Monday, July 25, 2016

Tuning A Car Radio Was Considered Distracted Driving in the 1930s

Speaking of distracted driving, according to Mental Floss, in 1930, laws were proposed in Massachusetts and St. Louis to ban radios while driving. Opponents of car radios apparently argued that they distracted drivers and caused accidents by taking the driver's attention away from the road.

The first car radio was introduced in 1922 by Chevrolet. It cost $200 and had an antenna that covered the car’s entire roof, batteries that fit under the front seat and two huge speakers attached behind the seat.

By the early 1930s, the more streamlined built-in Motorola radios were standard features in cars.  By 1946, 9 million cars had radios. By 1963, 50 million cars – over 60 percent – were outfitted with radios. By then, over one third of America’s radio listening occurred in the car.

Anti-radio laws were signed in small municipalities but were mostly ignored. In 2002, the NHTSA blamed 66% of the 43,000 fatal car crashes on “Playing with the radio or CD.”Conversely, here are some statistics from Mental Floss on another distracted driving practice; texting and driving:

  • According to tests conducted by the University of Utah, a driver is four times more likely to cause an accident while driving drunk or talking on a cell phone and eight times more likely to cause an accident while texting. 

  • A 2009 study by Car and Driver magazine measured two drivers’ reaction times to the onset of a simulated brake light on their front windshields. The unimpaired driver took .45 seconds to brake and traveled 4 feet before stopping. The texting driver took .57 seconds to brake and traveled 41 feet before stopping. 

  • According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,870 people died in texting-related car crashes in 2008 and 515,000 people were injured in various car crashes in the United States. Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.