Maybe this guy just needed some more education. After all, we don't want to get in the business of telling adults what to do while they drive. Except, of course, if they're drunk. Or have an open container of alcohol. Or are not wearing a seatbelt. Or have an unrestrained child in the car. Or have window tint that's too dark. Apparently education alone won't work in any of those cases.
Posts: 114 | Location: Bryan, Texas, USA | Registered: January 02, 2003
On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the empty 250-foot-long sludge barge The Resource,being towed alongside the 78.9-foot-long tugboat Caribbean Sea, collided with the anchored 33-foot amphibious passenger vehicle DUKW 34 in the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DUKW 34 carried 35 passengers and 2 crew members. On board the Caribbean Sea were five crew members. As a result of the collision, DUKW 34 sank in about 55 feet of water. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 26 passengers suffered minor injuries. No one on the Caribbean Sea was injured. The mate of the Caribbean Sea failed to maintain an appropriate lookout, including monitoring the radios, while navigating the vessel because he was distracted by personal use of his cell phone... NTSB
Posts: 254 | Location: Lampasas, Texas, USA | Registered: November 29, 2007
Thirty-five percent of drivers said they�ve read or sent a text message while driving in the last month, according to a new survey. Sixty-seven percent said they talked on a cellphone while driving in the past month, and almost a third said they do it regularly.
But virtually everyone agrees that dealing with text messaging and cellphones while driving is a serious threat to their safety, according to the same survey, conducted on behalf of the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all states and the District ban cellphone use behind the wheel, becoming the first federal agency to call for an outright prohibition on telephone conversations while driving.
A federal safety board recommended Tuesday that states ban the use of cellphones and text messages by drivers except in emergencies - advice that Texas lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry appear likely to reject.
quote: NTSB’s own report shows that the drivers involved in this scary wreck were involved because of driver inattention having nothing to do with cellphones, texting, or any other personal electronic devices. It was just the old-fashioned kind of driver inattention that has caused most accidents since the beginning of the automobile age, and that could have been prevented by a little attention to proper following distance and the road ahead.
Distraction is the problem, cell phones are the scapegoat. As cell phone usage while driving has skyrocketed, traffic deaths have declined. Every study I've seen of places that instituted a cell phone ban shows no measurable change in traffic accidents afterwards. Talking on a cell phone while driving may be dangerous if it takes your attention off the road -- but the same is true with talking to your passenger, having screaming kids in the back seat, fiddling with the radio, eating your lunch, putting on makeup, rummaging through your purse, or any number of other distractions that people are facing on the road every day. This is just another law trying to sound tough while having little to no actual effect on the problem.
How is that different than someone in the car talking to you? I've never said that cell phone don't cause any kind of distraction. I just don't buy that this is an appreciable difference from any of the multitude of other distractions that people already faced. Else we would have seen some actual difference in accident rates as cell phones became more popular in cars, and changes in accident rates in areas after they banned cell phones.
It's a perception issue, because we hear about the cell phone problems and everything else is ignored. Like the accident that prompted this recent change, where we hear all about the texter who caused one part of the accident -- but the two more major parts came from ordinary distraction that has nothing to do with any kind of electronic device (watching something on the side of the road and following too close), and that's ignored in almost all the coverage of the accident.
All good points. But, deep down, we all know that we don't need to be talking or texting on cell phones while we are driving. We can justify or explain it all we want, but the real truth is that it is yet one more unnecessary distraction to making sure that a multi-ton piece of metal doesn't run someone over.
Many of these same sorts of explanations were once offered as to why a driver should be able to sip a cold beer on the way home.
I don't think that's an accurate comparison. I think bans on cell phone usage are more akin to a statute that prohibited murder by shooting with a handgun. That may be the kind of murder that gets the most headlines, but is that really the issue? Or is it just as much a problem when you kill someone with a rifle, or a knife, or poison? Banning cell phones attacks the scapegoat without addressing the vast range of distracted behavior that can be just as dangerous. And people sanctimoniously attack cell phone usage even when it's proven that other types of distraction were a far bigger problem, such as the accident discussed above.
So "deep down" I don't know that it's wrong to talk on a cell phone while driving. I know that it can cause problems, just like a lot of other things that a person could do while driving. But until we encase drivers in a sound-proof box, everything is going to be a cost-benefit analysis and vary greatly from person to person and situation to situation. (And even that wouldn't have prevented the two types of distraction that caused the school buses in the accident above to crash.) There are times that I won't talk on my phone when driving, just like there are times I won't lean down to change the radio station or eat a hamburger. There are also times I'll drive well below the speed limit or won't change lanes or do a host of other perfectly normal and rational activities, because the situation demands it.
Trying to ban cell phone usage is just slapping on a bandaid and has made no actual difference in accident levels. Frankly, there are a lot better uses of the police's time than this kind of nanny-stating. If using the cell phone, changing the radio, eating in the car, or whatever is making them drive recklessly, then stop them for that.