No Driving While iPodding

from the didn't-see-that-one-coming dept

Once a city or state has made it illegal to drive and talk on a mobile, what are they to do if the statistics show that the law doesn’t make people safer? One possibility is that governments could realize that trying to codify good habits is bound to fail, but the more likely reaction is that politicians will just look for the next distraction to legislate away. Enter the iPod. Despite the fact that no evidence exists suggesting that mp3 players contribute to accidents, the Canadian Automobile Association is urging all provinces to ban their use in cars. At the moment, no proposed legislation is in place, but it already seems like an eventuality that such a ubiquitous device will be targeted.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “No Driving While iPodding”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
ctpmn (user link) says:

Re: WTF?

Have you ever used an iPod???

You have to look at the screen and turn the dail to select your band, then album then song, then hit play.

I’ve stopped letting my friends pick the music while they drive due to some “close encounters” with a curb, or cliff.

The simple fact is that anything that forces you to look away from the road for more then 1 full second is probably not Super safe, being that in one second the on coming car can drift into your lane, or you the other direction.

Matt Sidesinger (user link) says:


I’ll be the first to admit that my driving abilities are sometimes hindered by my iPod. I am forced to look down when switching between podcasts (esp. the short ones like Onion Radio News) and when rating songs, which I probably don’t need to be doing while driving. Switching beteen podcasts wouldn’t be such a problem if the UI didn’t kick you out into the menu when the podcast was done playing.

Anonymous Coward says:

When youre driving, drive. When youre talking on the phone, talk on the phone. When youre listening to an ipod, listen to an ipod. Theres no reason for the events to coincide.

If they have to pass laws to force people to have common sense then so be it. You should only be bitching if you know you habitually break the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Your driving abilities are not hindered by your IPOD. They are hindered by the fact that you look away from the road in order to do something to your IPOD. Don’t blame the IPOD or it’s interface for YOUR driving habits.

Also, if they’re banning IPODs they should ban CDs and audio tapes in cars as well because they’re equally as distracting. Of course, try to do that without getting impeached.

This is just more anti-IPOD bullshit from the government.

Guy Smith says:

Re: Wow

so your saying The Goverment is aginst ipods i mean like there is a conspirisy about ipods and our Goverment i mean come on, thats like saying All Guys are aginst SEX from Agilina Jolie I mean Come on Man and seriosuly if you drive please for my own sake as well as everyone elses put the damn keys down and Walk or Ride a bike

Blaise says:

An iPod is only distracting if you’re willing to be distracted by driving. I agree with Ipod User, what the hell is the difference from using an iPod versus using a radio? If you’re flipping around the menus too much, then that’s your own bad judgement, but it doesn’t mean that the use of an iPod itself should be illegal and banned.

Anonymous Coward says:

To quote the article:

“adopt strict rules that would make it against the law for younger drivers to use Mp3 players”…

From the view of one young Canadian driver, not a bad idea at all. Lots of new drivers simply aren’t experienced enough to multitask while driving. Obviously lots of young people suck at driving, anybody whose spent time riding with them sans parents would know. Its not taken seriously, and pretty well any step to keep their eyes on the road is a good one in my mind.

John says:

Re: Bullshit if i've ever heard it

No. Don’t you even say that bull. A young driver is not a bad driver. Instead, i would like to state that a dumbass is a bad driver. Whats all that crap about being unexperienced? “Oh, well, he met the driving requirements and passed the test, but i’ll be damned if he knows how to drive” bullshit.

Scott says:

Re: Re: Bullshit if i've ever heard it

Ok, so why do so many people want experience when looking at job applicants? Because people with experience are better equipped in most situations to handle the unexpected.

We take many tests in our lives, it only proves we understand the material at a base level, not that we are suddenly experienced and capable of handling everything that is thrown at us.

Rikko says:

This story is getting too much publicity

This story is basically a publicity stunt from the CAA trying to put out feelers on a slow news week. I’m not sure why they’re getting so much attention on all the mainstream media (in Canada).

The CAA is not a regulatory body and afaik isn’t listened to by, well, anybody. They’re just trying to get some attention since the federal government is laying down harsher laws against street racing and this slightly ties in.

I heard a radio caller make a better suggestion: limit new drivers to 4-cylinder vehicles. If we want to pick on new drivers, the more dangerous subset are the ones whose mommy and daddy bought them a powerhouse vehicle.

