Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Companies and Individuals will be held liable

Companies and individuals will be held liable if an accident occurs as the result of a driver on company time texting/Tweeting, etc. Follow the link to Glenn Gabe's blog (Glenn Gabe's Blog ) and see the Q&A on this topic with Princeton Lawyer Mike Pisauro.

The answers are specific to NJ law, but the bottom line is that if your company does not implement and enforce safe driving policies, you will be held liable when accidents occur. Additionally, all drivers can be held personally responsible and criminal charges could be asserted.

Be FocusDriven behind the wheel!

And the Pulitzer goes to........

Congratulations to Matt Richtel of The New York Times for winning a Pulitzer for the "Driven to Distraction" series of articles. Matt Richtel's focus on road safety has kept distracted driving issues in front of the readers of The New York Times.

Matt Richtel has also published a book recently called HOOKED. http://www.mattrichtel.com/.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What automakers do to help drivers focus on the road?

Guest Blog by Dave McCurdy, President and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers @auto_alliance

Automakers go through many steps to make sure that everything they put into a car helps the driver focus on the road. There’s no doubt this is important for every driver. However it’s even more important for younger drivers who have less experience behind the wheel.

Today’s younger generation seems to use more gadgets and devices than ever before. Providing these features through an automobile – so we can control the design and make sure the feature performs in a way that helps drivers keep their “eyes-on-the-road” – is an important way to enhance safety.

From the very first step of designing a feature, whether it’s a navigation system or an in-vehicle phone, or anything else for that matter, auto engineers design and build technologies under comprehensive “driver focus” guidelines the industry developed – and continues to review and update.

Every item designed by an automaker is designing to be used in one, single environment: the driving environment. Compare that with, say, a teenager’s brand new multi-functioning cell phone, which was never designed to be used behind the wheel.

An automaker-designed feature will be built to be operated with just a few, quick glances from the driver. This is one of the things covered in the Auto Alliance’s Driver Focus – Telematics (DF-T) Guidelines, covering 24 different principles that address the design, use and installation of telematics systems, or in-vehicle communications systems. These guidelines all share the same goal: helping drivers focus on the road ahead… after all, safely operating a vehicle is the driver’s primary task.

These DF-T guidelines were developed in the early 2000s and involved the Alliance working with other interest groups including ITS America, the Consumer Electronics Association, the National Safety Council, the Society of Automotive Engineers, AAA and, as observers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada. After we developed them, we put them into practice… and that was by 2003, years before this became as high-a-profile issue as it’s become.

While many drivers aren’t even aware the guidelines exist, they see the results. One good example is where in the car the built-in navigation screen is located. It’s positioned above other features so it’s close to the driver’s normal line of sight. That way, drivers can continue monitoring the roadway peripherally while quickly glancing at the display when needed.

We’re working to learn even more about how drivers interact with their vehicles. The auto industry is a leader in funding R&D. In fact, in 2008, the global industry spent $86 million on R&D. That innovation is part of what has brought auto transportation to its safest level in history. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest numbers show that overall traffic fatalities in 2009 fell to their lowest level since 1954… declining for the 15th straight quarter. That’s a remarkable figure given that other factors have grown so much. Over the past 49 years, the number of licensed drivers has more than doubled and vehicle miles traveled has quadrupled.

We’re proud of the role automakers have had in that success. Initiating things like the DF-T guidelines are part of how we’ve gotten to this point. Allowing drivers, of all experience levels, to focus on the road makes driving safer.

For more information, visit Auto Alliance's website. Follow on Twitter @auto_alliance

DontTwive Comment: Auto manufacturers work diligently to make cars safer on the roads. Ultimately, road safety is in the hands of the driver. We all need to drive responsibly and use car features in a safe manner. Drive safe, #TweetSafe, and be extra alert on the roads.