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Old 07-03-2006, 11:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Another Cell Phone/Driving Study... *grumble*

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060630-7176.html

Quote:
Is that other driver on the phone, or merely drunk?

6/30/2006 3:16:08 PM, by Peter Pollack

A new study conducted at the University of Utah and published in the journal Human Factors (subscription required) reveals some interesting points of comparison between those who use mobile phones while driving and drivers impaired by alcohol.

The study used 40 subjects, each of whom was tested under four different sets of conditions: undistracted, hand-held mobile phone, hands-free mobile phone, and intoxicated to a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent (a common legal threshold in many states). Participants were placed in driving simulators and asked to follow a pace car around a specified course.

Three accidents occurred during the testing, all of which involved cell phone users rear-ending the pace car. Phone users were also slow to brake, displaying reaction times 9 percent lower than unimpaired drivers, and slow to accelerate, with a 19 percent decrease in returning to speed after braking. This is viewed by the researchers as especially significant, since it has implications regarding traffic flow in high-density areas. In contrast, alcohol-impaired drivers tended to drive more slowly, yet more aggressively than other drivers.

Contrary to the opinions of lawmakers who have legislated against the use of hand-held phones while driving, little distinction was noted between drivers no matter what style of phone they were using. That suggests that it is the conversation itself—as opposed to the device—which is responsible for the distraction. This seems to jibe with the results of a study released in February, which tracked drivers' habits over a period of months, and found that conversing with fellow passengers in automobiles is just as distracting as using a cell phone.

Both intoxicated drivers and those with mobile phones shared the common trait of believing themselves to be unimpaired while behind the wheel. Additionally, cell phone users and intoxicated drivers tended to be less perceptive of changes in their environment. This result was almost certainly anticipated in the case of alcohol users, since the effects of that substance have been well-studied. It would be instructive to see how mobile phone users fare on a future version of the ape test.

Frank Drews, an assistant professor who worked on the project, suggests legislators may wish to consider outlawing cell-phone use in automobiles. He may be jumping the gun: a small study using 40 subjects and which appears to lack a double-blind environment can hardly be considered definitive. Although one might find reason to take issue with the exact degree of the study's results, it looks like it has been proven once again that driving distracted is a bad idea. Perhaps the most important aspect to come out of the Utah study is an apparent lack of distinction between using different types of phones from a distraction point-of-view. As a cell-phone-using driver myself, I'd certainly hate to see the devices outlawed completely.

Well, at least people are starting to see that it's not much different from talking to a passenger. Or changing a CD out. Or trying to quiet a screaming baby in the backseat. Apparently, the only safe way to drive is awake, sober, by yourself, with no radio or phone in the car. Actually, other people driving around you can be distracting, too. Perhaps we should all just take the bus.

First, I think driving tests should be altered to take these items into account. WTF is the deal with the orange cones. Unless you live in Michigan, you never SEE that many orange cones. In the army we have a concept, "Train as you fight" meaning your training should be as close to real combat as possible. If it's not, the training is for naught. I think you should have to test drive (on a closed course) with several other drivers, on a cell phone with the radio on and children yelling in the back seat while stuntmen try to walk out in front of you. If you cannot pass that test, you have not business driving. If you DO pass the test, you should be able to drive while doing w/e the hell you want to be doing, IMO.

Perhaps they should worry less about cellphones, and worry more about 80 year olds who haven't taken a driving test in 40 years but still get behind the wheel. THAT shit is scary!!!


Discuss...
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Old 07-03-2006, 01:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Perhaps they should worry less about cellphones, and worry more about 80 year olds who haven't taken a driving test in 40 years but still get behind the wheel. THAT shit is scary!!!
I don't think many young people would like the results if we start restricting drivers licenses based on which age group has the most accidents.

As far as the study goes, I imagine that with the proper training many drivers would score better even if using the cell phone or somewhat drunk, but probably not both at the same time.
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not saying based on age specifically. However, many states do not require relicensing over intervals. That's scary! Someone BECOMES legally blind, or has a recent history of strokes, but they still drive. An older person becomes senile but still drives? I think it should be the same if they were younger and had the same issues... *shrug* I also think it should be harder to get a license. In most European countries it costs an arm and a leg and if you lose it you are shit out of luck. It's not a terrible plan!
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No one under 18 drives, no phones in the car ever (unless the car is off and parked), no one eats or drinks in a car, one ticket fore anything and your license is suspended, and the test must be passed with a 90%. I might be all for civil liberties and freedom, but cars are an enormous responsibility and most people aren't responsible in behind the wheel.