Or, for that matter, let’s just shit or get off the pot:

Your driving instruction isn’t a 15-minute driving test with a guy holding a clipboard. Make it long, make it expensive, and make it intense. Take it seriously. You wanna drive? Let’s have a state driving certification, or something more akin to scuba diving’s PADI. You have lecture time, you have written tests (tests, not a 10 multiple choice list where you can get half of them wrong), you have hours and hours in a vehicle driving, and you are examined driving on side streets, alleys, in reverse, on highways, starting on a steep hill.. You know.. DRIVING.

And for that matter, for all us schmucks who think we’re out of the woods because we bluffed that test years ago..

Mandatory road test every 10 years.

Mandatory written test on rules of the road every 10 years (offset by 5 from the road test).

If you fail, you can try again in a week. If you fail again, one month driving prohibition (or reduction to a learner’s permit).

See where I’m going? If you can’t drive, you CAN’T DRIVE!

Sadly, legislators want to try and pick at isolated groups of non-voters to give people the illusion of improvement. Of all the collisions I’ve witnessed over the years, a tiny percentage have involved kids under 20.

John says:

Re: This story is getting too much publicity

I have a better idea altogether, saves time and money

You cause an accident, anything more than a little dent or something, you’re DONE. Shread the license; if you fucked up once, it’s bound to happen again. People don’t change, so why should they be expected to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This story is getting too much publicity

thats just retarded. what about if some crazy ricer comes along at 90 (the fastest they can go lol) and slams into you and your car, when you’re casually driving and paying attention. short from being brutally killed, why should the victim lose their license? apply this to most rear ending accidents and you’ll see my point.

mthorn says:

Re: This story is getting too much publicity

Alabama is considering rasing the driving age minimum to 18 based on the number of kids getting in wrecks for poor driving lately. I’m all for it. The less kids driving in the morning to high school, the less chance for an accident. The less car theft at schools (there will be no or few cars to steal from). The less class skipping (no way to drive away). And the more focused your students, they aren’t driving around all night hanging out.

Plus, at 18, you are now responsible for your mistakes. Something important when you are crashing into others.

dave says:

I take pictures of sunsets

Got a good one reflecting off a lake through the back passenger side window the other day on I-75 doing about 88. What I didn’t do is weave all over the road while doing it. And no one is ever in front of me on the road, unless you’re doing 100+ or you’ve got donuts in the seat next to you.

Driving tests are worthless at their current stage. At my high school they handed out exemptions for taking “Driver’s Ed”, which consisted of 2 days of driving for about 30 minutes each day. You didn’t have to parallel park, drive in real traffic, or even pass any meaningful written tests.

ugh says:

Alright, let’s face it. As hard as it is to admit for most of ya’ll, cell phones, iPods, hell, even radios and cd players all generally distract from driving and cause accidents. I abstain from cell phone use in my car, as should anyone, we can’t argue that.

Now, as for music, of fucking course I listen to music in my car! However, with a built-in stereo, which is quite perfectly placed right in the reach of my right hand as I am shifting speeds. I know all the buttons, and I don’t need to look down at the interface. This is something that’s a lot harder to do with an ipod (yes, I know, many know their ipod interfaces by memory, but finding the right song you’re searching for and switching modes and checking the lcd to see what’s playing tends to be a little more distracting, in GENERAL). iPod/portable mp3 mounts in cars are meant to serve as a cheap alternative to actually getting a high end stereo/dvd system installed into a vehicle. Yes, we all know iPods aren’t cheap, but those who mount them in their cars are obviously not the kind of people who want to spend money on car audio systems. Hence, they get what they pay for, and unfortunatly, many innocents have to suffer from it as well.

There are many other distractions, though, and the truth is, the only way to prevent accidents, is to have stricter (more strict?) punishments for car-related crimes/accidents, and a very harsh process involved in EARNING your drivers licence. The best solution would be to look toward Germany’s laws concerning driving on their roads. More people actually die there from pollution caused by cars rather than car accidents, and they have the world’s harshest driving codes; however, they also have the safest drivers AND the Autobahn (speed-limit-free highway system).

