U.S. bans truckers, bus drivers from texting while driving By Ashley Halsey III, Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, January 27, 2010 On Tuesday, the federal government formally barred truckers and bus drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel, putting its imprimatur on a prohibition embraced by many large trucking and transportation companies. "We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."
Spotlight on Districted Driving Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens More than 80% of drivers admit to blatantly hazardous behavior (Nationwide Mutual Insurance Survey) Drivers on mobile phones are more impaired than drivers at.08 BAC (University of Utah Study)
Spotlight on Districted Driving An estimated million people chat on their mobile or send text messages while driving Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves ( NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
There are two truths to these common beliefs: ▫ People actually do not “multitask” ▫ People do not accomplish both tasks with optimal focus and effectiveness
Multitasking is a myth Do not perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain handles tasks sequentially, switching between one to the other. Our brains can juggle tasks very rapidly, which leads us to erroneously believe we are doing two things at the same time. In reality, the brain is switching attention between tasks – performing only one at a time.
Transit Agency Policy Changes throughout the US
Distraction.gov National Distracted Driving Strategy Distracted Driving Key Messages Building Partnerships Taking Inventory of your State Working with the Media Public Education Frequently Asked Questions Put It Down (Social Norming) Logo Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other (Enforcement) Logo Broadcast Materials
October 2008 According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the cause of the collision, the Metrolink train ran through a red signal before entering a section of single track where the opposing freight train had been given the right of way by the train dispatcher. The NTSB faulted the Metrolink train's engineer for the collision, concluding that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty. (METROLINK) Killing 25 people and injuring 135 Damage More than $7,100,500
May 2009 MBTA: A two-car Green Line trolley slammed into the rear of another two-car Green Line trolley that was stopped at a red signal near the Government Center Station. According to MBTA General Manager, Daniel Grabauska, t he Conductor in this Boston Trolley Crash was Texting his Girlfriend at the time of the crash: 49 Injured
Alexandria, VA Bus Crash – Cell Phone Use by Driver The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that a bus accident in Alexandria, Virginia, November 14, 2004,was caused in part by the fact that the bus driver was talking on a cell phone. The NTSB determined that the bus accident was avoidable since signs leading up to the bridge warning of the reduced clearance were well marked.
June 2008 Texas Bus driver fired after crash while texting
Is there a difference in the level of distraction if a driver is using a hand-held cell phone versus a hands-free phone? As discussed, Distracted driving applies to anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, or interrupts your concentration while driving. Studies have shown that the impact of using a hands-free phone on driving performance was not found to differ from the impact of using a hand-held phone. Researchers believe what distracts the driver is the withdrawal of attention from the processing of information in the driving environment while engaging in the cell phone conversation.
The National Safety Council estimates that 28% of crashes, or 1.6 million crashes in 2008, were attributable to handheld and handsfree cell phone use and texting. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Reports that In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes that involved distracted driving.
Virginia Tech cell phone use and driver distraction study (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/story.php?relyear=2009&itemno=571) BLACKSBURG, Va., July 29, 2009 -- Several large-scale, naturalistic driving studies -- using sophisticated cameras and instrumentation in participants' personal vehicles -- conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), provide a clear picture of driver distraction and cell phone use under real-world driving conditions, according to the institute. Combined, these studies continuously observed drivers for more than 6 million miles of driving.http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/story.php?relyear=2009&itemno=571 A snapshot of risk estimates from these studies includes the following; For light vehicles or cars Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 2.8 times as high as non-distracted driving; Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.3 times as high as non- distracted driving; and Reaching for an object such as an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.4 times as high as non-distracted driving. For heavy vehicles or trucks Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 5.9 times as high as non-distracted driving; Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.0 times as high as non- distracted driving; (SEE NEXT BULLET) Use of, or reach for, an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 6.7 times as high as non-distracted driving; and Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving.
What does Florida Law Require? Florida Statute 341.061 (2)(a) The department shall adopt by rule minimum equipment and operational safety standards for all governmentally owned bus transit systems and privately owned or operated bus transit systems operating in this state that are financed wholly or partly by state funds, all bus transit systems created pursuant to chapter 427,and All privately owned or operated bus transit systems under contract with any of the foregoing systems. Standards for bus transit systems shall be developed jointly by the department and representatives of the transit systems. Each such bus transit system shall develop a transit safety program plan that complies with established standards and shall certify to the department that the plan complies with the standards.