I watched this morning as a mother of at least 3 kids, who were in the front and back seat eating breakfast, almost run me over on my bike. I was not only in the bike lane, but was over into the gutter. She was drinking coffee and talking on her cell phone. She drifted a total of 10 feet from the middle of the right lane into the bike lane and almost hit the curb. Not only did I not get the courtisy wave, but she flipped me off and continued driving like a madwoman down the street. I wish this was an isolated inncodent, but it's really not. If I had to guess, I'd say that 50% of drivers break at least one traffic law per week (includes speeding, changing lanes without signaling, running red lights and stop signs, cutting people off, tailgating, and road rage illegally passing, not understanding the simple process of a 4 way stop, and obviously trying to kill me). That's based off my observation, but I'd be willing to bet statistics would support my claim. That's down right dangerous.


If there is a conversation that is important enough to have while driving, then it's important enough to pull over for. If not, then put down the phone and call when you get to where you're going. By using the phone, eating or drinking, or even smoking in the car, you are endangering people around you. It is already obviously hard enough to drive according to the rules of the road without complicating it.
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Old 07-03-2006, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Will, I agree that a lot of people have no business driving whatsoever. However, I've successfully driven for 13 years. I've had ONE accident, it was just when I got my license and it was the other guys fault becuase he was BACKING down my road (a semi-major road) as I was backing out of the driveway. I talk on my cell phone, eat, drink, listen to music, sing to music, talk to passengers, ponder the meaning of life, yet I'm a good driver. It's not THAT hard. I'm mostly worried about the people that can't even drive well when there ARE no distractions... *sigh* I agree with the one ticket thing. Maybe a ticket revokes your license for 2 years, then you have to pay to get it back. That let's someone makes a mistake, learn (hopefully) from it and then get on with their lives. I don't think there should be laws against food and phones. Some of us DON'T have issues with it.
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Old 07-03-2006, 04:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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there are signs on the buses that read DO NOT TALK TO THE BUS DRIVER.

Why? It should be safe, right? The driver drives all day and must be good at it right?

Of course not, because it is and has always been a distraction. It is what was taught to me in Drivers Ed and Drivers Training. Anything that you are doing that is not about driving is a distraction. All the accoutrenments about the vehicle from GPS to the radio is about trying to make it seem like convenience for the driver, but in reality they are all distractions.

People forget that it takes a moment of a distraction to not see a child crossing the road, miss a red light, drift into oncoming traffic...
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have the article, will try to get something that is viewable up.

The biggest phenomenon we are dealing with when it comes to driving and cell phones isn't so much the nature of the distraction, it is where the brain draws the line for attention - and this varies from person to person.

I am a little biased in this, as driving, cell phones and driver behavior are the core background in my developing expertise in Human Factors. There are several studies out, and they contradict - a lot of this is a result of the study design, the parameters of what the study can actually measure in a valid, scientific way, and the tie of this to real life.
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd love to see a cell phone driving test in which they compare German drivers on / off cell phones to US drivers on / off cell phones. I wouldn't be surprised if the Germans drive better while talking on the phone than US citizens drive with no distractions.

In my opinion, we're scapegoating here. Cellphones are distracting us. Food is distracting us. I've even seen drivers get in to wrecks and then claim that a camera crew that happened to be there was distracting them. It's all bullshit.

Driver training in the USA is attrocious. We have kids drive slow in parking lots and then drive slow on the streets. Many if not all states don't even requrie basic evasive maneuver practice. Then we give them a test where the only failure point for anyone that has an IQ greater than oatmeal is parallel parking.

If you look at the statistics, the autobahn has fewer deaths per vehicle mile driven than the US interstate system, even though you can go 200+mph on the autobahn. Clearly one of the most common scapegoats - "speed kills" - has a logical flaw. If speed really kills the Germans should be dropping like flies. Since they're not, there must be another factor at work - one which can make driving safer no matter what the speed.

And of course the answer is in the German driver training system. The Germans actually expect you to know what the hell you're doing when you get behind the wheel. And once you get your license, they expect you to remember not to drive like a dumbass. You don't see licensed drivers with 28 DWI's in Germany. One strike and you're done.

In short, Germany takes driving SERIOUSLY, while Americans do not.

Do I talk on the cell phone while driving? Sure (with an earpiece) - hell my job requires it. But as many people on the other end of the line have noticed, my mind is still focused on driving. If a situation comes up that requires more conversations, I stop talking. I don't mean I hang up - I mean I stop talking, right then, until the situation clears up.

The real trouble isn't that cell phones are always a distraction - the trouble is that people don't take driving seriously enough to realize that if you are talking on the phone, the phone should not be the priority.

