tv Inside Story Al Jazeera December 31, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
the result, she died. >> faultlines checks into rehab to investigate who's responsible for the hidden epidemic. >> i was just doin' what the doctor's told me to do. but for the youngest drivers the digital natives who had a cell known in their hand since they were little, it heightens the elevated dangers for them and other motorists on the road with them. driven to distraction - it's tonight's "inside story". welcome to "inside story", i'm ray suarez.
the most dangerous place for an american teenager is behind the wheel. kids learn to drive, and we let them in large numbers, at a younger age than we let them vote, drink, sign contracts or marry. none of those other activities involve climbing into a huge chunk of metal, and talking or texting or fiddling with the radio. erica pitzi looks at how we teach young drives in the country, and no matter how they drive distracted, och with devastating -- oven with devastating results. >> reporter: playing with the radio, putting on make-up. talking and texting on the phone. aum taking a teenager's eyes off the road with deadly consequences. cars. >> the most common form of distraction was teens interacting with other
passengers, followed by teens interacting with cell phones, doing all sorts of things like texting, driving, and interacting with social media >> reporter: how often do you come to the memorial? >> every morning or night every three years. >> reporter: mike's daughter died in a car accident at this intersection in 2012. 18 years old, nicky was weeks graduation. >> we miss her, miss her terribly. no one can figure out or explain what it is to lose a child, and the feeling because you can't explain it to anybody. it's like an empty room, or spot killer. >> reporter: nicky was a passenger in the back seat of the car. it's inconclusive whether the driver was texting or talking on a cell phone.
>> when you are a kid, inexperienced and have a couple of kids in the car, and you are talking and thinking about stuff, to have a phone out is crazy. you are in a time bomb waiting for it to go off. >> reporter: mike turned his pain into a passion, starting padd. driving. >> we are reaching out to teenagers, adults, anyone that will listen. >> reporter: after learning distracted driving may have led to his daughter's death, mike pushed for a law requiring roadways to have signs like this, stating texting while driving is killed. in new jersey, texting and driving is against the law. it's not the case across the country. this father is determined to change that. >> reporter: according to aaa nationwide 33 state ban teens using a cell phone while driving.
when it comes to friends, 17 states limit drivers to one passenger ned the age of 20. some critics argue distracted driving may not happen och if teens are trained before getting behind the wheel. in the u.s. there's no standard. required. >> there are efforts to set guidelines at the national level, raising the bar for what driver education should be. there's a varying degree of what is required or in place. >> this is not a run of mill driver's edclass, it's a real driver evidence school. from simulating driving in bad weather to emergency stopping to avoiding accidents. >> they are teaching us to get out of skids or make a sharp turp if we have to. it's save and control. >> trains your brain so you can do it on the road.
an emergency happens, they'll have this in the background, so you know what to do. >> reporter: brook's dad worries about his daughter op the road. >> noing is safe. one thick they teach is keeping eyes up, looking ahead. >> so many teenagers are looking at their phones. some know better. drives. them. >> it's crazy. i never text and drive. it's horrible. >> this father agrees, sending a message to young dressers. >> put it down, put the phone in the back. you can arrive at the next spot tweeting to your buddies and friends. that text message, whatever you're doing, can wait. we'll begin looking at young drivers and training and distracted driving with amanda clair.
