×

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!

UAE Police Claim BlackBerry Outage Made Roads Safer

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the keep-your-thumbs-at-ten-and-two dept.

Blackberry 206

An anonymous reader writes "Road traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai plummeted last week — and the local police have a theory as to why: drivers' BlackBerrys weren't working. Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have claimed that last week's worldwide BlackBerry outage, which frustrated business people around the world who were unable to communicate with their colleagues, had one positive result — less texting and reading of emails by people who should have been concentrating on driving instead. There could be other factors at play, however. For instance, popular UAE soccer player Theyab Awana was killed in a high speed crash near Abu Dhabi in September, amid claims that he was sending a message on his BlackBerry when he hit a lorry. The football star's father, Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, made an emotional plea to people not to use smartphones while driving, and a Facebook campaign against the use of BlackBerry Messenger while driving has grown in popularity."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

206 comments

"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746212)

Yes, blame BlackBerries and their incredibly difficult to type on keyboards.

In all seriousness, though, why isn't it a campaign against texting while driving?

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746308)

It is, the Blackberry outage is a proof of concept as it were.

Much like guns... Blackberries dont kill people, idiots who text while driving do.

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746590)

You've never used a full-sized Blackberry (Bold, Tour), have you? The keyboard on my Bold is the best of any cell phone I've ever used, including Droid2, N810, and various virtual ones.

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (3, Interesting)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746950)

You've never used a full-sized Blackberry (Bold, Tour), have you?

So, it was the fault of them not using full-sized keyboard BBs that was the problem? And you now feel safe texting while driving?

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747790)

qwerty kb needs two hands - AND a new user is likely to look at the kb while typing. those kb's are fast to start typing on though.

but if you're on the level of blind typing on a 9 pad, the chances are you could actually keep an eye on the road... if not, it's likely you're not even going to try.

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747622)

The problem is not only about banning texting. All the activities that can distract the attention of a driver should be heavily limited: phone calls, using ham radio/CB equipments, and so on. Some serious accidents happened here in Europe simply because the driver was busy tuning the car radio. Now car radio market is offering DTV/DVD on board: can you imagine the consequences ?!? I don't think that placing a sticker saying "don't use this product while driving" will avoid car accidents, isn't it ?!?

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747686)

You know you can't get hit when you text on a technological marvel that is the iPhone.

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747708)

Yes, blame BlackBerries and their incredibly difficult to type on keyboards.

In all seriousness, though, why isn't it a campaign against texting while driving?

Why bother, when natural evolution can solve this problem?

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (3, Insightful)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747904)

Because as someone who also uses the roads I'd prefer not to be selected out of the gene pool by some cunt who has some desperate need to send texts and make calls whilst in the middle of dense, fast moving rush hour traffic. Not all rules are there to protect you from yourself...

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747716)

Yes, blame BlackBerries and their incredibly difficult to type on keyboards.

In all seriousness, though, why isn't it a campaign against texting while driving?

Why bother when natural evolution can solve this problem?

Re:"campaign against the use of ... while driving" (1)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747914)

because natural selection doesn't take into account the intelligent getting killed off by idiots swerving into their lane?

Pay attention to the road! (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746268)

Having seen people swerving from lane to lane while talking or texting, there's no doubt in my mind cell usage while driving should be banned.

But I'm amazed that Abu Dhabi and Dubai have such a high penetration of Blackberries in their country that the outage could actually make a difference in road safety statistics. That's just amazing to me.

I wonder what would happen to the safety stats if all cell phones were disabled for a day as an experiment? (Not that it'll ever happen.)

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746296)

A few years ago, before cell phone usage was banned in New Zealand, I saw some young punk screaming along the motorway in his Subaru Legacy. He had two wheels in the gravel beside the drainage ditch, two wheels in the lane behind me, and he was doing more than 120KM/h.

Now that cell phone usage has been restricted (hands free kits only), I see people driving while talking. They're a lot safer, but they don't bother indicating - they can't, their hands are busy holding the phone.

