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Could Anti-Texting Laws Make Roads More Dangerous?

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept.

Cellphones 709

An anonymous reader writes "A new study has found that various state laws that ban texting while driving might actually make the roads more dangerous. If that seems counterintuitive, it's the laws of unintended consequences at work. The theory is that the laws don't do much to stop people from texting while driving — but instead, leads them to try to hide the activity more. That is, they end up trying to text with the phone held lower down to avoid it being detected. But, of course, that also takes their eyes even further off the road. The study itself looked at texting-related accidents both before and after 4 different states implemented such laws, and also compared them to neighboring states with no such laws. The results suggest the laws certainly don't help and in some cases appeared to make the situation worse. So if the laws don't work, what is a better solution to preventing texting while driving accidents?"

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Accelerometers in phones? (2, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | about 4 years ago | (#33736682)

Sense vehicular motion (including vibration) and shut down the texting function while in motion.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (5, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 4 years ago | (#33736728)

Why do people always immediately go to the restrictive solution? How about speech-to-text instead of forcing a feature disabled...

because it's a distraction and dangerous? (3, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | about 4 years ago | (#33736792)

Studies have shown that it's not the act of holding the phone that is the problem, but rather the fact that you're concentrating on something other than the road.

Granted, speech-to-text would be less of an issue than talking because you can pause while doing some tricky driving, but you're still going to be thinking about the message you're composing rather than on your driving.

Re:because it's a distraction and dangerous? (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33736928)

Better ban talking to people in the car with you as well.
and car radios.
And thinking about things you plan to do that day.

Which studdies?
The only ones I've ever heard of have nothing to do with texting and are all about talking to people on the other end of a phone.
When something unexpected comes up generally the other people in the car talking will shut the hell up since they want to live, someone at the other end of a phone line keeps talking(and distracting).
Dictating a text messege would not have that problem since the driver can shut up and concentrate on the road if he suddenly has to.

Re:because it's a distraction and dangerous? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#33737068)

Just remember to always stop talking before you are surprised by the need for tricky driving.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736908)

How about speech-to-text instead

for TXTing?

are, you, eff, ohh, ohh, wye, emm?

ell, ohh, ell.

semi-colon. right parenthesis.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33736966)

I sense a business opportunity here folks. What about this line of reasoning: If $idiot_text_addled_driver did not have to actually control their vehicle, they could do whatever the hell they wanted to in the front seat. (No, I'm not going there).

While we could, in theory, make completely autonomous vehicles, it's not likely to happen for a very long time. Even the military UAVs are actually flown by a human somewhere in Nevada. OK, we're winding down the war in Afghanistan (right?) and we need to keep those highly trained video game operators^Hpilots doing something. It would be relatively easy to dump the UAV control package into a plain ol car. Charge $idiot_text_addled_driver for the privilege of having their vehicle controlled by someone that is remotedly (pun intended) capable of doing it. Safety, convenience and additional cost rolled up into one high tech package. What's not to like?

On second thought, I just re invented the chauffeur. Oops.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

Spectre (1685) | about 4 years ago | (#33736748)

Sense vehicular motion (including vibration) and shut down the texting function while in motion.

There is no reason passengers should be prohibited from talking on phones nor texting, though.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (3, Funny)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 4 years ago | (#33736990)

There is no reason passengers should be prohibited from talking on phones nor texting, though.

Sure there is.... Why should I be ignored and listen to my teenager talk to her friends on the phone. ;)

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736750)

What about texting in trains, airplanes? While driving at a constant speed when no acceleration can be detected?

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

1729 (581437) | about 4 years ago | (#33736752)

Sense vehicular motion (including vibration) and shut down the texting function while in motion.

What about the passengers? Or people riding mass transit?

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

danny_lehman (1691870) | about 4 years ago | (#33736810)

RFID confined to the drivers seat area, limiting the functions on any compliant phone.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

danny_lehman (1691870) | about 4 years ago | (#33736846)

though people may just lean over to the passenger side to text.. :S

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

martas (1439879) | about 4 years ago | (#33736772)

need to also discriminate driver from passengers. no way a solution would be accepted if anyone in a car was unable to text, ever.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

gparent (1242548) | about 4 years ago | (#33736794)

I take it you've never used a vehicle, ever. They tend to accelerate. Buses do it too.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 4 years ago | (#33736802)

Sense vehicular motion (including vibration) and shut down the texting function while in motion.