Look at it this way - if talking to someone was so distracting that you were guaranteed to perform as though you were drunk, then air force pilots would crash every time they got on the radio. Difference is, air force pilots are smart enough to figure out what gets priority over what, but the average driver is not that smart.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yesterday I saw a police man (yes male) (no not gender bashing) driving a police car and talking on his cell phone... way to set an example eh?
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Will, I agree that a lot of people have no business driving whatsoever. However, I've successfully driven for 13 years. I've had ONE accident, it was just when I got my license and it was the other guys fault becuase he was BACKING down my road (a semi-major road) as I was backing out of the driveway.
Then I'd say that idiot has no business driving. He should have his license revoked. I'm glad you're okay.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
I talk on my cell phone, eat, drink, listen to music, sing to music, talk to passengers, ponder the meaning of life, yet I'm a good driver. It's not THAT hard. I'm mostly worried about the people that can't even drive well when there ARE no distractions... *sigh*
And that's the point. I trust myself, but I can't trust others. I don't view talking on cell phones or drinking a coke as civil liberties, so I have no problem giving them up for the greater good.
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Originally Posted by xepherys
I agree with the one ticket thing. Maybe a ticket revokes your license for 2 years, then you have to pay to get it back. That let's someone makes a mistake, learn (hopefully) from it and then get on with their lives. I don't think there should be laws against food and phones. Some of us DON'T have issues with it.
You're right, some of us don't have issues with that, but that doesn't mean that we are immune to the effects of those who do have issues. I could be the best driver in the world, and some octagenarian who can't even see over the steering wheel could plow into me doing 15 mph through a red light. I have no control over the driving abilities or habits of others. I like the idea of revoking a license for a year or two because of a traffic violation. The idea of penalizing people is to teach more than to punish.

Das Autobahn is sehr gut. Germans do take driving more seriously (cars in Germany don't have cup holders, what does that tel you?) than we do and the result is obvious. Less disctractions = less crashes.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I always pull over before making a call when driving, or I would if necessary. It never has been. Most days I never have reason to take my cell phone out of my purse. I dislike taking it out in public because it's a pretty nice phone and I don't want to make myself a target for theives. If someone will kill for a pair of baskeball shoes or a sports team jacket, just to name a few random items, a cell phone has to make someone a much bigger target.

The last time was Saturday, when I was taking KGBoy to the movie and he wanted to switch movies. We waited until we were stopped at the theater, and called mom to ask if it was ok.

I just don't see the need for talking on the phone while driving, even if it's hands free talking and dialing like I have.

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Old 07-03-2006, 07:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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People should not be talking on cell phones and driving period.

It would be very easy to build in a jamming device into every car that would jam when the car was in gear and shut down when the car was in park.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by james t kirk
People should not be talking on cell phones and driving period.
Blanket statements are rarely accurate. As I mentioned above, it's not the cell phones, it's the crappy drivers. Scapegoating various "distractions" is not going to change the fact that the majority of people out there have no clue how to drive well. Instead of sitting around bitching about phones and food and whatever else is supposedly a distraction, why don't we pressure our legislators to make driving education harder in the first place?



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It would be very easy to build in a jamming device into every car that would jam when the car was in gear and shut down when the car was in park.
1) it would be just as easy to disconnect it.

2) The jamming device could cause loss of signal for phones NEAR the car. So if you're sitting at the sidewalk waiting to pick someone up, you're also jamming all the phones of the people near you.

3) And #2 will lead to 911-failure lawsuits.




As for the one ticket, loss of license idea.. . .that's pretty out there, really. For serious moving violations (DWI, 50 over the limit, etc) sure, I can see it. But are you really suggesting that if someone gets a ticket for 4 over (happened to me a few years back) they should lose their license? If someone gets a seatbelt ticket, they should lose their license? Isn't that getting rather extreme?
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by willravel
Germans do take driving more seriously (cars in Germany don't have cup holders, what does that tel you?) than we do and the result is obvious. Less disctractions = less crashes.
Two words... Senoran Desert. I agree with you in principle, but try driving through the desert with no beverage. Eek!

Quote:
Originally Posted by james t kirk
People should not be talking on cell phones and driving period.

