×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Phone and Text Bans On Drivers Shown Ineffective

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the can't-ban-idiocy dept.

Communications 406

shmG writes to share news of a recent study on the impact of laws which ban the use of cell phones while driving. There appears to be no reduction in accidents as a result of these laws. "The HLDI compared collisions of 100 insured vehicles per year in New York, Washington DC, Connecticut, and California — all states with currently enacted roadway text bans. Despite those laws, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change after bans were enacted, [although] there were less people using devices while driving. An earlier study conducted by the HLDI reported that cellphone use was directly linked to four-fold increases in crash injuries. Also independent studies done by universities have shown correlation between driving while using a phone and crashes."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

406 comments

Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (4, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956990)

Just because a behavior is banned doesn't mean people have actually stopped doing it. California's ban has been in place for a year and a half now, and I still regularly see people driving while talking on their phones. So hand-held phone use has reduced in these areas. How much?

The other thing to consider is that at least the California law allows you to use your cell phone while driving as long as you use a hand-free system, like an earpiece or a car system that acts as a speakerphone. I seem to recall that other studies have shown that hands-free cell phone conversations are just as distracting as conversations carried out while holding the phone. (The article spends a whopping one sentence on this.)

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (5, Insightful)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957020)

Meh.

Different people can handle different levels of distraction. This is proven.

So, there should be tests. Depending on your score, you get to have (or not have) certain things in your vehicle,
like radios, heaters, people, pets, phones, etc.

Really, some folks should not be on the road, even if all they're doing is 10-and-2, eyes sweeping.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

oxide7 (1013325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957102)

I agree. I'm not for blanket litigation. Just because someone does it and get in an accident doesnt mean my rights should be taken away also. I was texting on a Nokia like in 2001 when i had a 5 speed... its not so difficult. To be honest though, i liked T9 better than a full qwerty. You can do it mindlessly. But a qwerty i can see how it can be dangerous.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (5, Insightful)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957280)

Couple of things come to mind:

1. Ability to handle distraction is not a constant like, say your eye color. It varies with the circumstances. One day you might handle lots of distraction at the level of a fighter pilot, but the next day have the flu or you're hung over and probably shouldn't be on the road even if you're doing it 10-and-2, eyes sweeping.

2. Whatever happened to equality in the eyes of the law, justice is blind and other such misguided populist notions?

3. I remember reading about a study where people rated themselves in terms of their driving skills. Nobody said "I'm a below average driver", even that the statistical probability of that being the case is very low. (Read: I bet you really, really suck at driving, dude. :-)

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957408)

Just because someone does it and get in an accident doesnt mean my rights should be taken away also.

Driving is a privilege, not a right.
Cell phone use is a privilege, not a right.

Multitasking is a matter of deluding yourself that you can do multiple things at once, and then doing each one some of the time [npr.org].

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (4, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957422)

I agree. I'm not for blanket litigation. Just because someone does it and get in an accident doesnt mean my rights should be taken away also. I was texting on a Nokia like in 2001 when i had a 5 speed... its not so difficult. To be honest though, i liked T9 better than a full qwerty. You can do it mindlessly. But a qwerty i can see how it can be dangerous.

I find I have to stop texting when I'm racing at 120 km/hr through a generic crowded European village while being chased by English speaking killers will funny accents. It's hard to do all that while lighting a cigarette and savoring a cup of black coffee. What a way to wake up in the morning. At least, I can keep posting on Slashdot. That takes no effort at all.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957156)

So, there should be tests. Depending on your score, you get to have (or not have) certain things in your vehicle,
like radios, heaters, people, pets, phones, etc.

Assuming those tests cost absolutely zero dollars to the state of California... well we still couldn't afford it.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957268)

Ironically though, those who think they can multitask are precisely those who can't

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8219212.stm

We can then conclude that we still might as well ban the usage in cars as those who could actually do it won't be doing it anyways.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957342)

Let's not forget that drivers think they're better drivers than everyone else on the road.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8479393.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957354)

like radios, heaters, people, pets, phones, etc.