This would screw over the passengers. And when the passengers are kids that you're trying to keep quiet while you're driving, this also screws the driver.

Plus, people will just hack their phones to get around that. Outlaw texting in cars, and only outlaws will text in cars.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33736980)

It would also mean that you couldn't use your phone when on the bus or train and god knows how it would differentiate between the vibration from walking and being in a car.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

lxs (131946) | about 4 years ago | (#33737098)

"It would also mean that you couldn't use your phone when on the bus or train"

You say that like it's a bad thing. I'm liking this idea more and more. Can we make it so it shuts down in the cinema as well?

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#33736868)

I was thinking of putting something in the cars that would do the same thing. Maybe some sort of material could be put under the car's body panels that would block cell signals when the car is moving. Perhaps there is a material that when given the faintest of charges, acts like a faraday cage. That wouldn't cause jamming interference, which would have a huge spillover effect. However, I'm sure that cell phone antennae would become common after market add-ons, which would be tethered to a repeater within the car, creating a sort of "tunnel" for cell signals to pass through.

I like your solution better. Sure, hacking the phone to bypass the feature wouldn't be too hard, but it would put a stop to 90% of the idiots out there.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33737066)

problem with any solution like that is that you'd have to seal the windows.
Roll down the window and the signals can get out.
plus you'd have to have some kind of clear conductive coating over all the windows.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

archmcd (1789532) | about 4 years ago | (#33737106)

Imbecile. What happens if you're in an accident and you need emergency services? What about the passengers of the vehicle? What about future mobile technology such as intelligent communication between vehicles for accident avoidance, etc.? I say leave it as is, let all the morons that continue to text and drive recklessly die in horrible car crashes and accept it as a much needed thinning of the herd. There's too much damn traffic anyway.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (2, Insightful)

archmcd (1789532) | about 4 years ago | (#33737012)

What, passengers can't text either? Brilliant solution.

Re:Accelerometers in phones? (1)

kenj0418 (230916) | about 4 years ago | (#33737084)

Sense vehicular motion (including vibration) and shut down the texting function while in motion.

No, that would also block passengers. (Including everyone on the bus or subway)

Also these laws do nothing to stop the million other ways people might be distracted while driving. Why not just ticket people for driving erratically instead of policing what they are doing in their car? Or better yet, give me the auto-driving car I was promised years ago and this becomes a non-issue.

Pervasive surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736686)

Camera in every car, of course.

Re:Pervasive surveillance (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | about 4 years ago | (#33737080)

The camera should store an hour's footage in memory that is RF boradcast from the vehicle, so that police cruisers can get behind you, access your feed, and see if you've been performing any illegal activities while in operation of the vehicle.

Do nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736698)

As those who drive unsafely remove themselves from the gene pool, accident rates will go down.

Re:Do nothing (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#33736774)

Except that, like in many cases of drunk driving, the person who dies isn't the reckless (or drunk) driver it's the person they hit.

Re:Do nothing (1)

Jbcarpen (883850) | about 4 years ago | (#33736864)

That can be fixed... Who's up for a lynch mob?

Re:Do nothing (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#33737104)

Sadly, the US justice system frowns on lynch mobs, which is why we have a lot of these stupid social problems, the corrective feedback mechanism has been castrated.

Require hands to be on the wheel or shifter (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | about 4 years ago | (#33736888)

Except that, like in many cases of drunk driving, the person who dies isn't the reckless (or drunk) driver it's the person they hit.

Exactly.

That's because if you're driving your car and you hit someone, you are most likely to do it with the part of the car that's leading in the direction of travel - which is to say the front of the car. You are probably just as likely to hit the side of the victim's car though, so you get the benefit of the very large crumple zone at the front of your car and the victim only gets the protection of their car's door.

It seems like education is likely to be the only solution. Or requiring cars to require the driver uses both hands. Your hands are supposed to be on the steering wheel unless you have a manual transmission and you're shifting gears.

Re:Do nothing (1)

martas (1439879) | about 4 years ago | (#33736796)

yeah, maybe in 10,000 years.

Re:Do nothing (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#33736812)

Just like drunk driving, the real problem is the other people who get hurt. A drunk driver might take out many other people who weren't driving stupidly.

Re:Do nothing (1)

gatzby3jr (809590) | about 4 years ago | (#33736834)

that doesn't work so well when you crash into people who were driving safely.

