Shocking Revelation: It Isn't The Phone That's Dangerous; It's The Driver

from the crash-and-burn dept

We have discussed the futility of banning cell phones while driving for some time at Techdirt. The evidence keeps pouring in and all of it seems to suggest that a driver capable of driving distracted while on his phone will dutifully seek out other ways to be distracted if the phone is no longer an option. However, it's worth pointing out this continuous deluge of evidence because, for whatever reason, both national and local politicians just seem to love flailing their arms about cell phones mixed with cars.

That's why we'll point out a new study done by MIT researchers which has found, yet again, that people who regularly use cell phones while driving also exhibit other risky driving behaviors, even when no phone is present. If nothing else, the method for this study is interesting:
The study involved 108 people, equally divided into three age groups: 20s, 40s, and 60s. For each person, the researchers correlated answers on a questionnaire with data collected from on-board sensors during a 40-minute test drive up Interstate 93 north of Boston. The drivers commanded a black Volvo SUV tricked out with an eye tracker, heart and skin monitors, video cameras facing out the front and back windows, on-board sensors, and other research gear.
No phones were allowed to be used during the study obviously, and yet researchers found some interesting correlations with the people who admitted regularly talking on their phones while driving: they were more likely to drive faster, to spend more time in the left hand lane, to brake harder, and to change lanes more often. None of these are as drastic as, say, upending the SUV and falling over the rail off a cliff and landing in fiery fashion on a school bus filled with nuns, but the changes do suggest an increased likelihood of danger.
"These are not 'oh-my-god' differences," says study leader Bryan Reimer, a human factors engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. "They are subtle clues indicative of more aggressive driving." What's more, he says, other studies have linked these behaviors to an increased rate of crashes. "It's clear [from the scientific literature] that cell phones in and of themselves impair the ability to manage the demands of driving," Reimer says. But "the fundamental problem may be the behavior of the individuals willing to pick up the technology."
In other words, crappy drivers are crappy drivers. If they aren't chattering away on their phones, they'll be singing Carly Rae Jepson with their eyes closed, or putting on their deodorant, or reaching into the backseat for that bag of Cheetohs they left there last weekend. But do we ban cheese snacks in cars? Do we outlaw Old Spice-ing while driving? Should pop music be banned in the car (resist...temptation...to say...yes...)? Of course not, particularly when these studies continue to show that distractable drivers will find another way to run us all over.

At least if they have their cell phone out, it'll be that much easier to dial 911 when they make us roadkill.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Pixelation, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:28am

    Aggressive driving, maybe they'll make an app for that...

     

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    Analogy Al, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:29am

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people, but if guns are a little scarcer the killing is a little more difficult. Ditto for cellphones and idiots. Get it?

     

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    ahow628 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Transit

    The car is losing its appeal for the younger generation. Specifically, they want to text and play with their phones. If you want to attract great, young talent to your city, focus on transit.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-teen-drivers-20120824,0,5316572.story

     

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  4.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:35am

    Looking at this Heading (without even reading the article at the time) the first thing that came into my head was the "Dun Dun Daaaa!!!!!!!!!" sound of Captain Bloody Obvious making his appearance.

     

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    abc gum, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    Was the NYPD on the cell during their recent escapade?
    This might explain the errant bullets.

     

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  6.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    It's not so much talking on the phone that is the big danger because it is very easy to do that and maintain focus. The big problem is texting because you have to take your eyes off the road for that. It only takes that split second to kill someone.

     

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  7.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Maybe we should ban those drivers from driving for increased safety?

    Also, could we ban politicians that keep trying to write bad laws? The laws are not the problem but obsessive compulsive politicians behind them are.

     

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  8.  
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    Rabbit80, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    In the UK

    "If they aren't chattering away on their phones, they'll be singing Carly Rae Jepson with their eyes closed, or putting on their deoderant, or reaching into the backseat for that bag of Cheetohs they left there last weekend. But do we ban cheese snacks in cars? Do we outlaw Old Spice-ing while driving? Should pop music be banned in the car (resist...temptation...to say...yes...)?"

    In the UK, you can get points on your license for any of the above if it is impairing your ability to drive. It's called driving without due care and attention. Didn't stop them outlawing using your phone whilst driving though - and outlawing the practice has not made the slightest difference - crap drivers still use their phones, hog the overtaking lanes on the motorway and follow other drivers far too closely! We need ways of forcing crap drivers to either become better, or get them off the roads.

