Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Be Extra Alert

To combat the level of distraction on our roads today, you can become an extra alert driver and save yourself from getting in accidents.

If you live in a congested city you see terrible examples of Distracted Driving at every turn, but no matter the size of your city, distracted driving is a threat to all motorists. To diminish your risk of being involved in an accident with a distracted driver you can take some simple steps:

1. Be focused on the road. Scan the road ahead and behind you for potential problems. If you see a problem make sure to honk your horn loud & long. People who are distracted aren't as responsive as those who are focused.

2. Look Left-Right-Left before you cross into an intersection. Distracted Drivers are more likely to run red lights and stop signs. Make sure you aren't in their path!

3. If you see a Distracted Driver behind you, or someone following too close pull off the road at a safe place, and allow the Distracted Driver to pass. It is much better to have unsafe drivers ahead of you, than behind you.

4. Watch the center line for Distracted Drivers who might drift over the line and hit you head on. If you are on a 4+ lane road, you may want to avoid travelling in the lane by the center line.

5. Watch for people drifting into your lane. Watch for Distracted Drivers who might drift into your lane. Keep a close eye on people who camp out in your blind spot who might be Distracted Drivers. Again, allow them to get ahead of you.

6. Also remember to watch for pedestrians who are texting & walking. They too have inattention blindness and sometimes step off the curb without even looking, or walk slowly across the street.
Bottom line: Continuously watch for Distracted Drivers...they are out there in abundance. Be safe and feel free to add additional Safety Tips in the comment secion below.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How Lucas Euser is making a Difference in Road Safety

When Lucas Euser and I talked recently, he unveiled his plans to help improve Road Safety. We both agreed that Distracted Driving will not be solved by one person. It will take many. It will take an Army. An Army of people working on different levels relaying the dangers of distracted driving, educating youth, implementing laws and penalties that will be taken seriously, police writing citations, Moms and Dad talking to their kids about the dangers, friends reminding friends not to text and drive, PSAs galore, a continued massive attack of media reports, personal responsibility to not put people in needless danger on the roads...and then some.

Lucas is not only a speed demon on a bike, but a highly intelligent and motivated 26 year old. He detailed a well mapped out plan of attack on how to improve road safety near his US home in Napa Valley, California.

In what seems like an ironic twist of fate, the man who ignited Lucas’ passion for cycling via a mountain bike team, is the same man working side-by-side with Lucas to help improve road safety in Napa. Under-Sheriff John Roberston started Team NSO (Napa Sheriff’s Office) a junior mountain bike team, a division of S.A.L. The program was designed to “keep kids off the streets and get them active” as Lucas said. Lucas was hooked on cycling and transitioned from mountain biking to road and became a professional.

After Lucas’ cycling accident in Spain (See previous Blog Post), Lucas returned home to Napa to continue training. There he met with John Robertson and told him of his new passion: Road Safety. As the under-Sheriff, John Robertson was happy to team up with Lucas again to make a difference in road safety.

Lucas plans to start a Yield to Life chapter in Napa (Cycling and Road Safety for Cyclists created by teammate Dave Zabriskie). Additionally, with the help of the California Highway Patrol and John Robertson, they will design a program to teach new drivers the rules of cycling in addition to the rules of the road. “Whether they ride a bike or not, they will know the rules.” Too many auto/cyclist accidents happen because the driver isn’t aware of rules of the road for cyclists, or they are too distracted when they come upon a cyclist and don’t “see” them. Lucas said in most cases drivers “Don’t treat us as a motorist. We aren’t a vehicle and we don’t get the same respect.” Lucas & John Robertson’s program will teach young drivers a level of respect and understanding for cyclists that few people on the road have currently.

While a cell phone wasn’t an apparent factor in the accident that severely injured Lucas, he understands the dangers of cell phone use behind the wheel. He sees distracted motorists on a daily basis and says “The more you text and drive, your chances go up that something is going to happen.” Lucas has been a big supporter for @DontTwive, and knows his tweets can help bring awareness and ultimately save lives if people put their cell phones down and focus on driving.

Lucas Euser and John Robertson team up again! If their work with road safety nets the same results as their first partnership, then Napa will have some of the safest roads in the country for cyclists.

