Banning Driver Distractions One By One; Next Up? Eating, Faxing Or Petting Fluffy

from the common-sense-is-dead dept

Last year, in writing about all of the various new laws being proposed to ban all sorts of different driving distractions, we asked for suggestions on what other specific driving distractions should be banned. It looks like one politician in Texas is now trying to ban a bunch of those in a single bill (technically, he's just looking to increase the fine, if you're caught doing any of these things). Aman Batheja points us to the details, including the fact that eating, shaving and faxing while driving are on the list. But even more interesting to me are the issues with "interacting with passengers" or "interacting with a pet." Why not just disallow driving with any other living being?


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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Radio?

    Geez, even listening to the radio is in that bill.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Yet another example of MGEAS in action.

    Yes, 'Making Government Efficient Avoidance Syndrome' is that nasty, useless, expensive time and liberty waster that most public servants occupy themselves with today.

    Those who can't Do, Teach.
    Those who can't Teach, Manage.
    Those who can't Manage, Govern.

    It is very hard to roll up your sleeves and --work-- to make government a better value going forward.

    It is easy, intellectually LAZY work to simply look around you and find any little thing to criminalize.

    Demand MORE real work and less LAZY MGEAS crap from your elected office holders.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Why not just disallow driving with any other living being?

    Perhaps as part of the auto bailout the manufacture of single person vehicles should be mandated. Alternatively, one may wish to consider the requirement that passengers be either strapped to a luggage carrier or ride in the trunk.

     

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    Jesse, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:49am

    "Why not just disallow driving with any other living being?" No that's not good enough. It leaves out pet rocks and the like.

     

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    Wayne, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Seriously, how major of an issue is faxing while driving?

     

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      Nicko, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      No not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam! I swear to god one of these days I'll just kick this piece of s41t out the window!

       

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:50am

    That extreme

    Why not just disallow driving with any other living being?
    That is the extreme I took it to to prove my point in an argument with my friend about how stupid laws like this are. They were referring to that report about the one guy on the safety council who wanted to ban cell phone talking while driving across the country. So I just started expanding on how stupid it is to do such a thing. And I eventually ended with the extreme of those age old reports that said talking to passengers in your car was a distraction, so lets just ban letting anyone else in the car with you.
    At that point he finally acknowledged the idea of banning "distractions" one by one as inefficient, and liked my idea better.

    My point overall is that it is not needed. Such distractions are not a problem for some or most people. I believe that in just about every state there are already laws against impeding traffic and or wreckless endangerment. So, all we really need is for police to enforce those laws better. If there is somebody in the fast lane, going slower than the rest of the freeway and weaving around their lane, then ticket them for the laws already on the books. There are always laws against it, just enforce them. Then the people who can talk on the phone just fine and drive won't be impeded by other people's stupidity or lack of competence.

     

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      hegemon13, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:56am

      Re: That extreme

      Just wanted to point out that going slower than other traffic in the fast lane is not prosecutable as impeding traffic. The only way you can get ticketed for it is if you drop below a posted minimum (as they have on interstates), or go at an unreasonably slow speed (we're talking awfully slow for that one, too). The weaving, though, I agree with.

      It's funny how aggressive drivers point to someone going the speed limit and call them a hazard, then gripe about police not enforcing existing laws (such as the speed limit law they're breaking).

       

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        Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: That extreme

        Not everyone who speeds is an aggressive driver...

        I tend to agree with Tofu though. Let's take a common sense approach that punishes people who are actually driving dangerously, rather than just assuming that no one can drive safely while doing x, y, or z.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re: That extreme

        in our area, anyone going 15-20 under the posted speed limit is guilty of impeding traffic. and often if everyone is going 70-80 (when the speedlimit is 60-70) the cops will pull over the one person who is going the speed limit.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re: That extreme

        Perhaps you should not assume that your state laws are the only ones that exist. It is, in fact, quite illegal in many states to be in the left lane unless you are actively passing someone. Other states have laws that state minimum speeds for left most lanes. You can read about different states laws on keeping right here State "keep right" laws. If you think it's always legal to drive in the left lane, you should definitely read this before traveling to another state.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:14pm

      Re: That extreme

      "My point overall is that it is not needed. Such distractions are not a problem for some or most people."

