Tag Archives: driving

Incease on mobile phone use whilst driving

Latest survey shows that mobile phone use whilst driving has increased.

The Government’s latest mobile phone use survey (published on 25 February) gives cause for concern as it shows that mobile phone use whilst driving in England has increased.

The report showed that the proportion of car drivers seen using a hand-held mobile phone has gone up. Overall, 1.6% of all drivers in England and Scotland were observed to be using a hand held mobile phone and that could be as many as half a million drivers every day!

Most were observed using the phone in their hand (1.1%) rather than holding it to their ear (0.5%) suggesting that most mobile phone use while driving is sending/receiving texts or using social media.

Male drivers (1.7%) are more likely to use a mobile phone than female drivers (1.3%) and van drivers (2.7%) are more likely to be observed using a mobile phone than car drivers (1.4%) or goods vehicle/lorry drivers (1.2%).

The only way to counter White Van Man’s addiction to mobiles is to have more cops in cars and for employers to take their duty of care more seriously. If not they could face corporate manslaughter charges.

It’s worrying that the percentage of car drivers using a hand-held mobile phone has not gone down since 2009. This shows that there is a hard-core of drivers who still believe there is nothing wrong with their behaviour and continue to put their own lives, and the lives of others, at risk by using their phone behind the wheel.

We know how common this behaviour is from our AA-Populus motoring panel.  Virtually all of our members say they see other drivers using a hand-held mobile phone on most journeys, and the majority (81%) think that speaking on a hand-held mobile phone should be categorised as a dangerous driving offence in the event of a fatal collision.

Education and enforcement are the tools needed to try and keep our roads safe for everyone who uses them.

Edmund King  (26 February 2015)

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Smart seatbelts monitor heart rate to stop drivers nodding off

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Seatbelts which monitor heart rate and wake drivers up if they sense they are falling asleep behind the wheel, have been developed by scientists.

The new device can spot when breathing and heart rate slows and issue a warning alarm to pull over to prevent motorists from causing accidents through nodding off.

Driver fatigue is a major problem on Britain’s roads and is believed to contribute to around 20 per cent of all road accidents and around 25 per cent of fatal or serious crashes.

The new system – dubbed HARKEN – also takes a second reading from a special seat cover.

Jose Solaz, of the Biomechanics Institute in Valencia, Spain, said: “The variation in heart and respiratory rate are good indicators of the state of the driver as they are related to fatigue.

“So when people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate.

“(The device) can monitor those variables and therefore warn the driver before the symptoms appear.”

Sleepiness reduces reaction time, alertness and concentration.

Most sleep related crashes happen on long journeys on monotonous roads, like motorways between 2am and 6am in the morning or just after lunch, between 2pm and 4pm in the afternoon.

Truck drivers and shift workers are most at risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Most (85 per cent) of the drivers causing sleep-related crashes are men, and over one third are aged 30 or under.

The new system has been designed to cancel out the motion of the car and only pick up heart and respiratory rate.

The team, which includes experts from Manchester University, has tested the device out successfully on race circuits and will shortly begin trialing vehicles in the streets of Spain in order to see if the technology works in traffic scenarios.

They believe that if the seatbelts and seat covers were fitted into all cars, thousands of deaths could be prevented across Europe each year

Preliminary tests “have led to positive and reliable results, thus, (the device) will help in the near future to reduce accidents,” added Solaz.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are also currently designing a system to embed an electrocardiogram into the fabric of car seats.

The sensor would trigger a warning to pull over and if the car did not stop in a designated time, cruise control or lane departure technology would be deployed to gently guide the vehicle. The information could also be sent over a wireless network to a control centre to take further action.

Source: The Telegraph

Police recommend doubling penalty for using a mobile phone while driving

If increased to six penalty points per offence, the new scheme would mean a driving ban for anyone caught twice in three years

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Image Source: Telegraph

Ministers are considering doubling the number of penalty points drivers are given when they are caught driving while speaking on a mobile phone.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, is considering the plans to double the penalty points in the current sanction to six. The move was recommended by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, after the first increase in deaths and injuries from dangerous driving on the capital’s streets in more than a decade. It would mean a driving ban for anyone who was caught twice in three years.

McLoughlin said he was closely considering the proposal because the “amounts of casualties there have been are absolutely appalling”.

He told a Westminster lunch with journalists: “The person using their phone doesn’t realise the damage or the danger they can be in. It ends up ruining different people’s lives – those who are driving as well as those who are injured.

“It is one that I want to look at. There could be some difficulties about it but I think we’ve got to get that message across to people about safety.

“We have been very lucky in this country in seeing, year on year, the number of road deaths and casualties actually falling. But one death is one too many and we need to look at those and see where we are going.”

Driving while holding a mobile phone has been illegal since 2003. Edmund King, president of the AA, said his group’s surveys suggest that the majority of drivers see other drivers on the phone on most journeys.

“The current deterrent just isn’t working. Many drivers seem addicted to their phones and just can’t resist looking at a text or tweet at the wheel,” he said.

“We need a concerted effort to crack this addiction with harsher penalties linked to an information and enforcement campaign. Ultimately it will take more cops in cars to get motorists to hang up behind the wheel.”

However, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the problem was not with penalties but with enforcement.

“Our own research shows how dangerous using a mobile at the wheel can be,” he said. “Texting while driving impairs reactions more than being at the drink-drive limit or high on cannabis.

“However the large number of motorists still using phones at the wheel is less about the size of penalties and more about the chance of being caught.

“The Department for Transport’s own figures show that on two previous occasions when this law was tightened and fines increased the number of people offending initially dropped but then rapidly rose again.

“The conclusion must be that drivers simply don’t think they are going to be caught.”

Source: The Guardian

Nissan announces plans for autonomous driving

Nissan Motor has announced that the company will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. Nissan announced that the company’s engineers have been carrying out intensive research on the technology for years, alongside teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.

Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2014. Featuring real townscapes – masonry not mock-ups – it will be used to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe.
Nissan’s autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers. The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations.

“Nissan Motor Company’s willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress – is what sets us apart,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn. “In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.”

Nissan is demonstrating the breadth of the capability of its autonomous drive technology for the first time at Nissan 360, a huge test drive and stakeholder interaction event being held in Southern California. Laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators, have been installed in Nissan LEAFs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios.

Nissan’s autonomous driving technology is an extension of its Safety Shield, which monitors a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver and takes action if necessary. It is based on the philosophy that everything required should be on board the vehicle, rather than relying on detailed external data. The technology being demonstrated at Nissan 360 means the car could drive autonomously on a highway – sticking to or changing lanes and avoiding collisions – without a map. It can also be integrated with a standard in-car navigation system so the vehicle knows which turns to take to reach its destination.

Source: Nissan/Telematics News