DrDriving.org


Why do we define driving while distracted
as a form of aggressive driving?

There is a tendency to think that multi-tasking while driving is the cause of driver inattention or distraction. This belief leads to demands for new laws that restrict or ban the use of in-car communication devices such as phones and computers. But the correct argument is that multi-tasking can lead to driver distraction when drivers haven't properly trained themselves to use the new car gadgets. This is true for older devices like the familiar radio and CD as well as the new, like GPS, phones, and e-mail. So it's true that multi-tasking becomes the occasion for drivers to make more mistakes, when they fail to train themselves properly. This increased training is a joint responsibility of the individual driver and the government.

Multi-tasking behind the wheel is a matter of degree and all drivers are responsible for determining when they need additional self-training activities. When drivers overstep this line, they become socially and legally responsible. Drivers who allow themselves to be distracted by their multi-tasking activities are increasing the risk factor for themselves and imposing that dangerous limit on others--passengers, other drivers, pedestrians. This increased risk to which others are subjected is thus similar to other driver behavior that are considered aggressive and illegal: going through red lights, failing to yield, exceeding safe speed limits, reckless weaving, drinking and driving, driving sleepy or drowsy, road rage, etc. Distracted driving can cause auto insurance rates to go up for everyone.

 

 

 

What is Distracted Driving:

Operating Wireless and Communication Devices While Driving

 

Summary by Dr. Leon James

July 2013

 

My position is that a better solution than laws banning use, is to install a system so that when drivers get their license or renew it, information can be placed on the permits that indicate additional approved skills, just as they do now for restrictions such as daytime only, or must wear glasses, etc. Whenever drivers complete additional training activities they can get their permit electronically marked for the specific training, for example, Is licensed to operate wireless devices. 

 

With such training, which is to be renewed again each time drivers renew their license, motorists will be able to use smartphones and GPS devices competently (as for instance police do who regularly using communication devices while driving in traffic).

 

There is also a moral issue people need to think about. Not to get trained and to use them illegally is to run higher risk of crashes. But crashes mostly involve other innocent motorists and passengers. To increase risk on them is therefore a moral issue: is it right or wrong to do that? Am I the kind of person who is OK with that?

+++

 

http://www.drdriving.org/articles/distracted.htm

Distracted drivers who are busy communicating or dining are being aggressive because they are willfully imposing their own level of risk on others. Distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves but to others. Forcing higher risk on others is aggressive. Maybe the distracted driver thinks, Oh, I can handle it, but can others? Se we consider distracted driving as a form of aggressive driving. Drivers who use communication devices and drive distracted as a result are being aggressive drivers.

 

Internet access from a moving vehicle is a reality today, and getting bigger each month. Research on cell phone use by drivers shows that some drivers become dangerous due to distraction. But other drivers maintain their focus and safety level. What is the difference? First, some people are naturally more excitable and distractible while driving, whether they communicate with a passenger or through a communication device. They are especially at risk and dangerous--unless they train themselves. We don't know of any training programs for Internet access in cars, or for other multi-tasking activities. We recommend that these be put in place by the industry and government. But in the meantime, drivers can train themselves.

 

First, drivers must acknowledge that they need to train themselves, and if they don't, they become a danger to others. So until they go through the training, they ought not to allow themselves to use the equipment while the car is moving. Second, they need to practice the equipment over and over again while the car is not moving, until they can do it with closed yes and while talking to a passenger. Third, they cautiously begin to use features, one at a time while the car is moving in the right lane without too much traffic, thus gradually increasing the times and places of use. We also recommend monitoring yourself and keeping a Driving Log or Diary where you record the errors you've seen yourself make. Finally, ask a passenger to monitor you to see if you're making mistakes or distraction.

 

Unless drivers voluntarily train themselves, it's likely that government regulations and restrictions will be the reaction.

+++

 

Dr. Leon James Interview with Men's Health August 23, 2008

 

> -What makes texting while driving so distracting?

 

Texting while driving is distracting for all drivers who have not trained

themselves to do it without taking their eyes off the road, and without

losing focus and presence of mind on the driving. This would no doubt

include 99 percent of all drivers.

> -What's going on when people are communicating via text messages that

> maybe adds to their distraction level as opposed to other distractions

> (ie. eating, talking on the phone)?

 

Eating and talking on the phone are less attention demanding than texting,

though they are still distracting for drivers who have not trained themselves appropriately.

 

The degree of distraction in multitasking is proportional to the attention demand of each task.

 

Here is an illustrative psychological scale of increasing attention demand of various multitasking activities while driving:

 

1.     Mentally planning details of something complex

2.     Talking calmly to passengers

3.     Singing along

4.     Adjusting simple controls like volume or air.

5.     Talking calmly on the phone hands free

6.     Listening to the radio with involvement, such as an exciting sports program or talk show

7.     Talking calmly on the phone hand held

8.     Picking up something that fell or adjusting objects lying on the seat

9.     Eating, drinking, reading, watching video or TV, putting on cosmetics

10. Having an argument with a passenger or on the phone

11. Managing children passengers or pets who are unruly or untrained

12. Reading a map, texting, using computer while the car is moving

13. Racing with another car

14. Taking a catnap while the car is moving or briefly falling asleep at the wheel

The greater the attention demand of the task, the more training is required to do it safely.

 

Survey: What we do while we drive


According to a telephone survey of 1,026 drivers released by NETS:

• 70 percent of drivers routinely talk to passengers while driving.

• 47 percent adjust controls.

• 29 percent eat or read.

• 26 percent pick up something that fell.

• 19 percent talk on the phone

 

Varieties of Driver Distraction

Driver distraction can manifest itself in several ways (Brown, 1994). A general withdrawal of attention manifests itself in both degraded vehicle control and degraded object and event detection. The putative mechanisms behind this are eyelid closure (in the case of driver fatigue) or eye glances away from the road scene (in the case of visual inattention).

A second, and more insidious, type of distraction is what is termed the selective withdrawal of attention. In this type of distraction, vehicle control (e.g., lane keeping, speed maintenance) remains largely unaffected but object and event detection is degraded. The putative mechanism behind this is attention to thoughts and might be indicated by open-loop rather than closed-loop visual scanning, restricted visual sampling of mirrors and the road scene, empty field myopia (e.g., fixating too close), and selective filtering of information based on expectations rather than the actual situation.

These categories of driver distraction suggest different types of measures and scenarios for evaluation of their presence during device use. For example, measurement of lane keeping performance represents an example of general withdrawal of attention but says nothing about the selective withdrawal of attention that might be associated with a device that perhaps does not require a visual resource, e.g., a voice-recognition system.

There is also a type of distraction effect which I term biomechanical interference. This refers to body shifts out of the neutral seated position, e.g., when reaching for a cellular telephone or leaning over to see or manipulate a device. That this may be important is indicated by a recent report from the Japan that indicated the preponderance of cellular telephone-related crashes were associated with receiving calls and reaching for the cell phone (National Police Agency of Japan, 1998). Similarly, the hand(s) occupied and off the steering wheel might degrade the driver’s ability to execute maneuvers. These types of manual loads might involve, e.g., operating a hand-held remote for a route guidance system, a hand-held cellular telephone, eating, drinking, lighting a cigarette, etc. These are the types of biomechanical interference effects that a thorough safety evaluation should also be prepared to address.

 

 

> -What is the impact of texting drivers taking their eyes off the road?

 

** Taking the eyes off the road for one or two seconds while the car is in motion reduces the driver's ability to avoid a crash that can be avoided with full attention.

 

** There is also a focus switch from close while texting, to far when looking up again. There is a recovery time during which the eyes do not focus clearly on distant objects.

 

** It also increases inattention blindness, such as completely missing a swerving car or a sudden lane change.

+++

 

Driving Distracted:

1.     There is a shift of attention away from the driving task

2.     In-vehicle task can lead to visual blindness and cognitive lock-up

3.     An inappropriate display salience can capture attention

4.     Built in cues elicit immediate response (e.g., telephone ring)

 

Inattention or reduced vigilance may result from over-reliance on driver support systems – see also the concept of target risk and risk homeostasis (below).

 

Distraction Types

 

Sensorimotor distractions

** manual (touching, operating, adjusting, lifting, gesturing,
** visual (visual blindness)
** auditory (contraction of field)
** verbal (yelling in anger)
**physiological (accelerated breathing and heart rate)
** biomechanical interference (e.g., when reaching over to pick up or operate)

 

Cognitive distractions

cognitive lock up
inadequate processing or appraisal
impaired judgment or objectivity

 

Affective distractions

explosive emotions
reduced cautiousness

See Taxonomy:
http://www.drdriving.org/articles/taxonomy.htm

 

On the one hand, the external environmental forces for greater safety (less risk):

      The construction of more and better highways to accommodate the increasing numbers of drivers every year

      The design of better and safer vehicles

      A more efficient medical infrastructure to handle victims of crashes

      Greater use of highway law enforcement and electronic surveillance as deterrents

 

And on the other hand, the internal individual forces for maintaining high risk (less safety):

      The widespread acceptance of a competitive norm that values getting ahead of other drivers

      The daily round schedule of time pressure and its mismanagement through rushing and disobeying traffic laws

      The weakness of driver education programs so that most drivers have inadequate training in emotional self-control as drivers

      The media portrayal of aggressive driving behaviors in a fun context

      The psychological tendency to maintain a preferred level of risk, so that increased risks are taken when environmental improvements are introduced (also called "risk homeostasis", see Wilde, 1994; 1988)

 

Scientists and safety officials attribute this resistance to accident reduction to the attitude and behavior of drivers who tend to respond to safety improvements by driving more dangerously. It has been noted that a critical aspect of driving is the driver’s competence in balancing risk with safety. The risk in driving is largely under the control of the driver. The driver decides at every moment what risks to take and what to inhibit or avoid.

 

Risk taking is a tendency that varies greatly between drivers as well as for the same driver at different times. Thus, if a road is made safer by straightening it, or by moving objects that interfere with visibility, drivers will compensate for the greater safety by driving faster on it—the so-called "risk homeostasis" phenomenon. The result is the maintenance of a constant subjective feeling of risk that is the normal habitual threshold for a particular driver. In such a driving environment, the rate of deaths or injuries tends to remain high, despite the safety improvements that are introduced.

 

The institutional or societal response to this stalemate between safety and risk tolerance, has been to increase enforcement activities by monitoring, ticketing, and jailing hundreds of thousands of drivers. Nevertheless, the number of deaths and injuries has remained nearly steady, year after year. Besides law enforcement, there has been an increase in litigation due to aggressive driving disputes between drivers, as well as more psychotherapy and counseling services, including anger management clinics and workshops, and community initiatives. Nevertheless, these remain scattered attempts, and have been unable to alter basic driving patterns.  As detailed in this chapter, socio-cultural methods need to be used to change the driving norms of an entire generation.

 

+++

 

Measures of Distracted Driving

Except perhaps in retrospect, safety cannot be measured directly (Dingus, 1997). Indirect measures which are used to measure safety-relevant distraction effects can be put into several categories (Tijerina, Kiger, Rockwell, and Wierwille, 1996).

Driver eye glance behavior measures are taken primarily because of the importance of vision in driving. Glance durations, glance frequency, and scanning patterns are part of this set of measures.

Driver-vehicle performance measures are also popular because of their prima facie safety relevance. Lane keeping, speed maintenance, car following performance, and driver reaction times to objects and events are common measures from this class.

Driver control actions such as steering wheel inputs, accelerator modulations, gear shifting, brake pedal applications, and hand-off-wheel time all have been or can be used to make inferences about the distraction level a driver is under during a trial.

+++

Student Reports on Distracted Driving—Dr. Leon James+++

 

Two-Thirds of Motorists are Distracted While Driving

 

The Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey revealed that 76% of all drivers engaged in activities while driving that distracted their attention from the road. In many cases the distractions resulted in accidents or near-accidents. "People are so caught up in doing things simultaneously to save time that safe driving seems to be taking a back seat," cautioned Mory Katz, Chairman of Response Insurance.

According to the survey 32% of drivers are reading and writing while on the road, 29% are talking on a cell phone, 17% are combing hair, 16% are fighting with another passenger, 10% are putting on makeup and 3% are putting in eye drops or contact lenses. 20% are so busy they admit to steering with their thighs. The most common activities were tuning the radio (62%), eating (57%) and turning around to speak to someone in the car (56%).

 

In one of the most startling findings, the survey revealed that activities many drivers would consider innocuous were potentially just as dangerous as those usually considered irresponsible. While breaking up a fight between children in the car and racing with another car were both done by 12% of those surveyed, more drivers say they caused or nearly caused an accident by separating their kids than they did by racing another car (26% vs. 21%).

+++

 

NHTSA said it found 44 percent of drivers have phones in their vehicles or carry a cellular phone while driving, 7 percent have e-mail access and 3 percent have fax capabilities.

 

Research by NHTSA and the American Automobile Association shows that while equipment activated by voice commands has a safety advantage, there is still a danger in focusing on a conversation with the device.

 

While all 50 U.S. states have laws covering reckless driving, only half have laws against inattentive driving, according to NHTSA.

+++

 

March 28, 2000

Half of the nation's adults (51%) admit to driving while drowsy, reports the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in its new 2000 Sleep in America Poll. Among 18 to 29 year olds, nearly one-quarter (24%) report actually falling asleep at the wheel at some point during the past year, compared with 15% of those aged 30-64, and 6% of people 65 and older. These statistics are in line with scientific research showing that fall-asleep crashes are most common in younger people, with peak occurrence at age 20.

 

Sleepiness contributes to other dangerous driving behavior on the road as well. Forty-two percent of adults report they become stressed while driving drowsy and 32% say they get impatient. Twelve percent of adults admit they drive faster when they're sleepy, with 22% of younger adults reporting this dangerous driving characteristic.