      Drunk driving is not a problem for most people either but it is still illegal.

       

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        RPR (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 9:25pm

        Re: Re: That extreme

        The difference is that talking on a phone does not alter the chemical state of your brain in a way that makes you unable to make sound judgments. i.e. A drunk person often cannot realize that their state impairs them from driving safely.

        When someone is on the phone, they still have the ability to realize the safety hazard that talking on the phone creates. Whether they choose to recognize this fact and respond to it should not be determined by law makers.

        What should be determined by law makers is the punishment for disregarding the fact that talking on the phone is unsafe, and then either breaking a law or causing n accident because of it. For the people that can't talk on the phone and drive safely, they shouldn't. For those that can, I don't think they should be stopped from doing so just because Shanaynay Dumb@ss can't multitask.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 10:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: That extreme

          For the people that can't talk on the phone and drive safely, they shouldn't. For those that can, I don't think they should be stopped from doing so just because Shanaynay Dumb@ss can't multitask.
          And some people drive better drunk than others. So should everybody be prohibited from driving drunk just because Shanaynay Dumb@ss can't?

           

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            Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 7:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That extreme

            I think you are missing his point about drunk driving. Different states have different BAC levels at which a person can no longer drive legally because at that point, people's judgement and reaction times are slowed. If you feel that the BAC level should be raised, go ahead and lobby for it to your legislators. Nobody is stopping you.
            That is why BAC levels are based on how much your body handles and why the 250lb guy can have 2 beers and still drive while the 150lb guy can only have 1. Drunk driving is drunk driving no matter how you look at it. People cannot think as well and do not react as well once they pass those points. They just can't, no matter how hard they try or want to claim they can. If they are still driving fine, then their BAC level has probably dropped to an acceptable level. Each state though has their own level for where it is and is not legal. Then again, the word 'drunk' does have that stigma. I believe your point is more about driving with a slight buzz, rather than actually driving drunk. As nobody can drive safely while drunk, period. My point is that the tiny buzz levels are sometimes okay, depending on the state. You can correct me if I am wrong, and you are indicating that people actually can drive fine while drunk, a bit passed buzzed.

            While there were several responses to my original post, I think there were some good responses to them as well.

            As for the first one:
            It's funny how aggressive drivers point to someone going the speed limit and call them a hazard, then gripe about police not enforcing existing laws (such as the speed limit law they're breaking).

            I would agree with that being funny. But if you are insinuating that I am a speeder, and therefore an agressive driver, I believe the joke is on you. In Michigan here our freeway speed for I-75 in most places (aside from down in Detroit, and a little section through Flint) is 70. I am talking about the people on the cell phones going 60 to 65. And yes, most people do go 80. While I tend to drive about 68 - 70 in the middle lane, I do not enjoy the people who feel they need to go 80 weaving into and out of my lane because there is another person in the fast lane that I am passing because I am using cruise control. If those people going slower would get over, the huge amount of people who do go flying past me, could fly past me a lot more safely. And I don't mind if they are only in the middle lane, and then I have to get into the left lane to pass them. I am fine with that.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 11:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That extreme

              I believe your point is more about driving with a slight buzz, rather than actually driving drunk.
              I was talking about actually driving drunk as per the legally established definition of driving drunk, not your made up one. If you feel that the BAC level to be considered drunk should be raised, "go ahead and lobby for it to your legislators. Nobody is stopping you." And I have definitely seen some people who can drive better while legally drunk than some others can sober.

               

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                Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 11:35am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That extreme

                If you feel that the BAC level to be considered drunk should be raised, "go ahead and lobby for it to your legislators. Nobody is stopping you."
                Thank you for fixing my sentence. That was indeed what I meant.