How do you feel about being the person to pay the funeral bills, when someone dies in their car and causes an accident on the road due to freezing to death / frostbite while driving?

The human body isn't meant for extreme cold. An adverse environment in the car (or outside) is more distracting.

Also, leaving the kids at school to avoid distracted driving is a similarly unacceptable scenario.

Accidents happen, and you can only do so much to prevent clear abuses, while not creating bigger problems.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957538)

So, there should be tests. Depending on your score, you get to have (or not have) certain things in your vehicle. . .

And professional race car drivers should be able to drive 200mph (or whatever the average speed of their racing discipline) on the streets and highways. After all, they've demonstrated their ability to "handle" different levels of speed. Right?

Some folks should not be on the road. All folks should not be diving while using phone.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957608)

The laws as implemented shoot themselves in the foot. You are equally distracted while talking on a bluetooth device, but, in California at least, that is still perfectly permissible. So, yeah, you won't see any reduction in accidents because people are either a). ignoring the law and chatting with the phone to their heads, or b). following the law and chatting it up on a bluetooth device. There's no real reduction in the root behavior that causes the problem in the first place so naturally there's no reduction in the accidents resulting from it.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957030)

Yeah, the Governator's wife has been busted a couple of times, and Will Smith's wife admitted she texts while driving, if they don't obey they law who will? Cause we all know everyone looks to celebrities to lead the way! (tongue in cheek)

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957278)

Oh hell, I had my mother saying that crap about tiger woods. Exactly how being good at sports makes you a role model is beyond me.

Sample size (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957230)

I didn't RTFA, But, If the sample size is really only 100 people I'm not sure i would trust the results. Granted I'm pretty sure using a cell phone is safer then trying to fold unfold a map.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

pileated (53605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957298)

My reaction is the same. Philadelphia recently made it illegal and I'm constantly seeing people driving and talking. I'm not sure it's decreased at all. I'd like to see how many arrests have been made and then do some studies based on it. For example did crashes drop with 100 arrests/fines, 1000 a/f/, 10000 a/f? I have to wonder if anyone has even been arrested/fined in Philadelphia based on what I see.

Considering all the idiots I see on their phones while driving, I don't have any doubt at all that they make driving much less safe for the rest of us. I'm really tired of the so-called proficient multi-taskers saying that it is dumb people who cause accidents, whether or not they're on the phone, rather than cell phone users per se. Show me the proof.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (5, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957368)

California's ban has been in place for a year and a half now, and I still regularly see people driving while talking on their phones. So hand-held phone use has reduced in these areas. How much?

Perhaps more importantly, what kind of drivers have stopped using their phones while driving? I'd assume a lot of generally responsible drivers (who may not have known about or believed in the dangers) stopped using their phones, while those "inconsiderate" drivers who don't care about other people still race across pedestrian crossings, not even aware of the "bonus points" they're raking in because they're too busy talking to whoever it is that's so important about whatever it is that just can't wait.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957376)

The person I carpool to work with regularly answers his cell phone to inform the calling party that he can't talk now because he's driving. Or if he deems the caller important then it's "keep this quick, I'm driving."

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957478)

The data indicated that use of cellphones decreased while crashes did not. Which just shows that bad drivers will continue to find ways to be bad drivers no matter what.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957620)

Just because a behavior is banned doesn't mean people have actually stopped doing it.

.

A most concise and accurate summary of the problem that needs to be solved.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957668)

The law needs to be changed. The modified law would allow other drivers to shoot water-soluble paint balls at any vehicle in which the driver is using a cell-phone.

I predict that cell-phone usage while driving would drop precipitously within days.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957684)

using the phone while driving is low on the list of accident causing distractions. This was and has been well known. Kids are near the top, should we ban kids in the car? So these results, no change in accidents, is not a surprise at all. In fact it is expected because phones do not cause accidents.

Re:Compliance Rates & Hands-Free Use (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957694)

Hell, one of the politicians that was pushing for the ban rear ended someone while texting! If the people pushing for the law don't follow its retarded to think anyone else will.

You actually have to have an effective way of enforcing it so people stop doing it in order to notice any difference.

