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The National Highway Safety Administration has suggested that state and local governments ban all cell phone activities from the road, including the use of hands-free headsets.  (Source: Textually.org)
Hands free devices also too risky, administration says

California made headlines when it began enforcing legislation that enacted pricey fines for those caught talking without hands free headsets or texting on their cell phone while driving.  The provision and similar ones across the country seem reasonable, considering that some studies found cell phones to impair driving more than even commonly abused drugs like alcohol or marijuana.  Many drivers in California did the seemingly logical thing -- switch to hand-free headsets.  However, some research indicated that even conversations on hands-free headsets can still be distracting and dangerous.

Now an unprecedented suggestion by the U.S. Highway Safety Administration has been revealed -- ban all cell phones on U.S. streets.  The suggestion was actually first made in 2002, but has only now been revealed, thanks to The Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen, which filed a lawsuit to obtain documents from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act.

The NHTSA draft on cell phone policy states, “We recommend that drivers not use these devices when driving, except in an emergency.  Moreover, we are convinced that legislation forbidding the use of handheld cell phones while driving may not be effective in improving highway safety since it will not address the problem. In fact, such legislation may erroneously imply that hands-free phones are safe to use while driving."

The agency's request was reportedly shared with state traffic departments and select lawmakers, but was kept from even the majority of national lawmakers.  The agency feared that both members of Congress and the public would be upset at the report.

At the time when the report was made, there were 170 million cell phone subscribers in America, "more than half of the U.S. population".  There are now 270 million subscribers -- 87 percent of the population -- according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, the cell phone industry trade group.  According to the NHTSA report, "Driver distraction contributes to about 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes. Though all distractions are a concern, we have seen the growth of a particular distraction, namely cell phone use while driving. While the precise impact cannot be quantified, we nevertheless have concluded that the use of cell phones while driving has contributed to an increasing number of crashes, injuries and fatalities."

The agency comments that in the research it has reviewed, hands free headsets were shown to provide "little, if any, difference between the use of hand-held and hands-free phones in contributing to the risk of a crash while driving distracted. Hands-free or hand-held, we have found that the cognitive distraction is significant enough to degrade a driver's performance."

The agency says that legislation against using cell phones while driving is a decision for states and local governments to make.  It urges them to consider bans and points out that "at least 42 countries restrict or prohibit use of cell phones and other wireless technology in motor vehicles, and several more are considering legislation."

Even if cell phones are not outright banned, many places across the country increase traffic fines if a violation is committed while the offender is on their cell phone.



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Plastic Bubble
By StevoLincolnite on 7/23/2009 8:56:34 AM , Rating: 5
Shove us all in a Plastic Bubble and then you have nothing to worry about.

However, I believe that hands free is just about as "Distracting" as having someone sitting next to you having a conversation, or having the kids screaming in the back of the car, or having some idiot behind you tail gating, or some silly blond woman doing her make-up in the rear view mirror and not even looking at the road.

Basically, you will always have idiots on the road, and those are the people who truly make it "Dangerous", or people who don't adjust there driving to the weather conditions that are currently in play. (Snow/rain etc').




RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 9:29:49 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly. You can't fix stupid. Personally I think even holding a cell phone while driving only makes an already bad driver worse. For a good driver, it does not affect them because they know they need to pay attention to the road first. At least that's how I act. Whether I'm using my bluetooth piece or not.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By bhieb on 7/23/2009 9:57:15 AM , Rating: 5
Although I agree with you that some drivers are better at it than others, it is undeniably a distraction no matter how you spin it. It may be a very small one for you, but it is there physiologically whether you'd like to admit it or not (and certainly there are others in a car but that is beside the point).

That debate aside, I certainly use mine all of the time. However I think this is a good idea. No one "needs" to be on their phone while driving. It is a HUGE convenience that I've come to enjoy, but we can live without it. Very few calls I get are even remotely an emergency, most are just mindless chatter because they can.

People complain about our "right" to have one, but in the end our rights only extend until they impeded on another's. In this case since it is a distraction, no matter how small, it does impede on my "right" to the safest drive home.

Also I agree 100% with your next comment regarding training, the system today is a joke.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By tastyratz on 7/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: Plastic Bubble
By fezzik1620 on 7/23/2009 11:40:22 AM , Rating: 5
I completely disagree with your premise; that with rights/liberties you must have all or nothing and that there is little/no room for grey area. Hell, it's all grey area!

If you have no restrictions at all that would be anarchy. If you have no freedom at all, I don't know, the first thing that came to my mind was The Matrix. We even extend basic human rights to terrorist prisoners in Gitmo so I have difficulty of thinking of a real-world example with no rights. Nazi concentration camps maybe.

Everything else is grey area. We restrict certain activities to promote the general welfare; from rape and murder to restricting the speed at which someone is allowed to drive.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By omnicronx on 7/23/2009 11:51:08 AM , Rating: 5
I disagree, if there ever was a gray area in respect to rights and liberties, driving would be it, nor is it all or nothing. You have right to drink, but you don't have the right to drink and drive, there is no gray area here. None of your ammendments give you the right to put others in danger period, it could also be easily be tacked on to current dangerous driving laws. Here in Ontario Canada, they are part of 'distracted driving' laws.

I think you are also pushing it if you think changing the radio station, fixing your mirror or adjusting your seat compares to looking down at your cell phone for seconds at a time to write a text message, or even having a conversion on the phone. I don't know about you but I don't take my eyes off the road for any of those reasons you mentioned (I know the locations of my radio buttons, I don't need to look down to move my seat, and peripheral vision should take care of fixing mirrors), but even the best driver would be hard pressed to type a text message while driving while also keeping their eyes on the road.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Kaldor on 7/23/2009 4:16:42 PM , Rating: 2
What will be done to avoid "impeding" on other peoples rights? Do we remove radios? lock mirrors in place while driving? Make non adjustable seats? How about banning cup holders?

Now your being dramatic. When did adjusting your seat, changing the radio station, etc, distract you as much as talking on a phone? Does it require a great deal of thought to do these things? Engaging in a conversation requires far more thought process.

Its been proven, over and over, that talking on a phone, regardless of what you may think your skill level is, is roughly the same as being intoxicated.

I hope they ban it. I get tired of all the accidents I see that caused by idiot on phone which cause me to be delayed or late. Ive talked to numerous county officers and they all say out right that cell phones are involved in in over 60% of accidents.

And FYI, I dumped my phone a year ago. Never been happier. I dont even have one while on call. I take a pager that I pay for, even though they want me to carry a BB which sits in my desk. People need to learn to unplug and step away from technology.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Hare on 7/23/2009 4:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And FYI, I dumped my phone a year ago. Never been happier. I dont even have one while on call. I take a pager that I pay for, even though they want me to carry a BB which sits in my desk. People need to learn to unplug and step away from technology.


That's just ridiculous. You don't have to be a slave to technology. Having your phone (emails, calls, chat, sms etc) around is a possibility, not a liability. It doesn't mean that you have to take every single call and respond to every single email in a second. The idea is that you do these things when the best moment arrives...