+++

 

Driving Sleepy

 

Quiz--Test Yourself

1) Do you get drowsy after meals?

a. Rarely

b. Often after breakfast or dinner

c. Often after lunch

 

If you picked:

a. give yourself 0 points

b. 10 points

c. 20 points

 

(etc.) see below: http://www.drdriving.org/articles/distracted.htm

+++

 

 


 

WINDOWS FOR THE CAR

Microsoft says that BMW's new BMWG.F 7-series of
automobiles will have dash-top computing using Windows CE software, which
is also in 13 vehicle lines worldwide, with 9 more planned later this
year. Sun Microsystems, one of the companies competing with Microsoft in
the auto dash-top market, has similar agreements with General Motors and
Ford, which will use Sun's Java technology. Although dash-top computing
has been slow to develop, Microsoft executive Gonzalo Bustillos says,
"Vehicle computing is going to be there. Carmakers have decided it's going
to be there. The only questions are when and how the models may become a
reality." (Reuters 4 Mar 2002)
http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtmltype=technologynews&StoryID=659111   

Joseph Tessmer, a NHTSA statistician, estimated 20% to 30% of fatal accidents are due to distractions, but said it's impossible to know for sure because only a few states document distractions in accident reports. quoted here

''There's certainly a lot of driver education that needs to take place because there is a lot of new technology coming on the scene,'' said Brian Gratch, a marketing director at Motorola Inc., which makes cellular phones. quoted from

gle

                  

 

     

     



                                     

 

 

Are we too hooked on our phones for a driving ban?

g Gross, CNN

By Doug Gross, CNN

updated 6:49 PM EST, Wed December 14, 2011

 

(CNN) -- A federal agency in charge of safety on the roads wants an outright ban on using mobile phones while driving. But what if we're just too hooked on our smartphones and other digital gadgets to care?

For many drivers in 2011, a phone is as vital an in-car accessory as a radio, a map or a cup holder. Spend a few minutes watching motorists backed up at a traffic light and you'll see a large chunk of them on their smartphones: talking, texting, peering at a digital map or playing "Angry Birds."

Enough, says the National Transportation Safety Board, which on Tuesday issued its most sweeping recommendation on mobile-phone use yet -- that all nonemergency talking, texting or other use by drivers be made illegal. That would include hands-free devices as well as handheld ones.

Reaction has been heated. There seems to be across-the-board agreement, even on the part of some self-admitted offenders, that a ban on drivers using their hands to text and talk makes sense.

But after that, things get more complicated. And some critics are saying that any law targeting phone use in cars is already too late.

"Mobile phones are omnipresent. Virtually every adult and many kids have one," Detroit Free Press auto columnist Mark Phelan wrote Wednesday. "No law will change the fact that people expect to remain in touch while they're behind the wheel."

The NTSB's proposed ban, he said, would be "the most pointless and universally ignored law since Prohibition."

.......

In the United States, more than 35% of adults own a Web-enabled smartphone and more than 83% own a mobile phone of some kind, according to a recent Pew study.

At any given daylight moment, some 13.5 million U.S. drivers are on handheld phones, according to a study released last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year involved distracted drivers, although the actual number may be far higher, the NHTSA said. Federal officials have taken to calling phone use behind the wheel "the new DUI."

......

"Should radios and GPS navigation also be banned from cars? Laws exist in most states banning texting and making phone calls without hand-free equipment -- the issue is that these laws are not being enforced. "

The use of mobile GPS also was mentioned frequently by both readers and online pundits. Virtually every mobile operating system has some sort of mapping app to help drivers get from Point A to Point B.

What sense does it make, the logic goes, to ban phones in the car while allowing apps that are created, almost exclusively, to be used in the car?

"(G)iven that GPS is now an integral part of most smartphones, and that services like OnStar integrate voice commands to phones via Bluetooth, it's not clear how effective or enforceable a total ban would be -- or whether it would change the behavior of drivers in a significant way," wrote Sean Gallagher for tech blog Ars Technica, a CNN content partner.

"Bans on handheld phone use haven't significantly reduced the likelihood of drivers to take incoming calls while they're driving regardless of the type of phone they have."

A bigger safety issue could arise, Cudmore said, if such tools are banned.

"If cell phones are banned, those of us without GPS installed in the car will need to revert back to paper maps or printed directions," he said. Which is more dangerous, listening to my phone's GPS navigation or reading a set of printed instructions? Let's be honest, before GPS when everyone used maps, did we all pull over to the side of the road to read the next instruction once we reached a waypoint? If used correctly, these devices are improving safety."

Any ban on cell phone use in cars probably wouldn't become law for a while. The NTSB doesn't have any lawmaking power and Congress would have to pass any law regarding phones and driving, although the safety board has helped push ideas into law before. Getting such a law through Congress, given the current gridlock in Washington, could be a torturous process.

Currently a patchwork of laws governs cell phone usage by drivers. Some 35 states ban text messaging while driving, 30 states ban cell phone use by novice drivers, and 10 ban all use of handheld cell phones, according to the NTSB.


Original here: http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/14/tech/mobile/texting-driving-phones/index.html?iref=obnetwork





Tech Hearing


ABCNews.com story

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is
holding a hearing on driving distractions and road safety, and a
major focus of the meetings is the proliferation of high-tech,
in-vehicle devices such as mobile phones, on-board maps, GPS
devices and CD players.
How big a problem is this, in your view? Express your opinion.

The government is getting involved...Help the government by responding!

 CELL PHONE USE CAN IMPAIR VISION WHILE DRIVING

Researchers at the University of Utah have found that drivers using  cell  phones, even hands-free devices, experience a decrease in the ability  to  process peripheral vision, creating a potentially lethal "tunnel  vision."  This "inattention blindness" slows reaction time by 20% and resulted in  some of the 20 test subjects missing half the red lights they  encountered  in simulated driving. "We found that when people are on the phone, the  amount of information they are taking in is significantly reduced,"  says  associate professor David Strayer. "People were missing things, like  cars  swerving in front or sudden lane changes. We had at least three  rear-end  collisions." The Utah study is only the latest investigation into the  effects of driving and cell phone use, and most of the others have also  demonstrated some degree of impairment. And while most studies have  focused focused  on the distractions of dialing or holding a phone, the Utah research  tried  to focus on the distractions caused by having a conversation. New York  is  the only state to have instituted laws against the practice, but 30  more  states have similar legislation pending. (CNet News.com 27 Jan 2003)

http://news.com.com/2100-1033-982325.html?tag=fd_top

 


Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 06:48:48 -1000
From: Eric Peterson <eptcb126@uswest.net>

To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org

Subject: Press query

Dr. James,

I'm a freelance writer working on a story for the Boulder (Colo.) County Business Report and was wondering if I could get your opinion on the impact, dangers, and/or benefits of telematics - essentially, vehicular Internet access. Would it prove distracting to a driver? How about if the driver couldn't access it while driving, but passengers could?

Eric Peterson
Denver CO
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reply by Dr. Leon James:

We devote a section of our new book on Road Rage and Aggressive Driving (see press release below) to this topic of automotive telematics in relation to driver distraction--which by the way includes in car communications devices and dashboard dining, both being major sources of distraction. We don't think that multi-tasking should be banned by the law but we do think that some form of required training is highly desirable. In fact, no training is dangerous.

Distracted drivers who are busy communicating or dining are being aggressive because they are willfully imposing their own level of risk on others. Distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves but to others. Forcing higher risk on others is aggressive. Maybe the distracted driver thinks, Oh, I can handle it, but can others? Se we consider distracted driving as a form of aggressive driving. Drivers who use communication devices and drive distracted as a result are being aggressive drivers.

Internet access from a moving vehicle is a reality today, and getting bigger each month. Research on cell phone use by drivers shows that some drivers become dangerous due to distraction. But other drivers maintain their focus and safety level. What is the difference? First, some people are naturally more excitable and distractible while driving, whether they communicate with a passenger or through a communication device. They are especially at risk and dangerous--unless they train themselves. We don't know of any training programs for Internet access in cars, or for other multi-tasking activities. We recommend that these be put in place by the industry and government. But in the meantime, drivers can train themselves.

First, drivers must acknowledge that they need to train themselves, and if they don't, they become a danger to others. So until they go through the training, they ought not to allow themselves to use the equipment while the car is moving. Second, they need to practice the equipment over and over again while the car is not moving, until they can do it with closed yes and while talking to a passenger. Third, they cautiously begin to use features, one at a time while the car is moving in the right lane without too much traffic, thus gradually increasing the times and places of use. We also recommend monitoring yourself and keeping a Driving Log or Diary where you record the errors you've seen yourself make. Finally, ask a passenger to monitor you to see if you're making mistakes or distraction.

Unless drivers voluntarily train themselves, it's likely that government regulations and restrictions will be the reaction.

Aloha.
Leon James

+++++++++

Press Release

Leon James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D.

ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000)

ISBN 1-57392-846-1

Two nationally known authors from Hawaii have published a new book on a topic often discussed in the media. What other authors say about this book:

"Like the weather, everyone is talking about road rage, but Drs. James and Nahl have finally done something about it. They show that what we call "traffic" is really an ever-changing set of social relationship tests, and how we engage in these auto-connections speaks volumes about the ultimate quality of our own and others lives. They show us how being a better driver helps us lead a better, happier, healthier life."

Paul Pearsall, author of The Pleasure Prescription and Wishing Well

"Next time you're about to crowd someone's bumper because they cut you off in traffic, take a deep breath, back off, and drive to the nearest book store to buy this book. You'll not only learn why we've become such impatient, hostile drivers, you'll learn exactly how to reverse this life-endangering habit. Bravo to the authors for a well-written, much needed book. Read it and reap!"

Sam Horn, author of Tongue Fu and ConZENtrate

"It's about personal behavior! ------ For those of us that have been personally involved with "Road Rage"; for those of us who have witnessed "Road Rage"; for those of us that understand "Road Rage" truly exists and is a serious issue for the motoring public, this is a page turner. Leon and Diane have defined the issue, shown what it has cost us and most importantly ----Given Specifics for us to prevent from participating in a "Road Rage" incident or being the victim of "Road Rage".

This is a must read for young drivers, experienced drivers and professional drivers alike-----Remember that it's about personal behavior! Who better to discuss this issue than Social Psychologist, Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl."

Stan McWilliams, Manager Safety Information Systems

M.S. Carriers Inc..


 

Dr. Leon James Interview with Men's Health 

Reporter Jen Ator August 23, 2008

 

> -What makes texting while driving so distracting?

Texting while driving is distracting for all drivers who have not trained

themselves to do it without taking their eyes off the road, and without

losing focus and presence of mind on the driving. This would no doubt

include 99 percent of all drivers.

> -What's going on when people are communicating via text messages that

> maybe adds to their distraction level as opposed to other distractions

> (ie. eating, talking on the phone)?

Eating and talking on the phone are less attention demanding than texting,

though they are still distracting for drivers who have not trained

themselves appropriately. The degree of distraction in multitasking is

proportional to the attention demand of each task. Here is an example of

increasing attention demand while driving:

1. Thinking and planning

2. Talking to passenger, or singing

3. Talking on the phone hands free

4. Eating, drinking, putting on make up

5. Talking on the phone hand held

6. Having an argument with passenger or on the phone

7. Reading a map, texting, using computer

> -What is the impact of texting drivers taking their eyes off the road?

Taking the eyes off the road for one or two seconds reduces the driver's

ability to avoid a crash that can be avoided with full attention. There is

also a focus switch from close while texting, to far when looking up

again. There is a recovery time during which the eyes do not focus clearly

on distant objects.


 

Human Factors Issues Related to Driver Distraction From In-Vehicle Systems

Y. Ian Noy, Ph.D., CPE Ergonomics Division Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, Transport Canada

Distraction:

  • shift of attention away from the driving task for a compelling reason.
  • in-vehicle task can lead to visual/cognitive lock-up
  • inappropriate display salience can capture attention
  • cue elicits immediate response (e.g., telephone ring)

Inattention:

  • shift of attention away from the driving task for non-compelling reason

Note: inattention may result from over-reliance on driver support system (reduced vigilance)

Conclusions

  • Driving task difficulty predominant factor affecting attention and performance variables
  • Drivers modified their looking behaviour in an attempt to maintain driving performance
  • Despite strong adaptive behaviour, distraction from in-vehicle task caused driving performance to deteriorate

 

MOBILE PHONE RAGE


The new curse: Cell-phone rage

Anger over mobile phones may be the next social ill as millions get increasingly fed up with hearing the strains of Beethoven or Jingle Bells

WACO (Texas) - Like air rage and road rage, mobile-phone rage is emerging as a disturbing social menace, prompting some manufacturers to take steps to put an end to unwanted ringing.

'Mobile phones are a fairly new technology and a sense of etiquette maybe has not evolved as fast as the phones have penetrated the market.' -- Mr Travis Larson , spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association of America

Since they were first sold in the United States in 1983, these phones have multiplied.

From a few thousand the first year to more than 100 million today, mobile phones are here to stay.

The bad news for those fed up with ringers disturbing the peace is that, according to the telecommunications industry, only 30 per cent of the market has been penetrated.

Not only is the number of mobile phones growing, the piercing sounds of their ringers seem to be increasing as well, with louder and more elaborate tones available, said Ms Amy Wu, who writes for Wired News.

Even though most of today's phones have volume controls, many people leave them set on high no matter what the situation.

And instead of just ringing, phones can be programmed to play Bach, Mozart, the James Bond theme or Jingle Bells.

While you might be happy when Beethoven lets you know someone is calling, millions of people are not pleased at all.

They are fed up with hearing your phone go off.

'Mobile phones have become part of the urban landscape, but the behavioural battles rage on,' Ms Wu said.

'Some businesses and public places have devised ways to deal with the phenomenon. But mobile-phone rage may very well become the social controversy of the next decade.'

(...).

Mr Travis Larson, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association of America said: 'Mobile phones are a fairly new technology and a sense of etiquette maybe has not evolved as fast as the phones have penetrated the market.'

Mobile-phone rage is a big enough problem that some manufacturers have started sensitivity training for users.

(...)

Signs in museums, announcements over intercoms and advertisements outside buildings remind people gently to turn down their mobile phones in 'quiet zones'.

Ms Mary Beth Griffin, executive vice-president of BlueLinx, based in North Carolina, said her company designs and builds ringer regulators or nodes.

They are mounted on the walls of movie theatres or churches and emit a signal that turns down mobile-phone ringers.

But for the system to work, each mobile phone must be equipped with a special software.

'Right now, courtesy is based on people's memories,' Ms Griffin said.

(...)

