Should cell phone drivers be singled out?

nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
OK, I would like to hear some opinions from the crowd here. California has recently passed a law, which takes effect in July 2008, forbidding cell phone use while driving, but of course allowing it as long as you don't have the phone up to your ear - if you are using a headset, or a speakerphone, but not holding the phone, you are fine. In doing so, California becomes like number 39 in the list of states with similar legislation on the books.

My objections to this are twofold:
(1) In all the debate leading up to this "landmark legislation", it was repeated time and again that reliable data from police agencies is EXTREMELY spotty on whether cell phone use makes any contribution to safety or the lack thereof among drivers. Therefore, we have no way of really knowing whether cell phones are realy the menace to the driving public that so many people want to paint them.

Yes, I know that intuitively, it seems obvious to some that cell phone use while driving simply MUST impair a driver's abilities. But what is intuitively obvious is not always the truth, as we all know.

This leads me to point
(2) there are SO MANY things people do in their cars now that is much more dangerous than using a phone, I can't even begin to name them all. I have witnessed, at 60 mph in the last couple of weeks, people
- putting on make-up
- reading the newspaper
- trying to read a map
- eating a fast food combo - stuff dripping everywhere, trying to steer with the elbows while manhandling that Big Mac, that sort of thing
- fiddling with the darn iPod, trying to make sense of the display and figure out why the darn thing just won't play the right track

I can think of others - I mean, we have aftermarket entertainment systems now that will play movies in the car, as well as TV, and internet access. This trend is only going to escalate in the next few years.

Already there is a fuss here in California because people have begun text messaging while driving, and the freshly minted "landmark legislation" failed to outlaw texting! Which makes me think that no matter how much legislation you write, people will always find a way around it.

Which leads me to my point: I don't think it ws right to single out cell phones in this way. What I would like to see instead is a law mandating special penalties for any erratic or dangerous driving that is deemed to be caused by the driver doing ANYTHING while driving (including all the ones I listed above, AND using cell phones, AND anything else that might exist) that distracts him/her from the task at hand. I am talking SERIOUS penalties on the order of drunk driving penalties - perhaps a $500 minimum fine, and two points on the driving record instead of the usual one.

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a cell phone owner and user, and I have been known to carry on a conversation or two while driving, although I try to avoid it. I know, boo hiss, right?! I also expect that most enthusiasts here will be of the mindset "get off the phone and DRIVE!" like that bumper sticker the Car Talk guys put out. But I am as much interested in clamping down on all sorts of negligent driving behaviors as I am in not singling out cell phones. The roads are a mess, after all. I am curious to hear others' thoughts on this, if you would care to respond.

2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

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Comments

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Well you did say a lot. I agree that anything that distracts should be avoided. Cell Phones seem to be the most visible. I cannot tell you how many times the person in front of me has sat on a green light or stop sign while engrossed in conversation.

    Having just retired from the oil fields in Alaska I know about driving restrictions. There were no fines or points for not wearing your seatbelt, talking on the cell phone even hands free, not wearing safety glasses with side pieces along with all the usual speeding etc etc. It was 3 strikes and you are FIRED. BP ruled the roads like dictators. Your driving privilege on the field was taken away FOREVER. And of course you were fired instantly for any kind of alcohol or drugs in your possession. Not even allowed to pack your own things. Escorted to the plane and put on it. No due process in the oil patch, you are out of there, gone, history.

    The only thing I have against the CA cell phone law is that it should go into affect immediately. No hands free, no text messaging, pull over if you want to answer a call or have to make a call. We got along fine without the darn things for a long time. They are an obvious distraction along with all the others you mentioned. The cops should be equipped with a tracking device and any signal coming from a car and they get a ticket. For other distractions the cops need to become more observant and spend less time in the donut shop.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,999
    Sounds like a case of good intentions, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with.

    I can't imagine a good lawyer not being able to easily find a way to get out of these kind of charges. It'd come down to word vs word, and most cops are no more trustworthy than most motorists. As was said, there are also so many other distractions that are just as annoying or dangerous, those should be chased just as hard. I can't imagine a hands free conversation being any worse than smoking or eating or drinking or doing hair/makeup or getting involved with a real passenger, etc.
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    I'm guilty as charged. Having used hands-free and hand-hled cell phones. There is a major difference! I agree with the law and expect it to spread.