Re:Do nothing (1)

ScuttleMonkey (55) | about 4 years ago | (#33736920)

While I agree the gene pool could use a bit more chlorine...what happens when one of these undesirables happens to jump the curb and take out a Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, etc? It's not just the individual hurting themselves which is what drives the lawmakers to action. Personally I'm all for on-the-spot executions for any infraction, just watch out for the white fences. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708739/ [imdb.com]

Simple solution (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | about 4 years ago | (#33736702)

A Speech-to-text system in your car -- or built into your phone, that's the better solution...
Now someone just needs to make one that's affordable and make it easily obtainable (such as with a radio/sound system upgrade on a new car, or other cheap solution)

Re:Simple solution (5, Funny)

blixel (158224) | about 4 years ago | (#33736912)

A Speech-to-text system in your car -- or built into your phone, that's the better solution...

Person says "lol, omfg. u r so right"

Speech-to-text system says "I'm sorry. I didn't understand that. Please say again."

Person says "L - O - L. O - M - F - G. You - are - so - right."

Speech-to-text system says "I think you said "Laura oh my friendly good."

Person interrupts saying "NO YOU STUPID FUCKING TEXT TO SPEECH FUCKER. I SAID LOL AS IN LAUGH OUT LOUD GOD DAMN YOU. OMFG STANDS FOR OH MY FUCKING GOD YOU FUCKING RETARDED PIECE OF MOTHER FUCKING SHIT!"

Speech-to-text says "You want to call your mother. Is that correct?"

Re:Simple solution (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#33737000)

You still have to concentrate to dictate messages, and that's a deadly distraction. It's basically equivalent to having two alcoholic drinks before driving. I don't understand the underlying neurological processes, but for some reason, most conversation within a car don't cause anywhere near this level of distraction. Screaming kids, or a fight with the spouse, is another matter. Both should be illegal as well. Maybe the threat of going to juvie for a night will get the little monsters to shut their traps. Same with the wife. 8^)

Re:Simple solution (1)

guardiangod (880192) | about 4 years ago | (#33737040)

Good idea. I have an improvement to suggest though.
 
The receiving side's phone should also have a reverse text-voice system. That way the driver can convert the voice to text, send the msg across the network to the receiving device, convert it back to voice, and play it to the receiver. Bonus point if the voice sounds like HAL. We can call it the telelocational phonetic system!

My solution (1)

nizo (81281) | about 4 years ago | (#33736710)

I wonder how hard it would be to make a device that blocks or otherwise interferes with all cellphones in a small (say, one-two meter) area? Make people who are caught texting pay a fine and have a device like this installed in their car. Or, force those caught texting while driving to have warning signs plastered all over their car with a "If you see me texting, call 1-800-555-5555 and report me for a reward" (sort of the modern equivalent of the pillory; speaking of which, bringing back the pillory might be the way to go). Luckily when someone is accused of texting while driving it is fairly easy to prove if the person was texting by looking at cellphone records, right?

Re:My solution (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#33736786)

It's still legal to text while riding in a car. You just can't do it while driving.

Re:My solution (1)

lastrogue (1773302) | about 4 years ago | (#33736998)

From what I understand, devices that block or interfere with telecommunication devices are currently illegal at least for normal commercial and consumer use. I'm sure the government has some use for those devices and this might be an application where they could use them. but for such a device to be installed on a vehicle that I own? I would not like that and probably just deactivate the device.

Re:My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33737090)

Why don't we just go ahead and sew a big "T" for Texter on all his clothes too. Then maybe we can stone him to death for good measure.

Driving Robots (1)

redvision4 (105878) | about 4 years ago | (#33736716)

If my car drove itself i could sit back and text.

Dont hate, educate (3, Interesting)

thechemic (1329333) | about 4 years ago | (#33736734)

It is better to change people thru inspiration and education rather than by force and control. Always has been, always will be. However, if the states launched an education campaign about texting & driving dangers, that would be an expensive, not an income from citations. Also, our precious insurance companies wouldnt be able to jack your rates up nearly as high.

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

jridley (9305) | about 4 years ago | (#33736780)

Also, nobody cares. Most people really don't give a crap if they're driving dangerously, they just want their entitlements. And they're entitled to do whatever the hell they want to. Just ask them.