I think the worst thing I ever saw was a woman reading while driving through rush hour traffic. I can't believe that she didn't hit anyone.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746360)

It's banned here, in fact it's a primary offense, meaning that police officers can pull you over for it without any other reason, but I still see plenty of people doing it. And worse, they'll not just talk on the phone, but they'll text. It's one thing to engage in behaviors that might remove the doer from the gene pool and quite another to risk other folks in the process.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (3, Informative)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746428)

I once, swear to god, was passed on the highway by a guy playing a clarinet while driving. Freaked me out. And I'm a driver who is usually going faster than most folks, so he was hauling. There are some nutters out there. I'm sure he'll end up killing someone.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746692)

"I once, swear to god, was passed on the highway by a guy playing a clarinet while driving."

Is that code?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746876)

Yes code for playing a clarinet not sucking penis you repressed homosexual. Get out of the closet already before you become a gay rapist ceareal killer.

Playing violin on interstate (3, Insightful)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746894)

My family and I were traveling on I-95 in the US and saw a woman playing a violin while driving. No joke. Presumably, she was steering with her knees. In disbelief, I wanted to get a better look, but I wouldn't risk being in the lane adjacent to her. I think we need a campaign to ban playing musical instruments while driving.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

fj3k (993224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746450)

The worst thing I've ever seen was on the hilly motorway between Wollongong and Sydney, in rain where I could barely see out of the front wind-shield with the wipers on the fastest setting. I'm usually a faster driver, but I slowed down in those conditions (but was still going about 100km/h ;) ). Coming up behind me was a Land-cruiser doing a much higher speed than I was. They either didn't know or didn't care that they were snaking across both lanes - and sometimes venturing into the stopping lanes. Given the way this car was going, both I and the only other car I could see pulled off the side of the road until it had passed. As it passed I had a look; the lady behind the wheel had one hand holding a phone to her ear, the other was waving around just above the wheel.

Worst driver ever.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746570)

I often eat breakfast on my way to work. A granola bar or an apple while driving on lightly populated city streets isn't a difficult task.

Once I was standing at a bus stop and saw a guy come to the intersection eating breakfast while driving. It was bowl of cereal, with milk, and eaten with a spoon while the hand holding the bowl holds the wheel.

I tried flagging him down to ask him "What the hell are you doing?", but he just sped off when the light turned green, oblivious as to why I might have a problem with what he is doing.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746594)

Now that cell phone usage has been restricted (hands free kits only), I see people driving while talking. They're a lot safer, but they don't bother indicating - they can't, their hands are busy holding the phone.

Whuh?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747156)

Now that cell phone usage has been restricted (hands free kits only), I see people driving while talking. They're a lot safer, but they don't bother indicating - they can't, their hands are busy holding the phone.

Whuh?

I dunno. I guessed speakerphone? I paused on reply to OP, and moved on, but you've enticed me to speak.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747082)

that's interesting. isn't subaru legacy a car for older people?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746304)

I thought it already was banned in the developed world.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746474)

So then people must not be doing it then? Or is that the joke?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746330)

It happened in Ventura County one day about ten years back. A construction worker had hit something and all cell service was down in the county for the afternoon. One of the reason I remember it so clearly was that I got ran over by a car while on my bike and learned about it in the ambulance ride to the hospital. The ambulance system had moved over to primarily using cell phones, but they had backup walkie talkies. But the backup system was overloaded due to a sharp spike in crashes which occured that afternoon and my ambulance didn't get their turn on the channel to tell the hospital we were coming. We ended up showing up at the hospital unannounced.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (2)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747036)

It happened ...

Please, learn to quote. I had to page up five times just to find out what you were referring to. <quote>blah blah blah</quote>

Thanks. Much appreciated.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747832)

I had to page up five times just to find out what you were referring to.

Parent [slashdot.org] link broken?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746454)

I have seen people swerving from lane to lane while not talking or texting. I will agree that trying to read, whether that is a phone, a book, or a newspaper is a bad idea. The phone rage is just a symptom of neo-ludditism though.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (2)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747070)

I will agree that trying to read, whether that is a phone, a book, or a newspaper is a bad idea. The phone rage is just a symptom of neo-ludditism though.