as a young driver she rear ended a tractor driver that was in front of here and was injured. welcome to the programme, why don't you begin telling us what happened that day. >> well, i was active duty air force at the time, and driving in the right-hand lane beyond a van. i was doing what i was supposed to do. had the seatbelt on, drive on the right, a tractor trailer came it a stop in the left leap, and didn't realise there was a turning lane 100 feet up, because there's a grassie median in the middle. an 18 wheeler with a forklift stopped in the left-hand lane. because of a number of distractions, cell phone, gp s, car windows, radio, make-up - i wasn't paying attention - i don't know which one it was at the point of impact. he found him coming, and i
pushed him six feet. >> you were badly work. was your recovery a lengthy one. >> yes, i was in the hospital for two months straight immediately following the accident and in a coma for about a book, and in and out of surgery for over two years, i had over 20 surgeries to put my face back together. i lost my right eye. my angle was snapped. i had to learn to walk again. >> to be clear, you don't define distracted driving as nah scproly as cell phone use. there's a lot of things that could take someone's eye off the road. >> i think it's a huge problem with the distracted campaign, that we want to talk to people about. if you look at the technologies, they are put into cars with
cameras for backing up, and the gp s in the dashboard, and now wiify for the car itself. and you don't take into consideration the things that were distractions before the technologies existed. kids in the back seat. car windows, radio. it's unbelievable the distractions that we are presented with, and that are in front of us, and we are tempted with when we are in the car every day. >> at the same time we tell young people when they are learning to drive. we tell them after they learn to drive. i am sure you got the message - hammered home during those years. don't do anything but drive when you drive. yet people think they can get away with it. what do you think is going on. >> i think that a lot of people, especially teens, everyone is guilty of getting the detachment
and thinking that it's just that girl you see on the news or tv. i was like that. i mean, they just started talking about distracted driving when i had my accident. and i think the problem is that they really don't think that it can hurt them, it can touch them, that they are invincible, people. that's not the case. >> you mentioned the public service announcements, commercials, messages when people are driving, none of those work. what would work. i am sure we thought about that a lot since the accident. >> i think that's it's a matter of talking about it, and talking to people and being realistic, because i think that the inspection is that everybody should be perfect drivers, and the message a lot of times is don't drive distracted. and i don't - as much as i think that's a great message, and
there's validity to it, i don't know how practical it is, i don't know that you will get rid of rejections, you have to approach it from a stand point and ayou have to have the distractions, you have to make realistic choices, remain actions. >> thank you for joining us and telling us your story. there's so much we know about young drivers and accident rates, and so much we know about dracted driving and -- distracted driving and sent that it causes. states are reluctant to make it harder to drive. race the drying age and crack down hard. driven to distraction, it's inside story.
this time on the programme we are looking at the way we train young drivers and the difficulties in tracking down on distracted driving of the ray lahood was secrete of transportation in the first obama administration, and was a long-time member of the house in illinois. welcome back to the programme. >> thank you, great to be here. >> did anything you try in those years as secretary work? causes? >> when we walked in the door, not one person talked about distracted driving. 18 states passed laws. when we left, we got the number to 42 states, which is good, and people were talking about distracted driving. we had state farms, other insurance companies. car companies were talking about it. but we have a long way to go, ray. here we are in washington d.c.,
and if you drive around washington, just about everybody that is driving around washington has a cell phone up to their ear, and they can't drive safely when they do that. >> you and i were walking on a d.c. street, standing on a corner of a downtown street. and it was ludicrous, that we had arranged for every second driver to have a phone to their ear. >> we are trying to persuade people you can't drive safely with a cell phone to your ear, because you don't have two hands on the wheel, which is what we were taught. i met with car dealers to persuade them to put technologies in cars. i met with a lot of people coming up with technology to disable phones while people are driving. some of that is happening now. things have changed. we haven't gotten better.
thanks to what you are doing on this show, and others are doing, we have to keep the drum beat. phone. >> with the new cars making hands free possible, as you heard the young guests say, we are pushing in the other direction, building in more distractions, interactive screens, whify, navigational systems, there's a lot going on in a car cockpit. >> there's a lot of technology in a car. all the cars are made up of chips. every chip has technology distracting people from hands on the wheel and on the road. car companies have a responsibility. the biggest on the drivers with the car. in order to be safe, you have to take
safely, contracted driving is a discipline, an explain to say "this call is not important, this text will be there at the next location wherever i'm going, and i can answer the text or the call", put the texting device to the phone. that will be there when you get to your investigation. you'll arrive safely. >> before you were a regulator, you were a member of congress and a legislator. it's hard to get states to act together on something like this. >> it is, and it takes a national programme, just the way the government said. 0.08 is the level at which you are not going to dry a car. mothers against drunk-driving worked for decades. we have the standard. we need the congress to say there has to be a national distracted driving programme that gives
incentives to states to begin to enact laws, to change people's before. the way you change behaviour is by continuing the drum beat, and some enforcement. there has to be enforcement. even in the states they pass laws, police have so many other thing to do, other than to write tickets for distracted driving. if you use drunk-driving as an illustration of a programme that took a long time to implement, the same thing can be done with distracted driving, national programme, incentives, good law enforcement. maybe we solve the problem. >> when the debate was on to raise the drinking age to 21. you are an illinoisan. the borderline between illinois and wisconsin was dangerous. kids were jumping in the car, it was cheaper, you could drink younger. it was federal hard ball that
made the law change. money. >> totally. >> is the federal government going to be that tough. >> it's hard to get the congress, and that environment, congress is not doing much of anything. there are senators i talked to that would like to introduce legislation, setting a guideline and an enforce. policy, it has to be a carrot and stick thing. you have to offer incentives to enforce the laws. that's what happened with 0.08 and the enforcement of 0.08 by state police and others. i believe it's the same incentive to be offered to cities and states, and has to government. >> thank you for coming by. >> ray is the former secretary of transportation and a 7-term member of congress.
