After years of declines, traffic deaths on US roads rose 7.2 percent last year and another 10.4 percent in the first six months of 2016. The cause, regulators believe, is people distracted by their phones when driving.So now the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed voluntary guidelines that ask smartphone manufacturers to try to figure out a way to reduce those distractions by blocking most apps while the phone is being used by someone driving a car.Amazon Prime Day deals: see all the best offers right now!Under the guidelines, drivers would still be able to make calls and use navigation systems but not enter text, browse the web, or view photos or video not related to driving. Entertainment systems should also be made easier to pair with smartphones.Driving ModeAll this requires smartphone makers to develop a technology that determines if someone is driving a car, which is no easy task. In the meantime, the NHTSA wants phone makers to create a "driving mode" … [Read more...] about The US government wants to lock out apps to stop phone use while driving
Mobile phone use while driving
Sounds like the feds are getting more serious about the issue of using your mobile phone to text or talk while driving. Although 38 states have already passed laws that regulate the use of cell phones while behind the wheel -- part of their efforts to cut back on distracted driving -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has renewed his calls for a federal law to ban the practice. According to several articles covering a speech made by LaHood at a distracted driving summit in Texas, the transportation secretary believes a separate law is necessary for mobile phones because of the explosion in usage and the because it believes there were at least 3,000 fatal traffic accidents in 2011 directly related to mobile phones. A Reuters article covering LaHood's speech quoted his rationale: "Everyone has a cell phone and too many of us think it is OK to talk on our phones while we are driving." I don't think any one of us would argue against the need for people to apply more common … [Read more...] about Should the feds ban mobile phone use while driving?
Western Australia is upping the penalties for mobile phone use while driving, with double demerit points in effect for breaking the law during holiday periods. The changes, introduced by the WA State Government this week, come as Australians prepare for double whammy of long weekends in April (thanks to Easter and Anzac Day) and the inevitable increase in traffic that the holidays bring. WA drivers will now face double demerit point penalties for infringements relating to using their mobile phone while driving and for red light traffic breaches. That's the same penalty applied to other "high-risk offences" according to the WA State Government, including drink driving and speeding. "We know that both running red lights and using your mobile phone while driving are linked to fatal and serious crashes," said road safety minister Liza Harvey. "Our clear aim is to reduce the number of road crashes on Western Australian roads. We don't want anybody to lose a loved one on our roads over the … [Read more...] about WA doubles demerit points for using a mobile while driving
At the behest of a major wireless industry trade group and amid heightening concerns about potential health risks, many mobile phones will soon carry information about radiation levels. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) yesterday announced plans to require mobile phones to carry new information revealing the rate of radiation emitted by certain models on the sides of the containers the phones come in. "Voice-only devices are giving way to real heavy Internet-ready devices with a lot more guts that, at least theoretically, may not be that great to have right next to your head," said Bryan Prohm, a wireless industry analyst at market research firm Dataquest. The radiation information, which could be packaged with new handsets in as early as three to six months, is expected to show that cell phones are within acceptable radiation exposure ranges. All cell phones sold in the United States today have been certified to meet federal requirements for the quantity … [Read more...] about What risks do you face using your mobile phone?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) caused quite the stir yesterday when it recommended that drivers be banned not just from texting while driving but also placing hands-free calls. "More than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving." The NTSB is an independent agency that investigates transportation accidents and makes recommendations on safety-related issues. It has no authority to regulate, fund, or be directly involved in the operation of any mode of transportation. A lawmaker, however, could conceivably use the agency's recommendations in crafting legislation. While the NTSB is recommending that there be a nationwide ban on electronics use while driving, the agency's report focused on state efforts rather than an overarching ban from the federal level. "A combination of enforceable … [Read more...] about Which States Have Cell Phone, Texting While Driving Bans?