                 

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Let's ban 'Driving while stupid' and require an IQ over 100 to drive a car.
    Maybe we can stop giving the written driver's test in other languages (in New York anyway) being that all of the road signs are in English only.

    Most importantly, and this is not age discrimination, the elderly need to be re-road-tested every few years to determine their vision acuity, speed maintenance (slow as constipation) and reaction times. A solution is to provide exclusive, reliable transportation to elderly folks who have their licenses revoked for age-related illnesses and maybe charge them what they would have paid to maintain and insure a car.

     

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      Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      There are signs near the Canadian border that are in English and French, and signs near the Mexican border that are in English and Spanish.

      (Are there signs near the Alaskan border in Russian? Sorry, had to go there.)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      Most importantly, and this is not age discrimination, the elderly need to be re-road-tested every few years to determine their vision acuity, speed maintenance (slow as constipation) and reaction times.

      That would violate a contract people have had with society for many years. Every since I began driving I have been putting up with elderly drivers and complaints have been met with "well, you have to put up with them now so that when you get old everyone will put up with you". I damn well expect that contract to be honored.

       

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      Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:15pm

      Re:

      Why shouldn't *everyone* be required to retake their road test every four years or so?

       

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    Clovenlife, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Can we give the cops tickets?

    My friend is a cop and he rather enjoys the laptop the provide in car. This mean they would have to remove those laptops, comm radios, or get tickets?

    Not that I see many officers actually enforcing this law.. except for people they have to pull over on a cold rainy day.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Can we give the cops tickets?

      My friend is a cop and he rather enjoys the laptop the provide in car. This mean they would have to remove those laptops, comm radios, or get tickets?

      No, cops are always exempt from these kind of laws.

       

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    Nicko, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Some minor changes

    Cars will just need to be redesigned with separate cockpits that cannot be opened in flight, drivers will need to have a co-driver with separate controls in case the driver does become distracted...oh yes and TSA ground marshalls will accompany all passengers for their safety.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    no rules

    I say let us disband all the rules of the road. Everybody for themselves.

    If somebody causes accident and kills, lets hang him.

     

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      Nicko, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:11pm

      Re: no rules

      Exactly that's what Passive Laser Restraint Systems, and Tri-Helical Plasteel 1000 Molecular Bonded Shells are for.

       

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      anonymous, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:27am

      Re: no rules

      that could be a really awesome idea and then that could really bad because if we let go of those rules wouldnt a lot of people get hanged?

       

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    David, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    An important clarification

    Although I always disagree with laws banning activity before a crime is actually committed, I think there is an important point that is glossed over in your description. This bill increases the fine if the driver was doing something stupid WHILE breaking a law.

    AKA - The cop can't pull you over for faxing, but if you hit a car and have a laptop in your lap, they can write you a bigger ticket. Whether you agree with it or not, I think that is an important point.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:34pm

      Re: An important clarification

      How is it an important point?

       

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        David, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: An important clarification

        *shrug* I guess it was important enough for them to edit the original article. That and everybody is responding as though it is a ban, which it is not. It may be a waste of paper and time, but it is not a ban.

        In other words, if you are very good at faxing and driving, this law does not effect you.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: An important clarification

          In other words, if you are very good at faxing and driving, this law does not effect you.

          Not true. If you do anything else that you can be fined for (expired registration, bad tail light, speeding, etc.) then faxing WILL result in an additional fine whether it had anything at all to do with the original offense at all or how good you are at doing it while driving.

           

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      Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:38pm

      Re: An important clarification

      I may be mistaken but a wreck is bad enough but reckless endangerment is something else altogether.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    How about we just quit assuming everyone is equal? No two people are equal, and absurd laws like this are geared to drag the average and above down to the level of the disabled/mentally challenged.

