Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New device in the works to catch texting drivers


A Virginia company is developing a radar gunlike device that would help police catch drivers as they text.

The technology works by detecting the telltale radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a cellphone, said Malcolm McIntyre of ComSonics. Cable repairmen use similar means to find where a cable is damaged - from a rodent, for instance - by looking for frequencies leaking in a transmission, McIntyre said.

A text message, phone call and data transfer emit different frequencies that can be distinguished by the device ComSonics is working on, according to McIntyre. That would prove particularly useful for law enforcement in states such as Virginia, where texting behind the wheel is banned but talking on the phone is legal for adult drivers.

ComSonics, based in Harrisonburg, got its start in the cable TV industry and provides calibration services for speed enforcement equipment. McIntyre discussed the company's move into texting detection Monday at the second annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit.

He said the device is "close to production" but still has several hurdles to clear, including legislative approval and adoption by law enforcement. There are also privacy concerns, though McIntyre said the equipment could not decrypt the information that is transmitted by drivers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

National Child Passenger Safety Week — September 14–20, 2014

From:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. In 2012, a total of 1,168 passenger vehicle occupants aged 0–14 years died as a result of a motor vehicle traffic crash. During 1975–2012, child restraints saved an estimated 10,157 lives of children aged 0–4 years. Seating position also contributes to child passenger safety. To keep child passengers as safe as possible, drivers should properly restrain children aged <13 years in a back seat and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' child passenger safety recommendations, which include properly restraining children in age- and size-appropriate restraints as follows: rear-facing child safety seats up to age 2 years; forward-facing child safety seats up to at least age 5 years; booster seats through at least age 8 years and until seat belts fit properly; and adult seat belts, still in the back seat, until age 13 years. Passengers aged ≥13 years should use adult seat belts on every trip. Additional information on child passenger safety is available at

For 2014, National Child Passenger Safety Week is September 14–20. As part of the campaign, September 20 is designated as National Seat Check Saturday, when drivers with child passengers are encouraged to visit a child safety seat inspection station to have a certified technician inspect their car seat and give hands-on advice free of charge. Additional information and an inspection station locator are available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at Promotional materials (in English and Spanish) are available at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rise of wearable tech raises distracted driving fears

The new Apple Watch was unveiled Tuesday. Police see it as a potential new source of driver distraction. - Black Press file photo

From: The Leader

Apple just took the wraps off its new iPhone 6, which ships on Sept. 19 for a contract-tethered starting price of $199. Along with the phone came a new — and much-anticipated — device from the Cupertino, Calif., company: the Apple Watch. Apple's first foray into the field of wearable devices, which are multiplying like digital rabbits, the Apple Watch heralds new ways to do a lot of old things: text messages, checking the weather and social media, but it also has maps and turn-by-turn directions built in. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

Having all this information on your wrist may be as convenient — or more so — than having it on your phone, but looking at your wrist while driving is not advisable for drivers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The state-level results from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey are now available!

The 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey collected self-reported health information from Colorado middle and high school students. The HKCS was administered in Fall 2013 to approximately 40,000 randomly-selected students from over 220 middle and high schools. The survey is administered to students in odd-numbered years, with the next full administration in Fall 2015.

HKCS is supported by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). The University of Colorado Denver is the official contractor for state HKCS. Starting in 2013, Colorado will have data at both the state and regional level, based on the state’s health statistics regions.

The primary use of the data is to identify health priorities in order to better implement school- and community-based strategies to improve and maintain the health of youth.

Access the new state-level data tables at:

Request additional state-level analysis, please submit a request at:

An executive summary, regional data and other topic reports will be available later this fall.

Monday, September 8, 2014

RFP for Foothills RETAC C-DOT Project Coordinator

The Foothills RETAC is seeking applications to fill the position of Project Coordinator for this year’s C-DOT Teen Driving Program. The program addresses distracted driving and seat belt use in teens. This is a “Contract” position only. It requires about a half of a full time position and is dependent upon activities related to the grant. We’re certainly hoping for a person with a real “heart” for this issue and someone that is very motivated and self-driven.

Resumes are due into the RETAC office by September 19th with a letter of interest. For more information see the job description.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Linda L Underbrink at 720-485-4380.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Community works together to stop teen traffic deaths

From: KSPR 33

Car wrecks are the number one killer of people age 15 to 24. Almost six thousand are killed in wrecks each year.

Now the Safety Council of the Ozarks thinks it may have a way to reduce those numbers in the Ozarks.

For years the Safety Council of the Ozarks has had a program called “Alive at 25.” If a teen gets a traffic ticket, a judge can order them to take a 4 hour driver safety course. Now the council wants to extend the program so that more young people will learn valuable driving lessons.

The idea to change the program came after South Carolina saw a 47% drop in teen driving deaths.

The South Carolina Safety Council worked with schools to make its “Alive at 25” program mandatory for students with cars.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

GM to launch cars that detect distracted driving

From: CNBC

Drivers who like to check their email or do their make-up at traffic lights, beware.

General Motors, the largest U.S. auto manufacturer by sales, is preparing to launch the world's first mass-produced cars with eye- and head-tracking technology that can tell whether drivers are distracted, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Seeing Machines, an Australian group listed in London, has signed an agreement with safety-goods maker Takata to supply GM with tracking devices for up to 500,000 vehicles over the next three to five years.

Read More Google's driverless car is good news for bad drivers

The gadgets will start by measuring the rotation of the head so they can alert drivers if they are not spending enough time looking in certain areas such as the road ahead or the rear-view mirror.

"Safety doesn't sell cars - sexy sells cars," said Ken Kroeger, Seeing Machines' chief executive. "But once cameras are there, they can be expanded for other features and purposes."