     

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  9.  
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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    Cars don't kill people, bad drivers kill people... but I think the car helps. You're not going to kill many people standing on the side of the road shouting "I'm a bad driver! I'm a bad driver!"

     

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  10.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    Re: More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    No, but they might kill you for being annoying.

     

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    ClarkeyBalboa, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Here in Alberta we have distracted driving laws that were drafted broadly enough for an officer to cite you for a multitude of things if they feel you were distracted.

     

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  12.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    And if you're dumb enough to take your eyes off the road to text someone, then you're also dumb enough to take your eyes off the road to do your makeup, change the radio station, change a CD, comb your hair, ogle the lady walking down the sidewalk, attempt to read an idiotic billboard, rummage around for change for the toll (or coffee you're about to get). I could go on.

    If we're going to start banning all the things that can distract us, then we should probably start with those who allow themselves to be so easily distracted.

     

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    Lord Binky, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Wait...Are you trying to say that while I canít out-smart stupid people or maybe I should say I can't out-stupid stupid people?

     

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    A Dan (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Typo

    "to break harder" should be "to brake harder"

     

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    Lord Binky, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    Want to go ride bikes?

     

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  16.  
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    Michael, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Distracted drivers....

    I say we allow cell phone usage in cars, but we link it to the air bags.

    If the driver (not a passenger - not sure how we do that, but those "techies" that can magically stop piracy can figure this one out too) is using a cell phone, the air bag is disabled - the problem will slowly take care of itself.

     

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  17.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    Good point. I didn't think of that, there are too many things that can potentially distract us from driving. Thankfully, I am not the easily distracted type, except when I see a hottie in a summer dress, of course.

     

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    mike, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    I once bought a new car with no radio and I couldn't go over 50 miles an hour to break the engine in. For a month I commuted with no distractions in the car. My mind still wandered and I still got distracted by things. Our minds are busy regardless.

     

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    Phil, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:54am

    Terrible logic in this post. Just because people who talk on cellphones while driving also engage in other risky behavior does not mean that using the cellphone while driving doesn't increase their risk of causing an accident! Stupid post makes a claim unsupported by the data.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re:

    Oops. Fixed on Tim's behalf...

     

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  21.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Re: Typo

    Oops. Fixed on Tim's behalf...

     

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  22.  
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    Lord Binky, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    It does not mean that using a cellphone while driving doesn't decrease their risk of causing an accident either.

     

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  23.  
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    Lesath (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    I'll stop talking on my phone while driving, which I don't do every often, when the local police stop talking on their phones while driving. If anything I'm more alert while on the phone.

     

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  24.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    "No phones were allowed to be used during the study obviously, and yet researchers found some interesting correlations with the people who admitted regularly talking on their phones while driving: they were more likely to drive faster, to spend more time in the left hand lane, to brake harder, and to change lanes more often. None of these are as drastic as, say, upending the SUV and falling over the rail off a cliff and landing in fiery fashion on a school bus filled with nuns, but the changes do suggest an increased likelihood of danger."

    You know, I'm under the impression that cell phone use while driving actually takes concentration away from actually gaining more experience while driving.

    I find when I go at 70 or 75 Miles per hour up I-71 to visit the in-laws, I have to go with the traffic pattern rather than the speed limit. I don't use my phone while driving unless I get stuck in highway traffic behind and accident. I've even seen traffic flow patterns as high as 85MPh much to my wife's chgrin.

     

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  25.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re:

    "... ogle the lady walking down the sidewalk..."
    Chrono S. Trigger, this one made Mrs. Wally and I laugh...
    ....Mrs. Wally caused a few accidents in front of our house coming in from her morning jog ^_^

     

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  26.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head..." to see the SUV I'm about to rear-end.

     

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  27.  
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    Sean, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    Laws making guns scarcer only affect law abiding citizens. Those that want to commit a crime requiring a gun will get one no matter what the laws are.

     

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  28.  
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    Donnicton, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Hmm...

    Cell phones while driving will distract you, making you more likely to miss a sign or light.

    Cell phones while shooting will make you more likely to miss your target.

    Does that mean cell phones while driving and shooting will cancel eachother out and help you drive and hit normally? Double negatives, you know.

