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NTSB Recommends Banning All But Emergency Cellphone Use While Driving
Old 12-13-2011, 09:14 PM   #1
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NTSB Recommends Banning All But Emergency Cellphone Use While Driving

NTSB: Ban All Cellphone Use While Driving - Insurance Networking News

NTSB says any cellphone use while driving is too dangerous to be allowed, including handsfree devices.

I am 100% for this. Since I am so often a pedestrian, I see how little attention drivers are paying to the important task of driving, and since lives are at stake I believe the the convenience of calling home to say you will be late, or calling clients to set up appointments should be sacrificed in favor of greater safety.

Ha
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
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gotta love the nanny state we live in

it is already banned, its called distracted driving.. eating, talking, looking at a paper map.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:41 PM   #3
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I'm all for it too but I'll believe it when they pass it.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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gotta love the nanny state we live in

it is already banned, its called distracted driving.. eating, talking, looking at a paper map.
I don't consider it a 'nanny state' issue - I want to be protected against distracted drivers. I can't count the times I've been nervous, seeing the guy behind me paying more attention to his phone than to his driving. I'm watching so close, I almost rear-end the car in front of me!

I do agree with you that this is already covered by distracted driving laws. So maybe we could say this is a 'micro-management' issue? I wish they would enforce those laws. Have an ad campaign that makes it clear that ANY distracted driving is an offense.

An infamous case near us was a woman who was applying fingernail polish and rear-ended a motorcycle stopped at the light, killing the cyclist. Sad.

Coincidentally, I went on-line yesterday to update my plate stickers, and this PSA was presented about texting while driving. I thought it was very well done:

The Last Text

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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I think there is a probably pretty hard case to make that this will save lives.
I certainly understand the laws against distracted driving and outright ban on texting and driving make sense. But I think the benefit of allowing people to talk while driving outweighs the disadvantages, and I don't believe it is anymore distracting than listening to the radio or talking with a passenger.

I see people not using hand free devices on while talking phone all the time (it is in the law here) and I am also guilty of although I do try and use my bluetooth if I know I am going to be talking on the phone and driving.

However, it is important to remember there is a cost to individuals and society to not allow people to communicate while driving. 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?

Last week I forget my cell phone on my way to meeting where I had never been. The directions weren't good and I spent 25 minutes looking for the place. 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.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:44 PM   #6
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I ride a motorcycle and to say the least I pay attention to people who venture into my lane. The increase in this behavior has been unbelievable over the past 3 years. Single vehicle accidents for drivers under 25 running into to tree's and poles under daylight/dry conditions has been on a steady increase.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:00 PM   #7
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Refreshing -- very glad to hear this. I've seen people texting while driving -- still find it hard to believe.

However, they'll have to enforce it better than they do the California law -- I often see people talking on the phone while driving.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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It's already been passed in Las Vegas (maybe state-wide?). Has changed no behavior that I've observed.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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People all have their opinions, but facts don't lie, and both anecdotes and statistics and experiments have shown that cell phones are a pernicious distractor. We got along for many years without cell phoning while we drive, perhaps we should try it a little longer.

I have never had anyone walk into me on the sidewalk because she was putting on her lipstick or he was eating, but I have had several walk right into me because they were looking down and texting, or playing with their "smart" phones. Now that is some powerful distraction!

Ha
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:12 PM   #10
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The problem is, we (or legislators) are trying to fix "stupid" with a law. Obviously, the 2 min. phone call isn't an issue if you're still paying full attention to driving. It's the idiots that are paying full attention to the "distraction", when driving is really the "distraction", in the background, to the idiot.

The difficulty is enforcement.

I'm going to put it on the same plate as DUI. It's not the people that are .09 that are killing 40,000 a year, it's the .25 driver or whatever.

The problem is, there's no test for "how into" your texting you were. So, they should go the same way with this as they DIDN'T go with DUI. AFTER you cause a fatality, and texting/DUI/etc. was determined to be the fault, then, sit in jail forever or a long time, or whatever society decides.

