car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, gesture control, Road Safety Research, Technology, Texting and Driving

Ending Distracted Driving Awareness Month With A View Toward Technology

Any activity that places either visual or manual demands on a driver substantially increases the risk of a crash. This includes texting, browsing, dialing a hand-held phone or engaging in conversation either with passengers or on a hands-free device that makes people react badly to hazards.

hand point The growing sales of luxury cars with advanced safety and comfort features have fueled the development of the automotive “gesture-recognition” market, expected to surpass $13 billion worldwide by 2024. Gesture control not only makes using various in-built systems easier, but also reduces the probability of causing a distraction-related collision by minimizing the need to take one’s eyes away from the road. But will gesture control really eliminate the dangers associated with the use of hands-free devices aimed at keeping driver’s eyes on the road?  

Consider a vehicle being driven at 40 mph and the driver needs to adjust the volume of the radio, change the channel or look at GPS, that might take the driver’s eyes away for about 1.2 seconds. A car traveling at that speed will cover more than 20 meters in 1.2 seconds, opening opportunities for a mishap just waiting to happen. Now combine this scenario with the multitude of features available in vehicles today such as infotainment systems in addition to the alarming rise in the use of mobile phones while driving. 

The idea behind gesture control is that instead of pressing a button, a driver waves his or her hand, points or otherwise gestures. So even with gesture control, the driver is still taking one hand off the wheel. Plus, the driver still has to look at the device to see which option to pick, so the driver’s eyes are still off the road.

Distraction happens in three forms – manual, visual and cognitive. With gesture control, the manual and visual elements are still at play; the crucial cognitive element of distraction does not change the nature of the cognitive distraction at all. It is essential for road safety that drivers think about driving – not about controlling the  newest “infotainment systems” that offer seamless connectivity with smartphones and other wireless devices.  Most infotainment systems are still operated by buttons and warrant a diversion of the driver’s attention, even if for just a little more than a second.


Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, Texting and Driving, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.


Distracted driving has become a national epidemic—endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians. Distracted driving involves a range of activities, from texting or talking on the cell phone to adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, smoking or taking a sip of your drink…. anything that can distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.

Texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly habit, illegal in all states and the District of Columbia except Arizona, Montana, and Missouri. April is DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with state and local officials to step up enforcement and catch distracted drivers.  From April 11 to April 15, the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign will in full force as a national high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws. Consider the frightening statistics behind this dangerous trend:

• Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
• According to NHTSA, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
• Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.
• According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
• Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Safety Tips for Driving
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay
• When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Texting and driving isn’t trendy “normal” behavior—it’s a selfish, deadly and, oftentimes, illegal activity that could kill you, a loved one, a friend, or a stranger.
• In 47 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense. You could end up paying a hefty fine, and could get points on your license.
• If you see something, say something. If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away and don’t get caught in the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. dragnet focused on making our roads safer for all.
For more information, visit


Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Distracted Driving, Texting and Driving

Effects of texting on driving are actually worse for older drivers


Teenagers use text messaging more than any other mode of communication. In an article published by the American Psychological Association, “The Role of Compulsive Texting in Adolescents’ Academic Functioning“, the authors found that many teenage texters had a lot in common with compulsive gamblers, including losing sleep because of texting, problems cutting back on texting and lying to cover up the amount of time they spent texting. Compulsivity is more than just the number of texts, and lead author Kelly M. Lister-Landman from the Delaware County Community College poses vexing questions….. What is a teen’s relationship with phone use where they might feel anxiety when withdrawing from its use?  Do they feel compelled to look at it at all times, rather than just answering texts they get?

A different study from Wayne State University shows that texting and driving can be even more dangerous for older and experienced drivers. “The effects of texting on driving performance and the influence of driver age” demonstrates that for highly skilled texters, the effects of texting on driving are actually worse for older drivers. The study was conducted with a group of 50 people between 18 and 59 years old who were in driving simulators and answered simple text messages researchers sent to their phones. Half of the subjects were highly-skilled texters — people who said they texted a lot, could text one-handed and owned smartphones — who veered into other lanes in the simulator when reading or sending texts. The older, prolific texters did especially bad: all of the 45- to 59-year-olds and 80 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds veered into other lanes. Meanwhile, about 40 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds and about 25 percent of 18- to 24- year-olds began crossing lanes while texting. The study confirmed what researchers have stated, that there is something unique to the distraction of texting that makes older and more mature drivers worse at it, but they are not sure why this age difference exists. Perhaps older drivers take more and longer glances at their phones when composing and reading messages; maybe older drivers can’t manage technological multitasking in the same way as young people who were born and raised in the age of technology. It could also be a combination of these and other factors.

According to the Pew Research Center, some 73% of adult cell owners use the text messaging function on their phone at least occasionally. Young adults are the most active users of text messaging, with 95% of 18-29 year olds using the text messaging feature on their phones. These users send or receive an average of 87.7 text messages on a normal day (with the median user in this age group sending or receiving 40 text messages per day).

Given the increasing frequency of texting while driving within virtually all age groups, these data suggest that ‘no texting while driving’ education and public service messages need to be continued, and they should be expanded to target older drivers as well.


Distracted Driving, Texting and Driving

Simulator shows firsthand dangers of texting while driving


AT&T’s It Can Wait Campaign –


AT&T has teamed up with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to develop the “Texting and Driving: It Can Wait” Simulator – to show firsthand the dangers of texting behind the wheel – in a safe way.  The simulator attempts to mimic the environments in which the driver needs pay attention to the tasks of driving – speeding up, slowing down, swerving, etc.  Finally comes the crash caused by texting while driving. The message: No one is immune from the effects of distracted driving.

The physical simulator that is made available at schools and community organizations, consists of a bucket seat behind a small steering wheel, metal accelerator and brake pedals, a smart phone perched on a narrow stand by the driver’s right hand, and a videogame-like display on a giant TV screen.  To play the 3D texting while driving simulator online, you will need to download the plugin.

With many public schools haven eliminated their driver’s ed programs, these are good complements to outreach programs that teach the dangers of distracted driving similar to the way the dangers of drunken driving are taught through courses such as those offered at The AT&T simulators are also part of the Friday Night Live campaign that focuses on the dangers of driving distracted, drunk or drugged. The best teachers, however, are the parents, where the adage “do what I say and not what I do” can have deadly effects.

Distracted Driving, Texting and Driving

Texting while driving – bad for teens, bad for adults…..


Texting While Driving – No text message is worth the damage it causes

It isn’t easy to text while you drive – you have to take your hands off the steering wheel, your eyes off the road, and your concentration away from where you are going. Texting is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Statistically, a driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash if texting while driving. The bottom line:  no text message is worth the damages it can cause. Don’t believe it?  Take the “it Can Wait” texting and driving simulator at to experience first hand how you react to conditions presented to a drive while texting.

Teenagers are notorious for texting – it is their lifeline to their friends and the outside world. A recent teen driver survey found that 97% say texting while driving is dangerous.  But adults, too, need to be reminded of the dangers of dangerous driving.  In ATT’s “It Can Wait” campaign, over 1,000 adults were surveyed about texting while driving.  Nearly half (49%) admitted to texting while they were driving, with about 43% of adults calling it a “habit.” Of the adults who admitted to texting while driving, the majority claimed they knew that it was wrong and dangerous, but did it anyway. The study concluded concluded that if parents do not have a rule against texting while driving and/or do it themselves, their young adult is more likely to drive distracted.

ATT has published a fact sheet on texting while driving, and has spearheaded a campaign against texting while driving.  Join the conversation at #itcanwait. View the It Can Wait YouTube channel for texting while driving videos.