    I was never distracted by using the hands-free cell. I sure can't say that about the hand-held cell. I haven't read them, but assume the studies found the same results I had.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I think cell phones are being singled out because it is a distraction that is easily identifiable. More so than the other examples you gave, which I agree, represent just as much of a distraction. Here's something that I find a little interesting. Cell phones are a fairly recent addition to devices that we feel we must have. They are now somewhat ubiquitous. Why haven't we seen an increase in the accident rate on our highways?

    I personally think that using a cell phone while driving is not a good idea but I also feel we have way too many laws, most of them inneffective. This is just one more. The thought of being in an accident should be enough of a deterrent to force people to pay attention. If not then they run the risk of suffering the consequences. If they injure someone else then the civil courts can handle that. IMO, education is almost always better than laws. An educational campaign along the lines of the anti-smoking campaign would be at least as effective as a law.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    Good point about the accidents - I never even thought about that. Cell phones went from a spotty take rate to like 90% in the last five to seven years. How come the accident rates haven't doubled and tripled in the same time frame?

    That's what I was talking about, that we have no reliable data to show that cells are the threat to motoring they are being made out to be.

    And I agree this law will be ineffectual. If they manage to extend it to texting, people will just keep their texting below the line of the windows and cops will never even be able to see the phone. How will they ever enforce it?

    I so wish we did better driver's education in this country, and had much more rigorous (and frequent) driver testing for a license. I know this particular point has been much-discussed already at Edmunds.

    OTOH, erratic or dangerous driving goes on all the time, for lots of reasons, including late-night street racing. Let's legislate truly punishing minimum financial and other penalties for that, and include cell phone use if it has contributed on a case by case basis.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    "That's what I was talking about, that we have no reliable data to show that cells are the threat to motoring they are being made out to be."

    I thought there have been plenty of studies saying that cell phones lead to an increased chance of having an accident:

    http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/cellphones/

    "How come the accident rates haven't doubled and tripled in the same time frame?"

    But fatalities and accident rates aren't going down, either. Shouldn't those rates dip appreciably as newer and safer cars, including many with bullet-proof ESC, hit the roads?

    I agree with much of what you're saying -- distracted (no matter the source), reckless, and selfish (tailgaters, red-light runners, super-speeders, people whose actions belie a genuine belief that their time and life are more important than anyone elses) driving are really at the heart of the problem.

    But cell phones are just such low-hanging fruit -- everyone has them and everyone claims to be outraged at what they see cell-phone-using drivers do. It's a slam-dunk for the politicians, and there's no downside that I can see. Maybe the economy will suffer because John Doe doesn't get the call to pick up a bottle of white zinfandel before heading home, but I doubt it.

    Personally, even if a twenty-year exhaustive survey by the most well-respected organizations were to show that cell phones don't have any impact on accident rates, I'd choose not to believe it. Hell, any time I go out for lunch at work I see dozens of examples of people not being able to WALK while using the things.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    But fatalities and accident rates aren't going down, either. Shouldn't those rates dip appreciably as newer and safer cars, including many with bullet-proof ESC, hit the roads?

    I was referring to the type of accident that is categorized as property damage only. I agree that safer cars and greater use of seatbelts should lower fatality rates. But you would think that cell phone use should definitely drive up the number of fender benders. There is no empirical data to support this. However I do agree with you that common sense would indicate that cell phone use must divert some attention from driving, which should increase risk. I'm speculating here but is it possible that many people realize this when using their cell phones and try to compensate by paying greater attention than normal? Afterall, how many of us can honestly say that we always focus 100% on the task of driving?
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    BTW, I think that car navigation systems will turn out to be as distractive as, if not more than, cell phones.
  • wideglidewideglide Member Posts: 146
    A little while back I read a news story that quoted a study that said cell phone users cause as many accidents as drunk drivers. If that's true, then the people getting a ticket and small fine for it should consider themselves lucky, as we throw drunk drivers in jail, and fines are in the thousands. Yes, I do believe they cause accidents. As for the other distractions (eating, makeup, etc.), there is a law police can enforce, it's called "Failure To Pay Time And Attention". They probably don't enforce it as much as they should, though.
  • wideglidewideglide Member Posts: 146
    BTW, I think that car navigation systems will turn out to be as distractive as, if not more than, cell phones.