--New York Times

 

 

Cell-phone backlash growing


August 2, 2000

By DAVE CARPENTER AP Business Writer

(...) inside the elegant San Antonio club and the jasize="3 singer was crooning love ballads.

Then a cell phone rang. To the dismay of performer Ken Slavin, the patron not only answered the phone - but shushed the singer so he could take the call.

On a San Francisco Bay ferry, where "Cell Phone Free Zone" signs are posted, a woman gossiped loudly on her phone.

"Hey lady," a fellow rider piped up. "I think I speak for the rest of the passengers here when I say that we don't care to hear about the intrigues of your office, so please either finish your call or go outside."

The woman stormed out - to applause.

(...)

"No Cell Phones" signs are popping up all over. Restaurants, theaters, libraries, museums and doctors' offices have banned the devices.

(...)

"People on the street jabbering away, in restaurants, in public toilets for heaven's sake!" complained New Yorker Judy Walters.

She's not joking. According to an industry-sponsored telephone survey conducted in March by Wirthlin Worldwide, 39 percent of those polled said they would answer a cell phone call in the bathroom.

(...)

Doctors at a Toronto hospital report treating both mobile phone talkers and irritated bystanders for black eyes and even a cracked rib after eruptions of "cell phone rage."

A New York restaurant fielded so many gripes it banished users to a cell phone lounge.

(...)

National Public Radio's popular Car Talk program, whose hosts rail against cell-phoning drivers, has given away 60,000 "Drive Now, Talk Later" bumper stickers since last September. "The response has taken us by surprise," said staffer Doug Mayer.

(...)

"Manners between strangers have broken down," said Stein, a UCLA sociology professor and director of Cultural Research Assistants in Santa Monica, Calif. "We've become desensitized to each other."

(...)

original here

 

 

Nokia campaign aims to civilize cell phone users


July 10, 2000

By Stephanie Miles Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO--

Turn off your ringers, please. It's Cell Phone Courtesy Week.

Brought to the citizens of San Diego by cell phone maker Nokia, this week is dedicated to encouraging the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings and those around them.

The promotion is part of a growing movement to rein in rogue cell phone users, a group that continues to grow in number and offense, according to some.

There are approximately 94 million people using cell phones in the United States, or one out of three Americans, according to Nokia.

The skyrocketing number of mobile phone users, driven in part by falling prices for phones and service, along with improvements in network coverage and quality, has led to complaints about inappropriate calling while driving, during performances, in classrooms, libraries, museums and restaurants.

(...)

A growing number of restaurants have designated themselves cell phone-free zones, and a few areas have proposed banning cell phone usage while driving.

The city of San Diego and Finnish-based Nokia, which employs 600 people in its Product Creation Center in San Diego, launched the courtesy campaign today. Consisting primarily of identifying specific "Quiet Zones" where cell phones are not welcome,

Cell Phone Courtesy Week was brought about in part by overwhelming public demand, according to San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.

original here

 

 

Driving and Talking... Are you being safe?

 

by: Craig L. Derington DirectWireless.com

(...) some cities have banned the use of wireless phones while driving, making it a punshiable offense. This legislation brings up some concerns, however. For instance, does banning the use of phones while driving violate our rights as citizens. While nearly everyone would agree that it is important to be able to keep in touch with family and co-workers when away from home or office, the issue of safety is also a major concern. The wireless industry has recognized this need for balance, and now offers a wide selection of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and third party (after-market) products to help drivers stay safe when using cell phones.

Here are some safety tips for using your wireless phone while driving:

Go hands-free.

(...) Hard install car kits usually include a holder for your phone, an adapter that plugs into your cars electrical system, and a separate microphone and earpiece that let you talk without having to touch your phone.

Speed dial.

Almost all phones come equipped with memory dialing features. These features compliment your need to call your business associates, family and friends, by making it as easy as a button touch from your hands-free system.

Safety first.

(...) If you feel like you are unable to concentrate on the task at hand: it's always best to pull off the road to a safe stopping location, or simply tell the person you are talking to that you will have to call them back once you have reached your destination. The little extra time you spend could be the difference between life and death.

Know your phone.

(...) Reviewing the features is a good idea every few months. That way, users get the most support from their phones, as they are most comfortable with their capabilities and use.

(...)

original here

 

Cell phone use in Libraries


Discussions

"So far, here at CA State Archives, our patrons have consistently demonstrated the courtesy of leaving the Research Room to handle their cell calls.

And then there's my local metro bus driver who drives her coach most evenings, on freeway and off, having quiet little calls on her personal cellphone. I'm about to turn her in to the transit brass. It may not be illegal (yet) to cell-phone talk and drive, but in the cases of public transit drivers, it oughta' be -- nationwide. "


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Aaaarrrrggghhh! I want to rip the damned things out of their hands and smash them against the wall! However, seeing that such actions wouldn't be in accordance with professional behavior, I just grit my teeth. Students at our university library will answer their cell phone and put the reference person they were speaking to "on hold" until they're done using the phone. Sheesh! As far as I know, there is no official policy on use of cell phones in our building."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

E-mail your comments or observations to DrDriving

Do people on cell phones bother you in waiting rooms, streets, cars, etc.?

 

 

Dangers of talking on cell and driving


Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000
From: Adams' Family ma2040@livingston.net
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: Dangers of talking on cell and driving

DrDriving:

Porter, Tx -- Kimberly Adams, daughter of Claude T. Jacobs Sr. and his two co-workers, was tragically killed as a result of an auto accident caused by a motorist whose attention was distracted while using a cellular phone.

Prior to this accident, we and the rest of the public, lacked a meaningful awareness of the danger of talking on a cell phone while driving. Since the horrific death of my father, I have discovered that the use of cellular phones by drivers has become a very substantial safety problem. Scholastic studies have indicated that the risk of accident quadruples when a cell phone is being used by a motorist, equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol level at the legal limit.

I am committed to raising public awareness of this issue. I believe cell [Already at start of message] phones can be useful safety tools, but have found it to be simply too dangerous to talk while driving. I have already and will continue to provide input to my own representatives in Montgomery Co., Tx to support meaningful legislative efforts aimed at this serious problem.

 

 

Survey: What we do while we drive


According to a telephone survey of 1,026 drivers released by NETS:

• 70 percent of drivers routinely talk to passengers while driving.

• 47 percent adjust controls.

• 29 percent eat or read.

• 26 percent pick up something that fell.

• 19 percent talk on the phone

found it here

 

From Geek.com


Jul 11 2000

Have you ever been in a movie theater and heard someone's phone ring? How about viewing a play at your child's school? As mobile phone prices continue to drop, more people are using phones in some of the most inappropriate places.

As a result of the increased inappropriate usage of mobile phones, the city of San Diego and Nokia, which has approximately 600 people working in San Diego, have launched Cell Phone Courtesy Week. During the week, specific "Quiet Zones" where cell phones are not allowed will be identified.

JOEL'S OPINION

I can't believe it has actually come to this.

I first heard a case of mobile phone abuse when I was sitting in a movie theater. It was during the movie and the guy just kept letting his cellphone ring. Apparently, he figured if he ignored it and looked around, people wouldn't get mad at him. Well, eventually it went to voicemail but the guy looked very uneasy for the remainder of the movie, no doubt afraid for his life.

People really have no clue when the appropriate time to use a mobile phone is. In addition, why can't they just remember to shut the ringer off? I guess we could also blame mobile phone manufacturers for not making it a "one touch" button that just silences the ringer. If that button existed, people could just silence their mobile phone before going into a restaurant, bank, etc.

I used to have a phone with a vibrate feature and I would turn that on if I absolutely needed to keep the phone on. I remember someone I used to work with would shut the ringer off during a movie and just wait for the light on his phone to light-up if a phone call came in. I'm not sure what he would have done if the call actually did come in, though. One would hope that he would leave the theater before answering the phone.

(...)

 

 

Cell Phone Courtesy (NOT!)

 

(12:43pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000) I was once in a Home Depot hardware superstore and the guy behind me in the aisle was talking on his cell phone to (hopefully) his wife and describing the prostate exam he just came from! He wasn't even trying to speak softly, in fact, he was speaking rather loudly due to the ambient noise. Well, I turned to him and said, "If you don't mind...I really DON'T want to hear how your doctor had his finger up your A** 10 minutes ago!" I said it loud enough for the party on the other end to hear as well as everyone in the aisle. Surprised at my outburst, he promptly turned red and left the aisle. Looking over the others in the aisle, they all smiled their approval to me....

(...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's not forget business... (2:11pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000) I see cell phone arrogance at its worst during business events such as meetings or conferences. It's unbelievable how these business men let their cell phones ring and TAKE CALLS while someone else is talking or trying to give a presentation just a few feet away. Of course they're each just TOO important to shut it off...

(...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The One-Touch button (2:25pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000) If I've forgotten to turn off my ringer, I can reach in my pocket and press the 'end' or the 'off' button to silence it after one ring. I use this a lot as there are a lot of places I consider it rude to talk on the phone. Basically, anywhere where anyone is forced to sit and listen to you is usually bad. The train, doctor's office waiting room.

(...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cell phone proper use (3:38pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000)

(...)

However, people today have NO concept of those around them. People are self-centered and selfish, not caring how their actions impact others. The problems you all state about using cellular phones merely mirror the overall problems in society. If we all tried to be a little more cognitive of the needs and rights of those around us, we certainly would all be a lot better off.

(...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(...)

The other day I was Big K-Mart, and the lady in front of me, in the line of eleven people, her phone rings. So my buddy and I strike a conversation about the up coming All-Star game. Our voices steadily grew as she continued on the phone. No doubt, she turned around and asked us to please quite down. We both looked at her, and yelled, AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!. She jumped back into the person in front of her. The person got mad at the lady with the cell phone. The cell phone lady got mad at us. The people behind us started going, "Yeah!!". It was the beginning of a brawl. But sadly, the manager came over and told every to be calm, and ask the lady with the cell phone to leave. So she stormed out of the store, with her cell phone still on!! Ah, it was a Kodak moment
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phone beating (4:34pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000) I read a story a while ago about a guy in german who's phone rang one to many times in a bar. after the 4th time the other patrons of the bar started throwing beer bottle at him and he eventually got killed by one of them... now that is a waste of good beer.

original here

 

 

See this MSNBC report of July 26, 2001

 

What can be done to fix them, and are some of them located near you? For years, big insurance companies have been sponsoring state-of-the-art crash tests to encourage safer car designs and reduce insurance costs. But experts say that cars and drivers aren’t the only ones to blame for accidents. Sometimes, it can be the road itself, everything from confusing signs to faded lane lines, to traffic lights you can barely see.

At high accident locations, drivers had to shoot the gaps between multiple lanes of on-coming traffic in order to make a left turn. State Farm traffic experts say allowing protected left turns only on a green arrow is safer. And if the signals are properly timed, the green arrow can improve traffic flow.

Are the pavement markings clear?

Too often, bad intersections need a fresh coat of paint to help keep drivers in the proper lanes. At big intersections with two or more left turn lanes, State Farm says it's especially important to have good markings to keep drivers from side-swiping each other as they make the turn.

Are drivers approaching the intersection at high speeds?

State Farm says several of this year's worst intersections seem to have a speed problem. Sometimes there's a relatively high speed limit leading up to a light and drivers get caught by surprise. A simple fix could be an "advanced warning" light before the intersection to alert drivers they'll have to stop soon. Other locations may need tougher enforcement of lower speed limits and crack-downs on red light runners.

Are there pedestrian crosswalk signals?

This seems to be a forgotten element at some big intersections. There are poor or missing signals/markings to help pedestrians get across a big street safely. What's more, when surprised drivers slam on the brakes to avoid a pedestrian, the result is often a rear-end accident.

 

 

NHTSA Public Meeting on Driver Distraction


Prepared Remarks For Rosalyn G. Millman
DeputyAdministrator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NHTSA Public Meeting on Driver Distraction Tuesday, July 18, 2000 Washington, D.C.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Driver distraction is perhaps the most demanding highway traffic safety issue of the day. For us at the Department of Transportation working in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, - driver distraction is a broad subject area that includes everything from radios and fast food to Internet connections and on-board navigation devices. I was eager to participate in today's meeting because we in the highway safety community must take every opportunity to explore and share information about this critically important subject. To meet with the individuals, organizations, and industries represented here today is a special opportunity.

For more than three decades - since its founding in 1966 - the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - has grappled with many threats to public safety on America's roadways. The challenges we confronted over these many years range from drivers who are too impaired by alcohol to drive safely or testing the protective benefits of seat belt systems.

Driver distraction is not a new problem. NHTSA has been studying and confronting distraction issues for many years. Yet, the driver distraction of today is far different than in years past. It is related to innovative technologies that are entering vehicles at breathtaking speed - whether it is wireless telephones, Internet services, navigation devices, or new sophisticated entertainment centers.

The driver distraction that traditionally was a single device or stimulus is now a diffused and often difficult-to-define set of issues. The stunning speed from innovation to installation is so fast that NHTSA's first awareness of a product or service may well be when it is already being designed into or carried into a vehicle and used by a driver on the road.

The driver's responsibility is to operate the vehicle safely. Distraction degrades driver performance. Multiple distractions and more complex distractions degrade driving performance even more. For all driver distractions, including wireless phones, the gathering evidence is persistent and clear. Whether the information comes from anecdotal reports, real-world data, or research, we have a serious problem on our roadways now and it is growing.

We cannot dismiss anecdotal reports, although they are unreliable sometimes. They are continual and straight-forward. Real-world data is limited at this point, and, for years to come, may not be robust enough to measure distraction precisely or justify a particular course of action. But the real-world data we can assess leads us to conclude that drivers' use of wireless phones in moving vehicles is contributing to crashes.

Research is further along. We are using many tools and techniques that have matured over the years to assess new forms of distraction - the use of wireless phones, in particular. NHTSA's National Advanced Driving Simulator, which will come on-line by the end of this year, will provide unprecedented opportunities for detailed, repeatable research on such driver fitness issues as distraction and fatigue.

But all of the information to date, from all sources, is consistent - each separate story, each data set, and each research paper adds to the growing body of evidence.

Increasing distractions, increase the risk and in turn lead to unintended consequences.

I am not aware of a single instance - not one - of information that suggests distraction is not a problem, or that we have misunderstood it, or that it is lessening. Driver distraction, in all its forms and from all its sources, is a real threat to the safety of America's roads.