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Kaldor on 7/23/2009 5:26:31 PM , Rating: 3
I didnt say anything about being a slave. The vast majority of people dont know how to unplug. They are compelled to take that call, text, email regardless of where they are. Thats an addiction.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Chaser on 7/24/2009 1:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
And some people can't drink in moderation. So good for you. But what's best for you doesn't make it for me or anyone else.

I love my cell and the accessibility it provides me. Especially for road emergencies and lighter things like last minute calls while I'm at the grocery, etc.

Like anything else it has to be used responsibly. Just because you're content to toss the phone allow me to make that choice like you did.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Kaldor on 7/24/2009 1:56:31 PM , Rating: 3
I didnt ever say you couldnt carry a phone. Its a great thing for emergencies. Last minute calls in the grocery store, no problem. Both of those things can be done while your car isnt moving. Talking/texting in a car doing 70mph causing roughly the same distraction as being legally drunk, thats a problem.

Im all for responsible use. But nobody wants to have to give up anything for the greater good. Its just too bad that it needs to turn into legislation to really make it work.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Chaser on 7/24/2009 2:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I hope they ban it.


I don't. You're happy you "tossed your phone.". Good on you. I don't need to nor do I support a total car ban.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By tastyratz on 7/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/23/2009 2:45:21 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with FIT 100%. Unbelievable!

You know, if they ban cell phones, they should ban GPS receivers, radios/ipods, eating/drinking, makeup, talking, daydreaming...

Someone suggested increasing fines for traffic violations if a cell phone was used - I think this would be great. Those who good enough drivers to use phones while driving wouldn't be punished, but those who just can't but do it anyway will be.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By someguy123 on 7/23/2009 4:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
this is just poor "our freedoms" logic that everyone applies to this issue. GPS receivers, music, and eating are not even close to the consistent distraction of communicating with someone on a cellphone, although putting on make up WHILE driving seems like something that should be banned if it isn't already, since you need to not only take your hands off the wheel but also your eyes.

fact is you lose some of your "freedoms" when you drive if they put others as risk. implying people can be "good" cellphone drivers is like implying people can be "good" drunk drivers. I know people that seem 100% sober and steady while drunk, and i'm sure it's been proven that some people drive fine drunk, but does that mean I want them driving? every driver, before their one accident, has the same mentality: that they're better than all the other idiots getting into trouble. it's simply not true.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By BigPeen on 7/23/2009 5:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
Progamming my touchscreen GPS is WAYYYYY more invovled and distracting that talking on my phone. And I'm able to do BOTH without getting in accidents. I don't get all this "cell phones cause nearly all accidents" garbage. I've been in several accidents in the last 5 years (some mine and some the other person's fault) and none have involved cell phone use. None of the people I know who have been in accidents have been using cell phones either. I wonder who all these people who can't talk and drive are?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Spuke on 7/23/2009 6:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've been in several accidents in the last 5 years (some mine and some the other person's fault) and none have involved cell phone use.
Giving you a cell phone might improve your driving.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By chrnochime on 7/23/2009 10:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
A sample of one will surely convince those who believe otherwise...


RE: Plastic Bubble
By someguy123 on 7/24/2009 9:43:33 AM , Rating: 3
why would you program your touchscreen GPS while driving? that seems like a complete lack of common sense to me. i never said cell phones caused all accidents. Does drunk driving cause all accidents? no, but it simply increases the chances of an accident dramatically, just like driving while on the cell phone does.

like i said, plenty of people can drive fine drunk, and i bet everyone thinks they'd be fine driving a little buzzed, but i sure as hell don't want people driving drunk. being overconfident in your driving skills doesn't make it any less stupid to reduce your concentration by talking on your cellphone.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 3:20:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
GPS receivers, music, and eating are not even close to the consistent distraction of communicating with someone on a cellphone


Says who? Eating requires you to take at least one hand off the wheel; at least to me, that's the main reason why using a cell phone would complicate your driving skill. With an automatic transmission and good power steering, it's more than doable, though, as long as you keep in mind that you are REQUIRED to signal when changing lanes/turning.

quote:
implying people can be "good" cellphone drivers is like implying people can be "good" drunk drivers. I know people that seem 100% sober and steady while drunk, and i'm sure it's been proven that some people drive fine drunk


Funny... it seems that with our second sentence YOU are implying people can be "good" drunk drivers. And I think this is true: good drivers can still drive well enough even if distracted or impaired (intoxicated/sick/tired). Bad drivers cannot. And I'm sure even you agree that there are "good" drivers and "bad" drivers out there.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/24/2009 4:13:54 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
And I think this is true: good drivers can still drive well enough even if distracted or impaired (intoxicated/sick/tired).
Sorry, but that's kind of stupid. I agree that there are varying levels of skill - both sober and drunk. But to suggest that certain people are somehow not affected and that their skills and responses are not affected when they are drunk is just nonsense.

Sure, if I'm drunk and have a short and unchallenging drive home, I might get away with it. But suppose someone steps out in front of my car requiring me to notice and react quickly. Being drunk could be the difference between life and death (and jail) in that case.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But to suggest that certain people are somehow not affected and that their skills and responses are not affected when they are drunk is just nonsense.


Before calling my post stupid, you probably should read it more carefully, so you reply doesn't sound stupid.

I didn't suggest drinking doesn't affect some people at all. I did suggest, though, that some people are good enough drivers that even when slightly intoxicated, they are still capable of driving well enough to be less dangerous than some bad drivers who are not intoxicated.

Sure, alcohol increases your reaction time. But some people have better reflexes than others, so they can still react quickly enough, even when slightly intoxicated.

Note that reaction time alone doesn't make a safe driver; observing the traffic and being aware of dangerous situations also matter. An example: bad drivers can be so unfocused that they have no idea there is a car in their blind spot - a good driver would know the car is there even if he doesn't see it.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By someguy123 on 7/24/2009 8:18:04 PM , Rating: 3
first off, i was using the alcohol as an example of something that reduces concentration/increases reaction time, and that is currently illegal and by most people's standards has a right to be illegal.

anyway, the issue is not that you believe you can drive fine with a cellphone, the issue is that using a cellphone, regardless of how superior you are in driving, takes away some concentration. the issue with a cellphone isn't taking the hand off the wheel, the issue is that it affects concentration and reaction time almost as much as being drunk. i really don't care if you personally find yourself better than everyone else at driving, because making this legal would give ALL people the right to drive with a cellphone, even the people you deem to have worse reflexes and motor skills.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 9:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
The suggested solution somewhere towards the end of this discussion thread was to have significantly higher fines for traffic violations committed while using a cell phone. E.g., if you were running a red light AND were talking on the phone, the fine would be 3x higher.

I think that would act as a good deterrent against using a cell phone while driving if you can't handle it, without punishing those who can.

On another note: I think drivers who don't signal when turning/changing lanes should be fined. They are a menace to everyone's safety.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 9:09:16 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, and one more quick nitpick:

quote:
making this legal would give ALL people the right to drive with a cellphone, even the people you deem to have worse reflexes and motor skills.


Actually, it IS legal in many places; the question is, should it be made illegal everywhere. I'd say no, it should not be illegal.