     

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  29.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have perfected the ogling to an art form to minimise the risk.

     

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  30.  
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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    I don't think it was trying to make that claim. The article states the opposite:

    "It's clear [from the scientific literature] that cell phones in and of themselves impair the ability to manage the demands of driving," Reimer says. But "the fundamental problem may be the behavior of the individuals willing to pick up the technology."

    We're questioning the logic behind banning each individual distracting activity; treating symptoms rather than the disease.

     

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  31.  
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    OC, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    I can accept that people who are easily distracted by other things in the car are also more prone to talk on the cell phone while driving, but as far as I can tell this study or the illogical write-up does not address whether the drivers are equally bad with or without talking on the cell phone. I would argue that it's quite obvious that it will make you a worse driver, regardless if you where already bad or not.

     

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  32.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Logic however

    Says that focussing on the driver will not reduce deaths and injuries.

    In fact deaths and injuries have reduced significantly over time by improving car and road design.

    In those domains where blaming the driver is not an option (aviation and motor racing) technical measures have resulted in even greater safety improvements.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re:

    But it does put the matter into better perspective. Cell phones aren't even the #1 cause of accidents due to distracted driving (eating while driving is). I've never understood why cell phones got singled out for legislative attention. Why not drive-throughs?

     

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  34.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re:

    Oops, I misremembered. The #1 accident-causing distraction is having a passenger in the car. #2 is eating.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    "a driver capable of driving distracted while on his phone will dutifully seek out other ways to be distracted if the phone is no longer an option."

    Ie. too bored to be bother with paying enough attention to be bothered with stay alive.

     

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  36.  
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    cosmicrat (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    Unfortunately some politicians and safety board types seem bent on requiring technology that disables the cel while in a car. I see all kind of bad scenarios from this:

    1.) woman is trying to escape from homicidal attacker, cannot make call to police while driving, has to pull over and get out of car, wait for cel to reset itself, thus giving killer the chance he needs.

    2.) you're driving through a bad part of town and you're lost. Can't use cel phone for mapping. Have to park, get out of car and wait for phone to reset. Become a victim of muggers.

    3.) driving on busy freeway, lost. Passenger has cell phone and could use it to get directions but cannot because it is disabled while in car.

    4.) you are driving and see a drunk driver but you can't call police to report.

    I hate bad drivers just as much as anyone, but target the bad driving, not the technology. Politicians seem incapable of making wise decisions. I don't have much faith in he so-called safety experts either; in my experience most of them are pretty disconnected from he real world.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re:

    For f*cks sake, how do your politicians get elected, if they can't choke out a "feel good" law every few years?

     

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    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:33am

    This time I don't agree

    Before cell phones and based only on my personal observations, there were fewer distracted people on the road. It's a daily occurrence now to see someone on their cell phone wandering across the median. I know the first RE will be about my personal observations compared to studies, but it is obvious to me that cell phones have made the road more dangerous. I have a hands free set-up in my car. Even with that I find myself paying less attention to traffic when I'm conversing. We need fewer distractions, we need laws to deal with all distractions, we need car companies to have hands free in all cars.

     

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  39.  
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    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Re: Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    Or you're wearing a seat belt and you drown when your car flips into a ditch. Yeah. Seat belts kill too. lol

     

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  40.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    Turns out they were just playing Grand Theft Auto...and forgot to stop ;-)

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    In all seriousness, the next time you're out on the road scope out a few fellow drivers talking on their cell phones. Chances are pretty good you'll be able to immediately tell which ones are unsafe drivers - they're the ones that have their faces all scrunched up with concentration on the momentous task of stringing together monosyllabic words into something resembling conscious thought. The ones that are probably okay will be harder to spot, because the only indication they're on the phone at all is going to be their hand or headset, as their focus is mainly on the road.

    There are ABSOLUTELY two types of drivers that talk on cell phones, and if you can't discern between them it's safe to assume that you're one of the ones who probably shouldn't be piloting a metal cage propelled by explosives anyway.

     

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  42.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re:

    Except your theory is flatly refuted by every other civilized country in the world where there are next to no deaths by guns and we have over 100,000 annually...

     

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  43.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    If we're going to start banning all the things that can distract us

    Can we start with small children in cars?

     

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  44.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Filed under Durrr....