Too liberal? Not more than it already is. Texting while driving is a $10 or $20 fine (I forget) in this town. After they passed the law, zero tickets had been issued in 6 mos. I haven't heard the latest.

Too bad we can't all carry paintball guns, and issue 'idiot' dots.

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Old 12-13-2011, 11:17 PM   #11
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... and I don't believe it is anymore distracting than listening to the radio or talking with a passenger.
Many studies have shown that using a handsfree device is about as bad as handheld. There is some effect that comes into play when talking to someone who is not there with you. I notice it myself when using a cordless at home, and when I see my wife talking on the cordless at home. You mentally 'place' yourself 'out there' as if you are face-to-face with the person. For example, when I talk on the cordless, I walk through the house. But I could never tell you where I walked or what I saw. I wasn't really 'there', I was 'out there' talking to the person. But with a passenger, it is apparently different, since they are there with you.

Cell Phone Users Drive 'Blind'; Study Explains Why Hands-Free Phones Just As Bad As Hand-held

Quote:
The study concludes that that inattention blindness explains the researchers' widely publicized 2001 findings that users of hands-free and hand-held cell phones are equally impaired, missing more traffic signals and reacting to signals more slowly than motorists who do not use cell phones.

...

The earlier study also found there was no impairment of drivers who either conversed with a passenger or who listened to the radio or to books on tape.
Yes, that's rather abstract, but it seems very real to me.


Quote:
However, it is important to remember there is a cost to individual and society to not allow people to communicate while driving. 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?
OK, but I think those are rare in comparison. Maybe a special 'I am driving -announcement only' call-screening mode on phones would help - the person could call and have 15 seconds to say "I want to talk to you about X, can you pull over and call me?", and you could not actually answer the call and get engaged in conversation. But you wouldn't miss that something needed your attention, and drive for 3 hours before stopping to find out you left something at home.

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Old 12-13-2011, 11:54 PM   #12
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NTSB: Ban All Cellphone Use While Driving - Insurance Networking News

NTSB says any cellphone use while driving is too dangerous to be allowed, including handsfree devices.

I am 100% for this. Since I am so often a pedestrian, I see how little attention drivers are paying to the important task of driving, and since lives are at stake I believe the the convenience of calling home to say you will be late, or calling clients to set up appointments should be sacrificed in favor of greater safety.

Ha
Your comment about being a pedestrian reminds me of a story I have told here a few times over the years.

A few years ago, when I was still working (gasp!) in Jersey City, New Jersey, I was walking back to my office from a nearby pizza joint. I was trying to cross a local street near a construction area which had some local JCPD cops directing traffic through an intersection. The cop was using his hands to signal the motorist to stop while signaling me and other pedestrians to cross a street in front of the stopped vehicle. But the motorist was not paying attention (because she was yakkng on her cell phone) and was lurching forward. I saw this and refused to cross the street because I feared I would get struck by the car.

The cop seemed puzzled at my not crossing the street despite his "proceed" signal with his hands. Finally, satisfied that the motorist was paying attention to the cop and to me and had stopped lurching forward, I crossed the street. But as I was doing so, I yelled to the cop, "She's yakking on her cell phone (which was illegal in NJ)" as I pointed toward her car. The cop saw her and walked over to her window as I passed by. I could hear him chewing her out as I got to the other side of the street. I pumped my fist and yelled, "YESSSSSS!" I don't know if he wrote her a ticket but she surely deserved one.

New York, my home state, passed a law making this a primary offense with points on the license, which means insurance companies can surcharge one's premiums the way they do for DUI/DWI offenses and other serious traffic violations (i.e. speeding, running a red light).

