Same Guys Remind Us That Yakking While Driving Is Really Bad

from the sorry,-you-were-saying dept

A new study claims that talking on your cell phone while driving is more dangerous than talking to passengers while driving. It comes from the same group of researchers at the University of Utah that's been pumping out similar studies for years, like the one that said a 20-year-old driver instantly assumes the reaction speed of a 70-year-old when they start talking on the phone, and that talking while driving impairs a driver more than drunk driving, or the one blaming slow traffic on people talking while driving. The thrust of the research -- or at least how it always gets spun -- is as ammo for more laws to ban talking on the phone while driving, which, as always, miss the point. Again, this latest study focuses on a single distraction, and leads people to believe that banning it will immediately make roads safer. But aren't there lots of things that are more "dangerous" or distracting to do while driving than talking to passengers, but aren't the continual focus for new legislation? Trying to ban stupidity or unsafe driving, distraction by distraction, will be pretty difficult, not to mention ineffective.

Filed Under: driving while yakking


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Xerloq, 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:44pm

    Call for new legislation?

    Sure, paranoia is the affliction of the free, but c'mon? Do you really think the study is aimed at creating additional legislation to ban cell phones? The article states, "Ultimately, it's the driver who has prime responsibility," and doesn't call for any additional legislation that I can see.

    Simply because an organization is good at a certain type of research (an thus conducts multiple, similar studies) does not warrant writing it off and ignoring it.

    It is possible there are other applications to the research other than legislation, like education or new technology to help the problem.

    But I guess I can simply write off this story as more of the same from Techdirt.... bleh.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:46pm

    Bans

    Banning yakking while driving makes about much sense as banning driving under the influence of alcohol. Some people can do it safely and some can't. Banning it for everybody just doesn't sense.

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

    • identicon
      mslade, 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:54pm

      Re: Bans

      Heh. Are you the type who drives home from a party smashed out of your senses, then assumes that because you made it home safely you must be "good" at driving drunk? Or do you just know people like that, and actually but into that jeuvinile tripe?

      It's ironic how everybody who's driven drunk and not had a brush with death thinks they're so totally awesome at driving drunk. Oh until that one time when they actually have to react to something and whoops, I just smeared a teenager about 100 feet across the pavement. Then they're a pathetic, sobbing mess of apologies that don't do anybody any good.



      I don't care how much drunk driving experience you have (and the same goes for cell phones) -- automobiles are death machines and any give moment that you're on the highway with other automobiles you are seconds from dead. If you aren't putting 100% of your attention into not watching your surroundings, not being that douche who tailgates everyone, and generally being defensive, then you're just a killer waiting to happen.

      End rant.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 2:52pm

    There are, of course, more stupid and distracting things people COULD do. They could juggle. They could change a diaper. They could do a crossword puzzle.

    But talking on cell phones is what they ACTUALLY do. And they do it a lot.

    "Don't be stupid" is not something you can successfully legislate. Specific instances of it, however, can be legislated. They've selected the biggest target after driving while intoxicated -- driving while talking on a cell phone.

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

  • identicon
    Haywood, 4 Dec 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Opinions Vary

    I've been driving for 44, years professionally for around 20 of those years. I have seen the behavior of average driver diminish more since the introduction of the cell phone than from any other influence. People have been talking to passengers, eating, applying makeup, tuning the radio, correcting kids in the back seat, the entire time I've been driving, and while I was observing before I earned my license.
    None of those distractions compares. The only distraction that even comes close is; being knee slapping, song singing drunk.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Common Sense

    I've talked on my cell phone while driving and I don't like doing so. (I don't anymore at all because i live in california where a ban has been passed) However on some occasions it is makes sense to do so. For example, the weather is looking ominous so i call a friend to ask them to chech to see if it is safer for me to get off the highway as opposed to plawing through it.

    But I think there is a safe way to do that. Get in the right hand lane, maintain a steady speed, don't pass anyone or change lanes. Recognize that you are impairing yourself so drive extra cautiously until you can get yourself off the phone.