    Ditto with the I-Drive, Command Center, etc.
  • grbeckgrbeck Member Posts: 2,358
    smittynyc: But fatalities and accident rates aren't going down, either. Shouldn't those rates dip appreciably as newer and safer cars, including many with bullet-proof ESC, hit the roads?

    According to a recent news article, occupant fatalities in vehicle accidents were down again for 2005. There were, however more deaths among pedestrians and motorcyclists. Pedestrian and motorcyclists deaths are counted as traffic fatalities, and are included in the final, total figure for the year.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Pedestrian and motorcyclists deaths are counted as traffic fatalities, and are included in the final, total figure for the year.

    Can we assume that some of those deaths were due to in-attention by the driver of a car, engrossed in a cell phone call? Or did the pedestrian walk in front of a car they did not see or hear because they were talking on a cell phone or listening to an iPod?

    It seems we have to many gadgets to take our mind off our driving. Maybe we need to get tougher on those that cause accidents for any reason. Losing your license for causing an accident would be a good start.
  • orangelebaronorangelebaron Member Posts: 435
    Why do you need studies and data to tell you that people who drive while talking is dangerous???

    You people DO go outside sometimes, don't you?

    EVERY DAY I see people driving badly because they won't get off the phone. IT DOES NOT MATTER if it's hands free or not. The only difference is hands-free lets you turn the wheel more easily.

    I almost got run over by a woman on the phone recently while crossing an intersection. And that's just ONE example of what I see and deal with everyday.

    We have laws but they are not enforced and BIG DEAL... it's a $100 fine with no points.

    Those of you who think you are not distracted while talking... you are fooling yourself... you ARE distracted. And stop comparing eating to talking... you don't need to think while you eat.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    That's at least partly your intuition talking there, because you have no experience with those drivers under other conditions. Maybe their driving just sucks. Maybe that woman was in a hurry and routinely disregards pedestrians when she is in a hurry. THAT'S what I originally meant by having very spotty data at best on the impact of cell phones on accidents and human casualties.

    It's human nature to blame the distraction. I could tell you (true story here) that I made an emergency dive into the break-down lane about 10 days back because a guy eating french fries in the lane next to me dropped some and dived to try and catch them before they hit his precious upholstery, resulting in his car swinging wildly and immediately into my lane. I had just glanced over to check my mirror and could see into his car. If I hadn't been looking that way and seen him begin to swing the wheel, I may not have been able to avoid colliding with him.

    Have they passed a shiny new law forbidding the consumption of fast food in the car? Of course not, McDonalds' lobbyist would eat them for lunch if they so much as hinted that they were going to try that...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Those of you who think you are not distracted while talking... you are fooling yourself... you ARE distracted

    When you have passengers in the car do you talk to them? Maybe you don't but that would put you in a very, very small minority. I'm not sure why a hands free phone would be any more distracting then talking to a passenger. Potentially less distracting because you wouldn't feel the need to occasionally look at the person you were conversing with.

    I'm not saying that using a cell phone while driving doesn't add to the danger on our roadways. It probably does. I'm stating that our views regarding this distraction should be consistent with other distractions and in line with the degree of danger they cause. When assessing this degree of danger it makes more sense to go by actual data then our gut feelings.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    A couple points. I think that Verizon and Cingular are bigger than McDonald's, negating the lobby aspect. I think a lot of states have already passed laws concerning use of cell phones while driving. It will be easy to prosecute the use as it is not a "he said, she said" situation. The Cell records are available to the courts giving precise time of calls.

    I do agree that eating food is also a distraction. I have not allowed anyone to eat or drink anything except water in any vehicle of mine since high school days. I don't want ketchup on my seats. It boggles the mind watching people choke down a burger while driving. It would be tougher to prove without using video evidence.

    Having the law on the books will make it easier to prosecute or settle lawsuits. If you have an accident while talking on a cell phone it will be evidence of inattention.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    I'm not sure why a hands free phone would be any more distracting then talking to a passenger

    You left out a factor in the talking to a passenger scenario. If you are driving crazy or distracted the passenger will tell you to look out. The person on the other end of a hands free call has no idea your situation at that moment.

    It would be interesting to see statistics on accidents caused by distractions. I imagine it is over half. Removing one big distraction is better than saying it is just another distraction.