But even with these improvements, not a day goes by without my seeing someone yakking on a cell phone while driving. Really pisses me off (and scares me).
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:46 AM   #13
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People all have their opinions, but facts don't lie, and both anecdotes and statistics and experiments have shown that cell phones are a pernicious distractor. We got along for many years without cell phoning while we drive, perhaps we should try it a little longer.

I have never had anyone walk into me on the sidewalk because she was putting on her lipstick or he was eating, but I have had several walk right into me because they were looking down and texting, or playing with their "smart" phones. Now that is some powerful distraction!

Ha

I guess I am looking for statistic to show that cell phone is serious cause of death of injury in the US. Cause frankly when I look at the data I just don't see it.

In 1990 there were less than 6 million cellphone subscribers there were 44,599 traffic fatalities and the number of fatalities per 100 million highway miles was 2.08.

In 2010 there were 300 million cell phone subscribers roughly 90% of the population. I would expect that if cell phone were causing mayhem on the roads we see a big increase in deaths with 50 fold increase in cellphones.

The exact opposite has happened as this report shows.
Quote:
The number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest level ever recorded, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports.
According to early projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 32,788 fatalities in 2010 marked a 3% drop from 2009.
In addition, the rate of 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles of vehicle travel is also the lowest since 1949, when such records were first compiled.
The latest figure is a 25% drop from 2005, when 43,510 deaths were recorded.
The department says the figures are particularly striking given that Americans drove 3 trillion miles in 2010, the most since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded.
In fact the increase in highway safety accelerated from 2000 to 2010 compared to 1990 to 2000 despite a huge increase in cellphone usage. Now correlation isn't causation so I don't believe the cellphones are responsible for safer highways, safer cars and reduced drunk drivers are the real heroes. But US highways are pretty safe roughly 10 times safer than they were in 1940s and many countries in the world.

The average American spends about 300 hours in their car/year. If having a cell phone saves them just 5 minutes a week from avoiding missed appointments, errands, better directions, closing business deals, meeting friends, picking up kids, and the many other ways that cellphones improve our lives, that is 1.3 billion cumulative hours. I suspect that the real number is much higher. The average male has 640,000 hours in his life so 1.3 billion hours equats to 2,000+ person lives/year that would lost by banning cell phones. The NTSB says that 3092 people were killed by distracted drivers. The NTSB report only provide handful of example of deaths caused by cellphone usage. Unless they can show that 2/3 of those distracted were on cell phones, their proposal actual cost more lives than it saves.

I get pissed when NTSB spokesperson say things like talking on a cell phone isn't worth one life. It just isn't true, the government actually puts a value on a life roughly $6-9 million depending on the agency and 1.3 billion hours is worth a lot of lives.

I retired early so I could have control over my life. Not to trade my bosses direction, for a random government employee at the TSA, NTSB, FDA or all of the other nanny state agency employee. My time and my fellow American's time is valuable, I want the damn government to start treating it as such.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:34 AM   #14
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Texting while driving is something I don't understand. Even hands free talking on the phone is dangerous. Enforcement costs money, though, meaning more police on the road. Not something to be taken lightly in an era of austerity. It is also really difficult to enforce. I think we need severe penalties for reckless behaviour, such as treating texting like DUI.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:10 AM   #15
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I worked in the auto insurance industry from 1985-2008 and we attributed the drop in auto fatalities over time for reasons such as: Increased use of airbags, better road design, increase in mandatory seatbelt laws, and an aging population.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:56 AM   #16
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Great, that problem is solved!
Now if we can just make drugs, murder, etc illegal we can eliminate crime as we know it....oh wait?!
TJ
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:34 AM   #17
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I guess I am looking for statistic to show that cell phone is serious cause of death of injury in the US. Cause frankly when I look at the data I just don't see it.

In 1990 there were less than 6 million cellphone subscribers there were 44,599 traffic fatalities and the number of fatalities per 100 million highway miles was 2.08.


... Now correlation isn't causation ...
You should have stopped right there.

