Cellphone App Warns If You’ve Had Too Much To Drink
December 15, 2014
A new cellphone app produced by the State of Maryland aims to warn you if you’ve had too much to drink. Called ENDUI, as in End DUI, the app was developed under a federal grant in hopes of keeping drunk drivers off the road.
To use the app, the user informs the app of their height, weight, sex, and how many drinks they’ve consumed. Using that information, the app determines their approximate Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The app can also provide phone numbers for local cab services or designated driver numbers that are pre-programmed by the user.
The app also has games, one of which is a reaction time tester. To test their reaction time, the user must “hit the brakes” each time a pedestrian walks into the path of the car. The game then determines how fast the user reacted and if the user was able to stop in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
This app can be helpful but shouldn’t be relied upon for accurate BAC information. For one thing, “one drink” may be hard to determine. Some cocktails, such as Long Island Iced Teas for example, may have three to four shots and contain the alcohol equivalent of up to four drinks. If the user counts that as one drink, the app will be getting bum information.
No one’s metabolic rate is the same and, even though the app can approximate a BAC level based on height, weight, sex, and number of drinks, the only accurate way to measure a person’s BAC is with a breathalyzer. However, it’s better than nothing and serves as a good reminder that someone who has been drinking should take a cab or call a designated driver.
The best thing for anyone who plans to drink anything at all is to have a plan to get home by some other means than by driving their own car. Even one drink can affect your driving abilities. Remember, buzzed driving is impaired driving.
The app is available now on iOS or Android.
Read more: A Cell Phone App to Curb DUIs? States Get Creative to Reduce Drunken Driving
Which States Have The Worst Drivers?
December 11, 2014
The worst drivers by state list has been updated by the folks at Car Insurance Comparison.com. No matter how safe a driver you may be, you’re still at risk of having a crash if the other drivers in your state drive badly and, unfortunately, the price you pay for insurance is determined by that driving environment. The worse the driving situation, the more your insurance will cost.
How worst drivers score was determined
To determine each state’s rating, the surveyors looked at the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the following categories:
- Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
- Failure to Obey (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that involved Traffic Signals, Not Wearing Seat Belts, and Driving with an Invalid Driver License)
- Drunk Driving (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that Involved Alcohol)
- Speeding (Percentage of Driving Fatalities that were Speed-Related)
- Careless Driving (Pedestrian & Bicyclist Fatalities per 100,000 Population)
The data was tabulated into one single score per state with the worst states receiving the lowest score.
To see where your state ranked and which states scored worst, read: Worst Drivers By State
Crash Avoidance Technologies Not Always Effective
December 11, 2014
Crash avoidance technologies aren’t always effective according to research conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA). The automotive industry and insurance companies have indicated that new crash avoidance technologies that are being introduced in newer model cars have great potential to save lives and reduce insurance rates but, as with all new technologies, there are limitations. The AAA researchers looked at blind spot avoidance and lane departure technologies and found that, under certain conditions, they failed to warn the driver in time to avoid a crash.
In the case of blind spot monitoring systems, researchers found:
- Blind-spot monitoring systems had difficulty detecting fast-moving vehicles – such as when merging onto a busy highway. Alerts were often provided too late for evasive action.
- Motorcycles were detected by blind-spot monitoring systems 26 percent later than passenger vehicles.
With lane departure systems, the research indicated that:
- Road conditions were often a problem for lane-departure warning systems. Worn pavement markers, construction zones and intersections can cause the lane-departure warning system to lose track of lane location.
- The litany of alerts and warnings could be confusing. Auditory, visual or haptic responses – or a combination – could be similar to other advanced driver assistance features that delivered the same warnings.
All of the new systems do have the potential to prevent crashes and save lives but, until the systems evolve, they should still only serve as an aid to drivers. Drivers still need to be aware of the driving situation and rely on the crash avoidance systems only as a backup.
For more information, read: New Car Technologies Still Working Out the Kinks, Says AAA Assessment
NHTSA Wants Parents To Register Their Car Seats
December 3, 2014
After several recalls of child car seats, both voluntary and those ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NHTSA is urging parents and caregivers to register their car seat and to sign up for recall notifications.
To register your child’s car seat you can visit the NHTSA car seat registration website. Once there, you can plug in the manufacturer and model type and you will be directed to the registration page for that car seat.
You can also register on the NHTSA recall notification website. From that page, you can not only request to be notified for car seats but also your vehicle, tires, motorcycles, and more. If NHTSA orders a recall on any of these products, you will be notified by email.
Read more: NHTSA campaign urges caregivers to register their car seat
AAA Studies Drowsy Driving
December 3, 2014
More than one-fifth of fatal motor vehicle crashes involved drowsy drivers according to a new study by the American Automobile Association. The study looked at data from a representative sample of 14,268 crashes between 2009 and 2013 and determined that an average of 6,400 people are killed in 328,000 drowsy driving crashes per year.
Among their findings, the study determined that drowsy driving caused:
- 6% of all crashes in which a vehicle was towed from the scene;
- 7% of crashes in which a person received treatment for injuries sustained in the crash;
- 13% of crashes in which a person was hospitalized and;
- 21% of crashes in which a person was killed.
Sleep deprived nation
America is a sleep deprived nation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year.
A recent National Geographic TV special explained that sleep serves a necessary biological function and serves to clear toxic chemicals from the brain. One toxic substance that is known to be cleared out during sleep is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and it’s thought that not getting enough sleep could lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to National Geographic, having a sleep deficit is like having an overdraft at the bank. If you sleep only six hours a night on weeknights and try to make it up by sleeping two extra hours on Saturday, you still have a sleep deficit of eight hours remaining. That has to be paid back somehow and, unfortunately, it’s often paid back behind the wheel.
Getting a full night’s sleep is critical, not only for safe driving but also for our overall health. For tips on getting a full night’s sleep, visit: Sleep tools and tips