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Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 3:50 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 3:49 AM
WASHINGTON — The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.
The study released Thursday is the latest by University of Utah professor David Strayer, who has been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety for AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety since 2013. Past studies also identified problems, but Strayer said the "explosion of technology" has made things worse.
Automakers now include more options to allow drivers to use social media, email and text. The technology is also becoming more complicated to use. Cars used to have a few buttons and knobs. Some vehicles now have as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that are multi-functional. There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.
"It's adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers' fingertips without often considering whether it's a good idea to put it at their fingertips," Strayer said. That complexity increases the overall amount of time drivers spend trying to use the systems.
The auto industry says the new systems are better alternatives for drivers than mobile phones and navigation devices that were not designed to be used while driving.
The vehicle-integrated systems "are designed to be used in the driving environment and require driver attention that is comparable to tuning the radio or adjusting climate controls, which have always been considered baseline acceptable behaviors while driving," said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
But Jake Nelson, AAA's director for traffic safety advocacy and research, said drivers took their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while using infotainment systems in each of the 30 cars and light trucks, all 2017 models, that were tested in the study. The drivers used voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make calls, send texts, tune the radio or program navigation all while driving.
Clearly automakers haven't worked hard enough to make the systems quick and easy to use, Nelson said. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles "very high" or "high" in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers. Seven were rated "moderate." None required a low amount of attention to use.
Programming a destination into in-vehicle GPS navigation systems was the most distracting activity, taking drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete the task. At 25 mph (40 kph), a car can travel the length of four football fields during the time it takes to enter a destination. Previous research has shown that drivers who remove their eyes from the road for just two seconds double their risk for a crash.
Under pressure from the industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 issued voluntary safety guidelines to automakers for dashboard technology instead of enforceable safety standards. The guidelines recommend that automakers lock out the ability to program navigation systems while a car is moving. However, the ability to program navigation while driving was available in 12 vehicles in the study.
The guidelines also recommend automakers prevent drivers from texting while driving, but three-quarters of the vehicles tested permit drivers to text while the car is moving. Texting was the second-most distracting task performed by test drivers.
Drivers looked away from the road less when using voice commands, but that safety benefit was offset by the increased amount of time drivers spent interacting with the systems.
AAA said drivers should use infotainment technologies "only for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving-related purposes." It also urged automakers to block the ability to program navigation systems or send texts while driving. Automakers should also design infotainment systems so that they require no more attention to use than listening to the radio or an audiobook, it said.
Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say they want the new technologies in their vehicles, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly, according to an opinion survey conducted for AAA.
"Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use," said Marshall Doney, AAA's president and CEO, "but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers."
AAA distracted driving study http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/distracted-driving/?zip=20005&devicecd=PC&referer=www.aaa.com#.WdZAJf6GMdV
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:16 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:37 PM
FAIRFIELD — The three-minute, 20-second 911 call from an officer-involved fatal shooting this morning in Fairfield reveals a woman making panicked pleas.
Screaming “no!” and “help!” the woman yelled out the address once very quickly, and said: “He’s stabbing me!”
The dispatcher continues to ask the woman to say the address again.
“Please yell your address to me so I can send help,” the dispatcher says. “Shout your address, your apartment number.”
One of the officers says: “I heard someone yell ‘help!’”
The dispatcher said an officer is outside if someone could run outside and flag them down.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 4:07 AM
— A 1-year-old Washington state boy battling a rare genetic skin disorder is bathed twice a week in bleach to deter infections, USA Today reported.
Alicia Barber of Chattaroy gave birth to Jamison Stam in May 2017. The boy was born with harlequin ichthyosis, a recessive inherited disorder. Jamison is covered with plates of thick skin that crack and split apart, according to the First Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types.
Harlequin ichthyosis affects about one in 500,000 people, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Jamison was given no chance to live.
"I was severely depressed," Barber told USA Today, "I didn’t go to see him. The state felt like I couldn’t provide proper care for him at that time."