    I guess it could be expanded to NO food, makeup, drinks, audio, video, or talking allowed in any moving vehicle. I do see the next step in the Big Brother picture with GPS being installed in most new cars. It can track any and all signals with a record in the little black box. You crash and the NAV was on you lose in court. Very simple with the current technology.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    So you sort of agree with me then: "I guess it could be expanded to NO food, makeup, drinks, audio, video, or talking allowed in any moving vehicle"

    That's more than half of what I'm saying. We need much more aggressive police enforcement on driver distractions.

    I was being facetious with the lobbyist remark, but I should add that Verizon and Cingular, after battling it for years here in CA, dropped out of the fight this year, leaving only Sprint Nextel fighting it to the bitter end. I have no idea why. When Cingular and Verizon were also in the fight, the legislature failed like three separate times to pass cell phone legislation for motorists.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jimlockeyjimlockey Member Posts: 265
    Some people can do this and some people can't so it is best that all should not talk while driving.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Some people can do this and some people can't so it is best that all should not talk while driving.

    So you advocate a lowest common denominator approach to legislation? By that I mean that our laws should be geared towards those that posess the least amount of judgement, skill, self discipline, intelligence, etc.. You're not alone. That appears to be the direction our society is heading in.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    Well spoken, well said. I might add that when radios started appearing in cars people were all up in arms saying how it will cause more accidents because drivers were distracted.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    I cannot tell you how many times the person in front of me has sat on a green light or stop sign while engrossed in conversation.

    You know the exact same thing happened to me yesterday, someone sat at a green light engrossed in conversation. Oh wait the person s/he was so engrossed with was sitting next to them at the time. Well I guess there is only one solution; make talking with a passenger illegal.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    I usually do agree with you. Even though I may argue the other side. It seems we all have distractions of one sort or another. I look all around when I am driving and my wife keeps me in the middle of the road so to speak.

    Cell phones have gotten so wide spread and they are visible when someone is talking on the phone. When they do not respond the second the light goes green we are upset and blame it on the cell phone. It could be they are changing the TV channel or reaching for a cup of coffee.

    I think if you get used to not having the cell phone, you will appreciate the time to yourself. I refused to carry one at work and we were the cell phone company. I don't want people having access to me 24/7. I'm still not convinced that cell phones do not cause physical problems. Too many technician friends that worked on microwave and other radio equipment died at an early age. Many by cancer thought to be caused by too much radiation.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    I refused to carry one at work and we were the cell phone company.

    Thats odd, when I worked for a cell phone company thats all we used. Need to call someone else in the company use your cell to call theirs. Have a conference call, use your cell to call in. We never used land lines.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Trust me it was a battle. I just was determined not to be at their beck and call. I would carry it when I went out where the weather was bad. Just for my own protection. We also had permanent phones in the trucks that I could tell if someone was calling me. It made it easier when BP mandated NO cell calls while driving on the field. If your phone rang you pulled over to the side of the road to answer, even hands free. It was not worth losing your job to answer the phone. Not everyone feels that cell calls are that important.

    That BP mandate came about in 2000, due to an accident when 5 security guards were killed by a water truck. The driver was talking to the dispatcher and lost control of his truck on the ice. Pushed the security van into the ditch and crushed it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    Not everyone feels that cell calls are that important.

    One thing people have to realize is that there is no law that says you have to answer your phone. Many times I just let it go, there is a reason that God created voice mail.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    One thing people have to realize is that there is no law that says you have to answer your phone.

    Well now that would require judgement. There's a reason that laws were created and that is so we would no longer need judgment.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    Cell phone use has exploded since 9/11. Everyone has one and people are easily annoyed by them. Cell phones legislation is the "flavor of the month".

    You are right there are other ngligent driving behavoirs out there. I was driving behind someone in the left hand lane. four people in the car but for some reason the driver was the one reading the map. Drove around him the right lane. 5 minutes later I looked in the rear view mirror the guy was still in the left lane with cars behind him. I have passed at leaast 4 peopel reading books while driving. I guess no one explained to them that you should "listen" to audio books and not read an actual book while driving. I love the animated conversation (on a cell phone) when the guy was flinging his hands around and reaching for a papers on the passneger seat. thank goodness he had a "hands free" unit so he coud use both hands to reach for the correct paper.

