Original Supporter Of Driving While Yakking Legislation Changes His Mind

from the too-much-to-legislate dept

Coming just days after a study showed more people than ever were driving while talking on their mobile phones, and weeks after a study showing that driving while talking makes you instantly "older" is this story about an early supporter of laws to stop driving while yakking who has completely changed his mind about the laws -- which he now believes are a problem. Not only do the bans not appear to make the roads any safer, people are discovering the unintended consequences from the ban -- mainly in the fact that there are plenty of other things more distracting in a car these days. In fact, many of the driving while yakking laws require "handsfree kits" which some think make the situation worse. By letting people have their hands free, they're able to start fiddling around with other distracting gadgets while talking on the phone and (oh yeah!) driving at the same time. The real issue, though, is that there are so many distractions in cars these days, that legislation is unlikely to be able to keep up in any meaningful way. A better solution would seem to be education. Let people know just how bad they drive when distracted and then enforce other driving laws better.


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    dorpus, Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 1:38am

    Wouldn't it be funny if

    With all these self-righteous businessman types yapping about how cell phones are "safe", wouldn't if be funny if some 16-year-old yakking on a cell phone accidentally runs over the businessman's kid, then keeps driving for many miles with the kid stuck under the car?

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 1:45am

      Re: Wouldn't it be funny if

      No one is saying talking on cell phones is safe here. The point is that these laws aren't helping. In fact, they seem to be distracting from the real issue -- which is safe driving.

       

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        Tim, Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 3:33am

        all relative

        It's all relative: the problem is that accidents increase in rate and/or severity with distractions present. Now, if all that a driver merits is a loud yell from a pedestrian who's had to scamper slightly faster out the way than they intended, what damage is done in that incident? Why should *that* be blamed on the phone when they could equally well have chosen the wrong moment to battle with the glove-box to hunt sweeties? etc..

        Hence, I believe the best way to handle it is to recognize *contributing factors* adding to an existing law. Over here, we already have `driving without due care and attention' or `dangerous driving', both of which are employable on their own or as part of an actual accident incident. Effectively this makes it a scoring system: 2 marks for talking on phone, 1 for ferreting around for CDs when you can see a complex situation coming up ahead, etc. Then you can even choose a sentence based on severity of offence without multiplying offences themselves.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2006 @ 11:05am

          Re: all relative

          Because searching in the glove box or whatnot occur infrequently.

          I sat at a light and watched 12 cars turning left. 8 were on the phone (no hands free), one was picking his nose. The other three were driving (or if they were talking they had handsfree).

          Driving while using cell phones is legal here, but I still yell at every one that I see doing it, (When they have their windows down and can hear me.)

          66% were on phone with no hands free. 8.33% were 'otherwise distracted'. 25% were paying proper attention to what they were doing. Of course that is a really small statistical universe.

          My bottom line is, people take the time in the car to talk to people on the phone. Folks just need to hang up and drive. Save the phone calls, makeup application, eating and so forth for some other time.

           

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    knight37, Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 6:13am

    Fight Fire With Fire

    They are going about this the whole wrong way. If technlogy is distracting drivers, they don't need to legislate the problem, they need to make cars that drive themselves, that way we are free do do whatever we want in the car and it just takes us where we need to go. ;)

     

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      ChiTownKustomz, Nov 27th, 2006 @ 4:01pm

      Re: Fight Fire With Fire

      It's good that you had mentioned that, to have the cars drive themselves. Something that they are currently working on. Based on magnets to keep cars flowing @ a safe distance from one another.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 10:01am

    No Subject Given

    A better solution would seem to be education. Let people know just how bad they drive when distracted and then enforce other driving laws better.
    Let's do the same with driving while intoxicated laws.

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 10:39am

      Re: No Subject Given

      There's a pretty big difference here. DWI laws actually did help in stopping accidents -- and actually a large part of it was REALLY from the huge education campaign that went along with it.

      Here, the anti-phone laws clearly HAVE NOT helped. So you think we should keep them, just because?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2006 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: No Subject Given

        Cell phone laws are rarely enforced. Lets enforce the cell phone while talking legislation with the same zeal that DUI laws are enforced and then compare the effectiveness.

         

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    Glenn, Mar 3rd, 2005 @ 11:15am

    I drive slower...

    the safety issue can be debated, but I definitely drive slower, in the right hand lane, while talking on the hands-free phone.

     

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    Far East POV, May 23rd, 2006 @ 5:19pm

    Presumptive fault solution

    It's only a partial solution, as it doesn't address vehicle/vehicle accidents, but here in Japan any motor vehicle accident which also involves a pedestrian or cyclist, the driver of the vehicle is presumptively at fault, 100%, end of story. The basic philosophy is that if you have the greater power, you must bear the greater responsibility, no 'ifs' 'ands' or 'buts'. Penalties are stiff as well, including punitive damages, payment of supplemental and rehabilitative care and, in cases involving death, ALL PROSEPECTIVE FUTURE EARNINGS of the deceased, according to a standardized table. Insurance requires restitution as well, so if you hit a child, you are on the hook for the rest of your life in most cases, often for approaching $1,000,000. Stiff. People tend to drive more carefully, though...

     

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    Rockbobster, May 23rd, 2006 @ 8:02pm

    I ride a bike, in traffic

    Two words.

    Cellphone swerve.

     

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