Somewhere there has to be a bad joke.... (4, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956996)

shmG writes to share that according to a recent study on the impact of laws banning the use of cell phones during driving, there appears to be no reduction in accidents as a result.
"The HLDI compared collisions of 100 insured vehicles per year in New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut, and California -- all states with currently enacted roadway text bans. Despite those laws, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change after bans were enacted, all though there were less people using devices while driving. An earlier study conducted by the HLDI reported that cellphone use was directly linked to four-fold increases in crash injuries. Also independent studies done by universities have shown correlation between driving while using a phone and crashes."

On some phone platforms, crashes occur regardless of whether you're driving a car or not.

Re:Somewhere there has to be a bad joke.... (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957032)

*Runs fingers along electric keyboard to lead into a small Jazzy bit*

Thanks for joining us everybody, we are going to have a great show tonight with your host, Sethstorm.

Not too surprising (4, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957000)

This doesn't surprise me too much. One interesting fact it does indicate is that the people who very conscientiously obey the law are not strongly represented in those who are in accidents.

Personally, I feel the only real solution is to mandate self-driving cars. Our communications technology is at a point where it's a serious waste of a human being's time to be driving, and that economic fact is going to be really hard to fight with law.

Re:Not too surprising (2, Interesting)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957052)

Or mandate the use of a chauffeur. That would create some much needed jobs as well.

Re:Not too surprising (3, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957126)

Or mandate the use of a chauffeur. That would create some much needed jobs as well.

At the very least make it illegal to pump your own gas. New Jersey and Oregon are very progressive on that front.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957696)

New Jersey and Oregon are very progressive on that front.

In defense of those who live here in Oregon, it's really not a lot of fun getting out of your car to fill it in the rain. We'll let the folks in Washington do that, if they want.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957160)

Won't help. Chauffeurs are still people. What prevents them from wanting to use a phone while driving their socialites around?

Re:Not too surprising (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957248)

Won't help. Chauffeurs are still people. What prevents them from wanting to use a phone while driving their socialites around?

Easy! We'll just mandate that all chauffeurs be both blind and deaf!

Oh, wait...

Re:Not too surprising (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957404)

Why not save some carbon in the process, and mandate the use of public transportation?

When you want to get from point A to point B, you launch the "Take me there App" on your iPhone, computer, or other device.

Select your destination, click OK, you get a "pick up time".

Eventually some bus which has its route automatically computed for it, based on the destinations of people in your area, comes and picks you up.

Then eventually (at some point along its computed route) arrives at your destination, you get off.

etc...

Re:Not too surprising (5, Insightful)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957058)

The kind of people who crash due to texting and driving, and the same kind of people who will keep texting and driving regardless of the law.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957120)

Fuck mandating self-driving cars - I like driving and riding motos. Fortunately, I live in NYC, so I don't have to commute by car so driving hasn't become a chore. As far as bans having no effect, we've banned many things and people still do them. Perhaps the kind of people who NEED to use their cell phones right now as opposed to glancing at a text or picking up an occasional call will ignore the ban. The casual users who'll follow the ban paid less attention to the phone and more to driving before the ban. -b.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957134)

Exactly. Cars are unsafe primarily because of the meat popsicle behind the wheel. I've been saying that for years.

The government should mandate that:

  • all new vehicles built after 2020 have the ability to drive completely unassisted. Let the car companies scramble to figure out how to make it happen.
  • all cars contain transceivers that allow them to communicate (anonymously) with other vehicles nearby on the road. Let the car manufacturers collaborate to figure out standards for that communication.
  • basic transponders be retrofitted into all non-new vehicles by 2025 that identify the exact location of the vehicle, the speed of the vehicle, tire inflation warning status if available, slip indicator status if available, etc. and transmit a warning signal when brakes are activated.

Eventually, this would culminate in banning manual vehicles on major highways in about 2050-2060 and putting mileage limits on their use elsewhere. Insurance rates would no doubt help in making that part happen.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957220)

This has been referenced before in slashdot... Brad Templeton has a great site discussing robocars: http://www.templetons.com/brad/robocars/ [templetons.com]

It's probable that today's kids will be the last generation that needs to learn to drive. It will be optional for their kids. And it won't be allowed for their grand-children (except perhaps for private roads and tracks.)