    Why shouldn't someone be able to do something while driving just because another person, less capable, can't? I hate to tell you, but on my commute, I see people doing things like shaving, reading the paper, putting on makeup, etc. I see it and I think "Wow, that idiots going to die", then I see someone doing NOTHING and driving just as bad with their hands at 10 and 2.

    The problem isn't what the people are doing, it's the people. Some people just can't drive well and should be removed from the road, likewise, some people are not intelligent enough to keep themselves focused on driving, and should be removed from the road. Make driving tests harder, make driving a true skill people have to learn, and make driving an actual priority. We work so hard to make it easier so people can do other things while driving, then are shocked when they are more focused on their other tasks rather than driving.

    Stop lowering speed limits to accommodate idiots. Stop restricting everyone to avoid targeting problem people. Stop blaming everything but the person.

     

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    Mike, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Try driving in Germany

    First I find it sad when people get upset with a law(s) that should not be required in the first place. Now no one here cannot tell me that they have not been distracted while, eating or talking on the phone while driveing. If more people would think about what they are doing then these types of laws would not be needed. Now I am fortunate enough to travel overseas and this is nothing new in countries like Germany, and it is enforced and people do abide by them. But my guess the people compaining are the same people who don't like traffic camera's. Again these wouldn't be needed if people obeyed the law and followed common sense. So until than things like this are needed to protect people from those who feel they are above all of this.

     

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      Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:06pm

      Re: Try driving in Germany

      Firstly, I can tell you that I have been distracted while eating or talking on the phone while driving. The biggest culprits are those damn motorists that district me while talking on the phone while driving.

      In all seriousness, though, these laws shouldn't be needed because they're irrelevant for the majority of drivers. Most people I talk to are actually quite sensible about these things. For example, my girlfriend doesn't feel like she can concentrate on driving if she's talking on the phone, so she just calls me back when she reaches her destination. On the other hand, others of us realise that we are capable of driving safely while talking on the phone. I drive better while talking on the phone than some drivers that I see who are not talking on the phone.

      So like another poster mentioned: "the problem isn't what the people are doing, it's the people".

      And just because laws like this already exist in some other country does not mean they are logical. There are probably people who "do abide by them" and people who don't abide by them. But just because people abide by the laws does not mean that they make sense.

      "But my guess the people compaining are the same people who don't like traffic camera's. Again these wouldn't be needed if people obeyed the law and followed common sense."

      I'm sure a lot of us who are sharing pain (good term, 'compaining', I'll have to use that some time, if it's okay with you?) don't like traffic cameras or their ... umm, locations? Which attribute of the traffic cameras do you not think that people like?

      The argument against traffic cameras is different though. Those are just plain unsafe and can create more accidents than they prevent. The argument against the kinds of laws that Mike's commentary was about take one of two flavours. Mike claims that one all-encompassing law that includes all stupid behaviours would be more effective than individual laws for each stupid behaviour. (Of course, this would leave way too much room for police officers to make stuff up.) The other argument is that these laws do not actually change behaviour (and sometimes lead to more dangerous behaviour, such as text instead of talking on the phone while driving) and that they discriminate against people who are capable of concentrating on driving while talking on the phone, petting the dog, changing the radio station, etc.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re: Try driving in Germany

        "I drive better while talking on the phone than some drivers that I see who are not talking on the phone."

        And I could say the same about drinking and driving. But does talking on the phone make you a better driver? I bet it does not. And that's the point. When driving on public roads, you should strive to do your best. Anything less is unacceptable and phoning does not help you do your best while driving.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Try driving in Germany

          "And I could say the same about drinking and driving. But does talking on the phone make you a better driver? I bet it does not. And that's the point. When driving on public roads, you should strive to do your best. Anything less is unacceptable and phoning does not help you do your best while driving."

