Cell Phones, Gadgets and Distracted Driving

Lots of Love for Driverless Cars, Except From One Group--Drivers FairWarining Reports

Lots of Love for Driverless Cars, Except From One Group–Drivers

As tech companies and automakers, cheered on by the federal government, race to test and promote autonomous vehicles, several surveys show that most motorists don’t want to drive, ride in or be on the road anywhere near them. What’s more, as development efforts pick up steam, the level of public skepticism seems to be mounting….

How Many Deaths?

How many people are killed or seriously injured because of drivers fiddling with their cellphones? Due to widespread underreporting, no one really knows. In 2015, according to estimates of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,477 deaths caused by distracted driving, including 476 involving the use of cellphones. Depending who you ask, this last…

Don't Drive Distracted, Wireless Industry Says, But Safety Advocates Want More Than Talk FairWarining Investigates

Don’t Drive Distracted, Wireless Industry Says, But Safety Advocates Want More Than Talk

Just after noon on March 29, a pickup truck crossed the center line of a rural road in South Texas and slammed into a church bus, killing 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels. A police report said the 20-year-old pickup driver, who survived, had taken medication and was texting. In other…

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

Editor's note: See update at bottom of story.

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…