It would be very easy to build in a jamming device into every car that would jam when the car was in gear and shut down when the car was in park.
You crash. You're half dead. The car is jammed in gear but your cell is jammed because it's not in park. Yay death!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
Blanket statements are rarely accurate. As I mentioned above, it's not the cell phones, it's the crappy drivers. Scapegoating various "distractions" is not going to change the fact that the majority of people out there have no clue how to drive well. Instead of sitting around bitching about phones and food and whatever else is supposedly a distraction, why don't we pressure our legislators to make driving education harder in the first place?
QFT

The simple fact of the matter is, many studies conclude that cell phone conversations are as much a distraction as conversations with passengers. So that should be outlawed? What about kids in the back seat? I'm all about being a parent and making your kids behave, but you still have to have one eye on the rear view (looking at the kids) anyway. There's NO SUCH THING as distraction free driving. One thing that you watch so as to avoid an accident could cause an accident elsewhere. It's better to learn to be a better driver than to blame random bullshit and start making laws. *shrug* But, that's America these days...

Last edited by xepherys; 07-03-2006 at 09:15 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shakran
Blanket statements are rarely accurate. As I mentioned above, it's not the cell phones, it's the crappy drivers.
It's not the booze, it's the people who can't hold their liquor that cause the problems.
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:51 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It's not the booze, it's the people who can't hold their liquor that cause the problems.

Nice try, but there's an obvious difference. A good driver can dismiss the distraction of a cell phone/passenger/food at will because he's putting the right priorities on things - namely, driving first. A drunk driver cannot dismiss the effects of alcohol at will.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:18 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shakran
*snip* Driver training in the USA is attrocious. We have kids drive slow in parking lots and then drive slow on the streets. Many if not all states don't even requrie basic evasive maneuver practice. Then we give them a test where the only failure point for anyone that has an IQ greater than oatmeal is parallel parking.

If you look at the statistics, the autobahn has fewer deaths per vehicle mile driven than the US interstate system, even though you can go 200+mph on the autobahn. Clearly one of the most common scapegoats - "speed kills" - has a logical flaw. If speed really kills the Germans should be dropping like flies. Since they're not, there must be another factor at work - one which can make driving safer no matter what the speed.
*snip* In short, Germany takes driving SERIOUSLY, while Americans do not.
*snip*
Snipped to avoid copius reposting, but good lord I agree with this 100%. It was such a joy to drive in Germany, where there are rarely, if ever, more than 2 lanes (one way) on the autobahn (well at least in Bavaria, which is where I spent all my time).

I'm serious, being in Germany changed my driving life! Being a Californian, I spend quite a lot of time on the road, and I very frequently fantasize about what our freeway system would be like if we were trained to drive like the Germans. I know I'd vote for Arnold if he instituted something like that! Imagine--a driving lane and a passing lane! Imagine a driver pulling into the right lane when someone faster than them is pulling up behind them! And I had never been trained to think about driving that way, ever.

Now I really want to know how I could get this idea directly to the governor...thsi could improve the quality of life for all of California, not kidding.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:54 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I don't think banning cell phones from usage in cars is realistic, as they have become a standard technology, and often are used legitmately for business use.

I think a more realistic approach would be enacting a law that would allow insurance companies to pull phone records from those involved in accidents to see if they were on the phone in the time leading up to the accident.

Cell phones have quickly become a standard technology used by a large majority of the population, while driving, and even if a law were enacted, I doubt it would be followed. In a way the situation reminds me of seat belt laws. Seatbelts are required by law here, but not everyone uses them, and people rarely are cited for it.

Just because a law is passed doesn't mean it will be followed, or is even legitimate. Driving in excess of the speed limit is a law I break every single day, but I do it safely. There are those that are good enough, and focused enough, that they can talk on a cell phone and still drive safely. Conversely, there are those that don't drive safely, with or without a cell phone, and I am not sure I agree with a blanket law that would ban all cell phones from use while driving.

I make a point to put my cell phone away and not use it while driving, as I don't have any contacts or calls that are so important they require me to talk while driving, thus taking away from my enjoyment of the weather and music playing on my stereo.

That being said, I know there are lots of people that use cell phones heavily, and also spend a large portion of their time in cars travelling. I don't think they should suffer consequences or be banned from usage until such usage has directly related in an accident they are involved in. The current setup of our road laws and insurance policies is to punish those as a result of their actions, and I don't think cellular phone restrictions and usage laws should stray from such a practice, even if they are a hot technology to criticize lately.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
Nice try, but there's an obvious difference. A good driver can dismiss the distraction of a cell phone/passenger/food at will because he's putting the right priorities on things - namely, driving first. A drunk driver cannot dismiss the effects of alcohol at will.
Completely incorrect in application, though it sounds good in theory. There are thousands of people who drive legally drunk and yet never come close to an accident. Their perceptions and abilities are somewhat diminished, but not to a large degree. It's the same thing with cell phone users - some are easily distracted, some are not, but all have their abilities diminished to some degree.