in many places in the world it's government policy to make getting a driver's licence and a car challenging, difficult and expensive. >> make sure it's safe. handbrake off, away you go. >> reporter: for terry white learning how to drive has been an uphill battle. she finally passed her written test. >> i took the written test three times, i failed twice. it was incredibly diff. >> reporter: outside of london, test. >> no, i don't feel ready yet. i reckon maybe another few hours of practicing. i'll feel better then. at the minute i don't feel confident much. >> reporter: that's because of an hour-long road test taking pleas in car filled streets. it's rigorous. >> most people fail the first
test because they are not ready. they do a lesson once a week. it's difficult. standards are high. >> reporter: driving instructor says the average u.k. driver spends 40 hours practicing behind the wheel before taking the exam, saying that u.k. requirements are more stringent than those in the u.s. >> no comparison. the level that we see living in london - it's about the halfway mark. we would consider someone half trained. they are nowhere near the standard required to drive in the u.k. >> reporter: standards in the u.k. are not the strictest. in finland there's a minimum of two years to contain a few unrestricted licence, and in germany, it involves mandatory time. as well as driving at night or in bad weather. >> and joining me here, traffic
safety and advocacy director aaa. >> we mentioned earlier in the programme that there's no national standard for what you teach or how you teach to drive. do we ask enough of young drivers. >> we don't require drivers education. the good news about driver's education is it's shown through research that we have done, through the research foundation, that it can reduce crashes, and reduce citation. as compared to people that didn't go through the programme. we need to learn the rules of the road, and it can prevent us wheel. >> triple a has done fascinating research on young adult driving habits.
what stuck out for you? >> one of the surprising findings was the degree to which teens were getting into crashes involving crashes. national statistics estimate 10% of teens involve distracted driving this that crash. >> the research that we roll out, we learnt 58% of crashes observed in the research involves driver distraction. teen passengers and cellphones were the culprits. >> they were interesting. >> the more kids that are in the car, it starts with one, if you dangerous. >> doubles with two, and quadruples with three or more. more dangerous than if you are driving your siblings somewhere. >>
absolutely, triple a recommends not more than one family members in the car. >> have states been good about putting those restrictions on young drivers. >> yes, every state has a graduating young drivers programme. programme. >> does the triple a talk to state governments about this sort of thing. >> absolutely. we have been lobbying at state level to get the throughs pass. the programs exist, and we continue to do that today. >> i'll finding built in, hands free operation. it's not universe val. one feature was a lock out facility if you sync up the phone while you are driving of the that's good. >> it is good. in most of the systems if you sync you before driving you can do all sorts of crazy things
while the car is in motion. i'm glad you bring is up. >> one of the things an automotive manufacturer has tonne is you can sync your phone to the car, place a call without holding the phone to the ear. >> one of things they filed to recognise is there's mental distraction, cognitive distraction. if you engage in a task other thab driving while -- other than driving while operating the motorcycle. our brains are overloaded and we can't do either thing. when it comes to driving a car, it's serious. >> convincing kids is tough. photographs of mashed up cars, terrifying perform sas -- psas does.
>> as a society, we need to look at ourselves, parents, and older siblings, driving a car from a young age. >> if you go years watching mum and dad text and dry, no crashes happen, and i'm behind the wheel. i'll think it's okay, regardless of what i see. we have done research in this, we asked people how bad it is to talk and drive, how dangerous for yourself and others to do it. we found almost everyone texting and driving - they shouldn't be doing it. it's a do as i say, not as i do. >> thank you, jake, from aaa. >> in a minute. last thoughts on driving, young people and distraction.
independence and working knowledge of the city, postponing the drum beat for a driver's licence. kids. in real-life leave the kids isolated far from everywhere, and especially as they get older, itching to drive. i never understood why we build communities where there's no place to walk, to be, meet a friend or buy a soda, and act surprise when kids bug us for a car, a car that is, when others are passengers, a dangerous place to be. expert witnesses in court cases say over and over that teenagers don't have fully developed brains. i would love to know the motorist in the next car or the one behind me has a fully developed brain, and no smartphone. i'm ray suarez, thank you for joining us for "inside story".