This threat is growing and growing fast. Wireless phones are the fastest penetrating technology in history. Just a few short years ago - to see someone talking on a wireless phone anywhere was still relatively rare. Today, a regular commute trip without seeing two, three, or more drivers talking on their wireless phones while their vehicles are in motion is relatively rare.

Knowing of a traffic safety threat is often easier than mitigating that traffic safety threat. Data and information that are clearly worrisome enough to recognize risks and warn of their consequences are not nearly complete enough to support a given solution or validate a particular action. Further complicating the search for solutions are the equivocal, and sometimes vague, public arguments that obscure what must be good-faith efforts to confront distraction issues directly and effectively. Here are five.

Assertion Number One: "The genie is out of the bottle" - that potentially distractive devices have invaded the driver's domain so pervasively, attempts to control them now are impossible or ill-advised.

Response: This problem will grow larger and more complex. Waiting only increases the difficulty we will have solving it.

Assertion Number Two: Eating fast food, applying cosmetics, and other in-car distractions also present risks, so why are we not worrying about them?

Response: We have work to do on all forms of driver distraction. But, we should not accept one risk because we have yet to address another or because have accepted a particular risk.

Assertion Number Three: Hands-free equipment will lessen or eliminate driver distraction.

Response: Hands-free is not risk free. NHTSA research and other research clearly show that we must be concerned with manual distraction, visual distraction, and cognitive distraction. Hands-free, depending upon the equipment, may reduce both manual and visual distraction - but it will not affect or reduce cognitive distraction. Some researchers believe cognitive distraction is the most problematic. I have not seen any research or studies that suggest hands-free devices will solve the distraction problem. If anyone is aware of such research, NHTSA's scientists would like to review it.

Suggesting solutions for part of the problem without addressing the whole problem may simply postpone a better, more complete solution.

Assertion Number Four: Existing laws are adequate to deter drivers from the inappropriate use of distracting devices.

Response: NHTSA's preliminary review and assessment suggest that existing laws are not necessarily adequate to limit distractions from wireless phones or other electronics. The nature of distraction-related crashes is that they often occur under conditions where the driver may not be exhibiting overtly negligent behavior - they occur when unexpected events happen. Moreover, only a few states have "inattentive driving" laws, and they are not uniformly enforced.

Assertion Number Five: Wireless phones and other devices contribute to highway safety, because they allow people immediately to notify law enforcement and emergency services, reducing their response time, or provide directions to drivers who may be lost or unfamiliar with an area.

Response: While these benefits are certainly real, they in no way reduce the risks from a driver's use of a wireless phone or other devices in a moving vehicle and that is the threat we are addressing today. Moreover, we obtain these same benefits, if the caller or user is not driving or if only 911 calls are possible in moving vehicles.

Like many traffic safety challenges, solving this one will require all interests coming together to contribute to its eventual resolution. All of those involved in highway safety - whether in government, industry, or the public at large - are responsible for raising and debating the important questions of driver distraction. The highway traffic safety community must expand to include those who design, manufacture, and service the computers, navigation systems, and other devices used on the roads and installed in vehicles. You can become one of our most important partners for years to come.

Let me briefly mention a couple of areas where we can work together. First, we all need good quality and uniform data. Perhaps with the help of other devices in the vehicle, such as event data recorders, we can determine which device was in use when a crash occurred. Recognizing the private nature of much of the data, we must use it only for statistical indicators and for maintaining a data base to help define the problem. We need states to work with us to develop better data on driver distraction through a uniform data collection methodology with which NHTSA will enthusiastically assist you. If manufacturers make their test and evaluation data available to NHTSA, we can independently evaluate the results. NHTSA can help manufacturers and service providers publicize safe use information for people who use the products.

We are experiencing a dramatic change in driver behavior. Every day, you see more and more drivers using wireless phones. It is hard to ignore that wireless phone use is increasing at an exploding rate. We can expect a similar pattern for other devices. It follows - and it is illogical to suggest otherwise - that increasing distractions increase the risk and lead to unintended consequences.

If we underestimate this potential risk to highway traffic safety and do not moderate drivers' use of in-vehicle systems, the price may be very steep, indeed. We cannot wake up in 2004 or 2003, or even a year from now, and excuse the possibly scores or hundreds of deaths - or the injuries to thousands more - because we failed to ask the right questions and we failed to seek answers when we had the opportunity. That opportunity is now. This public meeting is one of the steps in that journey. The Internet forum that we have underway until August 11 is another.

NHTSA's consumer information will now include advice that growing evidence suggests using a wireless phone or other electronic device while driving can be distracting and drivers should not talk on the phone or use other devices while their vehicles are in motion. As effective as government might be in providing this advice, it will not be enough to affect significantly the problem or reduce the threat.

Driver distraction is a shared problem and everyone has a role in solving it. The federal government has a role, state legislatures have a role, as do safety organizations and other traditional highway safety partners. Manufacturers and service providers whose products and services create the credible and substantial risk to highway safety have a special role.

Like vehicle manufacturers and many others, the in-vehicle systems industries are responsible for understanding and assessing their products' risks to their customers and others on the highway - before they become a major threat to the public. Manufacturers and service providers are responsible for understanding the safety implication of their devices; designing features to mitigate risks; and providing effective consumer information to resolve any remaining risk.

The plethora of gadgets and gizmos that are being designed into vehicles as standard equipment may be the much bigger threat of tomorrow. In the interim, we must learn more about the risks of today's devices, including drivers' use of wireless phones in moving vehicles. Will we learn about those risks and deal with them expeditiously, or will we wait for rising numbers of deaths and injuries? That is the challenge we face today.

original here

 

 

Not Driving


Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 12:23:12 -1000
From: JC<jc@yahoo.com>
To: DrDriving@DrDriving.org
Subject: not driving

Hi,I was looking for something that is unsafe while driving. So many people do them while driving. I know the number one thing is cell phones and it is a big problem. I can't wait till the law is pass that driver can't use their cell phone and drive.

Things I see Items unsafe...not in order

1. Putting on make-up
2. Picking their nose
3. Pop their pimples
4. Talking
5. Adjusting radio
6. Reading (map, newspaper, & etc..)
7. Looking for something.
8. Pets in car
9. Reach in back (baby or getting something)

This list keeps going on and on. I will stop now.

So is their a site that show these unsafe acts.

Thanks
JC

 

 

My inner cellphone guy


From the May, 2000 issue of Air Canada's en Route magazine

(...)

by Lavi Lewis

Conclusion: I am a self-hating cellphone user.

(...)

Perhaps it's the narcissism that cellphones construct. it starts with the assumption that doing business takes absolute precedence over everything else, like eating or driving or chatting with a neighbour. But Cellphone Guy takes that feeling and runs with it, and all of a sudden the callback from the dog-sitter makes him the centre of the world, certain that any annoyance he causes is swept away in the tide of his obvious importance.

No other technology allows you to be elsewhere so casually while in the company of others. Cellphone Guy does more than just erode the line between the public and the private. He's continually making a statement on his surroundings, blind to his effect on others, until everyone around him feels subtly rebuffed.

The truth is that Cellphone Guy isn't any more important or busy or focused than the rest of us. He's just a modern-day overgrown teenager who's figured out how to leave the house while remaining in his bedroom, like John Milton's Satan, who carried hell with him everywhere he went.

(...)

Don't get me wrong. As much as I hate Cellphone guy, I love my cellphone. There's nothing more satisfying than buying movie tickets while stuck in traffic. Or getting hit with a good idea in an elevator and being able to share it with someone across town before the doors open at the concourse level...

(...)

I'm by no means suggesting a Luddite-like return to an earlier time. Rather, we need the maturity to be at ease with the technology. and we should know when to send Cellphone Guy back to the corner of his room for a little time out.

I'm calling for a new sense of digital decorum. Consider it the blinking light on your spiritual message indicator. Welcome to your new mobility. You have two messages. First message: Love your cellphone. To replay this message, press one. Next message: Tame your inner cellphone guy. Never delete this message from your mailbox.

found it here

 

 

What research says...


Varieties of Driver Distraction

Driver distraction can manifest itself in several ways (Brown, 1994). A general withdrawal of attention manifests itself in both degraded vehicle control and degraded object and event detection. The putative mechanisms behind this are eyelid closure (in the case of driver fatigue) or eye glances away from the road scene (in the case of visual inattention). A second, and more insidious, type of distraction is what is termed the selective withdrawal of attention. In this type of distraction, vehicle control (e.g., lane keeping, speed maintenance) remains largely unaffected but object and event detection is degraded. The putative mechanism behind this is attention to thoughts and might be indicated by open-loop rather than closed-loop visual scanning, restricted visual sampling of mirrors and the road scene, empty field myopia (e.g., fixating too close), and selective filtering of information based on expectations rather than the actual situation.

These categories of driver distraction suggest different types of measures and scenarios for evaluation of their presence during device use. For example, measurement of lane keeping performance represents an example of general withdrawal of attention but says nothing about the selective withdrawal of attention that might be associated with a device that perhaps does not require a visual resource, e.g., a voice-recognition system.

There is also a type of distraction effect which I term biomechanical interference. This refers to body shifts out of the neutral seated position, e.g., when reaching for a cellular telephone or leaning over to see or manipulate a device. That this may be important is indicated by a recent report from the Japan that indicated the preponderance of cellular telephone-related crashes were associated with receiving calls and reaching for the cell phone (National Police Agency of Japan, 1998). Similarly, the hand(s) occupied and off the steering wheel might degrade the driver’s ability to execute maneuvers. These types of manual loads might involve, e.g., operating a hand-held remote for a route guidance system, a hand-held cellular telephone, eating, drinking, lighting a cigarette, etc. These are the types of biomechanical interference effects that a thorough safety evaluation should also be prepared to address.

Device Demand Measures

Except perhaps in retrospect, safety cannot be measured directly (Dingus, 1997). Indirect measures which are used to measure safety-relevant distraction effects can be put into several categories (Tijerina, Kiger, Rockwell, and Wierwille, 1996). Driver eye glance behavior measures are taken primarily because of the importance of vision in driving. Glance durations, glance frequency, and scanning patterns are part of this set of measures. Driver-vehicle performance measures are also popular because of their prima facie safety relevance. Lane keeping, speed maintenance, car following performance, and driver reaction times to objects and events are common measures from this class. Driver control actions such as steering.3 wheel inputs, accelerator modulations, gear shifting, brake pedal applications, and hand-off-wheel time all have been or can be used to make inferences about the distraction level a driver is under during a trial. Subjective assessments of driver workload and device design are also sometimes used. Finally, measures of the in-vehicle task such as task completion time have been used or are being proposed as a index of the distraction potential of a device (Green, 1998). It is interesting to note that a measure such as the number of lane exceedences during device use is not considered prima facie safety-relevant by everyone.

For example, some argue that if there is no one nearby, if the lane exceedence is small or of short duration, if the lane exceedence reflects the driver’s strategy for reducing workload during concurrent task execution....there is no safety implication at all. This is an intriguing line of reasoning. On the one hand, it honors the wisdom of the driver to generally make good choices. On the other hand, it flies in the face of accident statistics that indicate drivers by and large get into trouble precisely when they think everything is fine, i.e., in daytime, dry pavement, moderate traffic density situations (Wiacek and Najm, 1999). At present, it seems ill-advised to run a comparative study of different devices or tasks, find that one generates substantially more lane exceedences, yet declare such results irrelevant unless there happened to be a near miss. Tijerina (1996) pointed out that the chaotic nature of crash occurrence may be taken to imply that new technology that taken the driver’s eyes off the road or attention away from the driving task produces an incremental rise the crash hazard exposure.

original article here

 

 

Cell Phones: All the Rage


Jan. 4, 2000 From WIREDnews

by Amy Wu

(...)

Cell phones have become part of the urban landscape, but the behavioral battles rage on. Some businesses and public places have devised ways to deal with the phenomenon. But cell phone rage may very well become the social controversy of the next decade.

(...)

Dr. Joseph Miller, a social psychologist who teaches at the New School of Social Research in Manhattan, views the cell phone as an annoying object of post-modernism.

"It's a way of minimizing the importance of the group," Miller said. "It's ego-enhancing at the expense of others. [Cell phone users are] telling people around them, 'You don’t matter, and I must be very important,' and it forces people into [an] awkward sense of participation."

(...)

At least one group, the Solid Gold Chart Busters, has become vigilant in the matter. Another couple of renegades goes so far as to dress up as cell phones, grab the objects from unwitting public users, then videotapes the antics and puts them up on their Web site

Travel writer Lois Reamy, disturbed by the increased rudeness of phone-talkers, thinks cell phone manufacturers should distribute a little etiquette book with each phone.

(...)

The day when cell phone rage becomes a daily news story may not be far away.

In Paris, model Laetitia Casta recently got a dose of tear gas in her face after a cab driver had enough of the incessant ringing of her cell phone from the back seat.

(...)

To discourage rampant talking on cell phones, the MTA installed pay phones on the trains. However, the MTA has received some angry letters from commuters who have chastised fellow commuters for disturbing their peace.

(...)

original here

 

 

DANGEOURS OR NOT SO DANGEROUS?


Tuesday July 25 12:58 PM EDT Keep On Truckin'

By Randy Dotinga HealthSCOUT Reporter

MONDAY, July 24 (HealthSCOUT) -- Don't be so fast to hang up your car phone. A new study suggests that the hazards of driving while talking on a cellular phone aren't as bad as you might think.

"The risks of using a cell phone in a car are real, but they're smaller than other risks in life," says Karen Lissy, director of the Program on Motor Vehicles and Public Health at the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis.

Lissy is the principal author of a study released today that analyzes the dangers of cell phone use on the road. The study, funded by AT&T Wireless, a cell phone company, follows last week's government hearing on the phoning-while-driving danger.

(...)

Ninety-four million Americans, or about 38 percent of the population, now have cell phone service, and surveys have shown that 80 percent to 90 percent of them use the devices while driving.

The Harvard study found that cell phone use is risky to drivers, other motorists and pedestrians. However, while the level of risk is not entirely clear, Lissy says it is not very high.

The study estimates that a driver talking on a cell phone has a 6-in-1-million chance of dying in an accident each year. That compares with a 31-in-1-million chance for a person who drives drunk.