          I think his point was that if me driving at 70% because I'm talking on a phone is a problem, and my 70% is better than someone else's 100%, why should I not be allowed to talk on the phone, but the other person still be allowed to drive? Take away all the distractions and I'm at 100%, but the other guy will never be better than my 70%, and he will still be on the road. Why not have legislation making him illegal?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Try driving in Germany

            "I think his point was that if me driving at 70% because I'm talking on a phone is a problem, and my 70% is better than someone else's 100%, why should I not be allowed to talk on the phone, but the other person still be allowed to drive?"

            Read it again. It is because you are expected to do your best when driving when driving on public roads. There is no such thing as being "too good" a driver.

             

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              Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Try driving in Germany

              No need to read it again, that's exactly what I meant. Let's get over the whole "do your best" routine that seems to have become entrenched in our society. Sometimes your best is just not good enough. Where do we draw the line? What if someone's best is 50% of my best? 20%? 10%?

              Ultimately, being a good driver means you're not getting into accidents, not causing accidents, and not almost causing accidents. If I can talk on the phone and pay enough attention to the road that I'm not getting into accidents, what's the problem? If someone else is getting into accidents without being distracted, how is that okay?

              I speed, I talk on the phone, I change CDs, I drink (non-alcohol), all while driving. I also maintain an overly safe following distance, I know what a yellow light means ("stop unless it's unsafe to do so"), and I know what a yield sign is (those who live in New England typically don't); I don't dodge in and out of traffic, I use my directional signal when changing lanes and turning, and I very rarely pass on the right. I have never been in or caused an accident.

              Am I the best driver on the road? No, and I know this. I'm probably someone else's 70%. But I also know that I am a safer driver than most because I'm constantly paying attention and driving "defensively", even while doing things that some would call "distracting".

              Driving safely is about knowing your limits and not pushing them. It's about being predictable and paying attention to others. It's about giving yourself and others time and space to react to changing conditions. It's not about the other things you decide to do while driving.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Try driving in Germany

                So you don't drive to the best of your ability? You know what? A lot of people don't. Look at the number of highway injuries and fatalities there are each year.

                So you admit to not caring to drive as well as you could. If you were on the stand defending yourself against a vehicular manslaughter charge I somehow doubt that you would be so forthcoming.

                 

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    Kevin, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Misreading the legislation?

    It sounds like he doesn't want to ban those behaviors, he just wants to up the fines on drivers who engaged in those behaviors while violating another traffic law. Speeding = fine. Speeding while talking on the phone = double fine. Running a stop sign = fine. Running a stop sign while putting on your makeup = double fine.

    It seems to make sense when phrased that way. Rather than punish people for doing things that can be potentially distracting, he's talking about punishing people for doing things that are potentially distracting only when there is documented evidence that their driving ability was impaired.

     

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      Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:15pm

      Re: Misreading the legislation?

      In this light, it makes more sense.

      It would be interesting to see how they define one's ability to drive being impaired. For example, speeding is not necessarily a sign that one's ability to drive is impaired, whereas running a stop sign might be. Dodging in and out of traffic (the despicable act that it is) is not necessarily a sign that one's ability to drive is impaired, but swerving in one's lane might be (assuming it's not the wind's fault).

      But, yeah, punish the people who are driving dangerously because of their behaviour, not those who are still driving safely.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Misreading the legislation?

      Rather than punish people for doing things that can be potentially distracting, he's talking about punishing people for doing things that are potentially distracting only when there is documented evidence that their driving ability was impaired.

      Except there would be no "documented evidence" whatsoever that their driving ability was impaired by the additional activity. Correlation does not equal causation. If it did then we would to fine people for breathing and driving because I'm pretty sure that most people who violate traffic laws are breathing when they do so.

       

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    Whatever, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Almost a perfect solution...

    Why ban the distractions when you can cut to the source and ban driving? It would eliminates the accidents all together.

    Only problem with this is that the US economy would shut down due to nobody on the road to stock businesses, etc. And of course running out of food at home unless you are a hunter. But then again, cannibalism is an option. Glad my neighbor is fat...

     

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    DS, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    So, it should be OK to drive with your pet on your lap?

