Distracted driving Stories April 12, 2016

A proposed bill now in committee in the New York State Senate could give NY police officers the ability to plug smartphones into a ‘textalyzer’ following a motor vehicle accident. The device would read data from the phone to determine whether or not the driver had been texting or otherwise using the phone at the time of the crash.

ArsTechnica reports that Cellebrite, the Israeli company believed to have cracked the San Bernardino iPhone, is developing the technology required for the checks. Such checks without a warrant would normally violate the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, but Cellebrite believes it has a solution to that …

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Distracted driving Stories March 25, 2015

AAA road safety campaign shows real videos of teenage car crashes while using smartphones

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has put online video clips from real car crashes caused by 16-19 year old drivers using smartphones while driving. The videos, which show both the view through the windscreen and a view of the driver, are designed to make real the dangers of distracted driving.

None of the crashes featured in the above clip feature injuries, but almost 3,000 people a year are killed in crashes involving drivers in this age-range, the majority of them caused by the driver being “inattentive or engaged in some other non-driving-related activity.” A further 383,000 people a year are injured.

Researchers at the University of Iowa examined carcam footage from 1,691 crashes involving drivers aged 16-19 to determine the cause. Distracted driving was found to be the cause in 58% of crashes, with 12% of them due to using a phone while driving. For crashes involving the car leaving the road, a full third of crashes were attributed to cellphone use.

UK tests conducted earlier this month suggested that smartwatches are even worse than smartphones for driver distraction.

The full AAA report can be downloaded here.

Distracted driving Stories March 13, 2015

Smartwatches like the Apple Watch are worse for driver distraction than smartphones, shows UK safety tests

UK safety tests have shown that using a smartwatch while driving is more dangerous than using a smartphone, reports the Huffington Post.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in Wokingham, Berks showed that a driver reading a message on an Apple Watch would take 2.52 seconds to react to an emergency manoeuvre, whereas a driver talking to another passenger would react in 0.9 seconds. Reading on an Apple Watch was even found to be more distracting than using a handheld mobile (1.85 second delay).

While the piece refers to the Apple Watch, the TRL told me that the tests were conducted with an unspecified smartwatch, and was not a full-scale study, but earlier studies have shown that even talking with someone handsfree is more distracting that holding a conversation with someone in the car.

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