With drinking and dirving, we play to a lowest common denominator rule - hell, many people can drive legally drunk better than a lot of people can drive sober, but we don't take the chance that this is the case. Everyone is held to the same minimum standard, as we know most people are significantly affected by alcohol.

With cell phones people are all affected - but some to a larger degree than others. Hence, a push for regulation of cell phone usage while driving.

Personally, I see no reason people need to yak on the phone while driving other than they want to. Pull over if you really have to talk.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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With drinking and dirving, we play to a lowest common denominator rule - hell, many people can drive legally drunk better than a lot of people can drive sober, but we don't take the chance that this is the case. Everyone is held to the same minimum standard, as we know most people are significantly affected by alcohol.

With cell phones people are all affected - but some to a larger degree than others. Hence, a push for regulation of cell phone usage while driving.

Personally, I see no reason people need to yak on the phone while driving other than they want to. Pull over if you really have to talk.
I would rather see the emphasis placed on teaching drivers the dangers of driving while distracted instead of enacting new laws banning these activities. I have taken about 10 cross country trips on my Harley and found that cell phone users are far more dangerous than drunk drivers (probably because there are more of them).

I see no reason why people can't drive and talk at the same time as long as they understand that the road comes first and requires their primary attention. I wonder if the test results would be better if this was drummed into the drivers ahead of time. I don't think many drivers even think about how much they are being distracted now.

I was driving the other day with my wife and we were having an interesting discussion. I looked up just in time to see the traffic stopped in front of me. A reminder just how dangerous not paying attention can be.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
Completely incorrect in application, though it sounds good in theory. There are thousands of people who drive legally drunk and yet never come close to an accident. Their perceptions and abilities are somewhat diminished, but not to a large degree. It's the same thing with cell phone users - some are easily distracted, some are not, but all have their abilities diminished to some degree.
You make a strong statement and then prove it wrong in the same paragraph. I was completely CORRECT in application. As you mentioned, both cell phone and drinking cause you to lose some perception. As I mentioned, and I still stand by this, you can dismiss those effects with the cell phone by simply stopping the conversation while you deal with whatever situation comes up. You cannot dismiss at will the effects of alcohol.



Quote:
With drinking and dirving, we play to a lowest common denominator rule - hell, many people can drive legally drunk better than a lot of people can drive sober, but we don't take the chance that this is the case. Everyone is held to the same minimum standard, as we know most people are significantly affected by alcohol.
No, we hold everyone to the minimum standard because we realize that, should a situation arise in which you need more cognitive abilities than you can muster while drunk, you cannot dismiss the effects of the alcohol.


Quote:
Personally, I see no reason people need to yak on the phone while driving other than they want to. Pull over if you really have to talk.

That works great unless you work in journalism or some other field where you're on the phone all day, and driving all day. If I pulled over every time I talked to my newsroom or to a source I'd never get more than 5 feet away from the garage.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:24 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Wow. Now they've taken to comparing driving while drunk with driving while talking on a cellphone. Fucking pathetic.

Distraction? Maybe... if you are a person who can't do more than one thing at a time. I can walk and chew gum at the same time, I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time, and I can drive and use a phone at the same time.

Blaming a phone is a piss-poor diversion from the real problem- people are not paying attention, they are shitty drivers, and they don't care about others on the road. I drive 45 minutes on the highway minimum of 4 days a week, to and from school. And don't whip out your drive times and compare length with me, this isn't a pissing contest. The point is that people ASTOUND me with how horribly they perform behind the wheel of a vehicle- distractions or no. They change lanes without looking, they behave as though they're the only ones on the road, they can't stay in their own lane, they tailgate dangerously and weave in and out of traffic like morons, cutting people off at every move.

It's bad drivers that we need to fix, not the damn phones. I guarantee that 99% of all accidents where a cellphone was involved were caused because the person is a shitty driver to begin with, and compounded the issue with their stupidity by adding something that distracts them from their already shitty driving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
Personally, I see no reason people need to yak on the phone while driving other than they want to. Pull over if you really have to talk.
That's a great idea. If I ever become Amish, i'll consider doing just that. Of course, then I won't have a car or cellphone.

Meanwhile, I want to talk to people and I have places to be, and "pulling over to talk on the phone" is damn near the silliest thing I hear every time this issue comes up.

Last edited by analog; 07-04-2006 at 07:27 PM..
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:29 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I very rarely talk on the phone or talk to passengers while driving...because I can't do both at once. I know my limitations. It's a good thing I don't have a job that requires it.