I'm as annoyed as much as everyone by those who are on the phone and obviously distracted too much to drive safely (e.g., a Honda Odyssey driving 20mph below the speed limit, between two lanes). But instead of making it illegal to use a cell phone while driving, I'd say enforce the current traffic laws and fine these people (heavily) for driving between two lanes.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By someguy123 on 7/24/2009 10:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, that's true, i worded it incorrectly. i guess what i meant was that keeping it legal would mean that even poor drivers get the luxury.

the only problem i see with just increasing fines is that most people won't see this as a threat. honestly, everyone believes they are one of the few good drivers, including myself, and i really don't think increasing fines will deter anyone from driving while on the phone. knowing that just being on the phone, however, will deter people, especially during "citation week".

now i have confidence in my ability to drive with a cellphone, but realistically i know that it is taking away my concentration, so I just don't do it while I'm driving. unless it's some sort of emergency, I just don't see the need to decrease my concentration and increase my chance of getting into an accident for the luxury of having a chat on my phone while driving.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 3:11:58 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Exactly. You can't fix stupid. Personally I think even holding a cell phone while driving only makes an already bad driver worse. For a good driver, it does not affect them because they know they need to pay attention to the road first. At least that's how I act.
You're fooling yourself. People only have a certain amount of mental capacity, and if you divide your attention across a number of different activities, of course they will all suffer relative to just doing one at a time. It's just common sense.

Here's something also to think about. Suppose talking on the phone delays your reaction by just 1 second. How many feet will a car go in 1 second? And do you think that is enough to either cause or avoid an accident?

Or another way to think about it...imagine your braking distance was for whatever reason extended by around 90 feet (1 sec @ 60MPH). Would you find that acceptable?

Obviously you know where I stand on the issue. For me, safety is #1 priority when driving. I'm a father, have children, and my first priority is getting there safe and sound. Talking on the phone while driving, especially habitually and for no important purpose, is stupid.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:12:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Here's something also to think about. Suppose talking on the phone delays your reaction by just 1 second. How many feet will a car go in 1 second? And do you think that is enough to either cause or avoid an accident?


IF talking on the phone would delay someone's reaction time by 1 second, then yes - maybe they should not be talking and driving (and they should know this. But it doesn't delay mine by one second.

And even if it did, I can do a lot of preventive measures that give me more margin on reaction time: not driving next to another car, following the traffic three cars ahead (instead of just one), only driving behind cars you can see through, keeping distance to the next car, matching your speed to traffic...

quote:
Talking on the phone while driving, especially habitually and for no important purpose, is stupid.


You're very critical of other people, and use the s-word a bit too easily. You're entitled to your own opinion, but calling other people's opinions stupid is just plain immature, especially if these opinions are based on reasonable arguments (you not being able to understand them is not an excuse).


RE: Plastic Bubble
By BadCat351w on 7/23/2009 3:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For a good driver, it does not affect them because they know they need to pay attention to the road first.

Problem is this has been proven wrong many times over, and has not been proven otherwise, while I may agree some are better than others, any distraction is dangerous, as for laws, there is already a law or ordinance in most cities where driving while distracted can get you a ticket, quit making new laws and enforce existing ones, no more legislation,


RE: Plastic Bubble
By dark matter on 7/23/2009 4:03:25 PM , Rating: 3
How did I know you were someone better than everyone else.

Everyone thinks they are a better driver than everyone else.

Put it this way.

If the call is not that important that it isn't affecting your driving, then why are you having it. Let it wait.

If the call is important that it requires you to actually think, ie a call from work, then that requires your concentration. In which case it is affecting your driving.

Either way, there is no NEED to drive and talk at the same time. Yet there is an increased risk if you do. Work it out will you.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2009 8:18:35 AM , Rating: 1
There is no NEED to drive period. We could walk or ride a bike. Driving is a convenience and a privilege.

I did not claim to be better than everyone else. I did claim that there are a lot of stupid people out there. And that any good driver should be able to have a conversation while staying aware of the situation around them. To me talking on the phone is no different than having a passenger in the car and talking to them. Should that be outlawed too?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 3:11:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If the call is not that important that it isn't affecting your driving, then why are you having it. Let it wait.


If the call isn't affecting your driving, why not have it? Yes, there is no NEED to drive and talk at the same time, but it might be useful for you to talk while driving (e.g., ask for directions).

The increase in risk depends on the person (good drivers vs. bad drivers). How about if you let me evaluate my risk myself, and set the penalties to punish me appropriately if my evaluation was off and I committed a traffic violation.

I haven't been in an accident or even had a ticket for 15 years, and I've used a cell phone while driving all that time. I've had only two accidents before that, and they were caused by 1) using the car stereos, and 2) looking at a pretty girl in a mini-skirt. I know I can handle a cell phone while driving.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/24/2009 4:16:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the call isn't affecting your driving, why not have it?
Because it is negatively affecting your safety and the safety of those around you. And for what? To chat with your buddy about some nonsense? That kind of tradeoff is not too smart if you ask me.

It's perfectly obvious to me that you're overconfident in your abilities and in denial about the research and statistics that are emerging.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:21:31 PM , Rating: 1
Again misinterpreting my words. I clearly said "IF the call isn't affecting your driving..."

How do you know that I would be chatting with my buddy about some nonsense? (FYI, I usually keep my phone conversations short, and to the point.) How do you know that I'm overconfident? Maybe I'm being truthful; you don't have any way of knowing.

Also, it seems you don't understand statistics. There are people whose driving ability is affected by cell phones only a little bit, while an average person would be affected significantly more.

In my opinion, even if talking on the phone, I'm still safer to those around me than someone who changes lanes without signaling. Do you signal every time you change the lanes? Do you signal when turning BEFORE breaking?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By chrnochime on 7/23/2009 10:41:00 PM , Rating: 3
The good drivers *know* they are good and don't go around claiming that fact, whereas some ok drivers *think* they're good and do claim they're good.

With that said...
No matter how one thinks the phone is not distracting, once said person start talking, the brain NEEDS to divert a certain percentage of attention/processing to have a meaningful conversation. Of course that means less attention paid toward driving, so whatever claim about "does not affect" is just BS.

Simple test. Try counting the number of cars you passed while you're driving AND talking and remember the colors of those cars, while noting the movements of the cars immediately around you. Unless your brain is far more developed(meaning more than the often quoted 10% actually ever used) than the majority of drivers out there, you won't be able to do one of the above successfully.

And it's actually better for those who keep getting called during driving. Perfectly legal reason to not answer the call.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The good drivers *know* they are good and don't go around claiming that fact, whereas some ok drivers *think* they're good and do claim they're good.


You know, I'm sure there are good drivers who know they are good AND don't hide it.

quote:
No matter how one thinks the phone is not distracting, once said person start talking, the brain NEEDS to divert a certain percentage of attention/processing to have a meaningful conversation. Of course that means less attention paid toward driving, so whatever claim about "does not affect" is just BS.


I fully agree. However, I'm claiming that some people are good enough that the distraction doesn't affect them enough to make them drive them worse than an average driver.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By jconan on 7/24/2009 7:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
At least the DMV can mandate that drivers ed teach that cell phones and texting cause accidents. Also they should make a mock test of cell phone use while driving during a driving test and fail students if cell phone is used while driving or if students don't pull over to a safe location to park and answer...


