If Even The Police Don't Follow Driving While Phoning Rules...

from the perhaps-there's-something-wrong dept

While we have no doubt that driving while talking on a mobile phone can make the roads less safe in some circumstances, it still seems like the laws against such things are ineffective. They're targeting one aspect of driver distractions, ignoring plenty of others. At the same time, it doesn't always make sense. If you're on an open stretch of road without any traffic, does such a law do any good? Also, evidence has suggested that some people can drive just fine while chatting on a phone, while others cannot. So does an outright ban make sense? Or more effective rules on reckless driving? Even early supporters of the laws have noticed that they haven't been particularly effective in either stopping driving while yakking or in making the roads any safer. To make this even clearer, apparently over in the UK, a local Chief Superintendent of police was spotted chatting on the phone while driving by a member of the public who followed him all the way back to the police station -- only to have the guy brush him off when his infraction was pointed out. This isn't a surprise, but it just highlights the fact that even with these laws, it hasn't appeared to do much to stop people from talking on their phones. It would be a good thing to make our roads much safer, but an if an ineffective ban isn't doing the trick, why aren't we looking at smarter solutions?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 3:58pm

    Driving While...

    Also, evidence has suggested that some people can drive just fine while chatting on a phone, while others cannot. So does an outright ban make sense?
    Couldn't the same logic be applied to drinking and driving? Some people are better drivers even at 0.08%BAC than some others are at 0.0%, so does a ban on everyone at 0.08% make sense?

     

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  2.  
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    tek'a, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:02pm

    remember kids, the police are here to make sure You follow the rules.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:26pm

    Obviously...

    It would be a good thing to make our roads much safer, but an if an ineffective ban isn't doing the trick, why aren't we looking at smarter solutions?

    I know you know the answer to that already, but here it comes:

    Because the people making the laws are complete morons.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:26pm

    Driving while distracted...

    A lot of these arguments could be extended to situations where people are driving while intoxicated.

    Including the police thing...

    /it's a three six-pack drive from here to Vegas...

     

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  5.  
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    Chirs, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:41pm

    my 2c

    Im no literary scholar so forgive the follow:

    Persecute for the offesne, regardless of the circumstances.

    i.e. If you're driving wrecklessly, be it talking on the cell phone, eating, or recieving fellatio, you're driving wreckless and should be persecuted thusly. If you can do all three of those things at the same time, yet keep your focus on the road, then more power to ya. Some people quite frankly just shouldn't drive in general, but unfortunately you can't legislate stupidity.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    heres an idea, use the speaker phone, its what i do

     

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  7.  
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    Mike, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:54pm

    Re: my 2c

    Some people quite frankly just shouldn't drive in general, but unfortunately you can't legislate stupidity.

    Sad, but true.

     

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  8.  
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    Captain Obvious, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:56pm

    C'mon...

    Also, evidence has suggested that some people can drive just fine while chatting on a phone, while others cannot. So does an outright ban make sense?
    This is a horrible argument. There are plenty of studies out there that have also found the opposite is true.

    And even though I'm not for a ban on cellphones, I would never use this argument. There are all kinds of studies that prove that even drugs or alcohol do not impair everyone's driving ability. Should we not outlaw DUI?

     

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  9.  
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    Nihilophobe, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:58pm

    Re: my 2c

    You do realize that "wreckless" driving is a good thing, right? I believe "reckless" is the word you're looking for.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:58pm

    Re: my 2c

    But lots of people talk on the phone and most of them are impaired by it. Some of those people will not be talking on the phone and thus driving impaired if talking while driving is banned. So we will all be some measure safer.

    Whether or not this works in some degree is not at issue. How much it works and whether it is way too blunt an instrument for dealing with this problem is the question.

     

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  11.  
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    I am not a spammer, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 4:59pm

    Re: my 2c

    I have proven it by entering a name in the name field. This is a pretty lame criterion for your spamblocker.

     

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  12.  
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    Danny, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 5:55pm

    Re: my 2c

    LOL

     

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  13.  
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    Not-so-Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 5:57pm

    Maybe...

    Has anyone ever heard of Bluetooth?

     

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  14.  
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    MissingFrame, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 6:46pm

    The work-around

    I SMS while riding my motorcycle, since I'm not talking I'm sure it's legal and perfectly safe.

     

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  15.  
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    =XCetron, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 6:52pm

    I'm totally for IMing on the laptop while driving.

    Thats not talking on phone and are there even laws against that?