Re:Dont hate, educate (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 years ago | (#33737058)

And when the unthinkable happens, it's someone else's fault.

"Dammit, it's not my fault! What was that old lady doing in the street, anyways!"
"She was crossing the street. At a crosswalk. With an active "Walk" signal. And you ran the red."
"It's a street. Pedestrians NEVER BELONG IN THE STREET. It's not my fault, and she had it coming!"
"And the young mother with the baby in the stroller, on the sidewalk beyond the intersection, that you ran over too?"
"That's not my fault either! It's the old lady's fault for making me go up on the sidewalk!"

I think I'm exaggerating. But I can't really be sure.

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

Thinine (869482) | about 4 years ago | (#33736784)

This seems to be the only option aside from more onerous legislation against the activity. Put ads out about it and people will call each other on it when they see it.

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

sjpadbury (169729) | about 4 years ago | (#33737028)

Except you don't know which person you're going to try and call on it is actually a complete whack-job who will now tailgate you and generally make a nuisance of themselves all the way to your destination where they will threaten you with bodily harm...

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33736820)

The only problem with that is that texting while driving is a completely obvious risk. People do it anyways. Speeding is also an obvious risk. People do it anyways.

I guess I don't share your optimism for people recognizing that they're doing something dangerous. Hell, even safety belts have a compliance rate which is well below what it should be.

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#33736900)

The only problem with that is that texting while driving is a completely obvious risk. People do it anyways. Speeding is also an obvious risk. People do it anyways.

People take risks. Not always because they don't recognize them, but because they find the risks acceptable. You can't "educate" this out of people, but in this case "education" is usually a euphemism for "indoctrination" anyway.

Re:Dont hate, educate (1)

spamking (967666) | about 4 years ago | (#33736982)

Speeding is also an obvious risk. People do it anyways.

Going 60 in a 55 mph zone is considered speeding. I don't consider myself to be more at risk in that case. However, if you mean excessive speeding like 75 or 80 in a 55 then I agree.

You also should include those dopes who drive too slow and refuse to speed up and move over so others can get around them . . . they are as much if not more of a risk than so called speeders IMO.

Re:Dont hate, educate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736924)

It is better to change people thru inspiration and education rather than by force and control. Always has been, always will be.

However, if the states launched an education campaign about texting & driving dangers, that would be an expensive, not an income from citations. Also, our precious insurance companies wouldnt be able to jack your rates up nearly as high.

Right. The arrogant dumbasses who text while driving can be educated.

They already think they're smarter and better than everyone else, so why would your education sink into such thickheaded fools?

Re:Dont hate, educate (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | about 4 years ago | (#33737070)

The problem with education is that I think 95% of people (a completely made up statistic) would agree that texting while driving is dangerous and a bad idea.....except when they do it. They are exceptional drivers and can effectively multitask three or four things at a time while operating a couple of tons of steel traveling at 65 mph. Other people though? They're the real danger on the road.

People have an exaggerated confidence in their own abilities.

Game Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736742)

Provide incentives/punishment so that the Nash equilibrium is one where you don't text and drive. DUH!

I wasn't texting I was watching porn (2, Funny)

religious freak (1005821) | about 4 years ago | (#33736746)

And why does "texting" need to be explicitly mentioned in the laws. How hard would it be to prove someone was "texting"? No, I wasn't texting, I was shopping, playing a game, whatever.

Call it what it is... bad driving / reckless endangerment.

Re:I wasn't texting I was watching porn (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33736860)

Because it allows them to pullover the drivers they see texting, without having to wait until they do something overtly dangerous. Which means that if they catch you doing it at a stop light, they don't have to wait until you've gone a ways down the road to pull you over.

Re:I wasn't texting I was watching porn (1)

spamking (967666) | about 4 years ago | (#33737018)

Which means that if they catch you doing it at a stop light, they don't have to wait until you've gone a ways down the road to pull you over.

Wait a second . . . so now we're after people who text while stopped at a stop light?

Punish results, not behavior (3, Interesting)

captaindomon (870655) | about 4 years ago | (#33736764)

Write people an extremely hefty fine if they are involved in an accident while texting. Make it easier to convict them on involuntary manslaughter charges if they were texting at the time they hit a pedestrian. If people can safely text, great. If not, punish them when they cause problems. This is the same as any other distraction while driving - you can think about other things than the road while driving legally (work problems, family problems, etc). If you can still safely drive, great. If not, you pay the piper when you hurt someone else.