Changes in Florida 2009 Florida Department of Transportation Rule 14-90 Florida Administrative Code Language about distractions Requirements for distracted driver training
CHAPTER 14-90: EQUIPMENT AND OPERATIONAL SAFETY STANDARDS FOR BUS TRANSIT SYSTEMS 14-90.002 Definitions “Use of a Wireless Communications Device” – means use of a mobile telephone or other electronic or electrical device, hands-on or hands-free, to conduct an oral communication; to place or receive a telephone call; to send or read electronic mail or a text message; to play a game; to navigate the Internet; to play, view, or listen to a video; to play, view, or listen to a television broadcast; to play or listen to music; or to execute a computational function. Use of an electronic or electrical device that enhances the individual’s physical ability to perform, such as a hearing aid, is not included in this definition.
CHAPTER 14-90: EQUIPMENT AND OPERATIONAL SAFETY STANDARDS FOR BUS TRANSIT SYSTEMS Wireless Communications Device - means an electronic or electrical device capable of remote communication. Examples include cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and portable computers (commonly called laptop computers). Personal Wireless Communications Device - means an electronic or electrical device that was not provided by the bus transit system for business purposes.
14-90.004 Bus Transit System Operational Standards SYSTEM SAFETY PROGRAM PLAN REQUIREMENTS 14-90.004(1) Each bus transit system shall develop and adopt an SSPP that complies with or exceeds the established safety standards set forth in this rule chapter. (a) The SSPP shall address the following safety elements and requirements
Wireless Communication 12. A wireless communication plan and procedure that provides for the safe operation of the bus transit vehicle and assures that: a.The use of a personal wireless communication device is prohibited while the transit vehicle is in motion. b.All personal wireless communications devices are turned off with any earpieces removed from the operator’s ear while occupying the driver’s seat. 14-90.004 Bus Transit System Operational Standards
Wireless Communication 13. A policy on the use of a wireless communications device issued to the operator by the bus transit system for business related purposes. Policies developed shall assure that: a.guidelines are developed that allow for the use of a wireless communications device in emergency situations. b.the use of a wireless communications device does not interfere with the operator’s safety related duties. 14-90.004 Bus Transit System Operational Standards
Wireless Communication 14. The Bus Transit System shall develop a driver educational training program on: a.the proper use of a wireless communications device issued to the operator by the Bus Transit System while in the performance of their safety related duties. b.hazards associated with driving and utilizing a wireless communications device.
Training in Florida Requirement of FAC 14-90 ▫ FDOT in conjunction with the USDOT’s Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) is developing a Computer Based Training Program and Video ▫ Available to all transit systems nationally
Tips from the Florida Highway Patrol To Call or Not to Call? Make safe driving your first priority. If talking on your cell phone is going to distract you, don't use it while driving. If you are behind the wheel and you get a call, just let it ring! If the caller wants to talk to you, he will leave a message. If you suddenly need to make a call, pull over and stop your car as soon as you can. Keep your eyes on the road. If you absolutely must use your cell phone while driving, don't take your eyes off the road - not even for a second! If you have to dial a number, use speed dial if possible. Better yet, wait until you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, dial the number quickly, then place your call before pulling back into traffic. If you must answer a call while driving, make sure your phone is where you can easily find it without taking your eyes off the road. You should memorize the feel of the buttons on your phone so that you don't have to look down at it to accept or place a call.
Tips from the Florida Highway Patrol To Call or Not to Call? Be Prepared. If you are expecting calls or know that you will be placing calls while you are behind the wheel, make preparations. Don't take notes or look up numbers while driving. Again, keep your eyes on the road. Use speed dial or keep all numbers handy. If at all possible, install a hands-free device to avoid having to take your hands off the wheel. Limit Conversation. A cell phone is useful in emergencies and is definitely convenient. However, it can be abused. Drivers who engage in lengthy or involved conversations are just asking for trouble. It is very hard to concentrate on driving while you are trying to make vacation plans or comfort a friend in the hospital. You should not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may distract you from your primary task - driving your car!