    Exploiting stupid loopholes is no way to improve the system

     

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  16.  
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    ghostman, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 6:57pm

    I live in Tempe, and I often see the police do something much worse: use their laptop while driving. In the last two days, I've seen one cop use his laptop while at a stoplight, and two more using theirs while driving. Really, though, I was relieved, because if they'd been paying attention, they might have noticed my tags were expired.

     

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  17.  
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    qyiet, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 7:18pm

    heres an idea, use the speaker phone, its what i do

    I have had complete a nokia car kit for quite some time. I found it much more distracting than talking on a handset, as I kept looking at either the phone (apparent source of the sound) or at the mic instead of the road.

    I've stopped using it because I feel safer with one less hand, and my eyes on the road.

     

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  18.  
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    Jacob Buck, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 7:43pm

    In Rochester, NY, where I live, the police department recently issued cell phones to all of the cops on patrol. You can see them zipping around chatting on them all day. No one cares, and it steams my pants.

     

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  19.  
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    pyro_854, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 7:45pm

    I think you should know that police are trained to use several electronic devices including cell phones, two way radios, and laptop computers... at the same time... while in a high speed chase. Meby when you get your drivers liscense you can opt for a driving while distracted endorsment. Also... what about truck drivers, they use CB radios while driving.

     

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  20.  
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    ghostman, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 8:50pm

    Hmm... the only thing separating me from using my laptop while driving is one of those nifty dashboard braces that the cops have. Then the computer just sits there for you, almost at eye level. Think about it: if we all did it, we could IM each other doing 70 on the freeway.

     

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  21.  
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    Matt, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    some cell phones dont have speakerphone

     

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  22.  
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    Robert, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 10:13pm

    Laws

    "If you're on an open stretch of road without any traffic, does such a law do any good? Also, evidence has suggested that some people can drive just fine while chatting on a phone, while others cannot. So does an outright ban make sense? "

    OK. Some people can also drive pretty well while they're intoxicated. If they're intox on an open stretch with no traffic should they be exempt?
    This whole piece is idiotic.

    Mike writes; "Because the people making the laws are complete morons." Yeah. And the majority elected them.

    Jacob...get the steam out of your pants. If you read the state law that was passed, I live in NY, Cops on duty are exempt from the law. If that bothers you, talk to the person that just got a quicker response time from their police dept.

     

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  23.  
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    pudro, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Driving While...

    No. Let me take a drunk driving test, and if I can pass it at .12, then my license says that I can drive up until I get to .12. And I bet you I could pass it. As far as how it would be enforced it would be just the same as they enforce corrective lens requirements.

     

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  24.  
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    The infamous Joe, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 4:24am

    No Subject

    The BAC comparison works for me, but probably not for the intended purpose..

    Maybe I'm the only guy, but there are lots of thigs that determine how..ah.. functional I am after heavy drinking-- how much I've had to eat, if I took allergy medicine earlier for the sniffles (No one wants the sniffles at a bar), what type of alcohol I'm drinking, etc. Much the same way, I think there would be a huge difference on how distracted I'd be while driving depending on the topic of said phonecall. If I were ordering a pizza versus if my ex had found my new number and decided to call for a "friendly" chat.

    So, an outright ban would cover all conversations on all phones-- assuming of course that the cops actually did something about it. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's illegal here, in Mass., but it needs to be-- all these soccer moms whipping about in SUVs hopped up on Dunkin Donuts coffee.

    Did you know that hanging something on your rear view mirror is illegal? Obstruction of view or something like that-- when was the last time someone told you they'd got pulled over for that? The cellphone law was put in place to make people feel better-- I don't think anyone actually intended on enforcing it.

    So, my solution-- put huge, sharp spikes on all steering wheels, pointing at chest level... then we'll see how safe and attentive everyone can drive. :-P

     

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  25.  
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    1st time poster, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 5:48am

    why aren't we looking at smarter solutions?


    Dear lord YES! Why didn't anyone ever think of this before!? Please tell me, what are these amazing "smarter solutions" of which you speak!? /sarcasm

    Come on. I agree that an ineffective law is dumb to keep on the books, but if even one life is saved, it's effective. Of course we'll never know if a life is saved, but who wants to take the chance?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: my 2c

    yeah, but the stupid legislate...