Re:Not too surprising (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957412)

reminds me of a joke my dad told me about airline pilots. Used to be there was an engineer to make sure everything worked right and pilot to fly and copilot to assist him if he needed a brake. Now it is pilot and copilot because the planes are so good there is really no use for an engineer on board. Soon it will be that there is just a pilot and a dog, the pilot to make the passengers feel safe like a human is flying and the dog to bite the pilot if he tries to do anything.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957358)

Exactly. Cars are unsafe primarily because of the meat popsicle behind the wheel. I've been saying that for years.

Mr Toyota chairman - is that you?

Re:Not too surprising (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957426)

It sounds good in theory, but I'll reiterate what I said when the Robocar article came around. Robocar failed to address it, and so has everybody else. For that to happen, there would have to be a major shift in the liability regime. In particular, liability would lodge with the logical actor, namely the car manufacturer. Can you imagine the howl from GM if anybody managed to seriously propose that GM be liable for car accidents involving their vehicle? ALL accidents involving their vehicle? Sure, they're liable for design flaws already, and for manufacturing flaws like "the wheels came off", but to expand that to the minute-by-minute navigation of the vehicle? The swarm of lobbyists that would descend on Washington to crush that idea would be of locust proportions. Every manufacturer would unleash the swarms, and whoever proposed it would probably die in a car accident. :P

Maybe someday there will be some sort of widely deployed fully automated transportation. It won't look much like cars on roads though.

Re:Not too surprising (0)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957492)

You missed a step. All children, dogs, cats, homeless people, bicycles, food carts, and anything else that can possibly end up in a roadway must be fitted with a transponder. Otherwise the automated vehicles will not see it.

This will lead to a virtual slaughter of dogs and cats in suburban areas. Picture a cat with a 3lb transponder with 30day battery. Pretty funny - check for the video on YouTube. Next picture cat and transponder in the street after the batteries die.

Sorry, on some limited access highways some sort of automated driving makes sense, in a limited fashion. Outside of that, forget it. The road is shared with too many non-vehicle objects.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957178)

I'm very much looking forward to riding in cars that are better drivers than I am.

Hopefully it makes sense to have them operate as taxis, but with reduced costs, because of the lack of a meat-bag to operate the thing. If the per mile cost is low enough, no need to own!

Re:Not too surprising (2, Interesting)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957454)

I'm very much looking forward to riding in cars that are better drivers than I am.

If we all commit to keep texting while we drive that day might be here very soon!

Re:Not too surprising (4, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957482)

This doesn't surprise me too much. One interesting fact it does indicate is that the people who very conscientiously obey the law are not strongly represented in those who are in accidents.

Personally, I feel the only real solution is to mandate self-driving cars. Our communications technology is at a point where it's a serious waste of a human being's time to be driving, and that economic fact is going to be really hard to fight with law.

I'd love for self-driving cars to happen, but I seriously doubt it ever will. Not because of technology limitations, but because of liability: the first time someone manages to provoke a wreck with a self-driving car, the companies responsible for designing its hardware and software will be sued out of business because they have deep pockets. The military will have self-driving aircraft, ships, and trucks for decades and we'll still be driving our own cars. It would take an act of Congress to change this.

Re:Not too surprising (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957634)

It would take an act of Congress to change this.

That's not an insurmountable obstacle. Write your Senator once the army gets self-driving tanks.

Re:Not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957648)

Personally, I feel the only real solution is to mandate self-driving cars. Our communications technology is at a point where it's a serious waste of a human being's time to be driving, and that economic fact is going to be really hard to fight with law.

There's no need to "mandate" self-driving cars, just make them prolific and cheap to buy. Most people will WANT to not have to pay attention to the road when it gets boring (a.k.a. when you're at the highest risk of crashing), so let the car drive for you.

