The water balloon theory of driver distraction...


Remember that summer pastime of filling balloons with water and then tossing them at each other to keep cool on hot afternoons. One thing about a water balloon, if you push on one side, it will squish out somewhere else until it bursts. Countermeasures to address driver distraction often act like ...


What happens when technology fails us?


If you think technology will deliver us from driver distraction, just watch this video of a Volvo crash test! The pedestrian avoidance system was designed by Volvo to detect and avoid hitting a pedestrian thereby improving pedestrian safety. In the video, 1 out of 4 tests resulted on a system fail...


Greetings from the National Distracted Driving Summit


I just returned from the National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC.  Here is my take on things. Driver distraction is certainly on the radar of the federal government.  Both Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis gave presentations and this year Secreta...


Yikes! Social networking behind the wheel.


A story in the Seattle Times on September 8th indicates that GM is working on updates to their OnStar system that would allow the driver to update their status on Facebook as well as listen to Facebook messages.  The system would also read text messages and let the driver reply using one of four pr...




The summer is almost over and I’m back in the classroom after a hectic few months.  I didn’t post as many blogs over the summer as I’d hoped, but you can check out what I’ve been doing if you read this NY Times article. I’m interested in how technology influences how we think.  I’ve w...


Inattention Blindness


Below are some graphic images of a tragic motor vehicle crash where the driver was talking on her cell phone. The accident occurred when the driver of a red Volkswagen pulled out from a side street into the path of a motorcycle. The driver of the VW apparently failed to see the motorcycle. The mot...


By The Numbers


A disturbing trend is emerging with regard to texting while driving. Common knowledge is that teens are often guilty of texting while driving, with 34% of 16 and 17 year-olds indicating that they had sent text messages while driving. But, according to a recent poll from the Pew Internet and Americ...


Our Brave New World


As bad a problem as driver distraction is right now, it is poised to become much worse.  Watch this video to see what Ford has in mind for your vehicle.  Every conceivable form of consumer electronics is set to be in your vehicle. If this doesn't give you cause for concern, then I s...


The Streets of San Francisco


Here is some great footage of traffic on the streets of San Francisco circa 1905. Good thing they weren't moving very fast! ...


Some Food for Thought


Imagine if a jet airplane full of passengers crashed today. And a week later, another airplane full of passengers crashed. Suppose this went on for a month or two. There would be media frenzy, the public would be outraged, and hearings in both the US House and Senate would be in the offing. Almo...


Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Answers Nine Questions from Car Talk


Tom and Ray sat down to ask Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood several questions about driver distraction. I think it is great news that DOT is focusing on the epidemic of driver distraction.  Many thousands of lives are lost each year because drivers do not pay attention to the road. The Sec...


No Phone Zone Day


Friday, April 30, 2010 is “No Phone Zone Day”, a national event designed to bring awareness to the hazards of talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. The event is organized by Oprah Winfrey and will involve rallies in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.  Secre...


iPads on the Road...


I have been infected with the iPad bug.   But, an article in Macworld has sounded an alarm.  For $29 you can purchase a windshield mounting system for your iPad so you can never be more than arm’s reach from the device. The article in Macworld suggests that the windshield mount may drive you...


The Tuna Casserole Defense


Several years ago, I served on a task force charged with addressing driver distraction caused by cell phones.  At one meeting, a representative from the cell phone industry suggested that we add driving with a tuna casserole to the list of distractions to prohibit.  The representative noted that h...


Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why Driving While Using Hands-free Cell Phones is Risky Behavior


The National Safety Council released a white paper in March of 2010 entitled Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why Driving While Using Hands-free Cell Phones is Risky Behavior. The white paper does an excellent job of summarizing and explaining the research findings from over 30 studies that ha...