Plus, you are not factoring in injuries and accidents. I suspect that a lot of the cell phone use happens in medium speed areas, where people don't feel they are taking such a risk, and end up rear-ending someone, causing damage, maybe an injury, but not so many deaths.

Quote:
If having a cell phone saves them just 5 minutes a week from avoiding missed appointments, errands, better directions, closing business deals, meeting friends, picking up kids, and the many other ways that cellphones improve our lives, that is 1.3 billion cumulative hours. I suspect that the real number is much higher. The average male has 640,000 hours in his life so 1.3 billion hours equats to 2,000+ person lives/year that would lost by banning cell phones. The NTSB says that 3092 people were killed by distracted drivers. The NTSB report only provide handful of example of deaths caused by cellphone usage. Unless they can show that 2/3 of those distracted were on cell phones, their proposal actual cost more lives than it saves.
I question the 5 minutes/week saved, but regardless - the driver could (and should) pull over and get the info they need. Both problems solved.

Quote:
I retired early so I could have control over my life. Not to trade my bosses direction, for a random government employee at the TSA, NTSB, FDA or all of the other nanny state agency employee. My time and my fellow American's time is valuable, I want the damn government to start treating it as such.
Well, I'm a small govt guy, but providing a safe/secure environment is one of the things that I do want my govt to provide. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. Don't drive distracted to save 5 minutes a week if it means putting me and my family at risk. You don't get to make that choice.

If I take your view in another direction, we should all drive 25% faster to save time, then let someone prove that it is the increased speed was the cause of X% of accidents.

There is plenty of data (this is dated, but it's the first I found):

Cell Phone Accident Statistics and Texting While Driving Facts

Quote:
In 2002, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis calculated that 2,600 people die each year as a result of using cellphones while driving. They estimated that another 330,000 are injured.
I wonder how many of those injuries bring life-long disabilities? If even a few of those are in a wheelchair the rest of their lives, that washes out an awful lot of your 5 minute/week savings. Plenty of other less serious injuries are going to eat up a persons time, for months, maybe years. Trips to doctors, lost time at work, and on and on.

-ERD50
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:52 AM   #18
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After a little thought I would think it would be relatively easy to disable texting while in motion using GPS or position to cell towers.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:09 AM   #19
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As a pedestrian in a city core, I often see drivers talking on hand held cell phones. Perhaps just as many are talking on hands-free devices, but they are not as visible. In my city, hand held cell phone usage while driving is banned, but it seems to make no difference in how frequently I see drivers using their phones. It also seems that drivers who turn into one way streets the wrong way or drive through a crosswalk filled with pedestrians are more often than not talking on a cell phone. In most cases, pedestrians are alert enough to jump out of the way and no one is seriously injured, but I'm not impressed by the argument that this is a necessity of modern life so that millions of harried drivers can save 5 minutes each of their valuable time.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:44 AM   #20
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I am all for eliminating texting, reading, emailing and manually using a phone while driving. But like some others, I don't understand how hands-free phone calls are any better or worse than talking to a passenger(s) while driving. Either can be an intense and equally distracting event no? Could be that a passenger(s) may at least be helping the driver pay attention to the road and other drivers, whereas a lone driver talking hands free has no help. Hmmmmm...

And I see they've excluded GPS units. As much as like having GPS, it can be more of a distraction than a hands free phone call IMO, especially in traffic. For some, the radio can be a distraction. And I don't have one, but I've read a lot of reviews that say systems like Sync and MyFordTouch are incredibly complex and distracting, and undoubtedly other carmakers have similar apps.

Wonder if the NTSB/insurers will push Congress to outlaw bluetooth when a car is in motion? Imagine the cottage industry in disabling same (sigh).

This is a real issue and well intended and I wish them success, but it doesn't look easy. Maybe outright killing all electronic devices is the only approach that will provide a result, though I don't know how it can be enforced as noted above. There are already bans, but they don't seem to be enforced except when clearly contributing to an accident (unfortunately too late).
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