Here, it's called distracted driving. You're sharing a road with hundreds of other people all moving at high velocity in multi-ton vehicles. You need all your wits and attention to do that safely, for all involved. Check out the death while driving statistics if you don't believe me. It's far more dangerous than anything else we do.

You using a cell phone for anything while driving isn't anything we need. Just fscking pull over!

Re:Pay attention to the road! (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747306)

I am well aware that driving is the most dangerous activity that we do. As soon as I meet a single driver that uses "all their wits and attention" while driving, I will give your argument weight. At this point, I have not met a single one. I also highly doubt that YOU use all your wits and attention to drive safely. More likely, you like most drivers have passengers in your car, drive early in the morning, drive late at night, or the most hypocritical of actions, use your car stereo while driving.

You don't need to listen to the radio for anything while driving. Just fscking pull over!

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747364)

It is the concentration required to have an active conversation (ie phonecall) that reduces road awareness, and causes accidents. Listening to the radio does not have this effect.

I could also argue (personal experience only) that listening to the radio on long trips keeps you alert, and reduces fatigue and accidents.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

Seyren (1079827) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746806)

It's illegal in Singapore too [ifaq.gov.sg] - Traffic Matters -> Handphone Driving. Sadly this doesn't deter people from doing it anyway, I see at least 5 people doing it every day.

It's a stupid, stupid idea, and I wish people would have a bit more common sense.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (2)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747320)

Blackberry usage there is very high because you could buy a blackberry easily at any supermarket checkout because the telcos were pushing it hard, and because everyone knew that Blackberry Messaging was "uncrackable", and so people felt safer from being watched.
There are MANY foreigners working there and 11% of mobile phone users where using blackberries to communicate - it was also a cheap and secure way to communicate back to family and friends in India.
Also remember that Dubai was where the whole fuss started about Blackberry Messaging being accessible by the authorities started after the killing of Hamas' Mahmoud al-Mabhouh [wikipedia.org] where allegedly the killers used blackberries to communicate with each other.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

Rockets84 (2047424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747342)

Having travelled recently through the Middle East and Africa I can tell you I saw a hell of a lot more Blackberries than other smartphones. And BBM was what they were all using. Even when I was near the Congo border in Zambia where most people don't have electricty but they all had a BB or a dirt cheap nokia. In fact I had better coverage with 3 Telco's there than I do at my house in Oz. Crazy.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747478)

I've been in and out of the UAE over the past month (currently in Dubai) and I was also amazed at how Blackberroes are everywhere. The outage was all over the news and was a hot topic at some of the conferences I was attending (conferences which were nothing to do with tech I add). It's not just that these people choose to use a blackberry, it's that they choose to have a couple of them in many cases.

Mobile usage whilst driving here is the norm and as far as I can tell hands free kits have not penetrated the market much at all. Coming from the UK where there are penalties for being caught on the phone whilst driving, I find it all extremely unnerving, especially having heard of some horrific pile ups on the main road here in the past.

It's worth adding that I was here before the outage and the driving was terrible, and I have been here during the outage and seen the same low level of road safety awareness. The average distance between cars on the main road through Dubai is far too close, a proximity that'd make me uncomfortable at 30mph is evident for most drivers at 80mph. The lane structure is not adhered to and you see a constant stream of overtaking and undertaking cars darting between lanes with absolutely no room for braking distances. Add to this the constant last minute lane changes/double/triple lane changes to reach an exit, I am amazed there aren't more frequent accidents. From my observation it seems that some of the problem can be blamed on the Taxis here. Generally driven by poor men from the Indian subcontinent, they often have only a rough idea where they're headed and treat the Sheikh Zayed road as a strange weaving experiment.