I don't think it's the cell phones that cause the problem, they just illuminate it...the shitty driving skills that seem to plague the US, as has been previously stated. I was a terrible driver when I got my license, yet I passed my test. Why? Because the car broke down and the lazy teacher just passed us all. I had no business being behind the wheel at 16 (don't most places now require supervised driving until 18?) A week of driver "education", an hour of street driving, and bam, I have a license. Pair that with a self absorbed attitude, a lack of consideration for others, AND distractions, regardless of what they are...and it's no wonder we have so many damn accidents.
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:16 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
Meanwhile, I want to talk to people and I have places to be, and "pulling over to talk on the phone" is damn near the silliest thing I hear every time this issue comes up.
What's even sillier is that people die or kill because they are in too much of a hurry to put down the phone and pay attention to what they're doing for a few minutes. If you're so rushed that you feel it's fine to endanger people around you, then try leaving 5-10 minutes earler.

Yes, many people are shity drivers. Until we as a society hold their collective feet to the fire and get them to change, we will have to assume that everyone is a bad driver and pass laws as such.
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:29 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I couldn't disagree with you more...

Quote:
we will have to assume that everyone is a bad driver and pass laws as such
That is the very antithesis of the American Judicial System. Innocent until proven guilty... sound familiar? If we based laws carte blanche becuase people are idiots, there'd be a LOT of very restrcitive laws that I doubt you would be willing to accept.

First of all, people die or kill because they are in too much of a hurry regardless of cell phone usage. People have ALWAYS found ways to be distracted during driving and since cars have existed, people have ALWAYS been involved in automobile-related deaths. Putting on makeup, eating, drinking, talking to a passenger, listening/signing to the radio, checking out the hot chick/dude in the car next to you, looking at one accident while you rear end the person in front of you, dropping a cigarette/hot coffee/french fry in your lap, so on and so forth. So why target ONE of those (also the newest of them) instead of ALL of them? They are ALL distractions! Ban radios from vehicles. Ban passenger conversations. If a cop pulls up next to you and you are moving your lips... BAM! Ticket city baby! If you're taking a swig of your Mounatin Dew or trying to shove 20 fries in your mouth... BAM! License REVOKED! Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn't it? Well, I think so at least. I'm not willing to allow such laws into place without a fight myself... same goes for cell phone usage.

Perhaps, again, if new laws are to be enacted, they should require people to more adamantly prove that they are competant drivers. Perhaps part of the driving test should include driving while talking on the cell phone with kids in the back seat and trying to steer with your knees while eating a Big Mac. At least then we'd KNOW you could do it, worst case scenario. I'm not completely trying to be funny... but if laws need to come into place, it needs to be the RIGHT laws. Perhaps they need to institute a federal driver's license. I know the state's would get all wonky about it, but if it's a federal plan, they can have federal guidelines and everyone is the same. State to state variances for something that seems so important is fairly ridiculous in my opinion.
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:45 PM   #26 (permalink)
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What we should be doing is what was in my first post: sterner punishments across the board. If you change lanes without signaling, if you run a stop sign, if you speed...no license for a year. The idea is to force people to take driving seriously. As far as the individual issue of phones in cars, I see it only as symptomatic of a larger problem, but that doesn't mean that one cannot treat the symptoms. I've been to Germany; it's a damn safe place to drive. Not just the Autobahn, but on every street and road. I don't remember seeing one traffic law being broken over the 2 and a half weeks I was there. I can't go 10 minutes in the US without seeing a law being broken. Just on the way back to the office after taking a lunch, I was watching changing lanes without signaling and speeding. It has to stop. Now normally a free society would fix itseff without the interference of govnermnet. Normally, one would recognise that the roads are becoming less and less safe (or have bene unsafe all along, either way), and work harder to observe the rules of the road. I don't see that. Statistics don't reflect improvement. My government teacher in high school said it best: freedom of a large populace breeds apathy. While I wish people could govnern themselves on this, they clearly can't. So we have to find somewhere else that is making this work: Germany. Driving tests are more difficult and expensive there, punishments are more harsh, and are regularly enforced (instead of the US way: laws only count when there are cops around).

These types of laws are a last resort. The responsibilty should rest with the populace. We should be able to control ourselves. If you know a friend who is a bad driver, then you should bug him or her about it until they stop. But we don't. We let it slide. I hate the fact that we might need laws like this, but not so much I'd be in denial about it. We do need them.
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:55 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
I don't think many young people would like the results if we start restricting drivers licenses based on which age group has the most accidents.