     

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    Thomas, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Driving Distractions

    Let's just black out all the windows on our autos, too.
    That way we won't be distracted by traffic, road signs, cops, or anything else...

     

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    RD, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    I call BS

    What a bunch of god damn bullsh*t. I've been talking with passengers since I started driving, which is functionally NO DIFFERENT than talking to a person on a phone (talking about talking here, not dialing or handling the phone, just the bogus perception that its a "distraction" to converse while driving.) These witch hunts serve no purpose other than to allow the government even more access to our private lives and (usually more significantly) a revenue stream when people break the new "laws." See also: Britain, for a peek at how much of an absurd and naked grab for cash these ideas really are.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:29pm

      Re: I call BS

      What a bunch of god damn bullsh*t. I've been talking with passengers since I started driving, which is functionally NO DIFFERENT than talking to a person on a phone
      Now unless you have some evidence to back that up then I'm calling BS because there have been many studies that have have show that there is a big difference.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:53pm

        Re: Re: I call BS

        please link to said studies. every study I have seen only tests impairment while driving on the phone (not impairment while talking to other people) and/or done in a way that guarantees the result they want (demanding the person talk continuously, answer logic problems, do complex mental math, and various other things that no one does regularly while chatting anyway).

        I do not think I should get pulled over because I'm driving safely while I use the phone for a minute to let people know that I'll be late because of traffic, or am calling in unsafe drivers or accidents.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: I call BS

          "please link to said studies. every study I have seen only tests impairment while driving on the phone (not impairment while talking to other people) and/or done in a way that guarantees the result they want..."

          What result do they want, the truth? Can't have that, can we? In which of the studies did the researchers state that they didn't want the truth?

          As for links, they've been posted here on Techdirt many times. Look them up yourself using the search button at the top of the page.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I call BS

            yes there are studies posted her, and said studies didn't test driving while on a cellphone and driving while talking to a passenger. They also don't post their methods so you know the study wasn't biased.

            you made a claim, I ask you, once again, to back it up with solid evidence: Link to these studies that compare driving while on a cellphone to driving while talking to passengers, and I want reputable ones that actual describe their methods.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I call BS

              "you made a claim, I ask you, once again, to back it up with solid evidence:"

              Since you're apparently too lazy to do the lookup yourself, here's a few to get you started: http://www.psych.utah.edu/AppliedCognitionLab/

              Now, you made the claim that the studies were rigged to achieve the results that the researchers wanted. I suggest you back that accusation up with your own evidence and name the individual researchers you are accusing of such dishonesty.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I call BS

                first it isn't laziness for him to ask you to cite references. If I said the earth was flat I would be expected to prove it, not just say "look it up". I also think that you are being unduly antagonistic towards everyone here, you might want to take up meditation or find another way to keep from getting so heated just from talking to a bunch of anonymous people online.

                Second, while I admit I have not yet read all of those papers the ones I have read have not compared conversing with passengers and cell phones or listed detailed descriptions of how the conversations proceeded just like the previous poster complained about. I know I have seen many tests where the questions where they do ask questions that require lots of thought to answer and are not a proper test of the effects, one that many people have seen would be the mythbusters episode on the subject.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 5:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I call BS

                  "first it isn't laziness for him to ask you to cite references."

                  He already indicated that he was familiar with the studies. Asking me to cite them again was just being a jerk.

                  " If I said the earth was flat I would be expected to prove it, not just say "look it up"."

                  If I said the world wasn't flat you'd probably ask me to prove that too, and I'd say the same thing: look it up.

                  "I also think that you are being unduly antagonistic towards everyone here, you might want to take up meditation or find another way to keep from getting so heated just from talking to a bunch of anonymous people online."

                  I'm not heated. I think you're confusing me with the foul-mouthed name-caller above. Also, I'm sorry if it antagonizes you when someone disagrees with you but I'm really not all that interested in your personal problems.

                  "one that many people have seen would be the mythbusters episode on the subject."

