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Old 12-14-2011, 03:18 PM   #41
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It's not hard to find stories about texting causing accidents. This one last month about a 17 year old who went off the road, hit a tree and died at the scene. Of course her friends don't believe she was texting even though she did receive a text just before, and police said her cell phone appeared to show her in the middle of a reply at the time of the accident.

Teen never texted while driving, her friends say - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Bateman said she included Summers in a mass text message about cheerleading at 9:55 p.m Tuesday, but, "It wasn't a text you respond to." Bateman thinks Summers might have bumped against her phone and inadvertently triggered a partial reply. State police said they found on Summers' cell phone a text she appeared to be typing in the same time frame as the crash.
I agree that it is not about creating specific new laws, but more about applying the ones already in place for distracted driving.

The first year I was in the US (1987) our secretary was late in one morning because she had rear-ended someone on I-45. She was really mad at the other driver because he looked over at her as he pulled in front. "He could see that I was putting on my mascara, he shouldn't have braked so hard, or he should have left me more room". I guess she didn't realize that it is the car behind that really needs to slow down to give more room, and if that only results in others nipping into the space, then stop putting on your makeup at 60mph on an urban interstate and pay attention.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:47 PM   #42
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No doubt, cellphones, texting while driving is a danger.

But is a national ban too excessive or should we have the law decided by state (such as seat belt, speed limit, gun laws, etc.)?

For example, a busy interstate is much different than a lonely, country road.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #43
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....Imagine the case of the wife calling her husband with a 20 mile commute to pick up something that is very close to the office. Sure she can give him a note but people forget. If he drives home without the item, then the next day she has to make the 40 mile trip. Which is more dangerous the minute or two of the husband being distracted or the additional 40 miles trip the wife makes?

...If had my cell phone I could have save time. More importantly, I am a very unsafe driver when I am looking for place since my concentration is spent looking for address, street names, and not on other vehicles on the road.

In the days before cellphone, I remember driving very unsafely and fast to make sure I got home to catch a phone call, or make an appointment. Now days I simply make a call and to tell them I am running late and while I am distracted for a minute or so, for the rest of the trip I am a much better and safer driver.
You could still use your cell phone to tell your spouse to pick something up, to get directions, to tell someone you're running late. Just don't do it while you're behind the wheel of the car.

You can always tell who's on the phone when you're driving--they're the ones with an inconsistent speed, leaning toward the center of the car for some reason. At least they're easy to spot and to avoid, for the most part.

Why do we need to be connected 24/7?
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:05 PM   #44
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Do some googling, educate yourself on the topic, and then see if you still feel that way.

I know it doesn't seem 'right' to many people, but the studies show there is a big difference between engaging in a hands free call and talking to a passenger in the car or listening to the radio. And the hands free is not much different from hand held in terms of distraction.

If I look around me, the earth seems flat, not round. But we have evidence to the contrary. You can't always go by your first impressions.

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I am sure that talking on cellphone while driving is distracting as are many activities. My point is not argue that it is distracting or debate the relative levels of distraction. It is simple observation on the list of the things that kills American cellphones is pretty far down the list.

I'll point out a pretty much indisputable fact, driving has gotten considerable safer over the years. One of the implications of 1.09 death per 100 MILLION miles of operation is that despite our best efforts to kill our fellow Americans by talking on cellphones, texting, putting on mascara, eating our burgers etc. we only succeed in doing so once every 2.5 million hours of driving (assuming an average speed of 40MPH). Injuries are roughly 50x this rate but have also been decreasing dramatically.

In Googling the only state that I found that actually keeps statistics on cellphone accidents is Pennsylvania. In 2009 they had 9 death is in 2010 there were 11, PA has 4% of the US's population so this implies roughly 250 deaths associated with using a cellphone. Every other study involves distracted drivers which is still only in the few thousand range.

