Cell Phones, Gadgets and Distracted Driving

Blind Spots in Police Reports Hamper Efforts to Curb Deadly Crashes, Study Says FairWarining Reports

Blind Spots in Police Reports Hamper Efforts to Curb Deadly Crashes, Study Says

The scope of deadly hazards such as texting and drug use by drivers may be underestimated and not adequately addressed because police aren’t collecting enough information at crash scenes, according to a new report. The report, released today by the National Safety Council, also found that no state systematically records whether crashes involve vehicles with…

Smartphone Distractions, Drinking Help Spur Rising Pedestrian Death Toll FairWarining Reports

Smartphone Distractions, Drinking Help Spur Rising Pedestrian Death Toll

Pedestrian deaths are surging across the nation, and analysts are putting much of the blame on drivers and walkers who are looking at their smartphones instead of watching where they are going. Tipsy walking also is part of the problem, with one in three victims legally drunk when they were struck and killed. The latest…

Revisiting a Red State-Blue State Divide FairWarining Reports

Revisiting a Red State-Blue State Divide

States With Worst Highway Death Rates Favored Trump -- Why?

November’s presidential contest was bizarre in many ways, but there is one peculiarity that pundits haven’t pounced on: The states with the worst rates of traffic deaths in the country went solidly for Donald Trump while Hillary Clinton swept states with the lowest fatality rates. That odd association between traffic deaths and how states voted…

A billboard in Sarasota, Florida FairWarining Reports

Evidence Mounts of Distraction Risks from Digital Billboards Along Roadways

Digital billboards clearly catch the eye of passing motorists. But what is also increasingly clear is that such distractions can heighten safety risks in heavy traffic and other complex driving conditions, a long-time roadway researcher says. That conclusion by Jerry Wachtel, a traffic safety consultant and one-time Federal Highway Administration staffer, came from his recent…

A billboard in Sarasota, Florida FairWarining Reports

Highway Agency Takes a Hit Over Safety Report on Electronic Billboards

Why did the billboard cross the road? It sounds like the opening line of a corny joke, but it’s actually a question raised by a baffling glitch in a Federal Highway Administration study on the safety of electronic billboards. Billboards that seem magically to have moved from one side of the highway to the other…

Feds Leaving Cities, States in Dark on Billboard Safety FairWarining Investigates

Feds Leaving Cities, States in Dark on Billboard Safety

While battles flare in communities across the country over digital billboards, many state and local officials have hoped that a study launched by the Federal Highway Administration in 2007 would clarify key traffic safety issues. But the results of the politically sensitive research are long overdue, and still are a mystery. Records obtained by FairWarning suggest the reason why the study has remained under wraps: Experts say it was botched.

Safety Agency Urges Complete Ban on Cellphone Use by Drivers

A federal safety agency, in an unprecedented move, is urging states to adopt bans on all non-emergency cellphone use by drivers. The recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board, an advisory and investigative agency, would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices. As The New York Times reports, that would go beyond any of…

Smartphones, Dumb Drivers

Can you safely talk on a cellphone — or for that matter, check your email or scroll through Google Maps — while driving? Well, of course you can. But those other folks with their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road are a public menace. Unfortunately, that sums up the attitude of…

Truckers, Bus Drivers Face U.S. Ban on Handheld Cellphones

Federal regulators have imposed a ban starting next month on the use of handheld cellphones by interstate truckers and bus drivers. The ban, intended to curb crashes due to distracted driving, falls short of a recommendation issued in September by the National Transportation Safety Board but opposed by the trucking industry. That agency — which…

Hit by Criticism, Ford to Add Electronic Safety Features for Explorer Models

Automakers lately have touted lots of new electronic options for their cars, including technology that lets drivers use voice commands and touch screens to make and receive calls and listen to their text messages. As FairWarning reported last month, though, many of those new gizmos worry safety advocates. They say that the automakers — even…