    The larger issue at play is the human desire to make sure that the blame is assigned, usually to the one with the deepest pockets.

    ex. Craigslist - They provide a classified ads service. Classified ads have been used for years for good and bad things, but now with the addition of "on the internet" there are all sorts of expectations piled on them no one tries to impose on the few paper classifieds.
    Your child runs away to someone who pimps her out on Craigslist? Sue Craigslist they are responsible, because its on the internet. Meanwhile the time and money spent on that media frenzy isn't being used to keep the pimp away from the victim and keeps them from testifying.
    No one wants to look into why the child fled the home, why the parents did not monitor their children using the internet.

    ex. TSA - because of no rules making the cockpit of the planes secure, there is now an entire industry devoted to treating everyone like a terrorist and stripping civil liberties away from people. It's all seeing eye expands further and further as people demand more visible "safety" ignoring that 90% of it is just feel good snake oil. A bar to secure the cockpit door would have added a few unpaid for pounds on every flight!

    ex. War on Drugs - Drugs are the reason you get carjacked! With the billions of dollars being spent, and the sheer number of people incarcerated the crime statistics do not bear out that drugs are the real driving force. Maybe you shouldn't have been flaunting your wealth and been lack in simple steps to protect your property.

    ex. Cell phones when driving cause crashes! - Stupid people cause crashes, and will do so with or without a cell phone. Assigning the blame to the cell phone makes an easier outside target than people blaming themselves.

    ex. Fast Food made my baby fat! - Its the fault of the toy in the happy meal! They never said their food wasn't healthy. Real problem parents who refuse to tell their child no, your child did not hold a gun to your head demanding a happy meal. The restaurant advertises, does not threaten to burn your house down unless you buy from them. They also advertise penis growth pills on TV, would you blame that company if your child demanded those and you got them for them?

    ex. Adultery - I'm addicted to sex and helpless. She lead me astray. The closest you can come to someone blaming themselves, but they often fall back on a higher power helping them overcome this challenge rather than admit they were perfectly fine doing it until they got caught. They made the decision to put their own pleasure ahead of other important things.

    It is much easier to blame an outside force than to accept that humans make stupid decisions. It is much easier to make everyone feel better by attacking the outside object you can assign blame to, than make them deal with your actions have consequences.

    Personal responsibility is pretty much dead, its time we bring it back.

     

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  45.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re:

    I don't think you two have any idea how close your two statements are....

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rockstar.gta3&hl=en


    Thank God non of them are iDevice users =P

     

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  46.  
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    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re: Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    Requiring technology that restrains you from flying through the windshield in a frontal collision. I see all kinds of bad scenarios from this.

     

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  47.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I usually slept. I found early on that sleeping made the trip "shorter" :-)

     

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  48.  
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    Brendy, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    Yea, I love how they banned texting while driving in California. Now, instead of holding my phone up and being able to see what's going on behind it through the windshield, I have to conceal it in my lap and completely take my eyes off the road. Bravo lawmakers, bravo...and how do you fuckers even know I am texting? I could very well be choosing a song on my iphone. I'd like to see them pull me over and try to give me a texting ticket as I delete my messages and pull up the music app. Stupid legislation strikes again. Oh yea, and we should ban passengers too because I feel like they are extremely distracting. Since they are human beings, I feel like I need to make eye contact with them when having a conversation. That's very dangerous. I mean we've only been doing it for 100 years. I am sure many people have died due to radio/passengers...why aren't those banned too?

     

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  49.  
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    Vog (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    The thing I find disappointing about studies like this is that they tend to conflate aggressive driving with distracted driving.

    I, myself, am unabashedly guilty of the former. I tend to average about 6 to 7 mph over the speed limit, and when I have somewhere to go, I don't want to have to touch my brake. Consequently, if you v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y pull out right in front of me because you have a smartphone jammed up your nose, I'm going to be displeased.

    That said, I recognize the danger of aggressive driving, but I wouldn't be so quick to categorize "driv[ing] faster, ... spend[ing] more time in the left hand lane, ... brak[ing] harder, and ... chang[ing] lanes more often" as implicitly dangerous behaviors. If I'm more focused on driving and on my surroundings, I'm going to be more alert, reactive, and maneuverable than a distracted driver.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re: This time I don't agree

    We should not need a law to says don't do stupid things.
    Your in a freaking car, unless your call is "I'm lost, is this the right way?" or a real emergency what are you going to do with a phone in traffic?
    Sometimes you need to just hit the button and send them to voicemail. If its ZOMG important they are going to call you right back.
    Just because you get the incoming text chime doesn't mean drop everything and deal with it right then. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

    We have thousands of distractions, we do not need thousands of laws to outlaw each one. We need people to be responsible.