Lucas promised to keep us informed as they roll out the program in Napa. We’ll continue to follow Lucas’ career success as well as his success with Road Safety! Thank you Lucas for making a difference!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet Lucas Euser: Pro Cyclist & Road Safety Advocate

Lucas Euser (@LucasEuser) has an office with a view most of us would drool over. His office is on the road. For hours every day, he trains in the lovely terrain of Napa Valley, or in Girona, Spain the European Headquarters of Garmin Slipstream, his pro cycling team. Last week Lucas took time out of his evening to talk to me about his passion for Road Safety.

This past May on a training ride in Spain to hone his time trial skills, a car turned in front of him, and Lucas unable to avoid the car, smashed into the rear panel of the SUV. (Read full account of the accident in the VeloNews article.) According to David Moulton (@exframebuilder) this type of accident between car and cyclist is so common it has a name: The Right Hook.

While the driver didn’t seem to be a Distracted Driver, the she wasn’t fully aware either. Wasn’t aware that as she slowed her SUV, she was going to turn into the path of Lucas who was peddling at a fast pace of 52 km/hr. As a driver, her mind wasn’t fully where it needed to be…on the road, and on the people she shared the road with who might cross her path.

Your mind is a super processor, every second you drive, your mind is calculating distance, potential dangers, and objects to avoid. It is critical to be focused behind the wheel, but especially when you come upon a cyclist, motorcycle, runner or other person without 2 tons of steel wrapped around them. They are the most vulnerable passengers on the road and deserve our respect and protection.

Being an uber positive-minded athlete, the inspirational Lucas started training as soon as his knee was wired back into place, before his broken ribs had healed. In addition for an even bigger hunger to succeed in cycling Lucas also pledged to make a difference in road safety and is approaching that with the same passion that drives him to success in his sport. Part of his plans involve joining with teammate David Zabriskie (@DZabriskie) founder of Yield to Life (www.Yieldtolife.org) and (@Yield2Life).

People like Lucas come out of a bad experience stronger, changed, more determined, and touch other lives around them in a positive way. Lucas personifies the kind of teammate people want in all situations. At a time of year where most cyclists are having fun during the offseason Lucas is focused and training hard in Girona so he can help his Garmin teammates excel in 2010. Remember when you see a cyclist, Yield to Life!

COMING SOON: How Lucas Euser is making a difference in road safety.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

National Teen Driver Safety Week - Oct 18th - 24th

It is National Teen Driver Safety Week and from US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's Blog (@RayLaHood) the theme of this year is not teens, but parents!

It is good for parents to focus on the week and talk about the facts with their teens...the stats are not good.

- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens;
- More than one in three deaths for this age group involves a motor vehicle;
- More than 4,200 teens in the United States, aged 15–19, are killed in motor vehicle crashes;
11 teens, ages 16-19, die every day from motor vehicle injuries;
- 400,000 teens were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes; and
- Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. (All stats are from 2007)

According the Century Council's website, driver error and speed are the leading cause of teen driver crashes. Century Council (@CenturyCouncil) also has the Concentration Game which is a great way to sit down with your teen and initiate a conversation about the dangers of Distracted Driving.

Talk to your teens. Driving is a big deal to them, and a big responsibility. Even if they've been driving for a year or more...talk to them. Take it from someone who knows it is a horrible feeling to get a phone call with the news that your 17 year old has been in a wreck because they were distracted. Stats show talking helps...let the talking begin!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Look Ma....No Hands!!!

There are times in life when it is really cool to not use your hands...like on a roller coaster. It shows bravado and major cool factor. But no hands behind the wheel?? The woman in the video below drives for a considerable amount of time with her hands on her cell phone texting while she's speeding down the road. She doesn't look cool, in fact she's an accident waiting to happen. The more you text and drive, the more likely you are to crash. As mentioned in the video a man who was texting & driving hit a car head on and died.

Tweeted this video out last Friday, and it got a huge number of views. Thought it should be permanently added to the blog for future visitors, or repeat views.