The study also points out that U.S. traffic fatalities continue to decline, even as cell phone use grew 17-fold from 1990-1998.

(...)

Cell phones also strengthen "social networking" and increase productivity when they are used for business purposes, the study says.

When all the benefits and risks are considered, limiting cell-phone usage may not be as cost-effective as other measures, such as reducing the speed limit and installing daytime running lights, the study says.

(...)

Five small municipalities have banned routine cell-phone use while driving: Marlboro, N.J.; Brooklyn, Ohio; and Hilltown, Conshohocken and Lebanon, Pa. While numerous states have considered restrictions, none have enacted significant legislation.

Other countries, including Japan, France, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and Switzerland, have restricted cell-phone usage in cars.

A Gallup Poll says about two-thirds of Americans support outlawing cell-phone use on the road. Half of those surveyed would ban them in restaurants, too.

(...)

 

Recently from around the Web...


A recent survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that 44 percent of drivers have or carry phones in their vehicles when they drive.

A 1997 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that talking on a mobile phone while driving quadruples the risk of an accident — a rate similar to impairment caused by intoxication.

Some lawmakers say a rush to pass new laws may not be the best answer. Technology is moving too quickly. In a couple of years, people may simply consider it irresponsible to use a car phone without a headset and a built-in system that dials numbers by voice command.

While all 50 U.S. states have laws covering reckless driving, only half have laws against inattentive driving, according to NHTSA. The safety agency released a survey showing that a quarter of the 6.3 million vehicle crashes each year in the United States involves some form of driver distraction or inattention. More sophisticated cars and efforts by drivers to use their time on the road more productively had seen some vehicles come to resemble home offices.

If we conservatively assume that the risk was only doubled, then 6 to 12 percent of the 699 collisions in the study by Redelmeier and Tibshirani were attributable to telephone use. If 1 in 10 vehicles has a telephone by the year 2000, and the average risk of a collision in those cars is the same as in other vehicles, then between 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent of all collisions may be attributable to telephone use. This would amount to a cost to society of at least $2 billion to $4 billion per year in the United States.

Laws against using hand-held telephones while driving exist in Brazil, Israel, Switzerland, and two Australian states and have been debated in several other jurisdictions. Advocates can cite both simulations and real driving experiments showing that telephone conversations involving mental tasks slowed reaction times by half a second or more. Placing a call was found to be no more distracting than tuning the car radio or engaging in an intense conversation, but it made steering more imprecise (more than doubled the amplitude of steering-wheel movements) in city traffic, especially by users of hand-held telephones.

 

Two-Thirds of Motorists are Distracted While Driving


The Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey revealed that 76% of all drivers engaged in activities while driving that distracted their attention from the road. In many cases the distractions resulted in accidents or near-accidents. "People are so caught up in doing things simultaneously to save time that safe driving seems to be taking a back seat," cautioned Mory Katz, Chairman of Response Insurance.

According to the survey 32% of drivers are reading and writing while on the road, 29% are talking on a cell phone, 17% are combing hair, 16% are fighting with another passenger, 10% are putting on makeup and 3% are putting in eye drops or contact lenses. 20% are so busy they admit to steering with their thighs. The most common activities were tuning the radio (62%), eating (57%) and turning around to speak to someone in the car (56%).

In one of the most startling findings, the survey revealed that activities many drivers would consider innocuous were potentially just as dangerous as those usually considered irresponsible. While breaking up a fight between children in the car and racing with another car were both done by 12% of those surveyed, more drivers say they caused or nearly caused an accident by separating their kids than they did by racing another car (26% vs. 21%).

 

Should car phones be banned?


Burden of Proof

Distracted Drivers: Should Cell Phones be Outlawed?

Aired July 18, 2000 CNN.com

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(...)

COSSACK: Barry, it seems to me that in your ordinance -- and I read it this morning -- that what you have done is outlaw the use of a handheld cell phone, per se. In other words, if anybody is driving through your township and speaking on a handheld cell phone, they are violating the law without any proof that they're driving recklessly. In other words, you've said that you're talking on the phone, you're driving recklessly.

DENKENSON: That's absolutely correct. It's a primary offense, and we feel it's a distraction and we don't want to wait for an accident to occur. We hope that this will help in preventing those kinds of accidents, Roger.

COSSACK: Well, why did you then make an exception for people to be able to speak on the telephone or speak on a cellular phone that's not handheld? In other words, these kind that are either built into the dashboard or some other way, that's not a violation of your law.

DENKENSON: Well, in a perfect world, I think I would probably want to ban the use of all cell phones. But we don't live in a perfect world and I think that this is just a good first step in an effort to try and get legislation enacted, particularly in my home state of New Jersey where legislation is pending in the legislature in committee and lies dormant. And you need a first step to get started. And maybe down the road, either the cell phone industry will come up with better phones that will be safer for drivers to use or we will ban the use of cell phones entirely.

COSSACK: Barry, I think what your objection is -- and, you know, correct me if I'm wrong -- is what you're saying is, look, we don't want people driving in our township, at least, while they are distracted, while they're doing -- while they're thinking about something else. It seems to me that by putting that exception in, what you're saying is, you can still speak on the phone, which means that you may be thinking about something else, but your hands are on the wheel. What about the radio? What about eating in the car? What about feeding your child in the car or looking over your shoulder? I mean, aren't those -- don't those present the same problems?

DENKENSON: I get that question asked very frequently. There are other distractions, but the fact remains that the hard data that you referred to, the "New England Journal of Medicine" study, has indicated that the use of a handheld cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident by at least four times. There isn't any other hard data, or there have not been any studies which have been done in relation to other kinds of distractions. I believe the federal government has some hearings this morning which are investigating other distractions. But until we get some hard data on other distractions, it's been proven that the use of handheld cell phones are a significant distraction and increase the risk of injury as a result of automobile accidents.

COSSACK: I guess, Barry, the questioning that I'm having for you is this. I mean, it's -- and I recognize what you're trying to do, but look: If you and I are sitting in a car and I'm driving and I'm talking to you and we're having a conversation, something as innocuous as that, it's clear that I am not concentrating 100 percent on my driving if I'm talking with you. Can you ban that? I mean, can you start arresting people for that?

DENKENSON: No, I don't think so, and I wouldn't want to. When I introduced this ordinance at our meeting a couple of weeks ago, I said that I was not interested in being intrusive. But the fact remains that the government has a right and a responsibility to enact laws or ordinances where there is a risk of injury as a result of particular kinds of conduct. Examples of that are drunk driving laws and seat belt laws in New Jersey.

So, in this particular instance, the study has shown that this kind of behavior, this particular kind of behavior, the use of a handheld cell phone, is a significant risk of injury. And so, therefore, I think we have to -- we need to enact legislation, we've done that, to regulate this kind of conduct.

 

 

MULTI-TASKING WHILE DRIVING

 

July 19, 2000
Agency Says High-Tech Driver Distraction a Threat

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Drivers operating electronic devices such as cellular phones and navigation systems pose a real safety threat, a government regulator said.

The rising number of devices, which now include fax machines, e-mail systems and entertainment centers, may account for an increasing number of crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

(...).

But industry representatives said the answer was not to ban the devices but to make them safer, noting that a similar debate accompanied the introduction of radios in cars in the 1930s.

(...)

Americans are driving more than ever, and efforts by drivers to use their time on the road more productively has seen some vehicles come to resemble home offices.

NHTSA said it found 44 percent of drivers have phones in their vehicles or carry a cellular phone while driving, 7 percent have e-mail access and 3 percent have fax capabilities.

Research by NHTSA and the American Automobile Association shows that while equipment activated by voice commands has a safety advantage, there is still a danger in focusing on a conversation with the device.

(...)

While all 50 U.S. states have laws covering reckless driving, only half have laws against inattentive driving, according to NHTSA.

(...)

 

 

Car phones--What is the law in other countries?


A survey in the United States has revealed that the vast majority (84%) of mobile phone users believe that using a phone is a distraction and increases the likelihood of an accident (IRC, 1999). The same respondents report however that 61% of them use their mobile phone while driving and around 30% use their phone frequently or fairly often. Since mobile phone use in cars is a relatively new phenomenon, and since the effects of mobile phone use on traffic safety are still unclear, laws regarding this subject vary between different countries.

Some countries use a mixture of legislation and recommendation, but are not consistent about the difference in hands-free and hand-held phone use. For example, in Italy only hands-free phones are allowed by law during driving. At the same time, however, the use of equipment that restricts the hearing senses (which presumably includes all types of mobile phones) is prohibited. The same situation exists in Spain, whereas in Portugal, Denmark, and Hungary only hand-held use of mobile phones is prohibited by law (Oei, 1998; United Nations, 1998). Outside Europe, a hand-held prohibition exists in Israel, Malaysia and some states of the U.S.A. (Oei, 1998). Germany, France, and Sweden are examples of countries in which no rules or jurisprudence are used to limit the usage of mobile phones during driving (Becker et al., 1995; Oei, 1998; Petica, 1993)..

Nevertheless, it is recommended in Finland and the UK to use hands-free phones only (Oei, 1998). The situation is confused and changing continually. Only recently, The Netherlands (June 2000)) have jurisprudence on using handheld mobiles during driving. A driver has been found guilty causing an accident because she was having a phone conversation. It is likely that many other countries will develop case law in this way even if legislation does not exist.

 

 

From a drivers discussion board at ABC.com


Drivers Confess Here

Re: Americans ARE LOUSY drivers 7:54PM PDT, Oct 9, 2000

Very true....I live in a major city, and I see very few drivers using basic driving skills such as directionals when changing lanes, inattentive driving, not looking over the shoulder. I am a FAST driver, I talk on my cell phone, I drink coffee or a soda.....and I do all these things only when it's appropriate to do so. I've never had a fender bender or accident.


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Re: CELL PHONE DRIVING 11:42AM PDT, Oct 6, 2000

We will never get rid of the "gee, look at me talking on my cellphone while driving--aren't I important?" mentality. Self importance seems to be the latest status symbol. Hopefully, it will fade away, once the novelty wears off.


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Re: Enforce Traffic Laws.......... 10:19PM PDT, Oct 4, 2000

"If you wanted to save a whole lot of lives...put a govenor on every automobile that would prohibit speed above 50 MPH !!"

I believe that's gonna kill more people than it'll save, I can see it now, John drives behind a trailer on a two lane road with 45 mph speed limit.The trailer goes 40, so John tries to pass, but while he tries to accelerate his car, whoops, it won't go over 50mph.

Actually I believe that some distractions are worse.For instance if I drink 3 beers I am legally drunk in this state, yet, there's absolutely no feel of beeing drunk(and don't any of you tell me"Ahh you just think you're not drunk, blah blah blah)Actually I start losing my reflexes around after 6 beers, which are still better than the reflexes of some 90 YO grandma driving 20 miles an hour in the left lane on the highway.There are some problems however to just outlaw cellular or other distractions,first for the cellulars, if they ban cell phones, I can almost guarantee you, you'll have hundreds of drivers making mad dashes toward the side of the road to answer their phones, that can be worse than actually the talking itsef,besides generally it's not the talking itself endangering the driving, is the fact that the driver also tries to take notes on what he's talking about. Second: where will it stop?Again after 3-4 beers I have better reflexes than if I didn't sleep for 30 hours, or if I took a cold medicine that made me a bit drowsy, will we have big brother watching us 24 hours to make sure we have slept before we're driving?I don't think I like that.

Not to be the devil advocate, or not saying that you are one of those, but it's also amazing how some people would rather die than let someone change lanes in front of them.


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Re: CELL PHONE DRIVING 3:30PM PDT, Oct 3, 2000

I think that distractions in general - cell phones and otherwise - are one of the leading causes of car wrecks. When you're driving, your one and only priority should be just that: DRIVING. Hang up the phone, don't turn away from the road to make eye contact with a passenger, put the book down, and focus on keeping the car where it should be.

There is no time when talking to a passenger, making a phone call, reading a book, or disciplining a child is more important than staying alive.


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Re: Not my fault driving 12:25PM PDT, Oct 2, 2000

I agree that curtesy are needed. I have 30 years with a midwest highway department. After watching driving habits so that highways can be designed safer, I discovered it always the highway's fault. i.e. "I coundn't read the sign", "I HAD to drive on the wrong side of the road to miss the pothole", "I didn't see him coming", etc.

The reason a person ran off the road to into another vehicle simply "is NOT MY fault".


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Re: Rushing is the problem 10:52AM PDT, Oct 2, 2000

I also get a sense of enjoyment in watching someone rush rush rush only to see them 10 or 15 minutes later pulled over by a cop or in an accident. Naturally, I don't want to see anyone hurt, but I see a number of single car accidents here in WI that I don't feel too guilty about.

Just yesterday I was cruising along with traffic on I94. Both lanes were full up with the right lane moving at about 75mph and the left lane at about 85mph.

But this wasn't fast enough for a guy in his early 20s. He was driving a beatup old brown Pontiac 6000. I first saw him doing about 95mph on the right shoulder. And when I saw him go past me, it was just in time to see him hit a muffler lying on the shoulder. Somehow he didn't lose control and kept on going.

About ten minutes later, I drove by an accident scene involving him. I didn't see any other cars involved, but he had obviously rolled his car. Not wanting to rubberneck, I didn't take the time to see if he was ok, but my guess would be no, as he probably got ejected (I saw no seatbelt when he whisize="3ed by me earlier).

I almost felt guilty for not calling the state police when I saw him busize="3 by the first time but I don't think they could have gotten to him by the time he rolled his car. Stupid fella...


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Re: Bad drivers, bad roads 10:15PM PDT, Oct 1, 2000

Good points there...European roads (and drinking water too, for that matter) are definitely better than those in the U.S. I even remember some really good roads in Malaysia (sure...no frost...but then they get 100 inches of rain a year too--that takes some toll on the roads). Admittedly, most roads in developing countries are pretty crappy (even if they're paved). Of course, in developing countries, the main negative factor is the imbalance of driver skill (and vehicle performance), something seen less in the US and even further less yet in Europe.