     

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  51.  
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    Eric, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    I really think people approach this from the wrong side. All the emphasis is on reducing cell phone use - what we need in this country is more emphasis on reducing *driving*.

    The people next to you might not like it much if you jibber jabber on your phone while sitting next to you on a bus or train, but at least you're not posing a danger to anyone else doing so. Better, more viable mass transit will reduce highway deaths. Or we can go all in and set an aggressive goal of getting the entire auto fleet to use Google's self-driving technology in the not-distant future.

    Either way this seems like a more effective means of promoting safety than getting the average person to behave more responsibly than they do already.

     

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  52.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    You just got my insightful vote :-)

     

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  53.  
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    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    I am the type that you can't discern, yet I know I am not paying as much attention to the road when I'm talking to someone else. On the cell phone or otherwise. The group that is in the most danger is young people with less driving experience. When you add to that, trying to navigate a keypad or touchscreen to dial a number...

     

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  54.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    DWD

    Driving while distracted. The only time I had a collision with another vehicle (I was 21 at the time) was when I was distracted by passengers in my back seat. I rear-ended a Porsche at a stop light on highway 101 in Santa Monica, CA. No injuries, but a nasty ding in the Porsche's rear panel (it was a cherry red bathtub Porsche - classic in all senses of the word). I don't recall any damages to my car (an early 60's Peugeot 404) since it was my bumper that hit the Porsche. Score? France 1, Germany 0... :-)

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: This time I don't agree

    If we didn't need laws to tell us not to do stupid things, we would have no laws at all. It's human nature to do stupid things. We are not all 40 somethings with a good grasp of our own mortality. We don't all think that the consequences of our distraction might be the death of someone else.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Re: Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    If people were capable of making "wise decisions" the law would not be necessary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    Stig Rudeholm (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    Hey, I just crashed into you, and this is crazy, but here's my insurance card, so call me maybe?

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Re: Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    Before Cell Phones we had to pull over and get out of the car to use the payphone and then get back in the car to find change and then get out of the car and use the pay phone,IF someone wasn't using it and IF it was a working phone.

    I would say that the people proposing such ideas are shills for the Payphone industry.

     

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  59.  
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    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    I think it has to do with motor memory skills and the human brain's inability to process multiple intensive stimuli simultaneously. The brain can only take in so much stimuli. So when you hold up a phone to your ear while driving, you take away from certain stimulus that you need to drive.

    Your motor nuerons are all needed to keep your steering wheel steady, you're eyes scanning, your feet ready to rapidly work the pedals, and your hearing in case there is engine trouble.

    Holding a cellphone to your ear slows your reaction time and is comperable to that of someone with a person who is buzzed from a beer. Your motor nuerons in the brain are needed to grip the steering wheel and keep your reaction time up, holding your arm up to talk like that takes away from your reaction time.
    Your eyesight is extremely important when driving, so when a cell phone is held to one side (note most of them are now rectangles the size of our hands) it creates a blind spot.
    Hearing has its merits outside of engine trouble when the terrain of an intersection blocks your view.

     

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  60.  
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    Vog (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    I think the appropriate conclusion is that cell phones cause you to miss, which means that drive-by shooters would have perfect aim if they'd just hang up beforehand.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your numbers are skewed by the abundance of folks here in the US that need shootin'...

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Disabling cel phones in cars a stupid idea

    Windshields are designed to break easy from the inside so that you don't get blunt force trauma if the bolts of your seats come undone.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: This time I don't agree

    The instructions on irons now include "Do not attempt to iron clothes while wearing."
    Those words are there to stop a lawsuit, if we stopped letting people do stupid things and shift the blame to 3rd parties we'd be better off.

    If we started making people have to have responsibility for their actions, rather than keep the precious snowflakes in protective bubbles where nothing can be their fault, they would learn that their actions have consequences before they get to the point where they drive through the mall because they were busy texting about the new Beiber single.