Texting & driving is a dangerous and deadly mix. This video shows why. Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Distracted Drivers Run Red Lights

Distracted Drivers run red lights. The previous blog entry said "Look Left-Right-Left" before crossing into an intersection - the video below demonstrates why. Distracted drivers not only run red lights, but it is often at full speed. When they hit another car (or cyclists, or person) going full speed, the results are disastrous. Texting & driving takes people's eyes off the road, sometimes while approaching a traffic light that is red. They don't see the red light because their eyes are focused on their phone, everything else around them blurs. Their eyes so focused on the cell phone, never see the red light to send a message to their brain to hit the brakes. They go into the intersection full speed. The sad truth is that we have to be extra careful because there are people on the road NOT being careful. The bottom line is being extra careful can save our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. No matter if you travel on 2 wheels, 4 wheels or up to 18 wheels - be extra alert on the roads at all times, even when you have a green light.

NOTE: this video contains a car/pedestrian accident as well as a car/scooter accident some might find too graphic. The first 2 minutes of the video are car/car accidents if you want to bypass.
(Double click the video to go to the YouTube site and see the larger version.)

Also, read about the tragic results one Distracted Driver caused running a red light and hitting Hannah Grant and her family on Stay Alive, Just Drive's website. Hannah Grant Story

Be extra alert on the roads! Look Left-Right-Left as you approach an intersection. Be aware of cyclists and pedestrians too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

At Intersections Look Left-Right-Left

DriverCam dash cams prove most accidents happen at intersections. As you near an intersection take a quick look left, right and then left again before you enter the intersection. Be aware if there is a distracted driver that might cross your path in the intersection. As the video below shows it can save you from getting in a crash and can also save your life.

DriveCam Figures Out What Went Wrong

Reminder: Please focus on the road, and be aware of cyclists, walkers, and runners.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lawless Texas Sends a Loud Message

Texas has light rules regarding cell phone use behind the wheel. It is not legal to text and drive in a school crossing, and there are laws against novice drivers using cell phones behind the wheel. But other than that, seeminlgy it is is legal to use your cell phone behind the wheel.

However, a judge sent a loud message outside the boundaries of Texas when he charged a Jeri Montgomery, a 24 year old woman and sentenced her to 30 days in jail, 10 years probation and ordered her to pay a $10,000 fine for criminally negligent homicide. Additionally, Montgomery was sentenced to cover the cost of the funeral of the person who was killed in the accident. Montgomery also cannot drive until further notice, must write a 1,000 word essay suitable for publication in a school newspaper and 400 hours of public service.

She wasn't even on the phone at the time of the wreck but she was tried as a distracted driver. She had been on a call seconds before she caused a 3 car accident. Just prior to the wreck she hung up the phone, made an illegal lane change trying to get on the highway. The terrible result was a 3 car accident and the fatality of a 25 year old man.

The woman's father stated “There's a precedent that's been set here that is going to affect all of you,” he said. “Where does it stop? My daughter has been punished for a law that doesn't exist.”

So here is the take away from this blog post: Regardless of city and state cell phone laws, if you cause an accident and take a life your fate could rest in the hands of a judge. It seems likely that Mongomery will appeal the judges ruling, but for the foreseeable future her life will be spent with lawyers, and in court rooms reliving the bad decision she made which caused a three car collision and resulted in a fatality. Even if the ruling is reversed Montgomery has to live with the fact that she killed a man for the rest of her life. That would be a terrible emotion to carry.

Each day on Twitter people tweet "It is the last day I can LEGALLY text and drive, so I'm going to tweet all day." Or "My state passed a texting & driving law, but that doesn't include tweeting. LOL!!" Some people consider texting and driving laws a joke. The old "Catch me if you can" mentality kicks in for some. But this court case is no joke. It is going to live on and sets a HUGE precedent for other judges to call on when making a decision in a distracted driving case.

Understand that law or no law, if you reach for your phone while you are driving you are a distracted driver, and the results could be severe. Just ask Jeri Montgomery.
Full article

Monday, October 5, 2009

Curbing Distracted Driving

There were two immediate results from the Distracted Driving Summit last week. President Obama's Executive Order bans nearly 3 million government employees from Texting & Driving.

The other immediate impact was massive media coverage building up to the Summit, during the Summit and after the Summit. Ray LaHood's goal is to have everyone understand how dangerous distracted driving is by this time next year, but thanks to the media a large percentage of Americans have already heard the message.