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 9:31:13 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry. Let me also say that what actually needs to happen is better driver education programs. More restrictive licensing. Mandatory retesting every so often. Not just a blanket license from 17 until death.

Kids these days can get their license without ever having been on the road.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Machinegear on 7/23/2009 9:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can't fix stupid.


Ok, Ok. Makes sense. Government can't fix stupid...

quote:
More restrictive licensing.


Huh? You can't have it both ways. The reality is that a license is a piece of paper (or plastic). Nothing more. The only thing a license does is validate one's willingness to follow the law and traffic regulations in the first place. Paper or plastic? Neither stops people from driving (or makes them better).

You know this dude!

- Yer Fellow Freedom Loving Patriot


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Motoman on 7/23/2009 10:21:43 AM , Rating: 5
In this country, your description of the license is pretty accurate.

I *think* what FIT was getting at was having more strenuous testing and qualification to actually get a driver's license. For example, in Japan, I have seen pictures of what applicants for motorcycle licenses have to go through...a skills test that honestly I think at least half of all US motorcyclists would probably fail.

Being able to *operate* a machine is not equivalent to being a *skilled operator* of said machine. The fact that you *can* drive a car doesn't make you a *good* driver, or imply that you're a *Safe* driver.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Machinegear on 7/23/2009 11:02:35 AM , Rating: 1
Ah. Gotcha. That makes sense Moto.

So the question that follows (which we can ponder is); is it wise to have such restrictive qualifications to get a drivers license? Once I pass such hurdles and get my license, I can still use my phone while driving. Heck, I can also get plastered then drive too. I know both would hinder my ability to be a good driver, but don't we have personal freedoms any more; choices where we make the best decision for the moment?

It seems everyday the government is taking my responsibilities away from me. If a person is not allowed to make mistakes, how do they learn from them?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 12:19:44 PM , Rating: 4
Glad someone has a clue. I can understand people not liking me call them stupid because they suck at driving. But rating me down for wanting more stringent drivers education and testing?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Integral9 on 7/23/2009 1:30:41 PM , Rating: 4
I think it has to do with too many people in this country think they have a right to drive a car once they reach 16 or 18, depending on your state. Which in reality is just not true. Driving is a privilege.

The driver's ed currently available today is a joke. It's basically the equivalent of kindergarten, when what you really need is (at bare minimum) something closer to an 8th grade education. I don't mean you need to spend 8 years in school to get a license, but you should understand the basic physics of how your car operates so you can do things like negotiate turns correctly w/out running the guy in the turning lane next to you off the road.

Proper braking, acceleration, turning and being able to think beyond the car in front of you are all basic necessities of driving. None of which are taught in driver's ed. The only real thing you are taught are basic laws about which signs mean what and how far to park from a fire hydrant. All of which are also written in large font on the sign or on the curb.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By PitViper007 on 7/23/2009 3:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
You're assuming that Driver's Ed is even taught any more. In my state, they phased it out of the school systems about 10 years ago. Now if you want to learn how to drive, you need to use a private training course. Not that I think that's necessarily bad. If you have to pay for it, maybe you'll utilize what you learn more, kind of like when you have to pay for something, you tend to take care of it better than if it was just given to you for free. The problem I have though is that driving IS a public safety concern, and should be taught to ANYONE that is going to be on the road. FIT, I have to agree with you. Tougher training and standards are needed....badly.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By dark matter on 7/23/2009 4:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
No, FIT was saying he is a better driver than everyone else. And despite being proven that calls do affect your concentration on the road, they don't affect him, because he is so much better than everyone else on the road.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 4:13:52 PM , Rating: 3
I would guess if you did a survey, most people would tell you they are above average drivers. In other words, they are a great driver and everyone else are idiots. At least that's how I feel (kidding).


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Spuke on 7/23/2009 6:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would guess if you did a survey, most people would tell you they are above average drivers.
I think there was a survey done here in CA and found that to be the case. I'll try to find it.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that's true.
But I'm sure you agree that the majority of those who claim to be above average in fact ARE above average, right?

I think it's likely that FIT is an above average driver.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2009 8:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
When you get over your feelings of inadequacy, feel free to actually read my comment and realize I didn't say that.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/24/2009 7:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
Um... I believe he was saying that he's better than an average driver.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By 91TTZ on 7/23/2009 5:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
*Why* are there all these *asterisks* in your *post*?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By jawqn8 on 7/23/2009 10:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with FIT that the US needs to change its drivers license policy. I know that once you get to a certain age they start making you retake part of the drivers test. However, you don't have to be old to be a bad driver. People should have to retake the entire test at least every decade, that would keep you abreast of all of the new laws and other changes. It would at least force a recognition of safe driving practices but regardless people are going to drive how they want to. The other safer drivers will just have to learn to be defensive drivers, that is about all that we can do.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By omnicronx on 7/23/2009 12:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Do you guys have graduated license systems? I.e more than one tier of license? We have 3 tiers with different restrictions.

First(G1) is a written test and you can only drive with someone who has their full license and 5 years driving experiance during the daytime only and can't drive on highways.

The second(G2) which can be had a year later (or 8 months with drivers ED) you can drive by yourself, but your blood alcohol must be zero, you can only have as many people in the car as their are seatbelts. This is an on the road test, but not on the highway. They also cannot use cell phones.

The third (G) is the full license, which can be taken a year later, is around a 20-30 test and requires highway driving. They also grade a lot harder on this test, I have some friends who have failed it 3-4 times. If you don't get your full license within 5 years of your G1, you have to start over.(although the waiting periods no longer apply, you can take your G1 and G2 over again two days in a row if you really wanted)

That seems to work pretty well here, and has seriously cut down on young driver caused accidents as the earliest you can get your full license is 18 without drivers education.

As for retesting, that would be very hard to implement. I don't think you can really retest a driver once they have their license. (just think if you had a job that required a car, and you had a bad day on your test day and suddenly you can't get to work, it would cause far too many problems to a system that is already underfunded). What I do agree with is mandatory eye testing after the age of 60 or 65, half the time the problem with older people is that they cannot see 10 feet in front of them.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 12:24:34 PM , Rating: 4
Yes. You get your permit at 15-16 (depending on state. can drive with a parent or someone over 21 in the car) and can get your full license at 17-18. Some areas have very good testing practices requiring an actual test on the road. Where I got my license you went around a 3 minute course. It was pathetic.

Last year here in Charleston a mother took her twin girls to get their licenses on their 16th birthday. She let one drive home from the DMV right down the road from my work. The girl cut off a dump truck on the highway resulting in that truck and another dump truck crushing the car. Killing mother and the other daughter.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By omnicronx on 7/23/2009 2:06:32 PM , Rating: 3
Ya that does sound pathetic, I swear here in Ontario they try to fail you on your final test (especially guys). They ding you for every little thing you do wrong, and will even ask you do to some thing they know are illegal, just to see if you know the rules of the road. Not really fair under all circumstances, but it definitely seems to keep bad drivers off the road until they improve.

Personally I almost failed my final road test when my instructor asked me to change lines right before a light. (nobody was around coming from either side) It would have been very tight, so I decided not too and waited until after the light. When I finished my instructor said that I would not believe how many people went and changed lanes anyways without hesitation just because he asked them too, sometimes half way through the intersection.