    I watched an episode of Judge Judy, STOP JUDGING ME, ONLY JUDY CAN JUDGE ME!, a young man carjacked a woman and destroyed her car.
    He was angry to be hauled into court because she was seeking money to replace the car.
    He didn't understand what the big deal was.
    He was cold and didn't feel like walking all the way home, so he knocked her down and took her car.
    As I recall his mother was in there supporting him, and was fussing trying to protect her baby.
    There is a school of thought that he might just be an idiot, but the bigger concern for me is no one ever let the cold light of reality shine upon him his entire life.

    If you kick the dog, it will bite you and no one should yell at the dog.
    If you steal from someone, you should get arrested not just have to grudgingly return the item.

    I saw a girl today on one of the Judge shows who was being sued by her mother for a $1000 loan. She lied to her mom and said it was for brakes on her car... it was to pay the "taxes" on $50,000 she had won online. She stood on national television and said she didn't think she had to repay the money, because the scammers should have to pay it back. She was able to justify to herself that she had no responsibility in the entire thing.

    This is the problem, with everyone doing everything "for the children!" we've removed them from reality and now we are seeing the havoc this causes as they are suddenly on the roads with the rest of us.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    I see what you did there. And now I has a sad.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    shows the brain power that politicians have, doesn't it. whoever would have thought that it could possibly have been a lack of concentration on the part of a person in charge of a ton of steel (usually), moving at a rate of speed, that could actually be at fault, not a 500gram communication device? amazing!

     

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  66.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    You got my funny vote ^_^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Howard the Duck, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This time I don't agree

    I agree. Don't forget the auto-pilot on the RV. It's too bad we can't remove the stupid from the equation. Responsibility is not taught as much as it should be these days. Until it is, we need something for the interim to keep the kids from killing me.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:25am

    @Wally,

    Basically everything you wrote is untrue (and some of it is also misspelled! Great post!) but this in particular jumped out at me:
    "Your eyesight is extremely important when driving, so when a cell phone is held to one side (note most of them are now rectangles the size of our hands) it creates a blind spot."

    I have to ask....are you a duck? Lizard? Pigeon? I'm trying to figure out what error of biology would have caused you to have a blind spot when holding a cell phone to your ear, which is about three inches outside of a human being's field of vision. This isn't like, some grand scientific revelation, this is something that you should understand if you have ever actually used a phone. Just judging by the inaccuracies in the rest of your post I'm voting pigeon.

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    I think the point is that people who are reckless enough to text while driving will find other distractions in the absence of the phone. For instance the radio.

    My father once got briefly distracted with the radio (changing stations) and hit the car in front of him because the traffic stopped all of a sudden. My father isn't an irresponsible driver and he seldom turns his attention elsewhere but in that brief moment we crashed. Now a person that texts while driving will probably find no problem in dealing with the radio whenever.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Not Distracted...Just busy

    The first cell phones were installed and you had to deal with the cord from the base to the handset.
    Every time I was talking on it, the cord always got in the way of shifting my 5spd while I was trying enjoy my coffee and donut.
    Prior to cell phones the cord was not an issue.
    Now that the cord has been eliminated and hands free is is readily available, everything else remains pretty much the same.
    People have always been distracted while driving and they always will be.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re:

    This is the difference: People are willing to stop eating and focus while they are doing a more attentive car manuver such as turning, stopping, or dodging through traffic like an asshat. This is different from cell phones where setting it down for a moment to concentrate is absurd.

    It is merely perception on the frequency we notice the bad behavior. Which are you more likely to see, someone with their head tilted taking a bite of a taco while turning in an intersection without checking for oncoming traffic or talking while holding a cell phone to their head.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    You hold it in front of you to text... And some people don't drive well without one hand (which you use to hold the phone). So if you are texting you are both with one hand and a blind spot.

     

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  73.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This time I don't agree

    The problem is the police will spend so much time looking for people with cell phones, they might overlook other things.

    We set aside Federal dollars to run "Drunk Driving Enforcement Zones" which puts many cops on the streets at checkpoints, meanwhile elsewhere crime continues.

    Rather than pretend kids are little adults or that marketing execs can make a flashy presentation that will make them stop, lets spend that money instead on the programs shown to work. Kid gets drunk and killed a woman's family. She forgave him and now tours High Schools with him telling his story. He can relate to the kids because he was them, he doesn't use words run through a focus group - he speaks the same thing the kids speak.