As Ray LaHood mentions in a follow-up article Curbing Distracted Driving "We won't fix this problem overnight, but we are going to raise awareness and sharpen the consequences." He also states we can't merely legislate our way out of this problem. It is going to be a multi-tiered approach including legislation, working with advocate & industry groups to help change the culture, as well as high-visibility enforcement (similar to drunk driving enforcement). Again and again he calls on all Americans to be responsible and use "common sense and show some consideration for other drivers and their passengers, for pedestrians, and for bicyclists." (Thanks to @MurrayComm for the link to Curbing Distracted Driving.)

Remember Distracted Driving causes 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries. Be alert when on the roads - there is still a large number of distracted drivers on the road. Being alert can avoid a crash and save your life. Hands on the wheel, Eyes on the road.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

START HERE ---> Distracted Driving Summit

Webcast - Day Two 7:30am - 1:15pm EST http://bit.ly/DontTwive50 (Day One video link available)
Live Blog - http://bit.ly/DontTwive56
Agenda - http://bit.ly/DontTwive35

Consider the Distracted Driving Summit a Start Box on a flow chart. There are many steps to follow, but as a nation we have a common goal: Dramatically Decrease Distracted Driving.

Day One of Ray LaHood's Distracted Driving Summit brought together various industry experts and 300+ participants in Washington, DC as well as several thousand across the county via webcast. A live blog was also utilized allowing people across the USA and beyond to post comments and questions for Summit participants to see.

Expert panels from a variety of industries (Wireless, Research, Safety, Government) discussed the following topics:
Driver Distractions and Inattention - Definitions and Data
Research Results - How Risky is Distracted Driving?
Technology and Distracted Driving

The panel presentations were designed to share information, and the Q & A session after each panel allowed Summit and online participants to get more detail and gain better insight.

The Summit will not answer all questions, nor will it immediately impact change on our roads. Again, it is a START. After Day 2 of the Summit there will be many additional boxes that branch off the start box and generate their own actions toward the end goal of greatly diminishing distracted driving on our roads. In addition to a great information exchange the Summit has also allowed the best minds across several industries to come together, and that can only result in reaching the end goal in a more efficient manner. Relationships have been established today that will have great impact as we travel down the road to improved safety together.

However, you don't need to wait for the government to take action, or for the PSA campaigns to start, or for your employer to create a policy, or for a smart-phone app to disable your phone while you drive. Change starts with you...today. Make the decision to not tweet/text and drive. Even better hit the off button on your phone, or silence all alerts. Be socially responsible behind the wheel. Put your hands on the wheel and put the drive back in the driving experience. Notice how ALERT you feel. Then be a advocate for social change and encourage others to focus on driving. #TweetSafe...pass it on
UPDATE: In closing the Distracted Driving Summit, Ray LaHood announces President Obama has signed an Executive Order banning Federal employees from Texting & Driving. Washington Post article. Ray LaHood said "Texting and Driving should feel wrong. It is socially unacceptable behavior and we are going to sharpen the consequences." He went on to say that with the Summit "We have made a tremendous difference. This is a great start. We are going to solve this problem. " As a nation we are traveling down the road to greatly diminish distracted driving. Along the way we will address Laws, education, technology, PSAs, peer to peer teen awareness, social pressure and personal responsibility. Be safe on the roads and encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to be safe on the roads too.

The Summit video will be available for 12 months - Video.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prediction: Employers to play major role in diminishing Distracted Driving

UPDATE: BusinessWeek (@BW) Today's Tip: To Avoid Liability, Create a No-Driving-While-Texting Policy

At the moment employers are a dark horse in the effort to end distracted driving, but may become a major player in the near future. Those who won't stop texting and driving for a state law will have added pressure if they know their job would be on the line. There is a list of companies on the right side of the blog that have policies against distracted driving...and there is plenty of room for growth. In addition to employee safety, one of the major reasons companies have jumped on this issue already is because employees who engage in distracted driving are a liability to any company. The video below from WorkPlace TV discusses how some companies are handling these policies. Some companies will require employees sign waivers saying they will be held solely responsible for any damage caused as a condition of employment. Imagine an employee reaching for their cell phone for one quick text, causing an accident, having to pay for all damages and suits brought against them, AND being terminated for violating company policy...all for one text. Also imagine companies not wanting to hire a potential employee because they have a texting and driving citation on their driving record. It may seem unrealistic for now, but not for long.