You should still be allowed to drive a car if you ENJOY doing it, there's no harm in that. Think Will Smith iRobot style (though driving manually probably should involve a lower speed limit than what they used in that movie).

Re:Not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957686)

Personally, I feel the only real solution is to mandate self-driving cars. Our communications technology is at a point where it's a serious waste of a human being's time to be driving, and that economic fact is going to be really hard to fight with law.

That's not necessary. You can already track the location of phones, which means you can track their speed of motion. Tax people a penny per minute for every MPH above a certain speed -- say, ten miles per hour -- that occurs on a public road. A person going 50 MPH and yapping would pay 40 cents per minute. That would cut down on the chat rather quickly.

Of course, you won't be able to distinguish between yapping drivers and passengers, but it's certainly cheaper and more near-term than self-driving cars.

Use Telco data for better estimation (1)

jimasksme (1714866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957022)

Is there any chance that anonymous cellphone usage from telco companies could be queried to better estimate the usage of cell phones on say remote Interstate portions (where it's far less likely that people are using their cell phones in their homes) ?

http://jimasks.me/would-you-ever-consider-bribing-someone-to-get-a-job-promotion [jimasks.me]

Re:Use Telco data for better estimation (2, Interesting)

trenton (53581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957406)

Perhaps they also log which towers each call was on. If that data is available, you could look for calls which switched towers, thus indicating the phone was probably in motion. I guess you'd get confounding data from people riding the bus, though.

Not much change here (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957064)

I'm in BC Canada, where they've recently instated a no cellphone (without hands-free) while driving policies. This first month is warnings-only, and next month the fines start up at I believe $150 or more.

Thus far I've seen no reduction in people with their phones attached to their ear, usually driving like idiots. Nowadays I try to make it a point to see if a driver is chatting on the phone before assuming they're going to be making a safe/legal driving move (like not going the wrong way up a 1-way street, etc).

Re:Not much change here (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957304)

That's way too low. Forfeit your license, your car, and spend a couple months in jail. Then people would start taking it seriously.

Or if that's too harsh, just ban cell phones entirely.

Re:Not much change here (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957338)

How many people have actually been fined?
If the danger of being fined is high enough, people will change their behaviour. Otherwise, they won't.

Flawed study... (1, Redundant)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957096)

Until people actually STOP using the phones while driving, you won't see a decrease in crashes. The laws need to have a much bigger stick to enforce them. Many of these are just like seatbelt laws, cops can't pull people over directly for the infraction and need another reason for stopping the person first. Then they can issue a bonus ticket because the person wasn't wearing a seatbelt or using the cell phone. The tickets need to hurt a lot more as well. Like say a $500 fine or 20 hours community service (I like the "or" in that since this will hit teenagers a lot, and they would really be just fining the parents with that $500. This way, the person who gets it can opt for the community service if they can't afford the fine, and the community as a whole benefits).

Re:Flawed study... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957254)

I think that seatbelt laws have been quite successful in promoting the use of safety belts, and combined with engineering changes in the vehicles themselves have resulted in automobile creashes generally being much more survivable than they once were.

Re:Flawed study... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957370)

In California, one of the states studied, they have cops that exclusively pull people over for phone violations. And still no change.

Re:Flawed study... (2, Insightful)

drpimp (900837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957566)

Looks like we need more cops then. I see over 50-60 people each working day on the freeway on their phone holding it in front of their face as if they are interpreting the law to be head-free instead of hands-free. Separate /rant .... I see dozens a day violating the car pool lane driving with a single person in the vehicle. IMHO, I think some people think that certain laws are petty and therefore they disregard them that or maybe they are thinking safety in numbers since there are so many others doing it. Although not a valid justification.

Re:Flawed study... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957588)

In California, one of the states studied, they have cops that exclusively pull people over for phone violations. And still no change.

I think that's because the penalty is what, a $50 ticket?

Have drunk-driver-like enforcement and penalties for driving on your cellphone (without hands-free) or texting and you'll see more of a change.

Re:Flawed study... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957380)

In a time when unemployment is high and the economy is down, is it a good idea to force more people out there to work for free?