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    Actually, if you read the law in NY, law enforcement officials are specifically immunized against the law with no conditions. Civilians reporting emergencies are also OK. Not saying the law isn't stupid, just saying (at least in NY) it doesn't actually apply to cops whether they're on or off duty.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    Dear lord YES! Why didn't anyone ever think of this before!? Please tell me, what are these amazing "smarter solutions" of which you speak!? /sarcasm

    Come on. I agree that an ineffective law is dumb to keep on the books, but if even one life is saved, it's effective. Of course we'll never know if a life is saved, but who wants to take the chance?I/i>

    Yes... and lets ban tag on the playground http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48701. Don't think it will keep our children from getting hurt, but why take a chance. And while we are at it lets ban taking water on an airplane. All you atheists out there, we are working on a law requiring you tol start believing in God too... He probably doesn't exist, we have no proof, but don't wanna take a chance! It's for your own good!

    C'mon, this is the lamest arguement for creating bullshit laws. But unfortunately it is how most of them get passed. We are such a litigiuos society, we start passing "don't wanna take a chance laws" to keep from getting sued and in the meantime we are slowly whittling away whatever semblance of freedoms we still have...

     

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  29.  
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    LiLWiP, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    Dear lord YES! Why didn't anyone ever think of this before!? Please tell me, what are these amazing "smarter solutions" of which you speak!? /sarcasm

    Come on. I agree that an ineffective law is dumb to keep on the books, but if even one life is saved, it's effective. Of course we'll never know if a life is saved, but who wants to take the chance?I/i>

    Yes... and lets ban tag on the playground http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48701. Don't think it will keep our children from getting hurt, but why take a chance. And while we are at it lets ban taking water on an airplane. All you atheists out there, we are working on a law requiring you tol start believing in God too... He probably doesn't exist, we have no proof, but don't wanna take a chance! It's for your own good!

    C'mon, this is the lamest arguement for creating bullshit laws. But unfortunately it is how most of them get passed. We are such a litigiuos society, we start passing "don't wanna take a chance laws" to keep from getting sued and in the meantime we are slowly whittling away whatever semblance of freedoms we still have...

     

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  30.  
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    WePlayMegaMans, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 7:29am

    Breakin' the law, ok with you?

    Police in my area do whatever they please. You always see them coasting through stop signs and yapping on their cells when driving. It's well known the Police in general have a code between them where they don't "bust" each other. Have you ever seen a police car pulled over by another police car? How often have you seen an officers name in the newspaper for a DUI? Seldom, if never. You know they commit these crimes just as we all do. Do you think that there needs to be a better set of checks and balances? or do you think police deserve these "free passes" for doing a job that most of us won't and can't do?

     

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  31.  
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    Good, Chaotic Night Elf, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 8:12am

    RE: Breakin' the law, ok with you?

    Fcuk the police. At best they are a neccessary evil. Most often, they are just evil. They are uneducated thugs no better than the worse criminals they lock up. They aren't here to protect you. They are here to protect the state that pays them from you.

    The police are nothing but a military that wages war on civilians. They have not reduced murders -- the past 100 years have been more violent, not less than the previous 100 -- rape, or any other crime. They have NO intention of reducing crime. Doing so would be like the big oil companies designing a car that runs on water.

    As for the police doing a job other's wouldn't... I wouldn't take any job that involves murdering people or working for a corrupt tyrrantical state. I wouldn't have joined the SS. That doesn't mean I have to respect the SS.

    The fact is that most pigs like violence and look for an excuse to use it. Our brain washed society gives them a free pass because idiots like WePlayMegaMans say they protect us. As a result, America is going to hell in a handbasket. We just ranked 57th in freedom of press and even lower in civil and human rights. This is pathetic and disguisting. Another 15 years and we will be worse than China.

    America: love it or leave it. Fine I'll leave it as long as I can take my land with me.

     

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  32.  
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    Kate, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 9:51am

    My driving has become much more dangerous now that I have to talk on the phone AND look out for cops at the same time. Seriously.

     

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  33.  
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    WePlayMegamans, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    Re: RE: Breakin' the law, ok with you?

    Excuse me, but I only asked if that is what you believe. I did not say that is what I believe. Personally, I think we need a stronger system of checks and balances to make sure the police do a better job of protecting us, while abiding by the rules that you and I must follow as well. So once again, I merely asked if that is what the people believe. I live in a city where there has been almost 400 murders this year. Every morning theres another face in the paper, and sometimes it's a child. I KNOW the police do not do a good job of protecting us, I see it every day.

     

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  34.  
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    Beaner, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 12:34pm

    400 Murders

    > I live in a city where there has been almost 400 murders this year.

    You live in Oakland, CA? Dude, move to Mexico. It's safer and there's less poverty.

     

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  35.  
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    mary had a little lamb, May 13th, 2007 @ 9:27am

    i love cellphones

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2007 @ 9:28am

    Re: 400 Murders

    no1 cares

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2007 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re:

    get a cellphone that has one then

     

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