As far as the study goes, I imagine that with the proper training many drivers would score better even if using the cell phone or somewhat drunk, but probably not both at the same time.
The stats showing young drivers having more accidents is, I think, a little misleading.

I see more young people driving than old people, so naturally young people would be in more accidents. If we could gather the stats to show driving time compared to accidents, things would likely even out.

As for the OP, some people should not be on cell phones while driving, by the same token some people shouldn't be driving vehicles over a certain size, or driving at certain times of day or driving period. The problem is finding them and weeding them out to make the roads safer. Testing doesn't work simply because people are on their best behavior during the test. If we could figure out how to make our tests more real world compatable then we could get something done. In the mean time, wear your seat belt, and keep your eyes peeled for idiots.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:43 PM   #28 (permalink)
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It's simple. 90% of people who drive shouldn't have been given licenses in the first place. on Monday I got held up by three traffic jams because people can't take an 800 foot/30° curve without jamming on their brakes. The problem in the US is that people grow up learning that it's OK to do things half-assed, and when you do a half-assed job of piloting a 5000 pound land barge, bad shit happens. We go in for emissions testing every two years or else we can't drive our cars, we should have to pass a driving test that often or have licenses revoked. Polls have shown that 90% of people think they drive better than most other drivers, and if I assume that "better than most other drivers" means that they think they're in the top 10 percent, then at least 8 out of 9 people polled are wrong, and dangerously so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Sage
Yesterday I saw a police man (yes male) (no not gender bashing) driving a police car and talking on his cell phone... way to set an example eh?
I see that all the time, and our in-car phone ban has been around for months.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sultana
Imagine--a driving lane and a passing lane! Imagine a driver pulling into the right lane when someone faster than them is pulling up behind them! And I had never been trained to think about driving that way, ever.
That's the way CT laws work. Nobody enforces it, so nobody follows it. I feel that the drive-right laws should be enforced with anti-tank weaponry, if necessary.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:51 PM   #29 (permalink)
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why don't we just outlaw talking in cars and if you don't drive with two hands on the wheel, you go to prison for life?

I swear, making laws because people refuse to be responsible is killing us.
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Old 07-05-2006, 04:30 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogza
The stats showing young drivers having more accidents is, I think, a little misleading.

I see more young people driving than old people, so naturally young people would be in more accidents. If we could gather the stats to show driving time compared to accidents, things would likely even out.
Yeah, I'm sure young people drive a lot more plus they probably drive more at night and I bet talk more on cell phones while driving.

Quote:
Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes per 100,000 Licensed Drivers

Age 15-20, 06.3% of licensed drivers, 63.8 fatal crashes
Age 21-24, 06.9% of licensed drivers, 46.3 fatal crashes
Age 25-34, 18.3% of licensed drivers, 31.4 fatal crashes
Age 35-44, 20.9% of licensed drivers, 27.0 fatal crashes
Age 45-54, 19.5% of licensed drivers, 23.6 fatal crashes
Age 55-64, 13.4% of licensed drivers, 20.7 fatal crashes
Age 65-69, 04.5% of licensed drivers, 18.2 fatal crashes
Age 70-++, 10.1% of licensed drivers, 24.4 fatal crashes
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd...004/809918.pdf
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Old 07-05-2006, 04:38 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Based on my daily observations I'm somewhat in agreement with the need for restrictions.

Not all, but so many drivers fail to prioritize. Be the distraction from converstion, music, eating, reading, makeup, whatever-the-hell besides eyes ahead, the average driver appears to do a terrible job.

I rarely notice phones before I notice the erratic vehicle and then the driver with a phone (or with a newspaper, or food, etc.) If talking on the phone were as transient as other distractions I might feel differently, but the demonstrated effect on average driver ability seems to put it in its own class.

The fact is remote conversations take mental commitment and duration many of those other things do not. Some people handle it well, others do not. Adding the physical impairment doesn't help. Holding the phone with one hand or doing the head/shoulder clamp (nice effect on perspective). The best talkers throw in Italian sign-language for an added challenge.

Short of tougher training and testing which we as a society seem reluctant to face, removing the low-hanging-fruit is the next best option. At least for the short term. In ten years we'll all be driving vehicles with automatic braking, right?

Tougher licensing standards always makes me think of the money angle. Tougher standards would be expensive. Non-drivers don't buy gasoline, tires, insurance, etc, or cars. Those are tough lobbies to fight. Fewer drivers means more reliance on public transportation. That'd shine a glaring light on our city planning and transportation infrastructure.