Re:Flawed study... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957656)

Picking up trash on the highway 4 hours each Saturday for 5 weeks =/= removing someone from full-time gainful employment. It's not an either/or proposition.

Seatbelt law enforcement varies state to state (4, Insightful)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957626)

In Illinois enforcement of the seat belt law is a primary enforcement activity and the cops do pull people over for it.

I used to buy police cars from the county sheriff's department and I never got over how many people I would see reaching to put on their seatbelt when they saw my car coming down the street.

If I was a cop, I wouldn't have known they weren't wearing the seatbelt until they reached for it most of the time, so it was very amusing.

Accident prone drivers are still using their cells (1)

serialband (447336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957116)

The oblivious, accident prone drivers that use cell phones are likely to still using cell phones. The ones who generally pay more attention to the roads tend to try to obey the rules and not cause accidents aren't. I still see many drivers obliviously using their cell phones while driving even after laws are passed.

I have on occasion used a cell phone before the law was passed, but I was always careful about it. I'd move over to a slower lane and slow down. I avoided using it during rush hour. If I had to use it during rush hour I pulled off at an off-ramp and used it there, not while driving. With the law, I have an excuse not to answer the phone in the car and I'll tell people I was driving when I called them back.

Re:Accident prone drivers are still using their ce (1)

KingOfTheDustBunnies (125196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957346)

With the law, I have an excuse not to answer the phone in the car

The same excuse was available before the law.

Backwards (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957142)

My opinion is: the governments should not ban the practice and levy punitive fees to the non-compliant. They should offer license endorsements or permits (for a fee of course) for those that can soundly pass some kind of 'mobile phone usage' test. This would generate revenue, create jobs, and give those of us with teenage daughters yet one more thing to refuse to pay for.

Bad drivers will just find some other way to crash (1)

silverpig (814884) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957148)

So I guess if you ban cell phones and texting, they'll just pick up iPods or a BigMac and crash while chowing down.

Re:Bad drivers will just find some other way to cr (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957664)

Or they could crash while digging for that CD under the seat, or changing their talk radio station... Oh wait, radios were popularized before 1980, so they must not be evil like cell phones....

I'd expect more from an official study (1)

Faaln (1004586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957170)

One of the most basic aspects of a study involving observation is to always remember: Correlation does not equal Causation.

It's not a ban in Washington (1)

ipb (569735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957190)

It's a secondary offense and you have to do something else wrong before they'll pull you over.
Until it's a real ban with real consequences you won't see a behavior change because most drivers figure they won't be pulled over for it.

Re:It's not a ban in Washington (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957384)

Well it is a real ban and you can be pulled over for it in California. On my 38 mile commute home every day I see probably 25 - 30 people holding phones up to their ears. I am sure I pass a lot more as I don't actually check every driver on purpose. For several years, I personally have used a bluetooth headset - but it seems the majority of people don't do it. They prefer to hold the phone up. Quite honestly, when I see someone cut someone off, make an unsafe lane change, or do some other bad driving maneuver I do try to take a look and I would say about half the time they have a phone up to their ear. I don't know what the answer would be; raise the fine, increase enforcement, or something completely new. Whatever it is, the current rules aren't making much difference.

simple remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957206)

instant driving ban for the driver + car crushed
repeat offence and its jail

i certainly would think twice if i knew that i could lose my car and driving privileges for a year for a simple phone call

Sample size? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957222)

The HLDI compared collisions of 100 insured vehicles per year in New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut, and California

I'm not huge into math, and most of even the basic Statistics topics are over my head, but surely this can't be right.

There are about 41,000 - 43,000 traffic FATALITIES each year in the US alone; over a million fatalities worldwide. There are 2 or 3 million recorded traffic injuries in the US alone. Estimates range from 7 to 12 million accidents in total in the US every year.

I don't think 100 vehicles even comes close to meaning anything in a pool of around 10 million. Neither do I think it would matter if I'm misreading and it was 100 vehicles in each of those cities. Regardless of what they found, wouldn't their results fall well within statistical error or whatever?