If your company has a policy against any form of distracted driving, please leave a comment below and let us know so we can add them to the list. Thank you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Distracted Driving Summit

Update: Distracted Driving Summit Agenda (Click Here)

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has called for a Distracted Driving Summit to be held September 30th and October 1st at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. “This summit will not only bring leaders in transportation safety together to talk about this issue,” said LaHood, “It will also give people from all over the country—and world—the opportunity to be a part of this historic dialogue.” The Summit will be available via webcast (details coming soon.)

In preparation for the Summit, lawmakers and Summit participants are looking for citizen comments and questions. Please take a few minutes to leave comments or questions regarding texting and driving and/or distracted driving. Click here to leave comments (Deadline: Sept. 23rd)

From Politico: The Obama administration has gotten such massive interest in plans for a fall SUMMIT on TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING that the event has been expanded from one day to two. And it’ll be held at a Washington hotel instead of at the Department of Transportation, to accommodate more of the hundreds who have asked for invites. The “Distracted Driving Summit” will examine texting and talking while driving. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will kick off, and wrap up, the conversation. Panels will look at research showing that hands-free talking may not be that much safer, because the problem is lack of focus — not holding a phone to your ear. Participants will include law enforcement, academics and administration officials. The audience will include members of Congress. The cell phone industry has asked to participate. At the end of the summit, the department could announce plans to impose new rules on commercial truckers through its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What action steps should our country take to pave the way for safer roads? Do you think each state needs laws to diminish texting and driving? What role should the auto industry, cell phone manufacturers and insurance companies take? Should companies take part and develop policies against employee cell phone use? Is there a need for a strong PSA Distracted Driving campaign similar to Click It or Ticket, and Over the Limit, Under Arrest? Are you part of a group that added interest in making the roads safer? Do you text and drive, tweet and drive, App and drive? If so, what would help you stop? Have you had accidents or close calls? Do you see people texting & driving often? Let the Summit participants hear your comments! Click here for other options to leave comments: mail, fax, hand deliver, or courier.

POLITICO Article on Distracted Driving Summit
New York Times article on Distracted Driving Summit

Additional Distracted Driving Summit Links available on the right side of the blog under "Distracted Driving Summit" heading.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Law or no, it's simple: Don't text and drive

Law or no, it's simple: Don't text and drive is an article by Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald. Leonard Pitts' masterpiece on texting and driving has hard-hitting statements that should be read by everyone coast to coast:

"In the first place, you'd think you wouldn't need a law, that simple common sense would be enough to tell us it's unsafe to divert attention to a tiny keyboard and screen while simultaneously piloting 2 tons of metal, rubber, glass and, let us not forget, flesh, at freeway speeds -- or even street speeds.

"So, yeah, there ought to be a law. And it ought to have some teeth in it. On the second offense, maybe a hefty fine, or brief loss of driving privileges. On the third, maybe you earn a free stay of a couple days and nights at the lovely Graybar Hotel. "

Take a moment to click on the article link above and read the entire article, and then forward it to people who text and drive, and those who don't. This common sense article should be required reading for everyone of driving age in our nation as it reminds us that the only thing we should be doing behind the wheel is....driving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Did one text take Todd's life?

Did one incoming text take Todd Jordan's life? "That is where the investigation is going" according to the WKYC report. Officers believe at the exact second Todd hit a sharp curve, he got a text, took his eyes off the road. Todd's car went straight and hit a telephone pole.

Even after the tragic loss of Todd's life, family and friends still struggle to not use their cell phone behind the wheel. The dangers of cell phone use behind the wheel are all to real to them, but they struggle because like so many people, they are accustomed to immediately responding to the incoming texts, e-mails, social networking alerts, and phone calls.

The next time your cell phone dings, beeps, or rings, think of Todd and many others who have tragically lost their lives prematurely by responding to an electronic communication because we've been conditioned to look at incoming communications quickly. Those communications aren't nearly as urgent as we treat them. They sit there....waiting. They will still be there when you reach your destination, when your car is in park, or when you are out of your car. Immediate response is not necessary...we've all just been conditioned to respond quickly.