    Laws shouldn't force you to not talk on the cell phone. Reckless driving is dangerous and illegeal. If you are driving dangerously then you should be pulled over and fined or arrested. I don't care if you are drunk, chatting on the phone, spanking your childred, getting road head, cussing out the guy who cut you off, or falling asleep. If you aren't driving safely you are breaking the law. End of story. We don't need extra laws to make that any clearer

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

    • identicon
      transit60, 4 Dec 2008 @ 6:30pm

      Re: Common Sense

      Hey Anonymous, I catch your comments on a regular basis. Some are funny, some irritating and some make sense. I have to agree with you on this one.

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

  • identicon
    vrobca, 4 Dec 2008 @ 3:15pm

    We are not created equal

    I've seen my younger brother command an entire modern warfare platoon with a 16 button controller while loud music plays in the background and his girlfriend rants thru iChat.....and unfortunately also people who can't chew gum and walk at the same time !

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

  • identicon
    Rhett, 4 Dec 2008 @ 3:29pm

    Are you kidding me?

    The people that don't want cell phones banned are the ones in front of me talking, swerving, speeding up and slowing down, which I try to make it through ridiculous rush-hour. This absolutely should be banned. I'm to the point that I want to reach in their car and just take their phone and toss it to prove a point. I agree that there's a need to call when driving, but be quick; get the info and shut the hell up. I know a few people that get in their car and just start calling people out of habit and carry 30 minute conversations. It's ridiculous and needs to stop. I hope they ban it everywhere.

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

    • identicon
      Elohssa, 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:37pm

      Re: Are you kidding me?

      Rhett, you need to think harder.

      No one here thinks driving while talking on the cell phone is good thing, in terms of additional accidents caused, or general obnoxiousness.

      The problem with a cell phone ban is that it is a slippery slope. This has been demonstrated on this very issue, with the immediate "texting ban" follow-on.

      It is already a crime to drive recklessly, in every state of the U.S. and most other nations.

      Does it matter WHY a person is driving recklessly?

      Your feelings are legitimate, but you are being manipulated by political operators who do not care about logic, or what is right. They only care about getting shallow thinkers to write a check.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:35pm

        Re: Re: Are you kidding me?

        "Does it matter WHY a person is driving recklessly?"

        That's why the DUI laws should repealed.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 9:53pm

          Sigh

          I am also a professional driver, going on 30 years, and I have to say, the most rediculous drivers I've seen are the ones that get eye popping mad over things they can't control. Relax, take a chill pill, do what you need to do to get home, and let it go. Guy who suggests actually approaching someone about how you feel they should conduct themselves, I sincerely hope you just get the tar beaten out of you and not shot in the face, which is equally likely if you continue such actions. I don't really care how hardcore you think you are, there's always a bigger fish.
          I am strongly against any legislation which limits personal freedoms. Talking on your cell phone is no more dangerous then changing the radio or talking to your back seat passenger, which people do just as frequently, but doesnt get as much publicity because suggesting passing laws against these things would touch even the technophobes who think these laws are a good idea.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2008 @ 11:02pm

            Re: Sigh

            Talking on your cell phone is no more dangerous then changing the radio or talking to your back seat passenger...
            Do you have anything to back that up or are you just making stuff up?

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

            • identicon
              Link, 5 Dec 2008 @ 4:41am

              Re: Re: Sigh

              Common sense, observation and experience backs that up. A university experiment is not necessary to prove what is right in front of you.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 12:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Sigh

                Common sense, observation and experience backs that up. A university experiment is not necessary to prove what is right in front of you.
                No, just the opposite. Common sense, observation and experience all agree with the study.

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

      • identicon
        nasch, 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: Are you kidding me?

        It is already a crime to drive recklessly, in every state of the U.S. and most other nations.

        Does it matter WHY a person is driving recklessly?


        Possibly. The problem is, people driving recklessly while talking on the phone don't think they're being reckless. They don't realize their speed is all over the place, or they're riding 10 feet off the next guy's bumper, or they just wandered out of their lane. Or if they do realize it, they brush it off because they didn't kill anybody, that time. Reckless driving is illegal, but everybody thinks "oh, I'm a safe driver, no problem. Of course I'm not going to weave all over the road and hit other drivers." Ban cell phones while driving and maybe, possibly, some people might reduce or shorten their calls and there will be fewer accidents.