Re:Punish results, not behavior (1, Flamebait)

dr2chase (653338) | about 4 years ago | (#33736914)

That will be quite a comfort to the relatives of the deceased.

Re:Punish results, not behavior (2, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | about 4 years ago | (#33737002)

Couple that with mandatory clauses in all auto-insurance policies that render the policy null and void if an accident is related to texting-while-driving. I'm sure the insurance companies would love that, and maybe after a few high-profile bankruptcies and ruined lives people will start to take this seriously.

Allow texting while stopped (1)

Byzantine (85549) | about 4 years ago | (#33736766)

Why not ban texting while actually driving, but permit it at stop signs and red lights? People then have an incentive to wait until it's safer—I don't say "safe" even in this case, but safer—for them to do so. And of course if you sat there for too long after the light turned green, I'm sure a police officer could cite you for something (blocking a roadway? hazardous driving? whatever)

The solution is.... (1)

hodet (620484) | about 4 years ago | (#33736768)

to think before implementing worthless laws.

Re:The solution is.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33736960)

It's not a worthless law. That's a bit like saying that because people choose to try and outrun the cops when caught speeding that we shouldn't have laws against speeding anyways. The point is that in most of the places where texting is illegal it's not a primary offense, and even in places where it is a primary offense, it hasn't been a primary offense for very long.

If it's still resulting in more accidents and deaths in a couple years, then it's perhaps time to reconsider, but laws like this tend to take a while before people accept that they can get cited for it. You're not going to convince everybody, but traveling around town is dangerous enough, without dumb asses engaging in that sort of activity. If they wouldn't take out other people in the process, I'd be very tempted to say, just let them text.

High additional fines (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 4 years ago | (#33736778)

Don't outlaw texting (though I think it's dumb), but make it an extra fine if you get in an accident, are speeding, etc. due to texting. The way the law is now, I'm concerned about even monkeying with my iPhone to switch playlists, because I hook it up to my car stereo. It really isn't any different than switching radio stations--I would still have to divert my eyes momentarily to see what I'm doing--but now I have to worry about getting pulled over for texting even when I haven't been.

Re:High additional fines (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#33736874)

Don't outlaw texting (though I think it's dumb), but make it an extra fine if you get in an accident, are speeding, etc. due to texting.

Great, so if I'm in a fender bender, the first thing the police will do is pull down my messages. You know, just in case he was texting.

Re:High additional fines (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33736926)

I love having steering wheel radio controls because I always swerved when I fucked with the radio. A lot. Like I'd swing clean into the next lane. I could text message while watching the road though on a standard phone pad, since I could feel the numbers and track what I typed in my head (3 taps on 3 == f ...). I always used an iPod hooked to an Aux port so I could retrieve it and operate it more safely than playing with radio controls.

Technical Measures (1)

watermark (913726) | about 4 years ago | (#33736788)

I think preventing it 100% isn't possible. The only way to come close will be accomplished by some technical measure. Some mechanism to measure rate of speed or the like. Obligatory: More excuse for big brother to GPS enable all phones.

Insurance Industry's Problem (1)

Batmunk2000 (1878016) | about 4 years ago | (#33736814)

The only real way to police poor driving habits is via auto insurance. In the long run, bad & distracted drivers will pay more and cost the insurance companies more because of accidents. In turn, the insurance companies and the auto makers will innovate and create ways to distract drivers less. It is a lesson in patience & capitalism more than anything... Government force is excessive and useless in this case. Allow the industry to tackle the problem - creating jobs and technologies in the process.

This is a good thing (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 years ago | (#33736822)

The people who believe they are superior to everyone else and can concentrate on texting and driving at the same time will pay the price in higher insurance rates from all the accidents they cause. They also get to pay for the medical bills of those they injure. They may even go to jail if they kill someone, thus preventing them from doing any more damage (other than to the taxpayer's wallet).

As to the answer to this question:

So if the laws don't work, what is a better solution to preventing texting while driving accidents?"

The police should be allowed to remove one digit from a person's hand when found to be texting and driving or have caused an accident as the result of texting and driving.

"Ma'am, just hold your hand up and spread your fingers. This will only take a moment."

Unfortunately (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33736826)

Too bad there's other drivers on the road, otherwise I'd say "let them text while driving until they're dead".

