Can Handing Out 'Txting Kills' Thumb Bands Stop People From Texting While Driving?

from the beats-bad-laws dept

We’ve pointed out that some recent studies have suggested that laws that ban texting-while-driving may have actually made the roads more dangerous, because it hasn’t stopped people from texting, but just caused them to further hide the activity by holding the phone down low — forcing them to take their eyes off the road more. This isn’t to say that we think texting while driving is a good idea — it’s not. But just because you pass a law trying to ban a really dumb idea, it doesn’t mean it will have the desired effect, and the early evidence suggests that there are serious unintended consequences with these laws.

Instead of laws, I think that a combination of education and technology could be a lot more effective, and it appears that at least some law enforcement folks are trying to increase the educational aspect. Parker Mason points us to the news that police in Iowa have started issuing “Txting Kills” thumb bands (sort of like the Livestrong bracelets… but for your thumb) rather than tickets to those caught texting while driving (they’re also just handing them out at schools). It’s nice to see an educational component, rather than just strict punishment, but I’m not convinced that thumb bands alone will do the trick…

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Comments on “Can Handing Out 'Txting Kills' Thumb Bands Stop People From Texting While Driving?”

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grumpy (profile) says:

Preaching to the choir?

Thumb bands will be worn by those who care. The rest will ignore it and text on. Nothing new to see here, move on please.

Over here in Rightpondia (at least in the local jurisdiction) the police do not check mobile phones after incidents and accidents – as a policy. Mustn’t offend the chattering classes. IMO classifying any mobile phone usage as negligence would do a lot to end the problem – imagine if insurance companies could refuse to be involved if e.g. someone had texted and caused an accident. Even better, if in possession of a mobe at the time of impact the burden of proof would fall on the possessor and guilt would be presumed. *That* would bring home the message, hitting the general public in the one organ it cares about the most – the wallet. A few high-profile cases where ordinary people are fleeced for damages and people would catch on that mobe usage in a car is bad for your health. “Pour encourager les autres” is such an effective approach… 🙂

Heather (user link) says:

Re: Preaching to the choir?

“if in possession of a mobe at the time of impact”? Do you not comprehend the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology? Or the fact that having a mobile telephone does not a guilty person make? My husband does not text while driving, and yet his phone is frequently out of his pocket in the car… on the charging cable. Would you see him presumed guilty, just because he has a mobile device?

Seriously, people, think things all the way through before you post them.

Sheldon Stokes (user link) says:

It's the distractions

It’s not texting that kills, it’s the distraction. Cell phones are an easy target to vilify for distracted driving. But what about the mom with three screaming kids in her mini-van? What about the guy in the giant SUV drinking a latte and eating a low-fat muffin while driving?

You’ll never see an ad campaign with a haggard mom with three screaming kids in the back of a mini-van on the billboards. I can just see the slogan: “Driving while being a moo-me kills”

Testing while driving?! I never do. I communicate with RTF formatted e-mails while driving, so I’m safe…



Erik Wood (profile) says:

text and drive...and technology

I think these programs help teens get the message. I also decided to do something about teen (and adult) texting and driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool for teens and their parents called OTTER that is a simple, affordable app for smartphones.. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

Erik Wood, owner

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: text and drive...and technology

I like where you’re going, but I think the best solution would still be for parents to raise their children with a proper sense of responsibility for their actions and to actually THINK about what they’re doing.

This isn’t an issue that technology or a little thumb-bracelet is going to solve. It’s going to stop when people realize that driving a car is operating a 1/2ton+ killing machine that requires full concentration. Do I get distracted while driving? Occasionally, yes. But I have the wherewithal to chastise myself and feel like an ass for letting my attention wander. Just like I how I feel that I’m the stupidest moron on the road when that yellow light doesn’t last as long as I thought it would.

But you know what? I’ve never had an accident because I wasn’t paying attention. Only once because I assumed someone had pulled off without verifying. And I never contested my own idiocy for that action.

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