As society we have found benefits to allowing people operating vehicles to communicate. That is why cops, fireman, ambulances, delivery vehicles, taxis, truck drivers, pilots have had 2 way communication device that they use while operating moving vehicles. In my observation cops are the worse offenders of texting while driving, cause pretty much anytime I see one on cities streets in rush hour they are looking at their laptops. I am hard pressed to understand why talking on a radio, or a CB is any different than talking on a cellphone. Yet I didnt see the NTSB call for a nationwide ban on talking on radios. (I also didn't see a surge in traffic deaths in the 70s when the CB crazy hit the nation)

There clearly is benefit to talking on a cellphone which is why so many of us are doing it. Both for the short informational calls, pick up milk, pickup Susie at soccer practice, as well the longer calls while we are struck on freeway going 5 MPH. In many cases it is impractical or even dangerous to pull over the side to have these conversations. But most importantly, people are by and large capable of driving and talking at the same time and can so without causing a significant risk to themselves or others. Now there is probably some merit for banning the use of cellphone among our very worse drivers i.e. teenagers.

One of the frustrating things about the NTSB and other government agencies is that assign no value to citizen's time and so the trade off is always this will save lives. (For example, the number of person years lost by the TSA having 800 million people/year take off their shoes long ago exceeded the potential death toll of the shoe bomber). The NTSB proposal if implemented and enforced with 100% compliance would decrease traffic deaths by 1%-2%. When I do a cost benefit analysis this isn't even close.

One of the interesting the I found while googling was this story.
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The medicine cabinet is the new car -- at least when it comes to causes of accidental deaths in the United States. Drug-related accidental deaths have officially outnumbered those caused by car accidents for the first time since the government began collecting data on the behavior in the late 1970s, according an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.
Until now, car accidents posed the greatest accidental danger. But as preliminary data from 2009 trickle in, the numbers have already surpassed car fatalities in 2009 for Americans, despite an increase in drivers and total time driving.
I am looking forward to new government regulation which require the installation of smart medicine cabinets to prevent drug overdoses.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:06 PM   #45
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This publicity has at least alerted those drivers who are conscientious but had no clue (my sister) that there was anything wrong with using a cell phone while driving.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:49 PM   #46
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Cell phones are a huge distraction, and interfere with the important tasks motor vehicle operators absolutely have to perform as part of driving, including but not limited to fishing around in the glove compartment for a CD, reading the newspaper, juggling that Big Mac and half-gallon cup of soda, applying makeup using the rear view mirror, and engaging in a face-to-face discussion with a co-worker in the rear seat. (all seen this morning while riding in the passenger seat in a ten minute freeway drive)

The self-involved idiots on the road will neither know nor care about some silly 'law' that clearly is intended for other people, not themselves.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #47
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Left w*rk a couple of weeks ago. A young buck in daddy's a Mercedes nearly runs a stop sign, then tailgates me to the next traffic light, where he pulls beside me in the next lane. He's texting with both hands, and, for an added bonus, he's eating dinner from a styrofoam container in his lap...
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
As society we have found benefits to allowing people operating vehicles to communicate. That is why cops, fireman, ambulances, delivery vehicles, taxis, truck drivers, pilots have had 2 way communication device that they use while operating moving vehicles. In my observation cops are the worse offenders of texting while driving, cause pretty much anytime I see one on cities streets in rush hour they are looking at their laptops. I am hard pressed to understand why talking on a radio, or a CB is any different than talking on a cellphone. Yet I didnt see the NTSB call for a nationwide ban on talking on radios. (I also didn't see a surge in traffic deaths in the 70s when the CB crazy hit the nation)
This is a very valid point. One of the common elements to (AFAIK) all the state laws restricting cellphone use while driving is an exemption for two-way radio use (such as amateur radio operators using a 2-meter repeater in their local area).

As a ham, I've been carrying on conversations over 2 meters while driving since the 1970s, and I've never heard of a single accident resulting from such use.