                  I hate to break it to you, but the Mythbusters are TV entertainers, not real, qualified scientists doing real peer-reviewed scientific research. Picking apart a Mythbusters episode doesn't really prove much.

                   

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    Dave, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Another neccessary driving ban

    I, for one, think it's about damn time we pass a law to stop people from building those little ships in a bottle while they're driving. We need to put that high on the list of specific things we are going to ban while driving.

     

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    Andy, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    maybe cell phone driving saves lives

    How many accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep? I believe it is somewhere over 50,000 a year. I'd be willing to bet that almost none of those people would have fallen asleep had they been talking to someone on the phone. Something to think about.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:34pm

      Re: maybe cell phone driving saves lives

      How many accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep? I believe it is somewhere over 50,000 a year. I'd be willing to bet that almost none of those people would have fallen asleep had they been talking to someone on the phone. Something to think about.

      They shouldn't have been on the road driving drowsy in the first place.

       

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    RD, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re: I call BS

    " What a bunch of god damn bullsh*t. I've been talking with passengers since I started driving, which is functionally NO DIFFERENT than talking to a person on a phone

    Now unless you have some evidence to back that up then I'm calling BS because there have been many studies that have have show that there is a big difference."

    30 years of personal driving experience, first hand knowledge. This does not require a university study to be true. It also passes the moron in a hurry test, as talking is talking regardless of where the person is. Now, handling the phone, dialing, texting, etc, that is a different matter and IS distracting. But you cant seriously sit there and tell me that I need a STUDY and RESEARCH to know that conversing in a moving car with another human being is any more distracting with an earpiece than if they are sitting next to me. If anything, in-person is MORE distracting since you can turn your head, make eye contact, etc. But just TALKING isnt any different. And if it is, the problem is YOU.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

      Re: Re: I call BS

      "30 years of personal driving experience, first hand knowledge. This does not require a university study to be true."

      Well, I have 36 years of driving experience, first hand observations AND I'm a licensed driving instructor. Both my personal and professional experience fully agree with the university studies. If you can't accept anything that varies from your personal beliefs then that's your problem, not the rest of the world's.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:59pm

      Re: Re: I call BS

      30 years of personal driving experience, first hand knowledge. This does not require a university study to be true.

      I know alcoholics who say similar things about drinking and driving. You're the perfect example of why laws regulating some things are needed. Your inability to recognize your own dangerous personal behaviors means that somebody else needs to do it for you before you hurt someone.

       

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    RD, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Re: I call BS - AC

    "I know alcoholics who say similar things about drinking and driving. You're the perfect example of why laws regulating some things are needed. Your inability to recognize your own dangerous personal behaviors means that somebody else needs to do it for you before you hurt someone."

    Fuck you you fascist piece of shit. Apparently, your inbred nazi eyes cant read that I wrote that I have driven for 30 years while talking to people in person and on the phone without distraction or incident.

    It's people like YOU that want everyone to march to the "re-education camps" so they can be cataloged and tagged and have their behavior controlled like good little slaves.

    See, I too can make straw man arguments and personal attacks about someone I dont know anything about, and manufacture falsehoods about their personal actions and responsibilities.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:49pm

      Re: Re: I call BS - AC

      Fuck you you fascist piece of shit. Apparently, your inbred nazi eyes cant read that I wrote that I have driven for 30 years while talking to people in person and on the phone without distraction or incident.

      They haven't even had cell phones for 30 years. Not only are you foul-mouthed but you seem to be a liar as well. Is that only when you're drunk?

       

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      Big Fat White Bread, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 7:58am

      Re: Re: I call BS - AC

      This thread is over!!!

      I call Goodiwn's Law!

