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Do not text and drive

Published: Thu, December 5, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

The New York Times: The pileup of grim fatality data about the risks of distracted driving has prompted New York state to assign highway troopers to a special fleet of 32 CITE vehicles, for Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement, designed to catch cellphone texters as they tap away. These are nondescript gray SUVs that ride higher than normal so officers can peer down into vehicles moving suspiciously in the hands (or nonhands) of drivers eyeing and manipulating their electronic-message devices.

In the first two months of the program over the summer, troopers wrote 5,553 tickets for texting, pulling over surprised drivers with police flashers and a siren’s call. The tally was more than five times the comparable period last year, providing fresh documentation of an alarming problem that federal safety officials estimate finds 660,000 drivers blithely texting away in their cars at any moment during daylight hours across the nation.

Distracted driving killed more than 3,000 people last year and injured 421,000 in crashes, according to federal highway studies. New York’s anti-texting squad, one of the first to take to the roads, is an encouraging development as threats to life and limb escalate along with the technology industry’s glittery invitations to 24/7 conversation.


1ErikWood(11 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Text and Drive recently became the #1 killer of teens in the US - more lethal than drunk driving. I think its starting to become clear that legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I also read that over 3/4 of teens text daily - many text more than 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes. Technology needs to be part of the solution and not dismissed as the villain.

I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user, I built a texting asset called OTTER that is a simple and intuitive GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. While driving, OTTER silences those distracting call ringtones and chimes unless a bluetooth is enabled. The texting auto reply allows anyone to schedule a ‘texting blackout period’ in any situation like a meeting or a lecture without feeling disconnected. This software is a social messaging tool for the end user that also empowers this same individual to be a sustainably safer driver.

Erik Wood, owner
OTTER apps (Since 2010. Free)
do one thing well... be great.

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