Actually, while American drivers have become much more aggressive in the past 5-10 years, there are drivers in many countries far more aggressive than here. Take Ecuador as an example (I was there last December)--on curvy 2 lane roads (in spots which would have a double yellow line for no passing in the US), I have seen not only cars blindly passing trucks, but also a THIRD car passing the car passing the truck, also blindly (all within a total of 2 lanes)! Also--the honking--you hear more honks on a typical street in Quito in a minute than you probably hear all day in a typical US city! I rented a car there that stalled once (Quito is at 9300 feet above sea level--not good for the poorly tuned-up car I rented), and it was in the middle of an intersection (and the light turned red)--and probably 10 or 15 cars were honking at me at the same time, until 15 seconds later when I was able to start the car again and proceed forward.

People also honk at probably 20 times the frequency in Tijuana versus San Diego (much more yet at the northbound border wait).


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Nintendo Generation 7:41PM PDT, Oct 1, 2000

It seems as if some of these vehicles passing me at 80 or 90 on the freeways are imagining that they are playing a computer car race game. I think that for their sakes they had better come back to reality as they may not get a second chance after a wreck.....nor will the innocent 'faceless' occupants in the other cars. I have a 16 year old daughter taking drivers ed. She will be driving the residential streets in our neighborhood (with an adult in the front seat) for a very long time. After a teen learns the rules of the road and basic driving skills, it is up to the parents to see that they master these (with an adult in the car) and show serious responsibility before allowing their child to drive alone. I cannot understand how parents can let their child drive alone 1, 2 or even 3 months after receiving a permit. If it takes my daughter a year to prove responsibility and good driving skills then so be it. Thats my job as a mother, and my responsibility to society.

 

 

The original article that started all the talk...


ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CELLULAR-TELEPHONE CALLS AND MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISIONS

DONALD A. REDELMEIER, M.D., AND ROBERT J. TIBSHIRANI, PH.D.

ABSTRACT

Background Because of a belief that the use of cellular telephones while driving may cause collisions, several countries have restricted their use in motor vehicles, and others are considering such regulations. We used an epidemiologic method, the case-crossover design, to study whether using a cellular telephone while driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle collision.

Methods We studied 699 drivers who had cellular telephones and who were involved in motor vehicle collisions resulting in substantial property damage but no personal injury. Each person's cellular-telephone calls on the day of the collision and during the previous week were analyzed through the use of detailed billing records.

Results

A total of 26,798 cellular-telephone calls were made during the 14-month study period. The risk of a collision when using a cellular telephone was four times higher than the risk when a cellular telephone was not being used (relative risk, 4.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 3.0 to 6.5). The relative risk was similar for drivers who differed in personal characteristics such as age and driving experience; calls close to the time of the collision were particularly hazardous (relative risk, 4.8 for calls placed within 5 minutes of the collision, as compared with 1.3 for calls placed more than 15 minutes before the collision; P,0.001); and units that allowed the hands to be free (relative risk, 5.9) offered no safety advantage over hand-held units (relative risk, 3.9; P not significant). Thirty-nine percent of the drivers called emergency services after the collision, suggesting that having a cellular telephone may have had ad- vantages in the aftermath of an event.

Conclusions

The use of cellular telephones in mo- tor vehicles is associated with a quadrupling of the risk of a collision during the brief period of a call. Decisions about regulation of such telephones, how- ever, need to take into account the benefits of the technology and the role of individual responsibility.

Volume 336 Number 7 ? 453 The New England Journal of Medicine ©Copyright, 1997, by the Massachusetts Medical Society VOLUME 336 FEBRUARY 13, 1997 NUMBER 7

 

Driver inattention research


Driver inattention is the most prevalent primary cause of collisions, accounting for an estimated 25-56% (Wang, et.al. 1996). To be able to assist drivers, we need to be able to collect real-time data on driver visual behavior, recognize what the driver is doing (contextual information such as maneuvers, actions, and states), predict what the driver would likely do next, and assist the driver (design an interface). The importance of context is underlined. Attention support systems should ideally detect the co-occurence of inattention and safety critical events in the traffic environment, e.g. sudden braking of a lead vehicle and eyes-off-road. A description of the need for attention support systems can be found in Victor (2000).

 

 

Phones and Automobiles Can Be a Dangerous Mix


By Matt Sundeen

An Article from the April 1999 State Legislatures Magazine

(...)

In automobiles, wireless telephones allow millions of people to conduct business, stay in touch with loved ones, call for assistance, report emergencies, convey information about hazardous road conditions, and report aggressive or drunk drivers.

(...)

In New Jersey, lawmakers are considering legislation that would prohibit drivers from operating a telephone in a motor vehicle that is in motion. Proposed in response to a fatal hit-and-run accident involving a cell phone driver, the New Jersey bill would impose fines between $100 and $250 for violations.

(...)

A report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) similarly concluded that cellular phone use while driving increased the risk of crash. The report cautioned, however, that any legislative actions should recognize a balance between the benefits and the negative effects of cell phone availability in motor vehicles. For example, in 1996 alone cell phone users placed 2.8 million calls for emergency assistance. In many instances, cellular phones reduced response time to automobile accidents and actually saved lives.

Wireless technology proponents argue that cellular phones in automobiles are no more distracting than a radio, food or a vanity mirror. As the number of car phone users rise, however, state policymakers may face greater pressure to weigh the benefits against the potential dangers.

More than 60 million people in the United States subscribe to wireless telephone services and an estimated 80 million people will own wireless telephones by 2000. Surveys indicate that 85 percent of wireless phone owners use their cellular telephones while driving.

All states already make reckless or careless driving illegal. Few states, however, specifically regulate wireless technology in vehicles.

In Florida, cellular telephone use is permitted in an automobile as long as it provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sound to be heard through the other ear.

In Massachusetts, car phones are permitted as long as drivers keep one hand on the steering wheel at all times. California requires rental cars with cellular phones to have written instructions for safe operation. Oklahoma and Minnesota require police to include information about cellular telephones in accident reports.

Since 1995, at least 18 states have introduced measures to regulate car phones. Legislators have proposed outright bans of all cell phones in motor vehicles, requirements for hands-free devices, restrictions on phone call length, prohibition of phone solicitation and improved data collection.

If passed, the New Jersey bill would be the first in the nation to prohibit all drivers from operating a telephone in a motor vehicle that is in motion.

(...)

 

 

Research Articles on Car Phones

 

All Cell Phones Can Compromise Safe Driving" No Author. NSC Construction Section Newsletter, Itasca, IL 60143. November/December 1995, pp. 2-3.

Are Cell Phones Dangerous on the Road?" by S. Wortham. Safety & Health, Itasca, IL 60143.V. 155 No. 2, February 1997, pp. 42-45.

Association Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor Vehicle Collisions" by D.A. Redelmeier and R.J. Tibshirani. New England Journal of Medicine, Boston, MA 02115. V. 336 No. 7, February 1997, pp. 453-458.

Car Phone Safety: A Guide to Safe and Responsible Car Phone Use" No Author. National Safety Council, Itasca, IL 60143. 1994, 23 pp.

Car Phone Use Raises Risk of Accident, Study Asserts" No Author. Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL 60611. February 13, 1997, p. 3.

Car-Phones Users' Study Rings Bell: Driving While Talking Under Closer Scrutiny" by J. Hanna. Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL 60611. April 1, 1997, pp. 1,4.

Cellular Phones and Traffic Accidents: an Epidemiological Approach" by J.M. Violanti and J.R. Marshall. Accident Analysis & Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 28 No. 2, March 1996, pp. 265-270.

Changes in Driver Behaviour as a Function of Handsfree Mobile Phones - A Simulator Study" by H. Alm and L. Nilsson. Accident Analysis & Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 26 No. 4, August 1994, pp. 441-451.

The Effects of a Mobile Telephone Task On Driver Behaviour in a Car Following Situation" by H. Alm and L. Nilsson. Accident Analysis & Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 27 No. 5, October 1995, pp. 707-715.

The Message is Clear: Use Cellular Phones Safely -- And for Safety" No Author. NSC Driver Trainer Newsletter, Itasca, IL 60143. May/June 1996, pp. 1-3.

Use Cellular Phones Safely" No Author. NSC Aerospace Newsletter, Itasca, IL 60143. November/December 1996, pp. 1-2.

Redelmeier DA, Tibshirani RJ. Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. N Engl J Med 1997;336:453-8. Return to Text

Brookhuis KA, de Vries G, de Waard D. The effects of mobile telephoning on driving performance. Accid Anal Prev 1991;23:309-16. Return to Text

Miller TR. Costs and functional consequences of U.S. roadway crashes. Accid Anal Prev 1993;15:593-607. Return to Text

Alm H, Nilsson L. The effects of a mobile telephone task on driver behaviour in a car following situation. Accid Anal Prev 1995;27:707-15. Return to Text

McKnight AJ, McKnight AS. The effect of cellular phone use upon driver attention. Accid Anal Prev 1993;25:259-65. Return to Text

Violanti JM, Marshall JR. Cellular phones and traffic accidents: an epidemiological approach. Accid Anal Prev 1996;28:265-70. Return to Text

Maclure M. The case-crossover design: a method for studying transient effects on the risk of acute events. Am J Epidemiol 1991;133:144-53. Return to Text

Mittleman MA, Maclure M, Tofler GH, Sherwood JB, Goldberg RJ, Muller JE. Triggering of acute myocardial infarction by heavy physical exertion -- protection against triggering by regular exertion. N Engl J Med 1993;329:1677-83. Return to Text

Mittleman MA, Maclure M, Robins JM. Control sampling strategies for case-crossover studies: an assessment of relative efficiency. Am J Epidemiol 1995;142:91-8. Return to Text

Fox JA, Tracy PE. Randomized response: a method for sensitive surveys. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1986. Return to Text

Henderson TW. Toxic tort litigation: medical and scientific principles in causation. Am J Epidemiol 1990;132:Suppl:S69-S78. Return to Text

Greenland S, Robins JM. Conceptual problems in the definition and interpretation of attributable fractions. Am J Epidemiol 1988;128:1185-97. Return to Text

Rothman KJ. Causes. Am J Epidemiol 1976;104:587-92.

 

 

Cars That Think Ahead

 

Auto Industry Urged to Work on ‘Smart Car’ Technology

Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater gestures during a Washington news conference, July 19, where he kicked off the National Mayday Readiness Initiative (NMRI). (...)

By Nedra Pickler, The Associated Press
W A S H I N G T O N, July 19 — The federal government is challenging the auto industry to step up efforts to develop “smart” vehicles that use technology to help drivers avoid accidents. More than three-quarters of all accidents are to due to driver error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Better technology would dramatically reduce that number, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said today. Smart technology — high-tech cruise control, crash-avoidance systems, night-vision enhancements — already are available as add-ons to some high-end vehicles. Slater set a goal of 10 years for the auto industry to install the technology in at least 10 percent of all passenger vehicles and 25 percent of commercial vehicles sold in the United States.

Tech May Help Reduce Accidents Smart technology “means real possibilities not just for reducing injuries and fatalities from crashes, but eliminating them all together,” Slater said.

(...)

New ‘Smart’ Options in Development General Motors offers a night vision system as an option on its DeVille Cadillacs that uses infrared technology to detect people or animals in the darkness or past the glare of an oncoming car’s headlights. The images are projected in black and white on a TV-like small screen that is projected on the windshield. Honda has said it is developing an Intelligent Driver Support system, which will “see” the road through a tiny camera on the windshield and help steer the car down the middle of its lane.

(...)

Preventing Dangerous Situations “This will soon become the norm for people traveling in areas that are more congested,” said Roger King, spokesman for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. “This relies on relatively inexpensive, albeit sophisticated technologies that are going into vehicles now.”

(...)

 

 

Drowsy Drivers Endanger Public Health


Forum Says

WASHINGTON--At least 1,500 Americans die every year because sleepy drivers insist on staying at the wheel, according to speakers at the National Sleep Foundation's first International Forum on Sleeplessness and Crashes.

The forum was part of a campaign started by the foundation in 1993 called "Drive Alert...Arrive Alive."

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that as many as 100,000 police-reported accidents--many fatal--occur every year because of sleepiness at the wheel.

(...)

Police accident-report data indicate that falling asleep while driving leads to about 1.4% of all vehicular accidents and about 4% of all fatal crashes, Dr. Pack said.

The public, physicians and the police are not aware of the major public-health hazard these drivers pose, said Darrel Drobnich, program coordinator for the "Drive Alert" campaign. "Basically, we see ourselves where drunk driving was 20 years ago," he said.

Ten states still do not have "fatigue" listed on accident reports, and police officers who stop people for weaving and erratic driving assume that a driver has been drinking--not that they may be falling asleep at the wheel, Drobnich said.

A survey of 1,000 New York State drivers found that 25% admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving at some time during their lives, according to Dr. Pack.

Crashes caused by a driver falling asleep are "typically single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes," Dr. Pack said, adding that these may actually account for up to 50% of all fatal crashes.

(...)

According to Dr. Pack, drivers who are most at risk for a crash due to sleepiness are those who:

are sleep-deprived or who have worked all day before driving;
drive long distances without taking rest breaks;
drive through the night or at other times when they would normally be asleep;
take medication that makes them sleepy;
drive after drinking alcohol;
drive alone;
drive on long, boring, rural roads;
are frequent travelers.
What to do? Drink coffee--then take a quick nap, said Jim Horne, of the Sleep Research Laboratory at Loughborough University in Loughborough, England.

By the time the caffeine takes effect, the driver will have had a brief nap that should help him or her drive more safely, Horne said.

Exercise, turning on the air conditioning or turning on the car radio do not work either, he warned. --P.E.

 

 

NEARLY ONE IN FIVE DRIVERS DOZED OFF AT THE WHEEL LAST YEAR

 

Sleepy Drivers May Be Impatient, Drive Faster, National Sleep Foundation Poll Finds

March 28, 2000

WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 28 - Half of the nation's adults (51%) admit to driving while drowsy, reports the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in its new 2000 Sleep in America Poll. Among 18 to 29 year olds, nearly one-quarter (24%) report actually falling asleep at the wheel at some point during the past year, compared with 15% of those aged 30-64, and 6% of people 65 and older. These statistics are in line with scientific research showing that fall-asleep crashes are most common in younger people, with peak occurrence at age 20.