While I can understand that this may make some people angry, you have no business driving if you do not know simple rules such as when you can and cannot change lanes.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 2:38:13 PM , Rating: 4
As another said. People here in the US think driving is a right. That is the problem.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 3:18:13 PM , Rating: 3
I always laugh when I hear people say that. Suppose you got a letter in the mail tomorrow stating that you lost the "priviledge" of driving, for no reason at all. After all, if it is not a right, then it can be taken away from you at any time for any reason by the government. Are you okay with that?

I like to think that being able to drive is a right so long as I drive responsibly and obey the law. Being somewhat of a libertarian yourself (I perceive) I would think you would agree with that, no?

One other question for you - do you think a person has a right to talk on the phone while driving, despite the research that is all around us that it increases the danger/risk? Or is talking on the phone a priviledge that can be removed if it is shown statistically to be unsafe?


RE: Plastic Bubble
By lightfoot on 7/23/2009 6:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect that you would continue driving without a license if you received such a letter? After all you think it is a right that should never be infringed.

Not having the ability to drive clearly being elevated to the same level as right to free speech, freedom of religion, protection against false imprisonment or life its self.

If I received such a letter, I'd be pissed and would dispute it, but I would walk or ride a bike - I'm not so deluded as to think that I should get to do whatever I want whenever I want just because its a sacred right.

Any time you operate a car you are threatening other people's lives. Those people have a RIGHT to LIFE. If you are deemed an unsafe driver you should LOSE that PRIVELIDGE because it in NO WAY should EVER supersede someone else's right to their life.

Owning property is a right, using said property is not. You may have the right to own and carry a gun, but you do not have a right to shoot somebody.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2009 8:25:37 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
You may have the right to own and carry a gun, but you do not have a right to shoot somebody.


Where I live I have both. Assuming certain events are taking place.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By lightfoot on 7/24/2009 11:46:45 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, you have the right to defend yourself and your property - you do NOT have the right to shoot somebody unless it is for defense.

Don't confuse the right to life and the right to bear arms with the right to shoot people for no reason.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2009 8:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
If I got a letter saying my license was revoked I would appeal the decision and go to court if necessary to get it reinstated assuming I had done nothing wrong. However assuming I lost, yes I wouldn't drive because it would be illegal. However you are speaking of a situation that does not happen. One does not just receive a letter saying their license is revoked for no reason. If it is revoked it is for a reason. And one you are aware of.

Nowhere in any law does it say that we have a right to drive. Man is not born with the right to drive. I do not like people who view driving as a right because then I view those people as thinking they should be allowed to drive no matter how poorly they are at it. Or what the condition of their vehicle is.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By TomZ on 7/24/2009 4:09:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad you acknowledged that the government doesn't have the ability to arbitrarily eliminate one's ability to drive without cause. This clearly classifies it as a "right," even if the Constitution doesn't state it. Here's the definition from M-W for "right":

Right: something to which one has a just claim: as a: the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled <voting rights> <his right to decide>

Continue to call it a "privilege" if you want, but that distinction exists mainly just in your mind.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By hyvonen on 7/23/2009 2:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sorry. Let me also say that what actually needs to happen is better driver education programs. More restrictive licensing. Mandatory retesting every so often. Not just a blanket license from 17 until death.


Absolutely true.

Why is everyone rating FIT down for this? I don't get it.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By jbooth on 7/23/2009 11:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen (but don't have the reference, sorry) studies that show the passenger is distracting... but way less than the phone. They've got the situational context the guy on the other end of the phone lacks. They are also a second pair of eyes who can do things like scream "STOP!"

I can count two accidents I prevented in the past three years as the passenger (two different drivers) when I spotted a collision and yelled.

Let me know when a cellphone conversation manages that. It is theoretically possible; the other phone could be in the car behind you... or not.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Aeonic on 7/23/2009 12:18:50 PM , Rating: 5
That's why when I'm sitting at home talking to someone who's driving, periodically, I yell STOP!


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Nobleman00 on 7/23/2009 12:49:57 PM , Rating: 1
I usually gorilla tape the mouths of passengers that yell STOP, or make other loud sudden exclamations when I'm driving. If they're the type that reach over and grab the wheel or try to honk the horn, I make them ride in the pickup bed.


RE: Plastic Bubble
By Samus on 7/23/2009 5:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think cell phones should be illegal while operating a any vehicle. I've been hit by a car (and a BICYCLE) because the morons were texting.

And yes, I'm guilty of using a cell to talk AND TEXT while driving. I'm sure we all are. But if it were illegal and enforced (I live in California, and it isn't enforced, obviously) then I'm sure most people would reconsider it.


As bad as DUI
By blowfish on 7/23/2009 9:52:39 AM , Rating: 5
There's already legislation to limit the amount of alcohol you can have in your system when driving, and it's probably saved a lot of lives.

It's a fact, well researched and proven that using a cell phone whilst driving is equivalent to driving whilst intoxicated. I dare say many thousands of lives will need to be lost before the phone company lobby will be overcome.

Here in La, the default position for drivers is with a cell phone clasped to their ear. It's not unusual to see drivers texting or maybe browsing their inboxes whilst driving.

It's insane.




RE: As bad as DUI
By clovell on 7/23/2009 10:09:42 AM , Rating: 1
No, it's not. Parallel real-world studies comparing hazard rates have simply not been done.

That said - I agree about texting while driving, though - I've done it, and nearly ended up in a 3 car collision. After that, I stopped. Hands-free is definitely the way to go, and I'd like to see more auto-manufacturers integrate bluetooth into their stereos.

If my phone could auto-link via bluetooth with my stereo when I turn my ignition on, it would save me a lot of hassle. Integrate that with voice recognition tech a la Microsoft's Synch and you've got a winner.

Why this type of thing has been regulated to the 'power user' is simply beyond me - virtually everybody has a car and a cell phone - it just makes sense....


RE: As bad as DUI
By deathman20 on 7/23/2009 10:37:08 AM , Rating: 3
Couldn't agree more with the blue-tooth portion of it. When I got my new car, one of the things TOP on my list was to make sure I had hands free in the car via bluetooth. Yes before I really hated having the mic attached to my headset, or making sure I hand my hands free headset there in the car. Let alone me digging in my pocket to get the phone out to talk.

As for all out banning it, I think not. I feel its more distracting talking to someone in the car since you can turn your head looking at them vs talking via hands free.


RE: As bad as DUI
By clovell on 7/23/2009 12:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
The most distracting part of a cell phone while you're driving, for me, is digging the damned thing out of my pocket when it rings, or dialing on it. Plugging in and synching a bluetooth headset is just a pain.

It'd be so nice to have everything integrated and seamless.


RE: As bad as DUI
By Mitch101 on 7/23/2009 1:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
I would like that too. One of my pet peeves is seeing someone driving a 65K car like crap with their cell phone to their ear. Wait you have 65k for a car but not $20.00 for a cheap blue tooth headset? But then they can probably afford the attorney when they screw up.


