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.
Tag: Cell Phones
Photo courtesy of Scenic America 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 [...]
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.
Automakers are positioning themselves as leaders in the fight against distracted driving, which causes an estimated 5,400 deaths per year, including nearly 1,000 related to cell phone use. Even as they tell drivers to act responsibly and pay attention to the road, the car companies are seeking to pump up sales by packing their new models with cutting-edge electronics that encourage multi-tasking behind the wheel. But the industry denies it is sending a mixed message.
Last week, FairWarning disclosed plans for a powerful electronics industry coalition to counter tougher laws on drivers using cell phones and other mobile devices, which experts have linked to thousands of traffic injuries and deaths. An internal memo posted by FairWarning said the new group, the DRIVE Coalition, would seek to promote driver education as an alternative to regulations that could dampen demand for mobile devices and lead to billions of dollars in lost sales. In the aftermath of the story, organizers have pulled the plug on DRIVE.
Wireless and mobile device companies should be afraid -- very afraid -- of Oprah Winfrey, Ray LaHood and rising public concern over driver distraction. An internal memo by Washington lobbyists calls for a broad industry coalition to push education as an alternative to stiffer controls on using cell phones and other devices behind the wheel.