Now, a cellphone is really nothing more than a two-way radio, so these laws have to be crafted very carefully to make the distinction, and IMHO there's the rub. As most of us realize, the very occasional, quick answer to a call while driving (not in heavy traffic), that lasts no more than a minute or so, is probably not a problem 99% of the time, while yakking mindlessly away as we all see every day is definitely a problem.

My idea is to take a leaf from the felony book, and deal with it retroactively. If you commit a crime (such as a robbery) there is a certain penalty. In most places, if you use a gun while committing that crime, you get the book thrown at you.

Similarly, under my proposed law, you can use your cellphone while driving if you like. But if you are involved (and I stress mere involvement, not being the cause) in an accident or traffic infraction while your phone is active, you get the book thrown at you.

This would give people the freedom they want, but still make them accountable for their unwise actions.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:24 PM   #49
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[QUOTE=Bestwifeever;1140619]
You can always tell who's on the phone when you're driving--they're the ones with an inconsistent speed, leaning toward the center of the car for some reason. At least they're easy to spot and to avoid, for the most part.
/QUOTE]

Other ways of being able to tell are frequent, unnecessary braking, and the vehicle "wiggling" within its lane.

I once saw a guy holding not one but TWO cell phones while waiting for clearance to make a left turn at a difficult intersection. Could he be given TWO tickets for driving while on the cell phone?

I recall several years ago some lady was behind me constantly yakking on her cell phone, always running up behind me at each red light. The road had only one lane each way so switching lanes was not an option. At the next red light, after this had gone on for a mile or two, I knew it was a long wait and I was soooo close to getting out of my car and walking to hers and start yelling at her to HANG UP AND DRIVE. But I then pictured the cops visiting my place and busting on me for harrassment or menacing even though I would not have threatened her.

At the light, she turned right and I went straight so that was the end of it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:33 PM   #50
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No, I don't plan to do any Googling or futher self education. Just my personal viewpoint which I feel is reasonable. Car manufacturer phone device OK, but hands free no fails my logic test.

As to studies, do you believe everything that has a study associated with it?
No, I don't believe every study, I'm very skeptical by nature. And I was surprised at this when I first heard it years ago, but everything I've read sounded quite convincing. It is unexpected, but that doesn't mean it isn't so.

And I didn't expect you to believe me, so I suggested you google it yourself and see if you find the info convincing or not. You seem to be taking the approach of "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with any data". So be it.

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Old 12-14-2011, 05:39 PM   #51
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My idea is to take a leaf from the felony book, and deal with it retroactively. If you commit a crime (such as a robbery) there is a certain penalty. In most places, if you use a gun while committing that crime, you get the book thrown at you.

Similarly, under my proposed law, you can use your cellphone while driving if you like. But if you are involved (and I stress mere involvement, not being the cause) in an accident or traffic infraction while your phone is active, you get the book thrown at you.

This would give people the freedom they want, but still make them accountable for their unwise actions.

Great idea. There are already laws about distracted driving. The presumption should be made that if you have talked, texted etc with a couple of minutes of the accident that you are a distracted driver and additional penalties should be added. I agree that even involvement should trigger the penalty. You may have been hit by the other guy but if you weren't on the cellphone you have a better chance of avoiding the accident.

It isn't even all that hard to determine if a cellphone is involved. Cellphones all have call logs or law enforcement can get the information from the carrier. Nowdays most new cars have onboard computers which can pinpoint the exact time of the accident. I am sure insurance companies would be happy to set the appropriate financial penalties for driving while distracted.

People have a pretty strong sense of self preservation, I have had plenty of conversation where I've been told, hey I'm in heavy traffic let me get back to you and I've done the same. If you lack that skill (typically young drivers) heavy fines and jacked up insurance rates will be an excellent reminder.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:00 PM   #52
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I'm all for eliminating all cell phone use while driving. It should have happened years ago IMO. Talking on the phone is not the same as passively listening to the radio.