Driving a car is not a right, it's a privilege. You're supposed to know how to drive safely. I know it would cost a lot but the roads would be safer if everyone was forced to pass a driving test every year or so. Even once a decade would be better than the "pass the test once, drive until you're dead" formula that we have now.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

spamking (967666) | about 4 years ago | (#33737072)

Too bad there's other drivers on the road, otherwise I'd say "let them text while driving until they're dead".

Driving a car is not a right, it's a privilege. You're supposed to know how to drive safely. I know it would cost a lot but the roads would be safer if everyone was forced to pass a driving test every year or so. Even once a decade would be better than the "pass the test once, drive until you're dead" formula that we have now.

How long have you been licensed to drive? Simply renewing your license every 4 years or so is a freakin' nightmare in some cities.

Imagine what it would be like to have to take a driving test every year?

easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736830)

Increase fines. Have cops take photos of license plates and drivers at an intersection. Compare driver photo to DMV registered owner. Send out fine. In the event of any accident, get cell records and if people texted or called within a time frame of the accident, give them complete fault, take their car, and throw them in jail.

Outlaw Them (0)

MoneyJunk (56047) | about 4 years ago | (#33736832)

We should just make gun^H^H^H cell phone ownership illegal. That would fix it.

The solution? (1)

ikarous (1230832) | about 4 years ago | (#33736840)

So if the laws don't work, what is a better solution to preventing texting while driving accidents?

Natural selection.

FYI (1)

copponex (13876) | about 4 years ago | (#33736850)

If you text/web and drive, you are a fucking idiot and no better than the idiots who drive under the influence.

I don't care what you do in your home or on your property. I don't care what you do with any other consenting adult or adults. But when you're on the road, you are putting more people than yourself at risk with stupid behavior.

The fine should be $1,500 - no exceptions - and 150 hours of community service. Then we'll see how important it is to update your Facebook status.

Re:FYI (1)

ikarous (1230832) | about 4 years ago | (#33736882)

If you text/web and drive, you are a fucking idiot and no better than the idiots who drive under the influence.

I don't care what you do in your home or on your property. I don't care what you do with any other consenting adult or adults. But when you're on the road, you are putting more people than yourself at risk with stupid behavior.

The fine should be $1,500 - no exceptions - and 150 hours of community service. Then we'll see how important it is to update your Facebook status.

I saw a guy reading a book while driving down the highway. I seriously wanted to chop off his nutsack to prevent him from spawning offspring.

Re:FYI (1)

TimMD909 (260285) | about 4 years ago | (#33736906)

I completely agree. With the way these maniacs drive, it's difficult to even type this out, even though I'm on the strait part of the highway going 75 mph.

-Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33737050)

I'll be sure to text at a red light on the way home.

Feel free to keep flailing about in rage while the world ignores you.

Considering (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33736866)

there is no a single good study that actually show how dangerous, or even if it is actually more dangerous, to text while driving, maybe they should just stick with pulling people who a driving dangerously, regardless of the reason?

Re:Considering (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 4 years ago | (#33736940)

Because this requires real policing skill rather than the ability to operate a LIDAR device.

Repeal the law (1)

lastrogue (1773302) | about 4 years ago | (#33736872)

Repeal the law and ticket based on inattentive or reckless driving.... peice o' cake

driving without due care and attention (1)

Jose (15075) | about 4 years ago | (#33736884)

I never really understood why a whole new law had to be introduced for cell phones/GPS's. most jurisdictions that I know of have some sort of punishment for "driving without due care and attention". they tend to have heavier consequences than the newer you-can't-touch-a-phone laws...but a car smashing into a biker has the same results whether that driver was napping, or texting..

Learn History Or Repeat Its Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736886)

Duh! Just like anti-lock brakes made drivers more reckless, you will continue to find that drivers 'work around' any laws passed. They continue to do as they damn well please, whether it is smart, stupid, dangerous, or otherwise.

Original data (5, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | about 4 years ago | (#33736890)

Ugh. A slashdot article linking to some dude's blog post linking to the Christian Science Monitor's discussion. Can't *someone* link to the original study by the Highway Loss Data Institute?

Here's the HLDI's summary, with graphs:

http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr092810.html [iihs.org]

Links to more details on that page. It's actually a pretty interesting analysis, if you go beyond the lede.

