April 29, 2016
Are the transportation investment decisions being made in line with what the public wants and expects with regard to the future of our transportation system? This basic question is driving a public input effort related to the state’s long-range transportation plan, Iowa in Motion 2045.
During February 2016, the Iowa Department of Transportation posted an online survey asking questions about our transportation system and what strategies should be adopted to address perceived needs. There were a total of 520 visitors who submitted responses, almost double the number of responses (264) to the survey conducted for the 2012 iteration of Iowa in Motion.
Worldwide, there are estimated to be 305 million active monthly Twitter users. Facebook has 1 billion users and Instagram is up to an estimated 100 million. Throw in SnapChat, Pinterest, and a myriad of other social platforms and it seems like everyone is electronically engaged. The vast majority of these social media users connect using a mobile device.
Many states, including Iowa, have some sort of ban on using a hand-held device while driving. Laws certainly have their place, but changing the way we think about cell phone use while driving is what will need to happen to change behaviors and save lives.
It’s a rare gift to be able to connect with the customers you serve on a very personal level. A large portion of the professional drivers that the Iowa Department of Transportation’s motor vehicle officers come into contact with are not native to the United States. Most have immigrated to the U.S. to find a better life. Motor Vehicle Officer Senad Suljic can relate.
Suljic’s story begins in a small city called Bratunac, Bosnia, on the western edge of the current country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, only a river crossing away from neighboring Serbia. In 1992, war broke out between the two countries. Suljic wasn’t quite seven years old. When his small city was invaded by Serbian troops, the Suljic family, including Senad, his parents, two younger brothers, and grandmother, was forced to flee.
Everyone has heard that using your phone while driving is dangerous. So you’ve made the safe choice to put your phone away while driving and instead use your car’s hands-free system to call or send texts or emails. Think you are free from distraction?
Actually, hands-free does not mean risk free. Research is showing that hands-free systems can cause even more of a mental distraction than hand-held devices.