Please don't Text & Drive. Keep your eyes on the road and keep your life and all the lives around you safe.

Article: Did text message figure in Norwalk teen driver's death?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DadLabs spotlight dangers of cell phones

Why have we become so addicted to our cell phones? In the past 20 years cell phones have become more available, less expensive, more capable, and have added great convenience to our lives. We use them everywhere to do everything.

We must step back and use some serious common sense and realize cell phones were never created to be used as a typewriter behind the wheel. No matter how skilled you are at texting, the odds are stacked against you if you text and drive. Some of people who text and drive feel so capable, they even text while their children are in the car with them.

The spell cell phones has cast over us is strong, but it can be broken by taking action steps toward eliminating texting and driving from your daily routine. What steps have you taken to eliminate texting & driving? Our followers and blog readers would like to see what changes you made. (Fill out an anonymous comment below.)

DadLabs (@DadLabs) tackle the dangers of cell phone usage behind the wheel, and have suggestions on how to stop.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Texting & Driving: The most dangerous form of Distracted Driving

Texting and driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Dr. Abiodun Akinwuntan of Medical College of Georgia said: "Texting uses four parts of the brain -- visual, verbal, auditory, and motor skills. You have basically pulled all four senses away from driving into texting." Pulling 4 senses away from driving results in Inattention Blindness. Dr. Akinwuntan monitors people in a simulator while they try to drive and text and stated "You can be involved in several near-misses, but it only takes one to make it fatal,"

There's currently a bill (ALERT Drivers Act) in the US Senate requiring states to ban texting and driving or lose federal highway funding. You wouldn't be able to read, write, or send messages. But the bill leaves out looking at emails, so that could still be a danger.

A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident if they're texting or reading emails while driving. There's also an increased risk for simply dialing, talking, or even reaching for a phone.

Link to video and see report. Reporter tries to text & drive in a simulator.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steer Clear: The best offense is a good defense

Bring on the Defensive Driving Classes! People who text & drive are falsely confident in their abilities. Some are confident of their abilities even after they have had a wreck, and return to Texting & Driving. The confidence of the two people highlighted below suggests they suffer from adolescent menality in addition to inattention blindness when they text & drive....and they text a great deal. To steer clear of these dangerous drivers on the road, you need to be extra alert and prepared.

@DontTwive follower @Ridgeley sent us a link to a recent LA Times Opinion Column titled Texting while Driving: Will those who do it ever stop? The column illustrates how some people not only refuse to give up their phone, but also seem to have a total disregard for the danger they pose on the road to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. In answering the headline question the column the journalist states:

"My guess is no. I, admittedly, am guilty of texting while driving. And about five years ago this habit of mine resulted in the totaling of my car. Yes, my fault. And yes, stupid, I know. I was 17 years old, a brand new driver stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic less than a mile from my house. I was texting and not paying any attention (the two go together) and pressed the gas instead of the brake, ramming my bright teal land yacht (a 1996 Chrysler LHS) underneath the big pickup truck in front of me. You would think that with that accident I learned my lesson. Au contraire. I still text while driving because it's convenient."

The journalist goes on to say "If the laws are not enforced, simply being "illegal" is not enough of a deterrent to stop talking or texting while driving. It's become too much of a way of life for me and my peers. Sure, there are hands-free devices that would keep me out of trouble in one respect, but ironically I've noticed myself texting in the car even more now that talking is banned. And texting, I believe, is far more dangerous. Trust me from experience."

In the video below Dr. Phil takes on a teen who has been driving for only 4 months and won't stop texting and driving. If anyone knows this teen, DM us her name. We'd love to track her down on Twitter and give her a Follow.

Be safe out there....be alert, drive defensively. You share the road with "blind" people who refuse to see the danger.

Insurance companies offer a 10% discount if you take a defensive driving class (check with your agent for details). The 10% savings is great, but the real savings might be something much more valuable...your life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Firms race to develop software to eliminate Texting & Driving

A Wall Street Journal Article states that firms are in a rush to develop software to block texts and minimize distractions while driving.