Sleepiness contributes to other dangerous driving behavior on the road as well. Forty-two percent of adults report they become stressed while driving drowsy and 32% say they get impatient. Twelve percent of adults admit they drive faster when they're sleepy, with 22% of younger adults reporting this dangerous driving characteristic.

"Driving while drowsy is no different than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs," says Richard Gelula, NSF's Executive Director. "Sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. Now we're finding that sleepy drivers are more tense and impatient, and may even be speeding up when they should really be stopping to rest."

NSF's poll statistics indicate there are a significant number of sleepy people in the U.S. Forty-three percent of American adults say they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with daily activities a few days a month or more; one out of five people say this level of sleepiness affects them two or more days a week.

Sleep experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep a night in order to function properly, yet a full third of American adults (33%) sleep only 6-hours or less nightly during the work week, NSF's poll finds. Additionally, a full 45% of adults agree that they will sleep less in order to accomplish more.

What's the best strategy to cope with fatigue while on the road? "Pull over in a safe place and take a short nap," says Gelula. While 22% of drivers report doing just that when they are sleepy on the road, the vast majority (63%) turn to caffeine for relief from fatigue - an effective but temporary solution at best.

The National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) 2000 Sleep in America omnibus poll was conducted by phone during October and November 1999, among a representative sampling of the civilian household population living in the continental United States. Results have an error range of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

 

 

Driving Sleepy


Quiz--Test Yourself

1) Do you get drowsy after meals?
a. Rarely
b. Often after breakfast or dinner
c. Often after lunch

If you picked:
a. give yourself 0 points
b. 10 points
c. 20 points

Why so many points if you get drowsy after lunch? If you’re getting enough sleep, you shouldn’t get sleepy after any meal—especially lunch.

2) How long does it take you to fall asleep?
a. ten to fifteen minutes
b. twenty minutes or more
c. five minutes or less as soon as your head hits the pillow
If you picked:
a. add 0 points
b. 10
c. 20

Falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow is actually a bad sign. It should take you ten to fifteen minutes. If it’s less, you are seriously sleep deprived and at very high risk for falling asleep at the wheel.

3) On weekends do you:
a. Sleep the same number of hours as during the week
b. Sleep longer

If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
b. 10
If you have to sleep longer on the weekends, you have what is called a “sleep debt” and your body is trying to catch up on the sleep you’ve cheated yourself out of all week.

4) How many nights a week do you feel as though you don’t get enough sleep?
a. 0-2 nights
b. 3-4
c. 5-7

If you picked
a. add 5 points
b. 10
c. 20
As the nights add up, so does your sleep debt and the more hazardous you become on the road.

5) In the morning, do you:
a. Get up without an alarm clock
b. Need an alarm clock to wake up
c. Have to keep hitting the snooze button

If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
b. 5
c. 10
If you’re getting enough sleep, you should be able to wake up without the help of an alarm clock. If you have to keep hitting the snooze button, you’re not getting enough shut eye.

6. This time, you can pick more than one answer. Pick all that apply. Do you get sleepy:
a. Only at bedtime
b. On airplanes or as a passenger in a car
c. Reading or watching tv
d. In meetings or at the movies
e. Stopped in traffic

If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
b. 5
c. 10
d. 20
e. 20
So why all the points for feeling drowsy at the movies? well, believe it or not, most adults do need eight hours of sleep. If you feel drowsy during the day, you’re not getting enough sleep. And if you feel drowsy at the movies or someplace with a lot of activity, then take it as a warning sign: you’re definitely not getting enough sleep.

7. Do you snore?
a. Never
b. Sometimes
c. Often and so loudly that your partner complains or leaves the bedroom

If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
b. 5
c. 20

If you snore a lot, there’s a good possibility you actually have a sleep disorder. An astounding 30 million americans have sleep disorders they don’t even know about.

8. What is your age?
a. 16 to 29 — add 20 points
b. 30 to 60 — add 10
c. 61 or older — add 0

That’s because the younger you are, the more sleep you need.

9. You’ve just finished work, you’re beat and you’ve got a long drive home ahead of you. What would you do?
a. Hit the road right away
b. Try to relax a little by stopping for one quick nightcap
c. Stop for a meal that might include a couple of drinks but not enough to make you drunk
If you picked a, add 5 points If you picked b, or c, add 20 points.

If your strategy is to use a little alcohol for an extra burst of energy, you’ve got the wrong idea. In fact, sleepiness and alcohol make a deadly combination. When you’re tired, having even one drink is dangerous. It can make you feel and act as though you’ve had three or four and that spells disaster on the road.

10. Is your drive home:
a. Very short, or you don’t drive to work
b. Mostly country roads
c. Mostly city roads
d. Mostly suburban roads
e. Mostly freeways

If you picked a, add 0 points
If you picked b, c or d, add 10 points
If you picked e, 20
When you’re tired, boring drives, especially long stretches of freeway, make you especially vulnerable to dozing off behind the wheel.

11. It’s late on a Friday night and you’ve got a six hour drive to get to your vacation spot by Saturday morning. What would you do?
a. Get a good night’s sleep and wait until morning to hit the road
b. Take a nap, then get up at 3 am to make the drive
c. Drive through the night
If you picked a, add zero points. If you picked b or c, add 20 points.

Driving all night is never a good idea. Your body thinks it should be asleep and your reaction ability is likely to be off. Even getting up at 3am isn’t smart. Most people’s body clocks don’t wind up again until after about 6am.

12. You’re on the road, making that long trip and you feel a little sleepy so you pull over to grab some food. What do you get?
a. Just a cup or two of coffee
b. Fast food like hamburgers and fries
c. Sugar loaded snacks
d. A full meal
If you picked a, add 5 points. If you picked b, c or d, add 10.
Surprise — it makes no difference what kind of food you choose. None of it will help keep you awake. And sorry caffeine junkies, whether you get it from espresso, soda or pills, it won’t work either. Two cups might jolt you awake for about 30 minutes, but because caffeine content varies so much, and everyone reacts differently to it, relying on it is a huge gamble.
“The problem is, if you start talking about how many cups of coffee does it take to keep you going, you may have underestimated it, not taken enough, and you may not make it home,” says sleep expert Dr. Powell.


13) You’re back on the road and still feel tired so you try turning up the radio. What do you listen to?
a. Something mellow
b. Something loud and energetic
c. A talk show or sports game
d. You leave the radio off
Whichever answer you picked a, b, c or d, add 20 points.
Why are these all the same? Because like food, the radio will do absolutely nothing to keep you awake, no matter what you listen to. You may be jolted awake temporarily, but as soon as your body adjusts to the noise level, your sleepiness will take over again.

14) You can pick more than one answer here. Pick all that apply. When you feel tired on the road, what do you usually do to stay awake?
a. Pull over to take a short walk or do some roadside exercise
b. Slap your face
c. Talk or sing to yourself
d. Blast the air conditioning
e. Open the window

If you picked a, add 10 points. If you picked b, c, d or e, add 20 for each.
Sorry, none of these commonly used tricks work either. And although pulling over for some exercise will at least get you off the road, as soon as you get back in the car, you’ll start feeling sleepy again.

15) It’s now two hours into your drive, you’ve still got four hours to go. You’re feeling very tired, your eyes are getting heavy and you even feel your head bob. What would you do?
a. Pull over and nap for 30 to 45 minutes
b. Pull over for a quick catnap
c. Get off the road for a few minutes

If you picked:
a. Add 5 points
b. 10
c. 20

The truth is, if you’ve waited this long to get off the road, it’s too late. As soon as you start feeling tired, you need to pull over and take a good long nap. When you’re this tired, you should never be behind the wheel.
“When those eyes start going down and the head starts nodding, it means that sooner or later—and probably sooner— it’ll happen and you will not wake back up,” says Dr. Powell. “Sleep will overtake you like a seizure and you have nothing to say about it.”


FINAL SCORE
Add up your point total:
**0 TO 75 points: You are at minimal risk for falling asleep at the wheel.
**80 TO 150 points: You are at moderate risk for falling asleep at the wheel.
**155 TO 375 points: You are at severe risk for falling asleep at the wheel.
If your score puts you in either the moderate or severe category, you should immediately re-evaluate your sleep habits. Most people need eight hours of sleep a night. Some people need less. But you should make sure you’re getting the amount you need. And if you have a high score, it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor for further evaluation.

 

 

Government Report on Sleepy or Drowsy Driving Problems

 

Biology of Human Sleep and Sleepiness

Sleep is a neurobiologic need with predictable patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness. Sleepiness results from the sleep component of the circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness, restriction of sleep, and/or interruption or fragmentation of sleep. The loss of one night's sleep can lead to extreme short-term sleepiness, while habitually restricting sleep by 1 or 2 hours a night can lead to chronic sleepiness.


Sleeping is the only way to reduce sleepiness. Sleepiness causes auto crashes because it impairs performance and can ultimately lead to the inability to resist falling asleep at the wheel. Critical aspects of driving impairment associated with sleepiness are reaction time, vigilance, attention, and information processing.

Characteristics of Drowsy-Driving Crashes

Subjective and objective tools are available to approximate or detect sleepiness. However, unlike the situation with alcohol-related crashes, no blood, breath, or other measurable test is currently available to quantify levels of sleepiness at the crash site. Although current understanding largely comes from inferential evidence, a typical crash related to sleepiness has the following characteristics:

The problem occurs during late night/early morning or late afternoon.

The crash is likely to be serious

The crash involves a single vehicle leaving the roadway.

The crash occurs on a high-speed road.

The driver does not attempt to avoid the crash.

The driver is alone in the vehicle.

Risk Factors for Drowsy-Driving Crashes

Although evidence is limited or inferential, chronic predisposing factors and acute situational factors recognized as increasing the risk of drowsy driving and related crashes include:

Sleep loss.

Driving patterns, including driving between midnight and 6 a.m.; driving a substantial number of miles each year and/or a substantial number of hours each day; driving in the late afternoon hours (especially for older persons); and driving for longer times without taking a break.


Use of sedating medications, especially prescribed anxiolytic hypnotics, tricyclic antidepressants, and some antihistamines.

Untreated or unrecognized sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) and narcolepsy.

Consumption of alcohol, which interacts with and adds to drowsiness.

These factors have cumulative effects; a combination of them substantially increases crash risk.

Population Groups at Highest Risk

Although no driver is immune, three broad population groups are at highest risk, based on evidence from crash reports and on self-reports of sleep behavior and driving performance. These groups are:

Younger people (ages 16 to 29), especially males.

Shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at night or working long or irregular hours.

People with untreated sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) and narcolepsy.

Countermeasures

To prevent drowsy driving and its consequences, Americans need information on approaches that may reduce their risks.

The public needs to be informed of the benefits of specific behaviors that help avoid becoming drowsy while driving. Helpful behaviors include

(1) planning to get sufficient sleep,

(2) not drinking even small amounts of alcohol when sleepy, and

(3) limiting driving between midnight and 6 a.m.

As soon as a driver becomes sleepy, the key behavioral step is to stop driving--for example, letting a passenger drive or stopping to sleep before continuing a trip. Two remedial actions can make a short-term difference in driving alertness: taking a short nap (about 15 to 20 minutes) and consuming caffeine equivalent to two cups of coffee. The effectiveness of any other steps to improve alertness when sleepy, such as opening a window or listening to the radio, has not been demonstrated.


A more informed medical community could help reduce drowsy driving by talking to patients about the need for adequate sleep, an important behavior for good health as well as drowsy-driving prevention. The detection and management of illnesses that can cause sleepiness, such as SAS and narcolepsy, are other health care-related countermeasures.

Information could be provided to the public and policymakers about the purpose and meaning of shoulder rumble strips, which alarm or awaken sleepy drivers whose vehicles are going off the road. These rumble strips placed on high-speed, controlled-access, rural roads reduce drive-off-the-road crashes by 30 to 50 percent. However, rumble strips are not a long-term solution for sleepy drivers: any wake-up alert is an indication of impairment--a signal to stop driving and get adequate sleep before driving again.


Employers, unions, and shift work employees need to be informed about effective measures they can take to reduce sleepiness resulting from shift work schedules. Countermeasures include following effective strategies for scheduling shift changes and, when shift work precludes normal nighttime sleep, planning a time and an environment to obtain sufficient restorative sleep.


Panel Recommendations for an Educational Campaign

To assist the educational campaign in developing its educational initiatives, the panel recommended the following three priority areas:

1. Educate young males (ages 16 to 24) about drowsy driving and how to reduce lifestyle-related risks.

2. Promote shoulder rumble strips as an effective countermeasure for drowsy driving; in this context, raise public and policymaker awareness about drowsy-driving risks and how to reduce them.

3. Educate shift workers about the risks of drowsy driving and how to reduce such risks.

The panel also identified complementary messages for educational campaigns and called for the active involvement of other organizations to promote sufficient sleep--as a public health benefit as well as a means to reduce the risk of fall-asleep crashes.

 

 

Union-Tribune Editorial


Distracted drivers
Safety threat grows on America's roads

July 21, 2000

(...)

The near collision Sweetman observed, caused by a distracted driver, was no aberration. In fact, up to 30 percent of fatal accidents are caused by driver distraction, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For that reason the federal agency held a hearing this week. "Driver distraction in all its forms is a real threat to the safety of American roads," said NHTSA deputy administrator Rosalyn Millman. "This threat is growing . . . We are experiencing a dramatic change in driver behavior."

The cause of this growing threat, this change in driver behavior, is new technology. In times past, drivers were primarily distracted by station surfing on the radio, in-car grooming, eating, smoking or chatting with passengers. Now, they not only have those distractions but also cellular phones, TVs, on-board computers and navigation systems.

Motorists may not believe these devices pose a serious threat to their safety and the safety of other motorists. But they do. In fact, a 1997 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that drivers talking on the phone quadruple their risk of an accident. That is almost as dangerous as driving while drunk.

Several countries have gone so far as to ban the use of cell phones while vehicles are in motion, and several U.S. cities have considered similar bans. The NHTSA is not prepared to propose such a ban at this time. But at its public hearing, attended by representatives from the government, the auto industry, the cellular phone industry and safety organizations, there was agreement that, at the very least, a serious public education campaign needs to be undertaken.

(...)