      YOU LOSE

       

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    anymouse, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Talking on Phone while driving illegal in WA

    WA state recently passed a law making talking on a cell phone while driving (holding the phone to your ear) illegal, headsets are still okay (as is eating a cheeseburger, shaving, applying makeup, etc). One of my wife's friends is a short haul truck driver (3 loads a day, every day, roughly 500 miles or so) and he doesn't have a headset, so now instead of the two of them chatting on the phone for 5-10 minutes while he's on the freeway, they text back and forth several times a day.

    So if you were in the other lane heading towards an 80,000 lb truck, and the truck was kind of 'wobbling' like it 'might' come across into your lane, would you feel more comfortable if the driver of that truck was holding a phone to his ear, or leaning over the wheel, steering with his elbows, while he thumbs out a text? Granted, neither one is the 'best', but people are still going to attempt to communicate, and personally I'd rather the driver had at least ONE hand on the wheel. In talking about the changes since the new law, it appears that he's not alone, he talks to many other drivers here in WA who are doing the same thing, since talking is illegal and they can be fined for it, they are now texting while driving, since they can't be fined for that (yet).

     

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    RD, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:17pm

    AC not DC

    "They haven't even had cell phones for 30 years. Not only are you foul-mouthed but you seem to be a liar as well. Is that only when you're drunk?"

    Typical of the fascist. When he cant win the argument, just completely ignore the salient point of the other side, shift the argument to a trivial detail, and then dismiss the entire argument because the other person called you names.

    Let me spell it out again in simpler terms that even someone such as yourself can understand:

    1) I have driven for over 30 years
    2) I have conversed with people IN the car WHILE driving in those 30 years
    3) I have also used cellphones in the car to talk to people. A moron in a hurry can see that cellphones havent been around that long, however I have used cellphones for a good chunk of that time (since approx 1996) to talk to people while driving.
    4) TALKING to people, and ONLY THE CONVERSATION, is, TO ME, and because of my LONG experience with it, NOT A GOD DAMN DISTRACTION NO MATTER IF I AM ON A PHONE OR IN PERSON.

    It's that last point you are trying so hard to ignore and twist the argument to your "you must be a drunk driver" fixation. I dont drink. I have never driven even remotely drunk. Accuse me of it again and I will have a defamation lawsuit sent to you immediately. If you cant argue the points being raised, and are only going to create strawman arguments while you also make unfounded accusations, then please do the world a favor and stay off the net. Or better yet drive drunk, you obviously seem to have a lot of experience with it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:30pm

      Re: AC not DC

      dude, calm down and don't lower yourself to his standards. also think before you type, you can't sue anonymous.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:38pm

      Re: AC not DC

      You got caught in a really stupid lie. And now you claim that you don't drink either. Well, as far as I'm concerned, you've lost all credibility now and I'm not inclined to believe a thing you say. You're gonna sue me? Yeah, right. More bull. But if you really think you've got a case then go for it. "Immediately", as you said. I'm not holding my breath though.

      Or better yet drive drunk, you obviously seem to have a lot of experience with it.

      Oooh, does that mean I get to sue you now? (snicker snicker)

       

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    Xiera, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    The biggest distraction

    ... is totally attractive women in other vehicles. They should totally outlaw that. I mean, seriously, that's probably the only thing that could distract me long enough to impact my driving.

     

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    Ron (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Biggest Distraction

    Hell, the totally attractive woman in MY car is a certain distraction. Oh, wait... no interacting with passengers. OK, well the totally attractive woman is no longer an issue. What about reading road signs? Aren't they about as distracting as the GPS? Maybe we could outlaw those as well. How about police red lights (always distracts me), and those little bumpy lane marker things, and spinner hub caps, and quietly scratching oneself, and ...? Oh, and I guess I can take the Brother 5-in-1 that I use for faxing and printing and scanning out of my car now. Maybe if we just went back to requiring someone waving a red lantern prceeding each car, we would not have the issues. Oh, wait, being a conscientious driver might help. Nah, too simple.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Distracted drivers

    Why not ban driving? Public transit, yes! Private transit, no! For the uninformed, this is a joke (mostly, not entirely).

     

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