"Many of the apps will simply block texts from being sent or received while the owner is driving. They generally require a smart phone with Global Positioning System technology.

CTIA, whose members include carriers like
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, says it supports banning texting while driving altogether. "We think it's incompatible with safe driving," said John Walls, CTIA's vice president of public affairs.

Text-blocking technologies also aren't available on
Apple Inc.'s iPhone because its App Store doesn't allow apps that limit the device's core functions such as text-messaging. Apple didn't respond to requests for comment.

As a result, Zoomsafer Inc., a Reston, Va., start-up, says it is focusing on other devices, such as the BlackBerry. "We would love nothing more than to have a Zoomsafer app for the iPhone," said Matt Howard, a co-founder who began work on the service after nearly hitting a neighbor's son while texting."

Full Article Link
ZoomSafer is @Idrivefocused on Twitter, and check out their amazing website http://www.zoomsafer.com/ ZoomSafer software detects when you are driving and activates to minimize distractions. It can automatically update your Facebook or Twitter Status to let friends know you are driving. Very cool software with the ability to customize features....even parent controls for teen drivers. A very detailed description of ZoomSafer products is also available at http://www.traumasurvivor.org/ (@TraumaTweets on Twitter). Thanks ZoomSafer for creating ways for people to drive more focused!

Drinking, Texting and Driving

On the afternoon of August 9th in California bar a man drank 5 shots of whiskey and 2 large beers. In another part of town a family prepared enchiladas with other members of Sacred Heart Church to serve to the homeless at a lunch that week.

These two stories intersect in a tragic fashion as Christa Balch stopped at a red light on her way home. Her sister was in the passenger seat, and her two young children (Sebastian, 4 yrs and Ava, 2yrs) were in the back seat of her Honda. Dion Thomas Gussner was twice the legal limit (.16), while driving his pickup truck when he picked up his phone to send a text message. Preliminary reports stated there were no skid marks at the scene. Gussner said he didn't see the Balch's car until it was too late, and he rear ended the Balch's car travelling at approximately 55 mph.

Little Sebastian was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Christa and Ava were flown to the hospital with serious as well as minor injuries. Christa is a doctor and underwent surgery to attempt to repair her wrist. However, Christa's wrist is paralyzed. The family is struggling to deal with Sebastian's death, and the community is rallying around them.

It is unclear if Gussner's drunk driving is the reason for the accident, or if the texting and driving was also a contributing factor. What is clear is that together drunk driving and texting and driving are a deadly mix. A sober driver has "inattention blindness" when texting and driving. A drunk driver would have even less judgement on how long their eyes were off the road, and would have less of a sense if they had drifted over a lane line, or if traffic was a stop ahead of them.

A remorseful Gussner had eyes red and a bowed head as he agreed to receive the maximum penalty of 16 years in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, causing great bodily injury in the crash and injuring multiple victims.

This story comes from a good friend who has ties to the Balch family.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adults Revert to Adolescent Mentality When Texting & Driving

This article from the John Tesh - Intelligence for your Life (www.Tesh.com , @JohnTeshRadio) explains the brain function behind adults making the decision to engage in a dangerous activity such as taking our eyes off the road to text, e-mail, tweet, or even dial or talk on the phone. This article also briefly mentions two companies that have stepped up to impose strict cell phone usage policies. Even if national laws are implemented, enforcing them may be challenging. However, laws are a logical and necessary step to create better road safety. Even without city, state and national laws banning texting and driving, companies can play a key role in creating better road safety by developing their own policies on employee cell phone usage and encouraging safe practices.

Adults Use Work as an Excuse for Texting and Driving - Article Link
"According to Dr. Debra Condren, a business psychologist, the constant pressure to be connected to the office 24/7 makes us revert back to an almost adolescent mentality. We start to believe that we’re invulnerable to the dangers of texting and driving."

In fact, just in the past few months, major companies like DuPont and the U.S. Post Office have made using a mobile phone while driving an offense that can get you fired! .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Car and Driver Tests Texting & Driving

Car and Driver (http://www.caranddriver.com/, @CARandDRIVER) compared the affects of texting while driving to the affects of drinking and driving. Reaction times were compared.