Jamison was in foster care for five months late last year. Barber went to counseling and said she decided to be "the mom Jamison needed me to be" and take over the boy’s day-to-day care. As a mother to a 7-year-old and stepmother to a 6-year-old boy, Barber knew it would be a full-time job.
Jamison's doctors recommended a bleach bath to prevent infections, but they are painful. Barber gives the child morphine to ease the pain, but worries that it affects his already slow breathing, USA Today reported.
"Some days I wake up and I think how am I going to get through another day," Barber told USA Today. "That small voice says ‘Alicia we are going to do this.’ … God is carrying me the most."
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:34 PM
NEW YORK — A man who cut off his wife’s arm with a steak knife in Brooklyn on Thursday is still at large, New York police say.
The woman’s arm was severed just above the elbow, investigators told WNYW. Police said she also lost two fingers in the attack.
Yong Lu, 35, is wanted by New York police after he fled the scene, New York police tweeted.
WANTED: Male, Asian, approximately 5’6, 130 lbs for felonious assault that occurred on 55th street between 4-5 ave. on June 21st. Help us find this individual, share information. #800577TIPS pic.twitter.com/BynpwZ0c1w— NYPD 72nd Precinct (@NYPD72Pct) June 22, 2018
The 35-year-old victim is pregnant, WCBS reports. She is hospitalized in stable but critical condition.
WANTED: Help us find Yong Yu, 38 y/o, 5'8", wanted in connection to assault/attacking a 35-year-old woman with a knife yesterday near 55 St./5 Ave #Brooklyn. If you see him, call 911. Share info by calling #800577TIPS. pic.twitter.com/C23j3l1jtB— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 22, 2018
The couple has a 7-year-old son, WNYW reports.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 9:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 2:22 PM
UPDATE @ 12:22 p.m. (June 22):
Body camera footage obtained through a public records request shows police and fire personnel rushing to help a trash truck driver for Rumpke who crashed into a Xenia nursing home.
Timothy Plemons, 58, of Dayton, suffered injuries not believed to be life threatening, according to a crash report.
No citations have been issued in the crash, according to the report.
The report shows that Plemons was driving northwest on a private driveway when he drove of the left side of the road. Plemons then drove off the right side of the road before he hit a tree and the building, the report shows.
Xenia police are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.
UPDATE @ 2:15 p.m. (June 21): The Rumpke trash truck has been pulled from the building it crashed into this morning.
The office the Rumpke trash truck hit was the home administrator's office, Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said. The nursing home administrator was in the front of the building and was not injured.
"We've had some of these issues before [a car hit the treasurer's office on Main Street some time ago]... I wasn't expecting to see a trash truck actually inside our building," he said.
Huddleson said, "by the grace of God, the folks that were in those offices were out in the field or out in other places in the building."
He noted it's hard to imagine that anyone who would have been in the building could have escaped.
There are about 50 residents in the building, but the entire wing where the truck hit is all administrative/maintenance offices.
There was some ancillary flooding in the damaged portion of the building, because of the sprinkler system that activated. Otherwise, he said, it's business as usual at the nursing home.
UPDATE @ 12:45 p.m.:
A building support will have to be installed at the Greenwood Manor nursing home before the Rumpke trash truck lodged inside a wing of offices can be pulled out, Greene County building inspectors said.
No employees were in the wing when the truck crashed into the home, 711 Dayton Xenia Road, about 8:45 a.m.
A Rumpke official said the company and police are continuing to investigate the incident.
The trash truck driver was taken to Greene Memorial Hospital, where he was to be treated for non-life threatening injuries, Xenia police said.
A trash truck has crashed into a nursing home on Dayton Xenia Road in Xenia Thursday morning.
Fire crews were initially dispatched to the Greenwood Manor, 711 Dayton Xenia Road, around 8:45 a.m. on reports of a fire alarm from the building.
While crews were still responding, dispatchers said a trash truck had crashed into the building.
Initial reports indicate one person was injured in the crash and the wing where the crash occurred has been evacuated.
Additional details were not available.