Currently our municipality can pull you over for texting but the fine is a paltry $50, a slap on the wrist. If they were serious about curbing texting while driving, they should have made the fine a $500. Not only would it be a great deterrent it would go a long way to solving the city's budget issues.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #53
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Sure, CBs and cell phones are both radios, but I seem to remember the CB "craze" lasting all of 6 months sometime in the mid-70's. Cell phones have been around for what, 20 years now? Texting, 5 or 6 years?

When you talk to someone in the car, it can be as distracting as you let it be. But there is a special difference: The passenger is just as invested in safety as the driver. If the driver says, "Uh oh, better focus on my driving just now," the passenger can see and feel the driver's anxiety, as well as the reason for it. The passenger may or may not agree that traffic has become distracting, but the passenger definitely doesn't want the driver making any mistakes.

The person at the other end of the cell signal, on the other hand, is there thinking, "Sheez, how long do I have to sit here staring at my phone?" and the driver knows this. Conversational continuity automatically starts to trump driver safety. It's even worse if the other person is a client - now the driver is afraid of losing money!

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Old 12-14-2011, 07:15 PM   #54
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I still can't get the image a couple years back of this guy going about 40mph with one hand holding his phone to his ear, and the other hand on the handlebar of his motorcycle.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:04 PM   #55
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Sure, CBs and cell phones are both radios, but I seem to remember the CB "craze" lasting all of 6 months sometime in the mid-70's. Cell phones have been around for what, 20 years now? Texting, 5 or 6 years?
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Also, a CB mic is held in front of you while a cell phone is pressed to your ear using up one arm completely. You can grab the wheel with a CB mic in your hand. Fewer people are likely to pull a phone away from their ear to work a steering wheel.

I've seen many bozo's with a cell phone in their ear that can't a) turn on the turn signal b) make a smooth turn or c) park their car in one shot because they are trying to pilot the car with only one arm.

Scary stuff.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:34 PM   #56
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How would you possibly enforce this if a person has a hands-free phone, there's no way to detect that the driver is using a phone. Unless, of course, the police stop anyone that looks like they're talking to themselves.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:09 AM   #57
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In Germany hands free phones are allowed. But when I see drivers at 120 - 180 km/h on our highways or in heavy traffic very busy talking I wish they were banned...
Yes, in case of accidents we may be able to track down the distracted culprit.
But still innocent people get hurt or killed.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:42 AM   #58
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But still innocent people get hurt or killed.
Which is the point. People do not realize that it is the responsible driver in these incidents that is more likely to be seriously injured. The distracted driver is more likely to be relaxed and not aware of danger. The defensive driver is trying to be defensive and is stiff, hitting the brakes, trying to avoid, etc. This difference is a major reason the victim is the most damaged in these accidents.

The on-going costs to the victim and the victim's insurance (if they don't lose it) is often enormous since it really isn't the COCA Cola truck that causes these problems; it is usually someone without a pot to pee in.

As I said before though, laws are useless when they exist but are not enforced.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:53 AM   #59
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How would you possibly enforce this if a person has a hands-free phone, there's no way to detect that the driver is using a phone. Unless, of course, the police stop anyone that looks like they're talking to themselves.
+1, exactly, there is no way to reasonably enforce this. Further more, if a car manufacturer's implementation of hands free is OK, no reason to take exception to any other hands free device. To me, this fails basic logic and if you take it to an extreme, you'd have to ban folks from reaching over to change the radio station or volume control or turning on their headlights. If you really believe the surveys, then ban all use of talking on a phone while driving including the car manufacturers implementation of hands free.

While I fully agree with totally banning texting and talking on hand held devices while driving, if you really want to save more lives drop the speed limits. Heck, most people on the freeways here in Dallas area drive +10 to 20 mph over the limit (and in many cases the limit is already 60 - 65) Further, lower speeds would save gas.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:06 AM   #60
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It's not hard to find stories about texting causing accidents. This one last month about a 17 year old ...
Was the accident really caused by the cell phone or maybe the fact the driver was 17.
Let me know if you find a story of a 40+ year old
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