RE: As bad as DUI
By MrBlastman on 7/23/2009 1:58:52 PM , Rating: 3
Most people driving 65k cars lease them. Also, around here at least, it is not uncommon to see people driving these cars yet they live in an apartment or in a crappy run down neighborhood. The ones that don't typically are up to their eyeballs in debt and are leveraged like crazy.

So, no - they probably all can't afford the attorney. The majority of the time they are all flash, all show. Sad, but true.

All the wealthy individuals I know, with only a couple of exceptions, live in modest homes, drive average cars and don't have all that flashy stuff.


RE: As bad as DUI
By MrBlastman on 7/23/2009 10:42:05 AM , Rating: 4
You ever watch Mythbusters? They did a nice study on this, I suggest you look it up. Their conclusion - driving while talking on a cell phone was as hazardous, or even more hazardous than driving while intoxicated.

When I was rear-ended, the lady was on her cell phone. When my brother was rear-ended recently, the dude was on his cell phone. When a friend of mine pulled out into traffic causing a lady to hit him (it was his fault), he was on his cell phone talking with ME (so I'm partially responsible for talking to him at the time).

Coincidence? No. The cell phone was the distracting factor in all three of this incidents. Now, that is not to say accidents can't occur without cell phone use, they can. However, I am very convinced that all three of the above incidents would not have occured if the drivers had not been on their phones.

If people have to give up their priviledge of talking on the phone with driving, I really wouldn't mind at all if it potentially could reduce accidents. This will lower our insurance costs, lower our healthcare costs and increase safety on the roads. What is not to like about it? Your car is not your office (for the majority of people), it is a vehicle to get you from point A to point B. Give people the courtesy and decency to have a safe commute or drive to wherever they are going.

I live in a major city and will say that unless you also live in a major city, it will be harder to understand just how much of a distraction they create. The majority of the time I see someone doing something insane or silly on the road, they are on the phone.

Bluetooth is no help as the person on the other end of the line is not in your car, therefore not aware of what is going on around you. They can only help to distract you from what you are doing rather than aid it. Your mind is all of a sudden focusing on two places at once rather than one (in your head and out your windshield). If you have someone sitting in the passenger seat with you and talking, they have a second pair of eyeballs so they can help observe while the two of you are talking thus reducing the distractive effect. Three or four people - then perhaps no as this is pretty darned distracting. Hands free does not completely solve the problem. The average person is not capable of processing multiple inputs at one time.


RE: As bad as DUI
By clovell on 7/23/2009 12:55:01 PM , Rating: 1
Mythbusters did not perform a parallel, wide-scale study on real-world conditions and traffic data that adjusted for other factors. Someone eventually will, as state highway departments have only recently begun collecting the necessary data to do so. But today, it hasn't been done - not rigorously.

I can buy that it's dangerous. I can buy that it's something to be concerned about and to regulate. However, I won't buy some sensational claim that it's as dangerous as drinking and driving - not until I see the proof from a scientifically and statistically rigorous study. I deal with p-values and confidence intervals and models and stuff. I can respect Mythbuster's conclusions on this as proving the need for further study, but not as conclusive evidence that I'd do as well to have an open heineken in my hand as a cell phone while I'm on the road.

I live in Chicago, man. I take the Tri-State Tollway, which is under construction whenever it isn't snowing, in to work every day. I can tell you that the number one cause I see of accidents is people who are in too big of a hurry and are just jackasses about it.

I don't entirely buy the idea that bluetooth makes no difference. I'd just like to see some compromise on the issue.


RE: As bad as DUI
By lightfoot on 7/24/2009 12:29:45 AM , Rating: 3
There have been studies completed by the government that show that "Drivers’ Hands-Free Cell Phone Use Is Just as Hazardous as Handheld Use."

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=29...


RE: As bad as DUI
By MrBlastman on 7/24/2009 10:49:55 AM , Rating: 3
I think I heard that they spent 20 million dollars on this study as well. It was not some light focus group but very extensive instead. I have not read it yet but, if true, I can't wait to hear what the supporters of cell phone driving will say after knowing the facts inside it.


RE: As bad as DUI
By FangedRabbit on 7/24/2009 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
<rant>

I call BS. The problem is that cell phone use is often cited in an accident but isn't nescessarily the cause. They just tack it onto the data saying that a cell phone was involved.

I've personally had 2 such instances; once while sitting at a red light in heavy traffic and somone rear ended me. I had been sitting there for some time and while I was on my phone, it was in now way involved in the incident. I was rear ended another time because the other driver was trying to pick his phone up off the floor of his car and wasn't watching the road. It could have been anything he was trying to pick up, but they try to cite cell phone involvement when they throw around statistics. If they started tracking and citing all sources of distraction causing accidents, I'm sure they would find that cell phones only account for a small fraction of incidences.

The reality is that taking your attention off the road for any reason is the danger. Kids, passengers, billboards, radios, GPS, the hot chick in the car next to you...they all cause you to take your attention off the road. It isn't feasible to try to remove the distractions, instead they should focus on distraction management.

What about smart phones? Someone might not be talking on their phone, they could be reading an email or fiddling with the music player. I've seen people reading books while driving so WTF. The cellphone is just a scapegoat because someone in NHTSA got cut off by a teenage girl with a phone glued to her ear.

As for hands free devices, they make things even worse! How long do you have to take your attention off the road to find and use a hands free device VS just answering the call?

NHTSA needs to pull their heads out of their asses and grow up. This is stupid.

</rant>


RE: As bad as DUI
By stromgald30 on 7/27/2009 7:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree. You can argue that texting or holding a cell phone is not as distracting or impeding to one's driving skills as being under the influence, but it's pretty obvious that there is some effect.

Saying that YOU can drive fine with a cell phone and should be allowed to do so is like saying that the DUI limit should be raised from 0.08 BAC (or whatever it is in your state) to 0.10 because some people can drive fine at 0.08.

Texting and holding cell phones and talking make it more dangerous for other drivers so it should be outlawed. Nobody has the right to endanger the lives of others.


ban conversations with passengers also?
By mattclary on 7/23/2009 10:09:00 AM , Rating: 1
Can a hands free headset really cause a more distracting conversation than having one with someone in the car?




By MrBlastman on 7/23/2009 10:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, actually it is. When you have someone else in the car you are talking with - you have a second pair of eyeballs that are watching the road. The likelihood of something noticed is thereby doubled thus making it less dangerous than talking to someone hands free over the phone that is completely oblivious to your driving and surroundings - which further distracts you from yours.


RE: ban conversations with passengers also?
By deathman20 on 7/23/2009 10:40:17 AM , Rating: 2
I tend to be more distracted with a passenger in the car because you can actually look at said person.


RE: ban conversations with passengers also?
By Camikazi on 7/23/2009 3:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you possibly be driving and looking at the person next to you? That is just a stupid thing to do period, eyes on the road ALWAYS.


RE: ban conversations with passengers also?
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 4:16:22 PM , Rating: 3
...unless she's REALLY HOT.


RE: ban conversations with passengers also?
By Camikazi on 7/23/2009 6:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
Not gonna be so hot after that head-on crash :P


By Rhl on 7/24/2009 2:22:01 AM , Rating: 1
My girlfriend is really, really hot and I suffer from this problem. I stare at her far too often while driving and she's in the passenger seat. It scares me sometimes.