(NOTE: Many tests results state texting and driving is worse than drinking and driving. Texting and driving as well as drunk driving are total impairments and thus highly dangerous. Don't Drink and Drive and Don't Text and Drive.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Text

This video from http://www.zerofatalities.com/ shows the potential impact of one text. The more people text and drive, the more likely they are to walk a mile in this man's shoes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Social Networking & Driving

From the UK, the Metro published an article Tweeting & Driving is New Road Danger in April 2009 stating that people were Tweeting behind the wheel. Recent technology has allowed us to stay connected to social media sites via cell phone, which seems great in theory. However, increasingly people are staying in touch behind the wheel. It is hard to ignore the blips and bleeps our cell phones make telling us we have a new e-mail, text, Tweet, a Facebook alert, or a phone call. Incoming and outgoing data takes our eyes off the one place they need to be when we are driving. On the road. DontTwive LOVES Tweeting...and driving...just not at the same time.

The Metro Article Reports:
"The survey of 1,000 motorists also showed that while 92% knew it was illegal to use a hand-held mobile while driving, as many as 45% sent text messages and made calls while at the wheel.

Mike Pickard, head of risk and underwriting at esure, said: "There is a time and a place for social networking and it certainly isn't when driving a car. Messages being posted on Twitter from behind the wheel are a real cause for concern for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians.

"With advances in technology and the rise in mobile phone applications available, motorists are being increasingly distracted while behind the wheel - especially as constantly updating friends and family on what we're doing is now becoming the norm.

"Our advice to motorists is to remove this temptation altogether by switching off all mobile technology before driving to ensure focus solely remains on the road ahead."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

RADD and Express Tackle Texting & Driving

RADD 'The Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety' and Express have teamed together to to educate the public about the dangers of texting and driving. In a new campaign aimed at teens celebs Ciara, Jesse McCartney, Brea Grant and Scout Taylor Compton talk about their dedication to keeping their eyes on the road. Ciara appears in a limited edition Express T-Shirt “Hit the Road, TXT L8TR.”

Thanks to http://www.motherproof.com/ for tipping us off to this cool campaign! (@MotherProof on Twitter)

http://www.radd.org/ The Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 Minutes and 15 Seconds that can save your life

This 4:15 PSA video from the Gwent/Wales Police Department is graphic and intense but left us speechless with its message. Some say this video is too gruesome and YouTube has even blocked the 18 and under group from being able to view (the target audience for this Public Service Announcement.) Read more about the video at http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43643/97/

This video should be watched by any driver who thinks they can text and drive. Life can change in one second. One second - less time than it takes to Tweet, text, email, or dial a phone number.

(Note: May want to adjust volume to a lower setting. 1 min Part 2 video also available at finish. )

8/24/09 www.Twitter.com/ricksanchezCNN @ricksanchezCNN of @CNN highlights the Gwent PSA and discusses Tweets regarding Texting & Driving

8/25/09 The Today Show article on this video as well as a 6+ minute segment www.Twitter.com/TodayShow, @TodayShow

8/25/09 Mashable - The Social Media Guide also covered the video Tweeting it out to 1.34 million followers (www.Twitter.com/Mashable @Mashable).

Thanks to the media for covering the dangers of Texting & Driving! Your attention to Texting and Driving will change behavior and thus save lives.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Distracted Driving

While DontTwive is based on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/DontTwive, or @DontTwive) and follows people who Don't Tweet & Drive as well as people who do, the ultimate goal it to address all forms of distracted driving. DontTwive's mission is to remind people how dangerous distracted driving can be not only to themselves, but to others on the road. When you use a cell phone while driving engaging in one of the 3T's...talking, texting, tweeting...your mind is not on the road. Period. Once you pick up the cell phone you become a distracted driver, and become a danger on the road.

As a driver you share the road with cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. It is your responsibility to be a good driver and share the road in a safe manner.

If you still aren't convinced that distracted driving is dangerous, consider that you share the road with many people who are equally or more distracted than you behind the wheel, some taking their eyes off the road for as long as it takes to travel the distance of a football field. As a distracted driver, you might never see another distracted driver coming at you. Period.

Check out the Distracted Driving Links in the side bar...and always #TweetSafe, Text Safe, and Talk Safe.