Different Studies had different results? (2, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957232)

Despite those laws, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change after bans were enacted, all though there were less people using devices while driving. An earlier study conducted by the HLDI reported that cellphone use was directly linked to four-fold increases in crash injuries. Also independent studies done by universities have shown correlation between driving while using a phone and crashes.

Study 1: Cellphone use is "linked" to a four-fold increase in crash injuries.
Study 2: There is a correlation between driving while using a phone and crashes.
Study 3: After laws banning cell-phone use were enacted, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change.

These studies, as summarized in the summary, are not inconsistent. Fluctuations in crash rates need not change in order for the overall number of crashes to change. Injuries are not the same as conversation or even accidents, and a difference in the quantity of injuries may reflect something as simple as not holding the wheel with both hands. And you don't say the correlation is positive.

Okay, maybe the last is implied--but still, could we try to be a bit more specific before implying conclusions that would, if true, justify major policy changes?

Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 years (5, Insightful)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957260)

Here's a story from my local newspaper about a 20-something woman who's totaled 3 cars in the past 3 years because she was texting while driving. Apparently she learned this from her dad, who is unable to spend 2 hours just driving and must spend the time on the phone and doing his email.

Why isn't she in jail? Why aren't we treating driving-while-texting the same way we treat driving while intoxicated? Do we have to wait until she (or her dad) kills somebody? http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/301086.html [newsobserver.com]

Re:Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 ye (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957386)

Driving isn't a right but it's treated like one so very little is done, imo, to remove bad drivers from the road and for good if need be.

For those that say you need a car to have a job and live all I gotta say is people, like the woman you mentioned, should have thought about that. The thing is though she doesn't have to think about it because her licence won't be taken away.

Re:Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 ye (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957612)

For those that say you need a car to have a job and live all I gotta say is people, like the woman you mentioned, should have thought about that. The thing is though she doesn't have to think about it because her licence won't be taken away.

People like this woman will keep driving even after losing a license. They "need" to for blah, blah, blah.

There really is no rational remedy for habitual dangerous drivers in a car-centric society. We'd have to imprison them or roll out some universal means of preventing someone from driving a car without authorization (i.e. some kind of device in every car). Neither of those are practical, so we are left with moral suasion and the mayhem caused by people who are immune to it.

Re:Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 ye (4, Insightful)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957420)

Replace the steering wheel airbag in her car with a 6 inch metal spike, and the problem will fix itself with the next totalled car. :)

Re:Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 ye (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957706)

I would agree with you if we started treating stereo use while driving or having arguing kids in the back while driving the same as driving while intoxicated. To do one and not the other would just be a case of outlawing a technology because of it's year of popularization.

Give the automated enforcement technologies time (1)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957272)

The key is actual enforcement.

If companies like Redflex or ATS - photo enforcement companies - get the technology working, and there's a buck to be made, they will GLADLY start tracking cell phone usage with a combination of antennas and automated optical photo scanning.All they'd need is an antenna to detect nearby cell phone signals at a certain threshold - and then start snapping pictures of ALL cars - drivers and their license plates, of course - that go by until the signal drops again. Then you have automated software flag people with their hands up to their ears (or maybe even looking down at a device, if they work hard enough on the software), and then send those positives onto real people to verify the driver's transgression. Two weeks later, BAM - a ticket in your mailbox and a cool chunk in the pocket of the photo company.

With that level of enforcement you'd quickly see a drop in cellphone usage. (Would accidents go down because of them? Possibly - but if they didn't, you'd never hear that side of the story as the politicians (and the companies) grow addicted to their newfound "sin tax" revenue.)

Heck - why stop there with just cellphones and texting? If someone is flagged by their software for NOT LOOKING AHEAD AT THE ROAD a certain percentage of the time, cite them for "reckless driving"... Why not? That's a dangerous behavior - and there's money to be made...

This Just In... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957308)

This Just In: Unenforceable Law Proves Ineffective.

I said it before... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957316)

I'll say it again: "Training."

Add it to the drivers education curriculum and make it part of the mandatory drivers license examination. Maybe make a new class of license...

bad drivers to begin with (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957318)

Could it be that people who want to text while driving are just bad drivers, or don't understand the risks properly, to begin with and all banning phone use just removes their excuse?