As for the considerations to force 4-cylinder cars on people so they drive slower, hahahahahhahaha bullshit. I drive a low-end VW (a 2.0liter, 4 cylinder golf) and I can cheaply modify it to reach over 200 horsepower. It may not SOUND like a lot to some of you, however, those are tire peeling speeds for that kind of car right there, and I still get about 30 miles to the gallon. For $11,000 you can buy a vw gti that will give you about 180 horsepower at the wheels, and for a relatively small price, you can more than double that number. The new GTIs are almost impossible to drive in first gear without squealing tires the whole time ($22k dollars), also with great gas efficiency, and for a couple hundred bucks you could improve the engine unimanigably. Same goes for many 4 cylinder audis, honda civics, basically, just about every little street racer out there is driving a cheap 4 cylinder rig that can outrun a $40,000+ car with a bigger engine.

Apennismightier says:

I Ipod

I constantly am working my iPod while driving. But I do so very slowly, glancing at it for split seconds at a time and at red lights. Talking on a cell phone or workin an iPod really isn’t hard while driving and most people are shitty drivers as it is. So I doubt this law will get passed, especially if Apple has anything to say about it, or any other MP3 player companies as well. It’s just the next thing for the gov’t to complain about.

Pretty soon they’ll be telling us we can’t casually take a few of our fries out of the bag while driving after exiting a drive-thru.

Cliff says:

The math of Driving Stats

This story made me laugh and cry at the same time.

On the one hand, the CAA press release claims that a study concluded that 8 out of 10 accidents have “distractions” as their primary cause. Elsewhere on the CAA site, I found another report that stated that more than 33% of all accidents have “excess speed” as the primary cause. Hmmm, we’re already at 113% of all accidents and we haven’t even included drunk-driving or weather factors.

I’m so tired of lobby groups paying someone to “research” their favorite topic of the week. I’m even more tired of single groups that simultaneously publish multiple conflicting reports without batting an eye. I know most people are pretty stupid, but come on – give us some credit.

Ronde says:

Ipod user

Using an ipod in your car is your own decision. There should really be no reason to be looking down if you are just listening to songs. I f you don’t like a song and don’t want to listen to it, then what the hell is it doing on your ipod? If you just don’t feel like listening to that particular song, then wait for a light or put you ipod on shuffle so that all you have to do is hit one button, take maybe a few seconds off the road.

If our elected officials think that they need to make a law against that, well i hope that they are well off and don’t mind having a lot of people dislike them. They could also do with a lot of re-educating

Ollie Oxenfree says:

Wot a buncha dorks

How about focusing on the agressive drivers? Or the drivers that are so old that they are oblivious to their environments? Oh! What about the woman putting on her lipstick? And those annoying bastards that have systems that rattle your windows three cars back? Cell phone users that are not handsfree?

Seems to me that there are tons of other issues to focus on besides a music player. Soon the police will have squads that just drive around looking for people that don’t have both hands on the steering wheel, writing them tickets.

Valhalla Rising says:

Distractions of all types cause accidents, Ipods, radios, CBs, flashy hubcaps, and sexy people dressed for summer all distract. This may be but the number of accidents caused by momentary distraction of a decently responsible driver are much less than a road raging speed freak, or the painfully oblivious drivers we see every day. Blame whatever you want if you pay attention to your surroundings a quick glance away from the road isnt much more dangerous than checking the speedometer or those annoying warning lights.

deaf_by_ipod says:


Mistakes do happen on the road, but why increase the probability?

I think the iPod is more distracting than a radio/cd player/cell phone in the car or even the sexy barley dressed summer hottie ooover there *rubbernecking*, but, nonetheless distracting.

It would be good if those with “negative IQs” could weed each other out but it is not happening at a fast enough pace, meanwhile the rest of us have to be on the lookout for them lest we get taken out instead.

I don’t suppose that any of those who support all that distracting behavior in cars have lost a loved one because of it…Such events tend to somewhat clear things up.

