Are traffic cameras a case of ‘Big Brother?’

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By , July 16, 2010 6:21 pm

“I just think there’s too much Big Brother out there,” said Des Moines City Council member Skip Moore on Monday, a quote that began an editorial in the Des Moines Register on Thursday, July 15, 2010. Unlike Councilman Moore, the Iowa newspaper supports the idea of traffic cameras. But there continues to be heated debate across the state over whether their existence is beneficial from a safety standpoint, or a “Big Brother violation.” As a campaign dedicated to safe driving practices, we’d have to side with the former.

Do you support traffic cameras at Iowa intersections? Why or why not? Leave a comment below or vote in our latest Twtpoll.

Online simulator proves texting while driving is no game

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By , July 14, 2010 9:05 pm

Last year, the New York Times posted an interactive driving simulator online to show how distracted driving – particularly texting – negatively impacts your ability to drive. In the wake of Iowa’s new law against texting while driving, we thought our readers may be interested in a virtual example of why this new law is so important to follow.

Studies show that drivers overestimate their ability to multitask behind the wheel. The simulator game measures how your reaction time is affected by external distractions. To try the simulator, click here to see how you do.
Have you ever had a close call because of texting while driving? Leave a comment, and let us know how that impacted you.

Audible SMS Technology Designed to Deter Texting While Driving

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By , July 8, 2010 7:40 pm

Kudos to Ford Motor Company, which will make updates to its SYNC technology that promotes safer alternatives to texting while driving.

According to an article posted by @mashable via Twitter, new MyFord Touch-equipped cars will let drivers block incoming calls and texts with a “Do Not Disturb” button. The biggest addition, however, is support for a new protocol (MAP) that will allow SYNC to read aloud incoming text messages over Bluetooth.

The new version of SYNC — available on 2011 models with MyFord Touch — will also include a “Do Not Disturb” button that will give drivers the ability to block incoming texts and calls, but still make outgoing calls.

To read the full article, click here.

Does this kind of technology play a role in your decision to purchase a new vehicle? Leave a comment, or vote in our latest TwtPoll.


Fourth of July traffic crackdown starts today

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By , July 2, 2010 8:00 am

Tens of thousands of Iowans will be hitting the road this week for the 4th of July holiday. Not only will law enforcement be enforcing Iowa’s new cell phone law banning texting and more while behind the wheel, but they will be in full force across the state to crack down on drunk drivers, distracted drivers, speeders and other traffic violators.

Read the full news release issued by the Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) below:

In conjunction with the Fourth of July holiday period, Iowa law enforcement agencies are announcing they will again be out in full force starting July 2nd through the 5th, cracking down on impaired drivers and other traffic violators to prevent crashes and save lives.

With hopes of warmer weather and an extended weekend, law enforcement will gear up for the 4th of July weekend. In addition to speed and seat belt violators, they will target drunk drivers. “Driving while drunk isn’t worth the tremendous risk,” said Larry Sauer, Bureau Chief at the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. “No matter your age, if you’ve had too much holiday spirit, you’d better find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high.”

Sauer cited recent statistics to underscore the importance of the crackdown. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the 2008 July 4th holiday period (6:00 p.m. Thursday July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. Monday July 7th), our nation recorded a total of 491 traffic-related deaths.”

Although Iowa had only 2 traffic fatalities in 2009, our 10-year average for this holiday period is 5. “Too many people still fail to understand that not buckling up, not driving the speed limit and driving impaired leads to loss of lives. It’s vitally important that we bring this tragic situation to an end,” said Sauer. “The cost of not obeying these and other traffic laws could be your life or the life of a loved one.”

During the 2009 July sTEP wave (special Traffic Enforcement Program), 237 agencies had contact with 472 alcohol/drug impaired drivers, 1,465 seat belt violators and 6,435 speed violators. In all, more than 16,200 traffic violations were recorded. Beyond these violations, officers assisted 844 motorists, investigated 344 traffic crashes and apprehended 143 wanted persons.

Driving out of town for the Fourth of July? Leave us a comment, or weigh in on our poll below.

Waterloo police officer joins DSCV as campaign spokesperson

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By , July 1, 2010 8:15 am

Lt. Corbin Payne

Drive Safe Cedar Valley, a traffic safety awareness initiative aimed at saving lives by changing the culture of driving in the Cedar Valley, has announced a new spokesperson to lead public awareness efforts in 2010. Corbin Payne, a lieutenant and Watch I Commander with the Waterloo Police Department, will promote the campaign’s mission and safety messages throughout the Cedar Valley. Payne joins Nick Anderson, a firefighter and paramedic for the Waterloo Fire Department, as a campaign spokesperson.

“The Drive Safe Cedar Valley campaign is designed to change the culture of driving in the Cedar Valley through safety awareness and advocacy,” said Sandie Greco, Superintendent of Traffic Operations for the City of Waterloo. “Corbin has seen the devastating impact of unsafe driving in the Cedar Valley up close. His experiences really put the importance of safe driving habits into perspective in our community.”

As a new spokesperson, Payne will help promote and share important safety and accountability messages with the community through public appearances, traditional media outlets and social media, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the Drive Safe Cedar Valley blog.

“As a public safety official, the Drive Safe Cedar Valley mission resonates with me because of the unsafe driving consequences I witness while on the job,” said Corbin Payne, Lieutenant and Watch I Commander with the Waterloo Police Department, and spokesperson for Drive Safe Cedar Valley. “By encouraging the community to take ownership of their safety and the safety of others, together we can raise awareness about this program and build support to sustain it into the future.”

Payne has been a member of the Waterloo Police Department since 1996. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of Watch I Patrol, Payne has also served as a Supervisor of the Citizens Response Unit (CRU) and the Waterloo Police Tactical Unit. Other duties and assignments include Patrol Officer, Drug Crime Unit, Bike Patrol Officer and Investigator with the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force.