Mandatory retesting and license suspensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957336)

There are people who are chronic crashers. Yet, until they actually kill someone, their licenses are rarely revoked or even temporarily suspended. They and other drivers aren't retested to ensure competency and the competency of the original tester. Canada's Worst Driver is a good show for demonstrating exactly why both of these are a problem: people on the show all have licenses, but many get in double-digit numbers of crashes every year, and often attest that they passed their original driver's test because the tester just didn't give a damn.

Both of these things need to change to really bring down the accident rate, but they're obviously more expensive than simply passing an unenforceable distraction ban. Guaranteed that stricter penalties for repeat offenders, and mandatory retesting every X years or after every crash would reduce accident rates considerably.

There are benefits (5, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957378)

There are some benefits. If a driver slams into me talking on a cellphone and there's a ban in my area, it's going to immediately move to a ticketable offense and therefore their insurance is going to pay to fix my car.

Whereas if they're talking on a cellphone and there's no law banning it then I have to prove they couldn't drive before I get my insurance money.

More laws? (2, Interesting)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957402)

Should we continue legislation that bars all these specific acts, or should we simply have a law that says, "people doing things that obstruct their driving ability will be ticketed".

Sample Sizes... (1)

Paintballparrot (1504383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957418)

The HLDI compared collisions of 100 insured vehicles per year in New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut, and California -- all states with currently enacted roadway text bans. Despite those laws, monthly fluctuations in crash rates didn't change after bans were enacted

if your comparing COLLISIONS of 100 insured vehicles per year wouldn't the crash rate be 100%? I'm assuming they mean numbers of collisions per 100 vehicles. Even so don't you think 100 is to small a sample size when there's tens of millions of vehicles in those areas? I really don't think 100 vehicles is enough to prove anything at all.

Bad drivers are still bad drivers? (2, Insightful)

trenton (53581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957428)

Could it be that bad driving causes crashes? So, eliminating cell phone usage results in people still being bad drivers? Or how about a correlation between people more likely to obey laws and those that are good drivers? Enacting a prohibition might make the better drivers less distracted, but leave the bad drivers still bad drivers and still talking on their cell phones.

Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957488)

Smoking doesn't cause cancer

Time to repeal the laws then? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957498)

Great, now that the bans have been proven ineffective our reasoning lawmakers will surely repeal the unnecessary bans on cell-phone use while driving, right? What? They won't?!

Let this be a lesson to everyone who has grand new ideas for how the government can interfere with our lives: Once something has been done, it is almost impossible to undo it.

completely unenforced (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957564)

I've not seen or heard of a single instance of this being enforced and have seen a few situations where law enforcement should have done something but didn't. I saw only one copy radio on the loud speaker to put the phone down.

there is little to no compliance so who could the ban be effective?

LoB

Hands-free is not the answer (1)

DarthBling (1733038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957568)

Hands-Free = Holding Phone Up to Ear


It doesn't matter if you're using a hands-free device or not. Drivers are still talking having conversations on the phone and failing to devote enough attention to driving. Here on Slashdot, I've seen numerous studies and anecdotes about phone conversations taking up more of a person’s attention than a normal person-to-person in-the-same-room (or car) conversation.

All the hands-free law does is force people who are too busy talking on their cell phone to start driving with two hands on the wheel instead of one.

You want to lower the accident rate caused by cell phones? Ban them. Completely.

Libertarian thinking. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957570)

Extra regulations are an example of libertarian thinking. Libertarians are known as the "left" in America, while liberals are the "right".

Yahbut (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957666)

Passing a law that makes using a phone while driving is not likely to decrease the incidence of using a phone while driving,

What it is likely to cause to happen is people will tend to lie more to say they weren't using the phone while driving. So unless they have some method of spying on drivers to see what they're really doing, rather than relying on self-reports, the HLDI has no grounds to state "such laws have reduced hand-held phone use" or to draw any conclusions based on phone use from the study in TFA.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...