Keep It Illegal (2, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 4 years ago | (#33736904)

If nothing else, keeping it illegal keeps accidents caused by it from being declared "no fault."

One of the most stupid cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736918)

of reverse psychology I've ever heard. Ok, let's ban health insurance then people will try to get less sick.

Eliminate text messaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736934)

It's a fucking dumb way to communicate. Seriously-- you're holding a device in you hand that lets you talk with someone else, and instead you decide to type out a message on a tiny keyboard. What the fuck?

Easy... (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | about 4 years ago | (#33736944)

Tell people that texting while driving will make them go blind.

Personal responsibility (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 4 years ago | (#33736952)

Oops, guess we shouldn't have phased that out.

Do as they do in the UK for no insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736964)

Do as the police do in the UK if you have no car insurance, they confiscate your car at the roadside and you and your passengers have to walk home, pay all the recovery and storage fees (or your car gets crushed after 30days)
and you still get reported for having no insurance and the fines and endorsements (6-8 points out of a total of 12 then you lose your licence) that entails

pretty good deterrent if your whole car is up for grabs all because you want to text somebody

Simple Solution: Remove the Safety Labels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736978)

"..why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"
tnx http://www.bash.org/?4753 [bash.org]

Make laws tougher (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33736996)

Anti-texting laws must have severe penalites to work, so that it's not worth the risk of trying to hide your texting. Manslaughter if someone is killed in an accident involving a texter. Something equivalent to DWI if simply caught texting.

the only solution (1)

Kristopeit, Mike Da. (1905342) | about 4 years ago | (#33737008)

remove the offending idiots from the road forever

Seperate the streets into texting and no-texting (4, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 4 years ago | (#33737024)

Then after the texters have killed each other off, re-open their roads to the non-texters.

What can be done... (1)

Faatal (1907534) | about 4 years ago | (#33737030)

Nothing. People are going to text and drive whether it's illegal or not. No matter how stiff of fines/penalties you impose. Just something we're going to have to learn to deal with. Welcome to the modern age.

Recidivism? (2, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | about 4 years ago | (#33737042)

One thing about this study: the laws are only a year or so old in most states. In my experience, people tend to ignore minor laws until they get caught, then change their behavior to avoid repeat offense penalties. There hasn't been enough time for the average texting addict to get busted and possibly break the habit.

Let's look back on this in a year or two before we make a final verdict.

Sufficient punishment to disuade? (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#33737052)

I sometimes wrestle with th question of whether or not dangerous behaviors should be punishable at whatever level it takes to make people stop doing them.

For example, we know texting while driving is dangerous, based on stastics. It significantly risks other people's lives. Also, any sane person should know it's just a dumb idea.

So would it be just, or a good idea, to simply have a thre strikes rule for this? First strike - no driver's license for 6 months. Second strike - a public caning. Third strike - execution or banishment to Wasilla, AK (offender's choice).

Similarly for dealing dangerous drugs, or drunk driving.

Why is it that when the repeat offenders play a game of chicken with the law, it's always the non-offenders that blink and let the offender get off with light punishment? (I'm thinking of drunk drivers with many, many offenses.) Why can't these repeat offenders be given threats of penalties so serious that it actually curbs their behaviors that endanger others?

A perfect example of devolution. (1)

uglyMood (322284) | about 4 years ago | (#33737056)

People get more idiotic with every generation. Back in my day, you didn't see us barreling around corners in our mammoth Buicks pounding away on Underwoods balanced on the dashboard.

No, really. How goddamn fucking stupid do you have to be to TYPE while you drive? I'm 100% for them killing themselves off, and the sooner the better, but unfortunately they tend to take out innocent people while doing it. At least drunks have the excuse that they're drunk when they made the decision to get behind the wheel. Good God, some people are morons.

Here's how to deal with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33737078)

Here's how to deal with it: If you are in an accident and you were using your mobile phone while driving (look at the call logs), then your insurance won't pay your damages and you are automatically at fault.

Oh, and you're done for dangerous driving automatically.

The problem as always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33737088)

is that you can't legislate stupidity.

There are a million other things that you can do in a car that are equally as dangerous. Doing your makeup, shuffling around your glovebox for a new CD, reading a newspaper, yelling at your kids in the back seat and so on... but there are no laws against these things. What the law really means to say is: "pay attention to your driving" and instead we get a law that targets only one of the many things that can cause an accident.

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