    Rather than a see someone who was texting and driving sent to jail (depending on if there were victims) or out on the street picking up trash - lets send them to speak to other kids like them and explain how shitty their life became because they grabbed the phone. Object lessons are good things. If the speaker repeats, no second chances.

    But we really need to do more than blame 1 thing, pass a law and call it all better. This study shows that its idiots not cell phones cause problems. Pass all the laws you want against cell phone use in cars, people will still be stupid... makes more sense to try other tactics than just pass a law to appeal to the popular idea that cell phones are to blame.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    All well & good, but accident statistics still don't make cell phone use in the top 3 most dangerous distractions. If we're going to outlaw individual behaviors for causing distracted driving, why not at least start with one of the top 3?

     

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  75.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Not Distracted...Just busy

    Coffee, donut and cellphone. Gives the word multitasking a whole new meaning.

     

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  76.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    Re:

    Same. I don't like ppl driving as if they were on the weekend on workdays. I tend to change lanes a lot to avoid such morons. And yet I'm much more focused on my surroundings because of that specific fact. I also signal when I'm changing lanes or making a turn because I'm focused and I don't want any accident while I'm doing my lane changes and so on.

    Agreed. Distracted driving is way worse. Although I do have to drive slower for added safety too =/

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Switzerland. Look it up.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Heavy Metal

    500 grams? Dude, you need a new phone. Like one made in this century.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    The study seems to demonstrate one thing: idiot aggressive drivers are more likely to admit that they talk on the phone a lot while driving. That's it. Period.

    It says nothing about how often they or other drivers actually talk on the phone, how much talking on the phone impairs them, how likely they are to distracted by other things, etc. All of that is being read into it.

    Some people want to take this story and twist it to mean that cell phone using drivers are bad drivers anyway, so there's no point in banning cell phone use while driving. It doesn't come anywhere close to demonstrating that.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    I believe that problems of distracted driving are only going to get worse. Automakers are now building in access to text, twitter, facebook, etc. to their latest models. Yikes. It might be better than doing those things on a phone while driving, but not likely by enough.

    What all this is likely to do IMO is accelerate the development and acceptance of autonomous vehicles (a la Google). Production cars are getting more and more of the components of this already. Some can control speed based on sensing the car in front of you. Some will monitor the driver and "wake" you if you become drowsy or distracted. Some will parallel park themselves. A think a new generation is coming along that is much less in love with driving than their forebears. They'll happily text away while the car does the driving.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    Cell phone Driving Test

    All states should require you to be able to pass your drivers test while using a phone.
    Only a few would pass and less drivers on the road would mean a whole lot of less of a whole bunch of things that are wrong with the roadways today.
    Certainly the accident rate would go way down.
    Problem solved!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    silverfear (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Children in the back seat cause accidents.

    Accidents in the back seat cause children.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Can we start with small children in cars?

    Put them in the trunk where they belong!

     

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  84.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re: More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    Read that in Eddie Izzard's voice . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    Stig Rudeholm (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re:

    Hey, don't blame me. Good or bad, the joke wrote itself after Timothy Geigner set it up by mentioning Carly Rae Jepson in the post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    #1 Rule: Never distract the driver:

    It's like my dad always used to tell me every time I sat in the middle seat of our 1987 Toyota Pickup after starting a poke war....
    *jovially and jokingly in mock angry gruff* "Hey!!! Don't hit the driver".

    This is also the same guy who consistently gently elbowed me every time he changed to gears 2, 4, and reverse :-)

    Oh and as for eating and driving...I tried it once....never again. I was so worried about the mess it made I became very unaware of my surroundings...near accident.

     

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  87.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The trunk monkey doesn't like that.

     

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  88.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re:

    Who needs a radio when you can have an iPod set to Shuffle and is attached to a tape deck adapter ? ;-p

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    I realize I'm following you off topic but I agree with you on the politicians.

    I recently heard something about how the current congress is the worst ever because they only passed a handful of bills, and my thought was that should make this the best congress ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you're good with socialism then? Because that's what Switzerland is...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re:

    I'm left handed phone, right handed driver. In my days of dating Mrs. Wally I used to go down the highway while talking to her (yes I was stupid then). I tried to make it into the fast lane (that's left lane on any US highway) and nearly got rear ended by someone going about 5MPH faster than me. Had I not been taking on my phone I would have seen him in my driver side mirror.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's actually my sig over on Slashdot...lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    Compared with the number of problems that need solving, few bills passed isn't a good idea.