It's also another relatively petty issue that strikes an emotional chord in a large voting population, thereby distracting them from larger issues. It's almost in the same class as Flag burning legislation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
... I feel that the drive-right laws should be enforced with anti-tank weaponry, if necessary.
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Last edited by cyrnel; 07-05-2006 at 04:41 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:03 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
If I had to guess, I'd say that 50% of drivers break at least one traffic law per week (includes speeding, changing lanes without signaling, running red lights and stop signs, cutting people off, tailgating, and road rage illegally passing, not understanding the simple process of a 4 way stop, and obviously trying to kill me). That's based off my observation, but I'd be willing to bet statistics would support my claim. That's down right dangerous.
One a week?? If speeding, and not signalling count, I break at least one a day... If you count speeding in each seperate speed limit I go through, I probably break the law 5 times a day. I don't speed excessivly, but 5mph still counts by your opinion I would think. Granted on a three lane highway with two other cars on it when I'm on my way to work it really isnt so dangerous to change lanes without signaling, and i do check all mirrors and blindspots, but still.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:12 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krwlz
One a week?? If speeding, and not signalling count, I break at least one a day... If you count speeding in each seperate speed limit I go through, I probably break the law 5 times a day. I don't speed excessivly, but 5 mph still counts by your opinion I would think. Granted on a three lane highway with two other cars on it when I'm on my way to work it really isnt so dangerous to change lanes without signaling, and i do check all mirrors and blindspots, but still.
Well my thought would be anything you would reasonably get a ticket for, or maybe 15+ mph over the limit in the city, and 20+ mph over the limit on highways. Except for dick cops, everyone lets 5 mph over the limit go. The only time it's not dangerous to change lanes without signaling is when you are completly alone on the road. It's just a little lever on your steering wheel not but a few inches from your hand. Why not signal? I'm asking because everyone I know signals, and they're just as pissed off as I am about peeople who don't. Not that I'm pissed off at you in particular, but I sure don't understand why one wouldn't signal. To me it seems symptomatic of traffic problems on the whole. "I'll signal when it's really important" seems to me like "I'll stop at red lights when it's important" or "I'll drive the speed limit when it's important".
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:40 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
Wow. Now they've taken to comparing driving while drunk with driving while talking on a cellphone. Fucking pathetic.
Well, to be fair, their test results did justify the comparison between drunk driving and talking on a cell phone. Another similarity between the two is that there are plenty of drunks who insist, as you insist in terms of cell phones, that driving drunk has little effect their overall ability to drive. It's certainly true for some folks, but whether it's true for most is a matter of debate.

Quote:
Distraction? Maybe... if you are a person who can't do more than one thing at a time. I can walk and chew gum at the same time, I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time, and I can drive and use a phone at the same time.
Okay, but driving is actually more than one thing. Driving is several things. It is at the very least a three limbed, three sensed activity. It isn't a matter of walking and chewing gum, it's a matter of breaking, steering, looking, anticipating, listening, signalling, etc.

Maybe you're a great driver while you're talking on your cell phone. I'm sure i would have been a great driver stoned out of my mind. I know people who insist that they are great drivers when their blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. That doesn't change the fact that being drunk, being high, and yes, talking on a cell phone all make a great many people even worse drivers than they already are.

Should talking on a cell phone be outlawed while driving? I don't know. I wouldn't find it unreasonable if it were. To be honest, i'd rather get cut off by fewer people on cell phones than be able to talk casually on mine whilst driving.
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Old 07-09-2006, 06:04 AM   #35 (permalink)
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People hate riding with me. I don't talk when I drive, even to passengers. Anytime someone gets in the car with me, they think I am mad at them. I'm not, I just don't like to talk when I drive because it is distracting. I won't even attempt it on a cell phone.
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:18 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Looks like someone is taking action to stop cell phone use while driving.
Quote:
13 August 2006
VIGILANTE SLASHES CAR TYRES
A MYSTERY vigilante has been slashing motorists' tyres as a punishment for using their mobile phones while driving.

The attacker - dubbed The Mobile Slasher -leaves a sinister note on his victims' windscreens using letters cut from newspapers.

The bizarre calling card reads: "Warning. You have been seen driving while using your mobile phone."

Police are investigating a series of raids which have happened under cover of darkness in Hampshire.

One angry victim, Rebecca Rendle, 35, of Gosport, said: "I went to the car in the morning and noticed all the tyres were flat. I can't understand why our car has been targeted."

So far 20 motorists in the towns of Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent and Stubbington have reported similar attacks.

Police believe the suspect may be someone who has been the victim of an accident caused by a driver using a phone.
http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/t...name_page.html
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