    What it comes down to is people have to realize that driving requires your full attention and you have a responsibility to other drivers on the road. this means slow down, "pass left, stay right", use your blinkers, etc. Until the police start pulling people over for negligent driving, it won't change. This is why we need this type of legislation. I hate that the politcians have to pass more laws but i think we have proven in this area that we cannot police ourselves. I think their should be a national law requiring hands free use in cars. Then maybe we can stop all the other behavoir.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    This is why we need this type of legislation.

    No we don't need this type of legislation we need to enforce the traffic laws that we have right now. The inconsiderate lugnut behind the wheel is going to be an inconsiderate lugnut behind a wheel with or without a cell phone. Legislation like this is just a bandaid on a sucking chest wound, it looks like you did something but doesn't help one iota.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    You reminded me one of one I saw about a month ago - a guy with his laptop on the passenger seat, working on what I can only guess was a presentation for his job or something. He was doing something on the computer very intently, with only occasional glances up to the road as he drove along at 40+ mph!!!! :lemon:

    He will be free to continue doing his power point presentations in the car on the way to work after I have been forced to quit holding my phone up to my ear (or not :mad:), because it might distract me from driving. :-/

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • atlvibeatlvibe Member Posts: 109
    Agreed, it's all personal accountability. Paying attention to the road and your surroundings. Driving is privilege not a given right. I passed a one car accident scene a couple years back. A lone Hyundai rested squarely dead center against a wood utility pole. The conditions were, dry, clear, light traffic, middle of the afternoon, on a flat four lane road. It appeared the driver had gotten distracted and run dead center into the pole at posted 45mph speed. As I passed I noticed a blue and yellow bumper sticker in the back window of the now deceased Hyundai.The sticker showed a cell phone and read "Hang UP AND DRIVE".
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    snakeweasel: I agree in a perfect world. But we have too many cars on the road and not near enough police. More police on the road would stop some of this behavoir. Of course it will slow traffic down as well creating more traffic jams.

    I revert back to waht I stated earlier, we all have a responsibility to our fellow drivers. Too many people forget this and feel that being behind the wheel gives them power and control. Boy, there lives must be sad.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    On Saturday an 80-year-old woman was killed in Brooklyn as she attempted to cross Brighton Beach Avenue. She had a walk sign against a green light; a 2006 Corolla making a right-hand turn struck her.

    Witnesses say the driver was making the turn with one hand and had a cell phone in the other.

    The charge? "Failing to yield to a pedestrian." Not even a ticket for violating NY State's hand-held cellphone ban. Disgusting and disturbing.

    Regardless of whether or not it can be conclusively proven the cell phone caused sufficient distraction for a driver to simply run over an old lady in a crosswalk.

    (In case the URL doesn't work, this is from Sunday's NY Post.)

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/10152006/news/regionalnews/bklyn_granny_mowed_down_r- egionalnews_john_doyle_and_philip_messing.htm
  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    Recently a bicyclist was killed a couple of miles south of my home by a young female driver downloading ringtones while driving. This young man on the bicycle, a recent MBA grad and just home for the weekend, was doing everything right: on the bike path near the road, wearing a helmet, etc., etc., but lost his life due to this young lady's cell phone addiction.

    I've seen too many near misses in intersections and elsewhere. Cell phone use should be banned for use while driving (period).
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    "I revert back to waht I stated earlier, we all have a responsibility to our fellow drivers."

    I agree with you totally on this observation.

    The mentality of a sizable percentage of drivers is just so far out of whack, I'm not sure anything short of seizing and permanently impounding their cars could correct it.

    It is a privilege to drive. The roads do not belong to any one of us; they belong to all of us. One's time and space on the road is not anymore important than anyone else's time and space.

    Tailgating, weaving, super-speeding, red-light running, failure to signal, failure to yield, failure to pay attention -- all symptoms of the disease afflicting a lot of people. It's their world, we're just here to get out of their effing way.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    Unfortunately those things happen. But they also happen with people eating, smoking, talking to passengers, changing radio stations and the like. I have seen to many near misses when cell phones were not being used, should we ban all those other activities too?

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    Just because it might be uncomfortable to make a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable distractions doesn't mean we should just give up trying to do so, imo.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    Its not that one sort of distraction is acceptable and another isn't. My point is that its not the cell phone, its the driver. As I said before an inconsiderate lugnut behind a wheel will be an inconsiderate lugnut regardless of what they are doing behind that wheel.