Better idea...
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/23/2009 8:48:32 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Even if cell phones are not outright banned, many places across the country increase traffic fines if a violation is committed while the offender is on their cell phone.


This I agree with. If you blow through a stop sign or run a red while talking on a cell phone, definitely increase the fine. If you're stuck in traffic, they should not ban you from calling someone to tell them you're going to be late.

Sadly I'm sure the reason this would get adopted would not be for public safety, but increased revenue to a local government.




RE: Better idea...
By orgy08 on 7/23/2009 9:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
It takes 30 seconds to tell someone you running late, thats not what they are talking about. Its the people who talking their whole ride and are eating shit on the road. Every near crash I've had has been with morons on the cell phone. I say ban cell phones and retest drivers more often.


RE: Better idea...
By bildan on 7/23/2009 10:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
This is actually in effect in several western states. If you get stopped or have an accident, cell phone use will be considered "Driving While Impaired" with similar penalties to drunk driving.

Some form of this is probably the best approach. Some people can drive competently while talking - some can't. Base enforcement on existing laws. Get ticketing for a violation and cell phone use escalates the penalty significantly. Signs saying "Fines & Points Tripled for Cell Phone Use" might have some effect.

I'm a flight instructor and I see people who can't master using a radio and flying an airplane at the same time - an essential skill for pilots. Others have no problem at all.

The essential skill is prioritization. The mantra for pilots is "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" in that order. Communication is always on the bottom of the priority list. With cars, it becomes "Drive first, communicate second".


RE: Better idea...
By hyvonen on 7/23/2009 2:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds perfect. Some people can multitask (drive & use a cell phone at the same time), while some people can't. Some people are simply just better drivers, and are more aware of the traffic around them, so they are still able to drive safely while being "distracted" by a cell phone conversation, GPS, radio etc.

Simply ticketing anyone driving while using a cell phone doesn't make sense. Ticket those who make traffic violations while using cell phones, and ticket them HEAVILY.

Saying that all drivers are equal is bulls**t.


More government!!!
By HostileEffect on 7/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: More government!!!
By FITCamaro on 7/23/2009 9:32:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well to be fair, the group was saying it should be handled by state and local governments. Not by the federal government.


RE: More government!!!
By mrteddyears on 7/23/2009 9:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
We have a ban in the UK for Cells in the hand while in the car. We can use handsfree as much as we want.

It really is a great way to generate money for the Government.


RE: More government!!!
By crystal clear on 7/23/2009 10:36:35 AM , Rating: 3
They also want you to use taxis,buses,the tube,the trains etc ...fewer traffic jams & accidents.

They want to ground you ! good for the envoirement & the GREEN addicts.

(joking)


wow, dumb
By yacoub on 7/23/2009 10:40:34 AM , Rating: 1
If this becomes law, cell phone companies will need to lower their bills significantly because a majority of the benefit of owning a cellphone (being able to be reached anywhere) disappears.

Most of the time a cellphone shows its benefit happens to be while traveling, since aside from places you go to eat, generally everywhere else a person spends significant portions of their time they have the ability to be contacted by other means or via a landline. Home, work, and anywhere you can safely look at a screen to read email or type out an email on your smartphone (i.e. not while driving a car).

So practically the ONLY place a cellphone call is a significant benefit is while you're driving because you can't safely look at a screen to read email or type out a response.

So if this sort of pathetic legislation passes, I will demand cellphone charges become a hell of a lot cheaper. Like monthly bills cost half of what they cost now since half (or more) of the use of having one will have been taken away.




RE: wow, dumb
By WinstonSmith on 7/23/2009 11:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
"If this becomes law, cell phone companies"

The part after the comma is why it won't become law.

And on the claim that in-car conversations have the same distracting effect as cell phone use, I find that, for some reason, even when using a Bluetooth earpiece, the disembodied voice of someone talking directly into my ear is much more distracting than a passenger talking. Handling a phone creates an additional problem, a vehicle control one.


Can't Fix Stupid
By Belard on 7/23/2009 9:53:56 AM , Rating: 2
A stupid driver is a STUPID driver, period. So if they are already sucking, then the phone makes it more dangerous. Perhaps, don't give driver licenses out to morons?

Still, I don't like to have long conversations on the cell phone. More like.. I'm driving, coming home, lets talk later. I hang up if there traffic "bye, theres traffic" or don't answer if theres problems. If its a conversation that needs to take place, I tell them to hold while I park.

Sometimes cell phones are used to help find someone who is lost "okay, go left at the stop sign, do you see the 7-11?".

So perhaps, do something that would generally be better... mandate that people watch a short-version of Defensive Driving (1~2hr video) once a year. It'll be good for a
refresher. They can watch it for free on Cable TV or internet or their cell phone:) And talk about safer use of the cellphone while driving or "if your IQ is ## low, please don't use the phone at all - YOU MAY DIE!".

Getting a bigger fine by causing an accident with a phone sounds good. Make it very public.... Crash your car, $500 - whatever.




picture on the right
By invidious on 7/23/2009 9:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure putting on lipstick is far more dangerous than talking on a cell phone as it uses one of your hands and diverts your eyes. All a cell phone does is use one of your shoulders and impare one of your ears.

Also how is a hands free device more dangerous than inputting to your navagation system or changing stations on the radio?

Of course asking questions like this is not permitted in our new socialist america.




80's flashback
By IcePickFreak on 7/23/2009 10:27:13 AM , Rating: 2
"Dude! You'll never guess where I'm calling from. No, my car! It's totally rad!"

Zach Morris wouldn't approve. Sadly I do because of peoples lack of common sense.




By Smokey48 on 7/23/2009 10:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
Cell phone use while driving causes more accidents than drunk drivers. That is a fact. They should both be held responsible for their actions.

I'd be satisfied if, when there is an accident, the law stated that the party using a cell phone is presumed to be at fault.

Overcoming that presumption would require that the other driver was also on the phone, or that a third party caused the accident through negligence or a deliberate act.

Everyone is always so sure that THEY are such good drivers that they can multitask with a steering wheel and a phone. That sounds just like a drunk's rationale, insisting that he's able to drive home.

So either hold cell phone users accountable... or stop arresting people for driving while intoxicated. The innocent party is just as dead either way.




change the drivers tests ...
By Finnkc on 7/23/2009 10:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
want to talk on the phone and drive?

sure thing ... just do this skid pad test while talking on the phone. A few high speed chicanes, a few evasive maneuvers, maybe a slalom course on simulated ice ...

I would be willing to bet most people (phone or no phone) wouldn't pass a basic skid pad test ... and that is the reason the roads these days are so dangerous. You could know all the rules of the road and still not be a good driver ... and on the flip side you could be Michael Schumacher but if you know nothing about "the way of the road" then you are no better then the next idiot.

phones don't help ... but the root of the problem is the sad sad driver testing and education system.




Respect
By Aeonic on 7/23/2009 1:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think the root issue is that many drivers have no respect for driving. They're ignorant of their limitations and the risks involved. They just don't think about it. Driving to them is more like waiting in the dr's office than an actual activity. This is an issue with or without cell phones.