 

 

Cellular Phone Etiquette
 

  1. When riding on public transportation, avoid loud and animated conversations by keeping your voice low or to a conversational level. Be sure to avoid extended calls.
  2. Turn the ringer as low as possible to avoid disturbing others.
  3. Rarely, if ever, is it appropriate to have phone conversations at social gatherings such as concerts, plays, movies, funerals (yes, it happens!), lectures, church services (here too!), and many other events.
  4. Remember that the people you are with usually take priority over a phone call. Having a conversation in their presence can be viewed as being rude and make the person feel unimportant, and make you look bad.
  5. If you have to make a call, make sure to take it to another location that will be less disruptive.
  6. Inform the person that you are calling that you are using a cellular phone, then if the connection fades or drops, the person will know to wait to see if the clarity returns or that you will be calling back.
  7. Focus on safety first. Do not use cellular phones when they impede your ability to drive or walk. Get a hands-free kit or phone cradle holder for your vehicle or a "walk about" kit for your phone when out of the car.
  8. Use caller ID, voice messages, or if you must have the phone on, get a vibrating battery or universal belt clip mechanism.

We offer this information not to offend you but to assist you. A recent survey conducted showed that "phone rage" is about to quickly become the top contender of "road rage". Already, the masses are gathering to eliminate the use of cellular phones in vehicles and even some public places if folks do not act more responsibly on their own. Legislation has already been introduced into our legislative branch to consider a study on the use of cellular phones in cars. We need for all cellular phone users to be aware of safety

 

 

NEW PHONE CODE COULD HELP DRIVERS

 

The federal government has paved the way for drivers to get information about traffic jams, road conditions and construction by dialing a single three digit code.

Federal regulators have designated 511 as the number to call for local traffic information. The plan is modeled after the 911 emergency number.

It will be up to local governments to decide how to implement and pay for the new number. That means 511 will not be available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area right away.

The Texas Department of Transportation already monitors roads around the Metroplex using a network of 57 cameras. Using information from the cameras, TxDOT is able to dispatch courtesy patrol crews to stranded drivers.

Still, the idea of supplying more information to north Texas drivers appeals to traffic specialist Mike West.

"The more people know, the more they can take alternate routes," West said. His only concern is the cost, and whether TxDOT will have the resources and manpower to support the new 511 code.

Pilot programs are being set up in five U.S. cities, though none are in north Texas. The outcome of those programs will help determine whether 511 becomes as common nationwide as 911.

To learn more about the new code, visit the Federal Communications Commission online.

 

 

September 6, 2000


Voice portal service makes itself heard By Richard Shim, ZDNet News

(...)

You are driving along when you realize you're hungry, but you don't know what's close by. So you drive around for an hour or two, simmering with road rage brought on by the nagging in the pit of your stomach, until you're so famished that you settle for something that you later can't believe you ate.

Now you can use BeVocal's new Business Finder service to tell you what's nearby and how to get there.

(...)

Voice-portal pioneer BeVocal launched its first location-based service, Business Finder, Wednesday. The new feature will direct callers to the doorstep of nearby businesses.

The Business Finder voice service allows callers to find local businesses by either saying a brand name or a category, once they are dialed into the voice portal.

For example, callers can say Starbucks or coffee shop for their caffeine fix. Other brands included in the service are Safeway, TGI Friday's, Marriott, Budget, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Nordstrom, Kinko's and major gas stations.

Over 1 million businesses and 2,000 brands nationwide will be included. The call is free.

A voice portal is similar to a Web portal, where content and service come together in one place where the user can access it easily. But instead of a keyboard interface, the method of communication is voice.

Voice is often thought of as the next evolutionary step for interacting with mobile devices because it is such a personal method of communication.

"The more voice capabilities you add, the more likely that it will translate into a larger end-user adoption," said Bryan Prohm, analyst with Gartner.

Other available services include flight information, driving directions, traffic reports, weather updates and stock quotes. The services are accessible through the 800-4BVOCAL phone number where users send and receive information by voice.

(...)

Wireless directory assistance calls are the fastest growing segment of directory assistance calls and the price of those calls has been going up.

BeVocal is a free service for customers, which Plakias sees as a huge advantage for the company.

The company plans on making money by licensing its service to carriers, selling its software, accepting advertising and receiving a cut out of referring callers to a business.

"This is most useful to brick-and-mortar companies because this drives people to stores," said Amol Joshi, founder and vice president of marketing of BeVocal.

(...)

"Throw in GPS (Global Positioning System technology), and location-based services come to fruition," said analyst Plakias.

 

 

Unclear at Any Speed


Relative Speed on a Highway Often an Illusion

(...)

By Malcolm Ritter, The Associated Press

The urge to change lanes while driving may be caused by an optical illusion that convinces people the cars in the other lane are going faster, according to a study.

The basic problem is that cars spread out when they’re going quickly and bunch up when they slow down, said Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. So when you pass a bunch of slower cars in the other lane, it happens fairly quickly. But if you are passed by the same cars while your lane slows temporarily, they go by one by one.

That leads to the illusion that the other lane is moving faster.

You Must Resist

Redelmeier’s advice: "Resist small temptations to change lanes."

(...).

Videotape Simulated Conditions

The researchers also showed 120 driving students a videotape of an adjacent lane of real traffic, depicting a side view from the back seat of a car. Seventy percent believed the traffic they saw was going faster than the car with the camera, when in fact it was going slightly slower on average.

(...)

 

 

June 24, 1997


Neighborhood Group and Local Illinois City Police Work Together to Enforce Anti-Noise Law

Hal Dardick , Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune reports that an effort in Aurora, Illinois to enforce a noise ordinance directed at blaring stereos from vehicles has combined the forces of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association with community police officers. Under "Operation Boombox," as the effort is called, residents in the neighborhood group use two-way radios to notify nearby squad cars if they hear a blaring vehicle stereo, allowing police officers to arrive quickly at the scene and determine whether a violation has occurred. If so, officers can impound the vehicle, the article says.

The article reports that Scott Pettit, a member of the neighborhood group, moved into his large Victorian house five years ago. He soon learned that his neighborhood had a gang presence, which included many cars driving past his home with blaring, souped-up radios. Pettit said, "Where I live happens to be part of the crime loop. My neighbors moved. One of the reasons they moved was they had a small kid and couldn't live with the noise anymore."

The vehicle boombox problem was so bad, the article reports, that the city of Aurora passed a then-unique noise ordinance in March 1996, that has since been copied by other communities, including Cicero. Under the ordinance, police can impound a vehicle if amplified noise from it can be heard at least 75 feet away. In order to get the vehicle back, the driver has to pay a $75 fine, and the owner has to pay a $250 impoundment fee, a $75 towing fee, and $20-a-day storage charges, the article says.

While the ordinance was good in theory, Pettit and other members of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association said it was not being enforced enough to have an impact on their neighborhood. Neighborhood group members aired their complaint at a mayoral campaign forum in March, which also was attended by police officers. One of those officers, community policing Officer Shireen Long, said she realized that if the police got the residents involved in the enforcement process, the problem would be solved. So, starting in late May, the Near West Side Neighborhood Association and the community policing division headed by Sgt. Paul Barrett launched Operation Boombox. Members of the neighborhood group simply use their two-way radios to notify nearby squad cars when they hear a boombox from a vehicle two or more residential lots away, which amounts to about 100 feet. Police arrive at the scene quickly and make an arrest if necessary.

(...)

The article says on May 23, the day the operation started, five people were cited and all of their vehicles were impounded. On Friday, when police conducted their second Operation Boombox effort, two people were received citations. Police Sgt. Barrett said impounding cars gets the attention of the teen-age violators' parents, the article reports.

(...)

 

 

April 15, 2000

 

Mobile Telephone Use in Spain
Prompts Demand for Legislation to Curb Their Use

Adela Gooch, The Guardian Foreign Pages

According to The Guardian, the noise levels from mobile telephones is such a nuisance that people are demanding legislative action. The growth rate of mobile telephone use is higher in Spain than anywhere else in Europe, according to the article--from one million to 18 million in just five years.

The article said that the noise level in public places often exceed established decibels (dB) levels (55 to 65 dB) that the World Health Organization set. So the Centre for Scientific Investigation, Spain's primary research center supports the demand for legislative action.

The article said that Spain's national pastime, la charla (small talk, talking just to be talking and chatty citizens that use mobile telephones for personal reasons are the reason that mere "noise pollution" has escalated to shouting and physical brawls.

The article said that mobile telephone companies, in an effort to stop legislation, have published "guidelines" for using the telephones and asked users to use the text message system.

 

 

Web-enabled cars: Fast lane to disaster?

 

March 24, 2000
Web-enabled cars: Fast lane to disaster?
by Lincoln Spector

(IDG) -- You may consider wireless technology a key to your success. After all, it helps you be more productive: You can even check e-mail and do research online while you're driving. But while ubiquitous Net access may help you get ahead at work, many consider surfing behind the wheel a serious safety hazard.

"Unless you're stopped in a traffic jam, I don't see any basis for doing that. I think it's a disaster," says Clarence Ditlow, director of the Center for Auto Safety, founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

The concern grows just as Internet-enabled cars are getting ready to hit the roads.

(...)

Neither Ford nor GM is encouraging drivers to use keyboards, mice, or monitors on the road. Both Virtual Advisor and 24.7 provide voice-based interfaces. For instance, Virtual Advisor will simply respond to your vocal commands by reading your e-mail and other data you request out loud (you have to set it up first on a computer back at the office). That way, you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Look, no hands!
But is even hands-off data retrieval safe? Driving a car while talking on a hands-free phone is just as dangerous as using a standard handset, according to a recent study by the University of Toronto. Research found that even using a hands-free phone while driving is about four times as dangerous not using a phone at all.

Not everyone agrees with these conclusions. Sara Tatchio, a safety manager for public affairs at Ford, considers the Toronto study flawed.

"Everybody who was in that study had been in accidents," Tatchio says. "The numbers are very hard to define that way."

But other studies point in a similar direction. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Driver inattention is the most frequently cited precrash condition for drivers who use cellular telephones."

Inattention concerns the mind, not the hands or eyes, safety advocates note; it's not affected by the type of phone you use.

(...)

"People are already bringing laptops into cars and plugging them into dashboard lights," Carstensen says. "If we can bring similar information through a single [voice-based] interface, we feel we will make it safer."

In the end, safety depends on the driver. American Automobile Association spokesperson Bronwyn Hogan points out that "the motorist is, for all intents and purposes, responsible for his or her safety."

(...)

 

 

Office-Phone Function On The Road

 

December 12, 2000
By Brian Ploskina, Interactive Week

(...)

New technology developed by MCK Communications works to extend the corporate telephone network to anywhere in the world. The Mobile Extender gives any wireless phone user access to the private branch exchange (PBX) in ways not possible before.

Some of the more primitive solutions people have used to stay in contact include voice-mail that tells callers where a person can be reached or a forwarding mechanism that transfers calls directly to the wireless phone number. Unified communications applications have begun to emerge recently that provide a "find-me, follow-me service," ringing certain end-points for a person at different times of the day, or all devices, all day.

(...)

The mobile extender's main task is to extend the voice network to any location, says Al Brisard, vice president of marketing at MCK, which has been designing and implementing PBX extension facilities for more than 10 years.

"We can turn any analog phone, touch-tone phone, or cell phone into your digital extension into the PBX," Brisard says. "We turn every one of today's phones into an IP [Internet Protocol] phone." IP is the underlying technology that enables MCK to extend PBX functionality into the mobile market.

(...)

Competitors offering similar services include IP Axess, formerly Data Race, as well as large PBX vendors such as Nortel Networks and Lucent Technologies, but none of them have the wireless piece. In fact, Alcatel, Ericcson, Lucent and others resell MCK's Mobile Extender.

But it's not enough just to make the wireless device part of the system. MCK also includes software that allows the user to program PBX applications into the phone. This allows the wireless user to hit *8 to transfer a call or dial 9 to get an outside line. The software also makes it possible to transmit the display someone is used to seeing on their office phone to the display panel on their wireless phone.

 

 

Fell asleep at the wheel!

 

December 15, 2000

SUV crash increases Leeward toll to 12

By James Gonser
Advertiser Leeward Bureau

HONOKAI HALE - Alexander "Alika" Nakoa Jr. had recently joined the Navy, following in his father’s footsteps, and looked forward to reporting to active duty next Friday.

But Nakoa died early yesterday after the Chevy Blazer he was driving crashed into a utility pole on Farrington Highway in Honokai Hale. Nakoa apparently fell asleep while driving, police said.

Nakoa, 20, had been out with his cousin, who also had joined the Navy and was to report for duty on Monday. The cousins were close and wanted to enter the service at the same time, but Nakoa did not apply in time.

Nakoa had just dropped off his cousin and his girlfriend at her Waipahu home and was headed for his grandmother’s house in Nanakuli at about 3:20 a.m. when the black sport utility vehicle veered off the highway, struck an embankment and crashed into a Hawaiian Electric Co. pole, police said.

Police said Nakoa may have been speeding as he was driving westbound in his father’s SUV. He was taken to St. Francis Medical Center-West in critical condition and died at the hospital.

Nakoa is the 12th person to die in a traffic accident along the Wai‘anae Coast this year and the 64th traffic fatality on O‘ahu, compared to 47 deaths in 1999.

Honey Nakoa said the structured life in the Navy would have been good for her grandson. He was a surfer and considered himself a playboy, she said, but had not found a direction in life.

"He was tired, I guess." she said. "I think he fell asleep. Whether he was drinking or not, I have no idea. He was a good kid. He wasn’t mature enough to realize what life was all about. He just wanted to go surfing."

After dropping out of high school in California, Nakoa moved to Hawai‘i for what was to be a one-month vacation. That was a little more than a year ago. He spent that time surfing along the Leeward Coast, working part time and having fun.

Looking for direction, he joined the Navy and took his physical and written tests.

Alexander Nakoa Sr. is a chief petty officer stationed in San Diego.

His wife, Maryann, and their two daughters live in Oxnard, Calif.

Today and Monday, sign wavers will be standing along Farrington Highway from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., urging drivers to slow down as part of the Honolulu Police Department’s annual "Live and Let Live" traffic safety campaign.

Residents and police officers will be at Nanakuli Beach Park, Ma‘ili Point and the Wai‘anae Boat Harbor near displays of cars wrecked in traffic accidents.

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