Ricky Bobby says:

codify this

Oh you’re so right:

“..One possibility is that governments could realize that trying to codify good habits is bound to fail…”

the laws against drunk driving are goddam reedickuluss

and they dont keep my cousin Earl and me from doin’ what comes natcheral, like talking on that cellulite phone to Elly-May while we’re doin’some serius nose-pickin and rollin the General Lee at a solid 45 mph in the fast lane…

Anonymous Coward says:

This is sadly yet another example of how our respective governments think we are afraid of them. They draw the line in the sand on a regular basis by ever so carefully taking away our civil liberties in the name of safety and security. I’d like to take a quote from the movie “V for Vendetta” but cannot recall it in it’s entirety, so I must paraphrase — the people should not be fearful of their governments, the governments should be fearful of their people. Even in a quasi-socialist country such as Canada, public offices are filled by way of election. Why is it that we, and by we I mean the citizens of planet Earth, continue to repeatedly elect these lawyers, politicians, and born-into-it wealthy people to hold our public offices although they time and again pass laws and regulations that the majority of us didn’t want in the first place? We sit idly by while the Ted Kennedy’s and John Kerry’s of the world are continually re-elected on name recognition alone and sign their name to legislation the majority of us laugh in the face of. In the governments of the super powers the majority is supposed to rule. Why doesn’t it? At any rate, this and many other pieces of legislation are completely laughable whether they make it to laws or not. The fact that such topics are discussed, even proposed as new laws/regulations, in and of itself should mean that those people are voted out of office as soon as possible. A country boy such as myself that could do this world some good would never make it into an affluent public office. You want to know why? Simple. It’s because you’ve never heard of me before, and some “backwoods redneck” would never be able to handle such responsibilities. The catch to that statement, while true and cannot be argued, is that the “backwoods redneck” you wouldn’t want in a public office is the same jackass staring you back in the mirror every day who you think could make a difference in the world. When will we as a collective ever wake up and realize how far we’ve let things get away from us? I fear that by the time we do, it will be so far gone from our grasp that the only way we’ll ever get it back is by way of civil wars. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, we all fall down.

claire rand says:

exisiting laws

enforce laws against *poor driving*, bugger the reason *why* you are driving like a dipstick, its not relevent. the fact you are weaving over the road counts, not what you are looking at oth than what you should be.

as a result, if you can’t drive and fiddle with your radio, you get pulled over, if you can the police have better things to do than bother you.

naturally this requires common sense from law enforcement, i.e. actual people not just cameras etc. but it should work. police trained to spot bad driving, and acting on that training.

the idea of ‘x’ points on your license and you get a retest is a good one, as is a periodic retest anyway, rules change this is an incentive to know about them.

I, for one says:

lies, damned lies, and statistics

“talk on a mobile, what are they to do if the statistics show that the law doesn’t make people safer?

Whatever statistics show the FACT remains that people will be safer driving without the iPods. This FACT is simple common sense that only an idiot or somebody with an agenda to push would deny.

The only two agendas that would forge such an obtuse opinion are

1) a desire for more road deaths

2) a desire to sell more iPods/selfish behavioural attachment

Since I doubt that point 1 is on anybodys mind it’s best to go with the latter.

Statistics prove NOTHING and those that rely on them over simple good sense are a real problem to the safety and security of themselves and others. I could get “statistics” to show that you would be better off shooting yourself in the head, so would you do it?

Mr Shag says:


Before we go on about all this sily-ness..

Ask why the ban? Maybe people aren’t using their ipods with speakers, I’m sure that most of these folk seem to feel that it is ok to have headphones on in the car. How are you supposed to be able to hear anything going on around you? What if someone on a motorcycle and you cream him, because you didnt hear him ? What isf it was a harley ? How could you miss it ?

how about emergency vehicles ?

This is nothing like a stereo in the car. Unless it is so loud, but you can get a noise violation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Read the original press release...

Before everyone gets all crazy about this (whoops! maybe too late!), it might be helpful if you actually read the CAA press release.

I thought it was important to note that:

  • it makes no specific mention of the iPod;
  • it only refers to “electronic devices”, which the news media in Canada have already interpreted as “cell phones” when they ran the story when it was released on Wednesday;
  • it specifically talks about *new* drivers in graduated licensing programs, who already have numerous restrictions on their driving; and
  • its main goal appears to be to raise awareness about driving with *any* form of distraction.
Katlyn (user link) says:

This is perposterous!

?? I really don’t get it. Why fix something that is not broken what does it matter if we listen to our ipods? I do it all the time when mowing the lawn, strictly because i cannot get my permit until February, and I haven’t had an accident yet on the riding mower. And it’s more complicated than learning haw to drive a stick shift, which is not hard by the way because i have to do it. Well, exept for the time that the tree uprooted itself and jumped in front of me… NOT MY FAULT! lol! Well i just don’t get it anyways.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...