        I'm not saying the ban is good, I don't know. I'd have to see some kind of analysis of its effects. But saying that reckless driving is already illegal doesn't prove that the ban is a bad idea.

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

  • identicon
    CatBandit, 4 Dec 2008 @ 5:45pm

    Pass a law? BE the law!

    Those who talk on their cell while driving are a danger to me. While I am driving my car. But especially while I am on my motorcycle! I am not waiting for a law (though it would be the first good one in memory), because when someone cuts me off and I see a cell phone in their hand, I follow them until they stop, and then I visit with them about their disregard for my safety and that of others (often babies) in their own vehicle.

    I try to be civil and polite, but I let them know that they are not acting as responsible adults, but like irresponsible community members by actions like this.

    I will continue to BE the law, whether or not a law is made a formality, and I urge everyone else to do so as well. We, the members of our own communities, need to begin being our own "neighborhood watch" regarding acts of others that are dangerous to ourselves. Just my 2.5 cents.

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

  • identicon
    Link, 4 Dec 2008 @ 6:27pm

    Priveledge, not a right.

    Owning and using a cell phone as well as an automobile have been treated as a "right" by most everyone. They are not and should not be. If you cannot pass a simple hand/eye coordination test, you should not be allowed to own or operate either one bust especially not together.

    For those that complain about the cell phone users that drive recklessly or stupidly, are you absolutely positive that it's everyone? Or is it that you only notice those that behave in that manner?

    Do we really need to punish everyone for the reckless stupidity of a minority? Turn them in. Take their "rights" away. Don't make more laws to correct the actions of a relatively few people who are going to ignore the law anyway because they actually believe that it is their "right" to do so.

    As has been pointed out already. It is illegal to drive recklessly in every state in the union. No matter the excuse that is used. We have laws in place already to handle this. Use them. We don't need more.

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

  • identicon
    Daily Commute, 4 Dec 2008 @ 6:44pm

    Of course

    Would it be easier to legislate those things a person is allowed to do, or those things a person is not allowed to do. I used to think I knew the answer to this question.

    Without such a law in place, rest assured that an officer of the law could and probably would pull you over if you were seen driving erratically. If you passed the drunk test you would most likely still recieve a citation for careless driving. So - why do we need a law ? Well, so that more revenue can be gleaned from the population.

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

  • identicon
    Ame, 5 Dec 2008 @ 3:17pm

    Why the phones again?

    About 5 years ago there was a very interesting study published by a well-published magazine (I do not recall exactly which one, something like Time or Newsweek). The study was focused on reasons of an accident or a near accident situation. And I remember it clearly enough that cell phones were listed as reason #6 on the list (sorted by percentage of occurrence , descending). Guess what was reason #1? Coffee! Yes, just a cup of coffee caused more accidents or close calls then cells phones. And we still want to ban phones? If so, I guess nobody is really interested in preventing accidents! Places 2 thru 5 were occupied by talking to passengers, kids, something else, do not remember particular order, though... Too bad I did not keep a copy of that study, could have been helpful!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 4:06pm

      Re: Why the phones again?

      "Too bad I did not keep a copy of that study, could have been helpful!"

      That sounds pretty bogus to me. Unless you come up with an actual citation I'm calling "bullshit".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:19pm

    I'm not saying the ban is good, I don't know. I'd have to see some kind of analysis of its effects. But saying that reckless driving is already illegal doesn't prove that the ban is a bad idea.

    I would suggest that it is the activists responsibility to demonstrate the the ban is a good idea.

    Doing things because they aren't a bad idea is exactly how the U.S. (and California in particular) got into the current fiscal mess.

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

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 9 Dec 2008 @ 4:23pm

    Future Headline: "Climbing Into the Back Seat And Taking A Nap While Driving Should Be Banned; Causes Accidents 100% Of The Time."

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


Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.