by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
driving, education, iowa, texting

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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  1. icon
    musically_ut (profile), 1 Nov 2010 @ 10:38pm

    Ear-pieces next?

    Which lisp out 'Telephoning kills'?

    PS: +1 for the idea.

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

  2. identicon
    Rachel @ Last Res0rt, 1 Nov 2010 @ 11:04pm

    ... is it bad that I want one?

    Hey, it beats Silly Bandz...

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

  3. identicon
    Jesse, 1 Nov 2010 @ 11:36pm

    Well drunk driving education sure worked.

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

  4. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2010 @ 12:50am

    Why Not Just Send Them “Txting Kills” Txts?

    It might as well be something they’re likely to read.

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

  5. icon
    mattarse (profile), 2 Nov 2010 @ 2:58am

    I agree this probably won't stop it for everyone - but as in other things discussed here a many pronged approach is probably best. No one answer will stop everyone, but a combination of approaches will be more likely to reduce the number of people texting while driving.

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

  6. icon
    grumpy (profile), 2 Nov 2010 @ 5:23am

    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... :-)

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

  7. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 2 Nov 2010 @ 5:53am

    Why don't we

    declare war on texting? Seriously... that worked on drugs and terror. Right?

    Rubber bracelets and car ribbons only support one thing... the manufacture of rubber bracelets and car ribbons. Still waiting to get my "I support car sticker manufacturing" ribbon for my car. Do they make "Rubber Bracelet" rubber bracelets?

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

  8. identicon
    Sheldon Stokes, 2 Nov 2010 @ 7:44am

    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...



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

  9. identicon
    Heather, 2 Nov 2010 @ 7:45am

    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.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2010 @ 11:47am

    killer accessory

    Ha! Wait to see if these turn into the next high-school fashion accessory.

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

  11. icon
    lostalaska (profile), 2 Nov 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Can we just simplify it to...

    Don't be 'effing stupid.
    Stupidity Kills, don't be stupid.

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

  12. identicon
    Erik Wood, 2 Nov 2010 @ 3:49pm

    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
    OTTER app

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

  13. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 3 Nov 2010 @ 5:55am

    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.

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

  14. identicon
    Ken Kelsey, 16 Nov 2010 @ 3:17pm

    TEXTING KILLS Thumb Bands now available.

    It's more than just an Awareness Band... The Thumb Band is a promise to drive safely. And it's a reminder to everyone that TEXTING KILLS.

    We now have stock Thumb Bands in both Blue and Pink in three sizes -
    Ken 877-753-5739

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

  15. identicon
    Robt514, 16 Nov 2010 @ 9:00pm

    Thumb Bands

    There are a lot of celebrities out there endorsing thumb bands as a good reminder for teens NOT to text and drive. Since 3/4's of them do it and distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents and accidents kill 11 teens every day, I say the more reminders they get to be safe the better!


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

  16. icon
    Silver Fang (profile), 30 Dec 2010 @ 9:18am

    What's really sad is that some people can't be convinced to change their ways until they're either involved in an accident, or someone close to them is.

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

  17. identicon
    Ken Kelsey, 6 Feb 2011 @ 6:11pm

    Re: TEXTING KILLS Thumb Bands now available.

    Stock bands available with TEXTING KILLS or TEXT FREE DRIVER in your choice of colors.

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

  18. identicon
    Hailey Thome, 12 Feb 2011 @ 4:42pm

    i want one

    how do i get one of these? i really want to premot it, and i think i could get more people into doing the same thing!!

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

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