It's Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Put the Phone Down

Distracted-driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This topic is particularly meaningful to my family this year, as someone close to us was involved in a distracted driving tragedy just weeks ago. While it always seems like something that happens to other people, nobody on the planet is immune. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Even scarier: During any daylight moment, about 660,000 U.S. drivers use cellphones or manipulate electronic devices while driving, according to the 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

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So it comes down to this: You can either be the perpetrator of distracted driving, being tempted to take a quick peek at that text that just came in, or you can be on the dangerous or even deadly receiving end of someone else's distracted driving.

Every state in the U.S. participated in last year's Governors Highway Safety Administration's "2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States." One crystal-clear take-away from the survey is that no one has hit on a solution with which all parties agree.

And although the U.S. has increased its distracted-driving awareness and education campaigns, the terrifying reality is that we're nowhere near close to solving this often-deadly problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Americans continue to use electronic devices while driving, despite warnings that it causes their own driving to deteriorate and can lead to crashes, injuries and even death."

By Kristin Varela | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Car Seat Check

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Mitsubishi's smallest crossover is also the runt of the compact crossover class. The 2014 Outlander Sport is several inches shorter than competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, so it offers much less legroom. This was a big issue when installing child-safety seats, but it wasn't the only problem. Awkward top tether anchor placement also made installing the forward-facing convertible difficult.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Jeep Renegade Video

The 2015 Jeep Renegade is all-new, but visitors to the 2014 New York International Auto Show — where the subcompact SUV is bowing — will see a lot of familiar features. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says its boxy shape, Patriot-like lines and seven-bar grille show its Jeep pedigree. However, the Renegade's similarities to the Fiat 500L hatchback on which it's based reveal some family blending as the Italian automaker and Chrysler realize their landmark merger. Watch the video for more — especially the rather novel etching of Moab, Utah, topography into storage-compartment mats.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Fiat 500, 500C and Abarth Get Welcome Upgrades

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If you ask me, the Fiat 500 was already out of date when it made its U.S. debut in 2012. Its main liabilities were its interior quality and lack of Bluetooth streaming audio.

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After checking out the new lineup at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, I think Fiat has improved matters for 2015 with a couple of well-chosen upgrades.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 BMW X4 Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays is willing to refer to BMW's crossovers as the automaker-coined "sport activity vehicles" like Chicagoans are willing to refer to the Sears Tower as the Willis Tower — he's not. Despite BMW's attempt to be different in naming its crossovers, Mays says they all look alike, and the 2015 X4 is no exception. The X4 is shorter than the X6 and offers good backseat comfort, but comes up short on cargo space. Watch the video for more.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Infiniti Q70: Up Close

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Infiniti is making a play to take its products a bit further upmarket, making them nicer and more luxurious than outgoing models by focusing more attention on the interior appointments. The latest model to get that attention is the new 2015 Q70 sedan, unveiled at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

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The brand's big sedan has languished a bit when compared to its competition, but this new redesign should finally turn some heads at valet stands everywhere.

By Aaron Bragman | April 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Acura TLX Video

At the 2014 New York International Auto Show, Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays got up close to the all-new 2015 Acura TLX luxury sedan — not that proximity made things more exciting. "It kind of looks like every other Acura," Mays said. Similar to the TL/TSX replacement's prototype we saw at the 2014 Detroit auto show, the TLX is shorter than the TL and wears Acura's shield grille and "jewel-eye" LED headlights. With a comfortable cabin and roomier trunk, Mays found little to criticize but not much to get excited about either. Watch the video.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 23, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C: Up Close

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From the moment mere cooperation between Fiat and Chrysler was hinted at (long before partnership, much less ownership), auto enthusiasts have predicted and pined for the return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S. market. It's finally happening with the 2015 Alfa 4C.

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Alfa Romeo is known for fabulous Italian styling, but I admit I've occasionally had doubts. Maybe it's just because I thought my 1970s Fiat Spider was better looking than the Alfa Romeo Spider, which nonetheless got more attention ... and a higher resale value. 

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Nissan Murano Video

Nissan's midsize crossover gets a redesign, and although its styling still errs on the side of wild, new design cues should make it look familiar — especially its Rogue and Pathfinder-like new grille. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says the Murano's evocative styling is nicely matched by a well-dressed interior with plenty of room and high-quality materials. Check out the video for more.

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Kia Sedona: Up Close

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With its upright grille and angular headlights, the redesigned Sedona looks tougher than the average minivan. The crossover-like styling is on purpose, and it's immediately apparent in that front end and also the hood lines. Overall, the execution is more successful than when GM tried the same thing with its Chevrolet Uplander van.

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

The avoidance of traditional minivan cues continues in the cabin as the Sedona gets a large center console between the front seats that houses the gear selector — just like any number of crossovers. This may seem like a small thing, but it significantly changes your perception of the interior; it doesn't feel like you're sitting in the driver's seat of a minivan.

By Mike Hanley | April 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

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