But with the cell phone issue, there is a huge spectrum of risk, from the guy who only takes a 15 second emergency call once a month to the idiot who gabs on their phone for their hour commute every day (or texts!).

The delimma for me is do I want to give up my right to take a quick, relatively safe call (because I do pay attention and take care) for the safety of getting the gabbers who don't pay attention off their phone. It's always a risky proposition and slipperly slope to give up a right. Today, it's cell phones, tomorrow, they discover that music is slightly distracting, and the next thing you know, it's illegal to have a radio in your car. Or it's illegal to drive a shiny car, or a car that's any color but grey, because others might look at it. You know?

Some people seem to believe that driving should be perfectly safe. Realistically, it can't be. It will always be a compromise between safety and feasability and the freedom to enjoy yourself. I worry that those who want a complete ban on anything, in this case cell phones, won't be happy there, and will continue to demand we give up our rights to work toward their unrealistic goal of living forever.




OK plain and simple for me
By Rhodenator on 7/23/2009 4:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't give a flip if you do the following while driving:

1) Talk on your cell
2) do make-up
3) shave
4) jumpin jacks
5) do the twist

as LONG as you are capable of it. Stop trying to find every distraction and limit it. Make licenses a PRIVILEGE for people who CAN DRIVE. Make a certain number of strikes and no more license rule (off to the bus for you!). That way, if someone who doesn't have ANY distractions keeps f'in up, good, they can't drive anymore. For someone who can multitask a billion things and doesn't screw stuff up, great! Keep your friggin license.

If YOU CAN'T multitask and drive, it doesn't mean everyone else can.

If YOU CAN multitask and drive, it doesn't mean everyone else can.

Thus, instead of waiting for the next distraction discussion beyond cells, just stop it at the license (privilege)...

yay there's my $.02!




Ridiculous
By FXi on 7/23/2009 11:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
Might as well ban babies and children. Ever watch someone weave around reaching back to grab something from a child? Oh and ban coffee, makeup, combs/brushes, food (can't eat a hamburger because you might weave all over) and might as well add music to the list. Ever watch someone "rocking out" nearly hit someone?

Now give this some thought for a minute. If you run into something and have to tell an officer what happened. Do you tell them "Gee I was such an idiot and looked over at that chic and bam crashed into the cement post." Nope you tell him that you were talking on that "horrible" cellphone because you sure wouldn't want to blame your own idiocy as the cause of the accident. Based on that very likely scenario alone, I'd bet this cell phone thing is overdone.

Fact is we don't monitor what you are doing in the car, singing, talking (ban passengers?) or hands in your pants. You can do a lot of things in a car that will get you killed. If you do something dumb, and you get into an accident, guess what, you are liable.

Beyond that this talk is crazy because it's nothing new that their are dumb things people do while driving. Probably we should start testing people's reflexes and get the infirm off the road, long before we go after phones.




By callmeroy on 7/24/2009 8:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
I have to admit , I'd be one of the few who would be ok with a complete cell phone ban while driving - so long as it was understood "emergency" use was permitted.

The thing about phones and me --- yeah I don't like talking on phones to begin with so its easy for me to not pick up a cell phone, and I hate texting --- though I'm ok with short replies like "yes or no" kind of texts.

Not only for those reasons above and safety reasons, but I just honestly think 95% of the time when you see someone talking on a cellphone while driving...I would bet you the conversation is really not that important. Folks talk for the sake of talking, and as another poster pointed out --- "because they can". It would really be added insult to injury to be hit by another car which seriously injuries me, and then on top of that great news I somehow find out -- God forbid, I can't walk again ever why? Well because Susie couldn't wait to talk to her friend in person about what some guy said to her while at lunch today......

I just think the long and short of it is - we are now TOO connected for our own good and its finally coming to be known it literally may be killing us (or at least injuring us in some cases).....

Also to close -- I like the line "oh I can't use my cell while driving for safety sake".......at least that gets me some peace from work calls while trying to get home.. :)




If they ban hand free ...
By Supa on 7/24/2009 8:35:10 AM , Rating: 2
... They might as well ban any form of conversation between driver and passenger(s), because it's equally "distractive".




By Chaser on 7/24/2009 1:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm really getting tired of these narcissistic politicians trying to use the federal government to legislate themselves into the history books by imposing their do gooder legacies at everyone else's expense.




Bump.
By rburnham on 7/25/2009 5:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
At some point we should just drive bumper cars.




Girl in the picture
By WindSlash on 7/27/2009 6:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to know who the girl in the pic is.. or where to find more pics of her.. ;-)




I passed a cop the other day...
By Cr0nJ0b on 7/28/2009 6:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
A CHP in Southern California, doing what most of them do...He was:

1) on his phone (no hands free)
2) Leaned over to bite a burger he had next to him
3) reached down to the console to punch a guys license into his PC
4) reached up to flip on his lights (I think that's what he was doing)
5) pulled out his mic and told the driver ahead of him to pull over (he wasn't pulling over...probably on his phone)

And this isn't an isolated incident. Cops spend tons of time on their PC while driving. Granted it's a few pretty esay key strokes, but come on...they use cell phones with no hands free...they use their mics...and eat in the cars.

Now I wasn't driving at the time, or I probably would have crashed just watching this show. It's funny to me that we are ok with distracted cops...but it's me that has to leave my phone at home.




By Integral9 on 7/23/2009 1:39:45 PM , Rating: 1
Why are we reporting about a memo written 7 years ago, that was never acted on? This is like someone heard an idea on the street that was the direction they thought we should go, so they wrote it down and shared it around the office. Obviously it goes further than anyone is willing to, but the point of the memo is that the change talked about is in the right direction. It's like the equivalent of the idea of everyone to stop using their cars. Sure it would save the planet, delay global warming, help the environment, heck it may even cure cancer. But nobody is going to do it.

Cell phones usage will never be completely banned in a vehicle. They may implement devices that force you to use a hands-free kit, but it is no more dangerous w/ a hands-free kit than talking to another passenger. Also, what about all those truckers and maintenance companies with two-way radios in them? How is that different from a cell phone? It's an electronic device that occupies a hand when in use that should be on the wheel.

IMO, If you ban cell phones completely, then you have to ban all forms of two-way communication in a vehicle. Including talking to your passengers.




By Integral9 on 7/23/2009 1:40:03 PM , Rating: 1
Why are we reporting about a memo written 7 years ago, that was never acted on? This is like someone heard an idea on the street that was the direction they thought we should go, so they wrote it down and shared it around the office. Obviously it goes further than anyone is willing to, but the point of the memo is that the change talked about is in the right direction. It's like the equivalent of the idea of everyone to stop using their cars. Sure it would save the planet, delay global warming, help the environment, heck it may even cure cancer. But nobody is going to do it.

Cell phones usage will never be completely banned in a vehicle. They may implement devices that force you to use a hands-free kit, but it is no more dangerous w/ a hands-free kit than talking to another passenger. Also, what about all those truckers and maintenance companies with two-way radios in them? How is that different from a cell phone? It's an electronic device that occupies a hand when in use that should be on the wheel.

IMO, If you ban cell phones completely, then you have to ban all forms of two-way communication in a vehicle. Including talking to your passengers.




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