Category Archives: Accidents
Shreya Rekha Dixit, of Eden Prairie, MN, turned 19 on September 16, 2007. She joined University of Wisconsin, Madison as a sophomore in the fall to pursue a degree in International Business. Shreya completed the freshman year at Bryant University in Rhode Island where she was named to the Dean’s List for academic excellence. Her life was cut short when she was fatally injured in an accident on November 1, riding a car to spend the weekend with her family in Minnesota.
One in four (26%) of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and half (48%) of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel.
These findings form the centerpiece of a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that looks at teens, mobile phones and distracted driving. The report is based on a telephone survey of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian as well as 9 focus groups with middle and high school students.
James A. Furfaro, 38, and Keith P. Odell, 50, were killed when 19-year-old Reggie Shaw caused another car to spin out of control. Phone records show that Shaw had been text-messaging from the time he left home to the time of the accident.
Anyone who texts while driving has a death wish. Unfortunately, they may take others with them. Driving that message home is one valuable impact of legislation Sen. Charles Schumer sponsored to coerce states to ban the dangerous practice. But a new traffic law is an analog approach to a digital problem.
At about 4:35 p.m., James Pew, 49, was traveling west in a 2002 Ford Focus when he became distracted by a cell phone, crossed the center line and smashed into a guardrail on the opposite side of the road, according to Sgt. Steven Burns of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
The guardrail entered the engine compartment and crashed through the windshield, missing the driver by inches.
TxtResponsibly.org has received and accepted an invitation to attend the Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC. on behalf of the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Distracted Driving Summit will be convened by the Department of Transportation on September 30 – October 1, 2009 and will provide an opportunity for expert speakers from around the nation to lead interactive sessions on key topics including the extent and impact of the distracted driving problem, current research, regulations, technology implications, and best practices in enforcement and public outreach. More on Press Release.
texting while driving is not unique in the dangers it poses to drivers. According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, the “key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road.” Naturally, texting while driving often leads to people taking their eyes off of the road, but so do many other activities that we generally don’t think ought to be illegal outright, such as adjusting a stereo or manipulating an iPod.
The Car and Driver study tested the reaction times of texting drivers by measuring how quickly the subjects hit the brakes when a red light turned on. The test was conducted at 35 and 70 miles per hour while the subjects read and typed quotes from the film “Caddy Shack.”
Condemning texting while driving as a whole, based on a study like Car and Driver’s, is dangerous because it tested only the worst of the practice. Common sense and the VTTI study indicate that receiving a message like, “please get milk” and responding “k” is almost certainly far less dangerous than reading and typing quotes from a movie, as the former case requires one to take their eyes off the road for a much briefer period than the latter.
St. Paul, Minn. — It’s been a little more than a year since Minnesota banned texting while driving, It’s obvious many drivers haven’t received that message — or they’re ignoring it. But safety officials vow they’ll be increasingly backing up the law with education and enforcement.
“I like to feel I can multitask,” said Kristine Brewitz of Stillwater, who figures she can text message while driving, as long as there’s no traffic and the road ahead is clear. “There are times when I feel I put myself at greater risk,” she said. “But I do feel I still watch the road and look for signs and stuff. There have been a few times where I’ve been a little bit scared. I’ve never been in an accident, knock on wood.”
A Harris Interactive poll last month found about two-thirds of Americans favor restrictions on cell phone use in cars. But an even bigger majority, 80 percent, support an outright ban on text messaging while driving. The group that represents the highway safety offices of all 50 states is calling for a nationwide prohibition, too. Insurance companies are paying more attention to the issue. One study found texters are up to 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Nationwide Insurance expects to offer discounts for drivers who adopt technology that blocks text messages to them while they’re in a moving vehicle. Devices and services that shut down mobile texting are expected to hit the market soon.