    If things are going along well then not doing much is a good thing, but when faced with the worst economic environment in almost 100 years, perhaps we should be trying to do something to fix things?

     

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  94.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    The difference is the police are 'trained' to handle multitasking.

    Which is the entire point. If you introduce new technology without proper training, it's amazing how people will screw up using it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    Your raised arm blocks your field of vision.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Phil, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re:

    trying to equate every distracting behavior as being equivalent with no evidence to support such a claim... more faulty logic from the techdirt peanut gallery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    And you are using insults that really nobody even cares about.

    The point is no matter how you hold your phone it blocks your field of vision in some way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    "I have to ask....are you a duck? Lizard? Pigeon? I'm trying to figure out what error of biology would have caused you to have a blind spot when holding a cell phone to your ear, which is about three inches outside of a human being's field of vision. This isn't like, some grand scientific revelation, this is something that you should understand if you have ever actually used a phone. Just judging by the inaccuracies in the rest of your post I'm voting pigeon."

    I'll be glad to explain what I mean and show you my points if you can point out to me what you perceive as inaccurate.

    Your posts are no more accurate and somewhere in the past if posting I proved you wrong and you're only butthurt. So aside from the typos, people can actually look past them and get to my point.

    In the words of Gene Wilder:
    "YOU LOOSE!!!! GOOD DAY SIR!!!!"

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Nobody and text and drive safely. Nobody.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not that I use them or anything, but what I can't believe is that there are quality differences between $10 and $25 tape deck adapters, it's so simple/cheap to make, you almost have to try to make it crappy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I hope you're not the one driving...

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Oh, so it's the DRIVER that emits radiation and causes cancer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Cell phone Driving Test

    I think most people would just continue to drive anyway. "I need to get to work". Without good mass transit options most places in the US, and many embarrassed to ask for rides, it wouldn't be surprising.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    MadderMak (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So to refute his valid point you turn to politics....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    icon
    MadderMak (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:39pm

    Re: More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    Depends on your um... Chest and state of clothing :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    icon
    MadderMak (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    score: 3/10... Though I did like the peanut gallery part

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    icon
    MadderMak (profile), Aug 27th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This time I don't agree

    "The instructions on irons now include "Do not attempt to iron clothes while wearing."
    Those words are there to stop a lawsuit, if we stopped letting people do stupid things and shift the blame to 3rd parties we'd be better off...
    If we started making people have to have responsibility for their actions"

    This this a thousand times this.... you cannot stop stupidity - but you can hold those who commit it responsible for their own actions. You sir, have my vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Aug 28th, 2012 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: More. Rigorous. Licensing.

    Oh good!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 28th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Lord Binky,
    You raise a good and valid point.

    I use mine constantly in the car. The expensive ones usually have some sort of gimmick like Gold cables. The cheep quality ones actually hold less sound quality and are susceptible to heat. The middle range ($15) is the sweet spot because it is durable, withstands heat, and don't sound like an actual tape is being played.

    All I can say though is that I have had to replace 4 generic brand tape adapters within a span of 2 years. I tested one of my older brand named adapters from 8 year ago and it till sounded like new. They wear out sort of like a regular tape would, just more slowly and some more quickly than others.

    My logic for buying mid-range tape adapters is simply that the more expensive ones use a gimmicky gold wire and are typically made of cheap components on the actual devices.

    My current one is a Philips branded adapter I bought at Wal-Mart and I am not remembering the price of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Sheogorath, Sep 1st, 2012 @ 11:56pm

    I'm offering

    Zakida Paul said: "Thankfully, I am not the easily distracted type, except when I see a hottie in a summer dress, of course."
    Well, I don't normally dress in drag, but I'll wear a summer dress for you if you want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    John Anthony, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:45am

    Distraction is a factor in 80% of crashes in US. Did you know that distracted driver is 23.2 times more likely to cause an accident, really scary statistics. I recently made an infographic about distracted driving, if you want you can take a look at some scary statistics and facts about it !
    http://855winthecase.com/blog/infographics/distracted-driving-statistics-and-laws/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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