    The fact is that someone not being distracted at all may not know whats going on around them, and someone on a cell phone may know very well whats going around them.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • wideglidewideglide Member Posts: 146
    Unfortunately those things happen. But they also happen with people eating, smoking, talking to passengers, changing radio stations and the like. I have seen to many near misses when cell phones were not being used, should we ban all those other activities too?

    As stated earlier, there ALREADY IS a law pertaining to those, it's called "Failure To Pay Time And Attention". We just need to put pressure on our police forces to enforce that law.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    As I said enforce the current laws don't make new ones when you will not enforce laws to begin with.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    If a person feels that driving doesn't require 100% of his attention he is going to choose to multi-task. Take away his cell phone and he will find something else to do with what he considers to be his spare attention. Its futility but enacting laws provides a sense of security for some.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    OK, I'm admitting to full-on geekdom here, but the Mythbusters episode during which they did a driving course comparison, one with drivers near the legal alcohol limit, and the other with them answering questions on while on a cell phone? Startling results... drivers were just as impaired with alcohol as when holding a cell phone conversation that required moderate concentration.

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  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I've heard numbers like 40% of all highway fatalities are alcohol related. I've got to believe there are more people driving and using cell phones than there are drunk drivers. So in the last 15 years we have introduced on our roadways a new danger that is equivalent to what was causing 40% of our fatalities and it hasn't even registered a blip on the stats. Something doesn't make sense here.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that 40 percent of highway fatalities are cellphone related.

    Bear in mind that the rise in cellphone use has happened at the same time as greatly increased vehicle safety systems and seat belt usage.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    That 40% was before the heavy crackdown on drunk driving. I think that Cell phone usage has taken the place of drunk drivers causing accidents. There are a quite a few high profile accidents that were proven to be cell phone related. The difference between cell phone and other type distractions is subtle. It is hard to know if some one is being told to get a loaf of bread or that their boyfriend just died in an accident.

    I think it is best to just outlaw use of them in the car while moving. Easier to enforce with a law.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    I see Mythbusters often and didn't see that episode, I would have liked to have seen it so I could comment on it though. One thing to remember that these people are not the best in the scientific method.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    I think that Cell phone usage has taken the place of drunk drivers causing accidents.

    Do you have stats to back that up.

    I think it is best to just outlaw use of them in the car while moving. Easier to enforce with a law.

    On another forum here on edmunds someone mentioned being rear ended by someone distracted by the Fuji blimp, should we outlaw that?

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • saabgirlsaabgirl Member Posts: 184
    ...drivers who need to talk on the phone simply pull off the road and do so? Yes, this also applies to eating sammiches, reading the paper, applying makeup, changing a diaper, petting dogs etc. Whatever.

    This all started, I think, when cupholders became an accepted part of interior design. The implication is that drivers are such good multitaskers that they can do several things while traveling at 80 per or negotiating heavy traffic. You can't convince me it's a mere coincidence that improvements in airbag technology coincide with an increase in multitasking drivers.

    Yeah, I hear ya -- Why pick on cell phone users? What about all the other multitasking bumblers? It's simple -- you have to begin somewhere, and cell phone users are such conspicuously incompetent mobile irritants that they have it coming.

    The next time you're in a line of traffic on an interstate and can't figure out why one lane is speeding up/slowing down/speeding up/slowing down etcetc, just pass everyone and then pause to observe the lead car. Guaranteed it's an obsessive gabber trying to dial numbers on a phone keypad not much bigger than my thumbnail.

    Even worse is the gabber at the head of the line when the left turn arrow turns green. GO, idjit! And don't get all passive aggressive when you get the horn.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Do you have stats to back that up

    NOPE, just a long memory of all the yahoos that made me miss a left turn light because they were talking on the phone and not paying attention to the lights. Or sitting at a stop sign in a cell phone fog letting several of their turns go by, making me wait for them. Some times honking does not get their attention as they have an ear plug.

    What amazes me is how far behind CA is on this subject. Many places beat them to the punch. usually CA is at the leading edge of making new restrictive laws.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 18,584
    Guaranteed it's an obsessive gabber trying to dial numbers on a phone keypad not much bigger than my thumbnail.

    Or someone putting on makeup, or shaving or reading a book, or yelling at their kids, or reading a map or.....point is its not always cell phone users.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

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