Could the Blackberry outage have had an effect? I won't say no, but I wouldn't draw a strong link between the two events. If you have so many million people using
the road in such a haphazard way, you're bound to have your accident filled months and your accident light months. The hacks can point fingers at anything as a root cause. Interesting that the weather hasn't been called in as a reason. We're at a point of change now between seasons, is this having an effect on visibility levels due to fog?

Re:Pay attention to the road! (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747612)

But I'm amazed that Abu Dhabi and Dubai have such a high penetration of Blackberries in their country that the outage could actually make a difference in road safety statistics. That's just amazing to me.

The few ME countries I've been to have virtually no signals or lane markers, insanly narrow roads and cars merging from more directions than can be counted on a single hand.

People beep their horns constantly in traffic not out of anger but to alert others of their presence so they don't get hit.

If the UAE is anything like this craziness it wouldn't surprise me one bit if this is all true.

Re:Pay attention to the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747810)

The UAE is nothing like the rest of the ME in this respect... The roads are wide and well marked and signed, loads of speed cameras and people generally obey the road rules; Lebanon on the other hand, sheer chaos.

Banninate it. (3, Insightful)

FyberOptic (813904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746276)

Most people accept that texting and cellphones cause accidents. But, most people also think they're better drivers than everyone else, and therefore it's okay for them to do it. Even cops do it. I see them all the time.

The only solution is making it illegal internationally. But considering the U.S. alone only bans it in a handful of states, we have a long way to go of convincing people that their ego doesn't make it okay.

Re:Banninate it. (3, Insightful)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746394)

As a quick aside, cops in general seem to be pretty shitty drivers. Had a couple incidents where cops who were simply talking to their partners nearly swerved in to me.

But, more to the point, it's a slippery slope issue. Eating in your car is also distracting. Do you solve it by banning drive-throughs? Reading in your car is a distraction. Do cops issue tickets if they see an atlas or a copy of the local newspaper on the seat when they pull you over? How about if you jotted down directions to where you're going, and a cop sees you check the paper to see if your exit is coming up? How about unruly kids in the back seat? Quite distracting, but you don't hear calls for kids to be anesthetized before getting in a car (although...).

Point is, if the government takes it upon themselves to enact a new rule, regulation, or prohibition for every danger in the world, then there's nothing you can do freely. There are laws against swerving dangerously from lane to lane in traffic. There are laws against running people over, or slamming blindly headlong into a telephone poll. Some people can multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. Some people need a hands-free device to achieve the same result. Some people (and I'm in this category) would rather stammer through a conversation and lose their train of thought because their primary focus is on driving, not talking. Some people just can't pull it off at all. You, like most statists, are proposing a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that doesn't have one. At its core, what you suggest is no different than solving alcoholism or other forms of drug abuse through prohibition.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746664)

I agree a ban is a bad idea.

However...

Some people can multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. Some people need a hands-free device to achieve the same result. Some people (and I'm in this category) would rather stammer through a conversation and lose their train of thought because their primary focus is on driving, not talking. Some people just can't pull it off at all.

95% of drivers out there drive like shit without the phone. They don't give driving the attention it deserves. They don't know the rules of the road. They don't understand how to control their vehicle. They can't cope with emergency situations. They don't look and plan ahead. They have no 'escape route'. They have no feel for the road. They think their horn is either a weapon or some kind of force field.

For the remaining 5% of drivers, no, they cannot multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. It can't be done. You might be able to pull it off and still drive better than the remaining 95%, but that's not saying a whole lot. You might be able to pull it off and never get in an accident, if you are also not unlucky. Your capacity for driving diminishes when you get on the phone. You may not notice it, but the drivers around you do. That's why there is so much popular support for a ban even though everyone still wants to talk on their phones and drive.

The same thing happens when you are dealing with your kids, fiddling with your radio, plugging in a nav address, except that with a phone - especially a phone in your hand - you are no longer mentally in the car. "Oh, but I am." No, you're not. The very fact that you believe you can 'pull it off' shows that you are clueless when it comes to how your driving changes with a phone in your hand.

Re:Banninate it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746708)

EVERYBODY thinks they are a fantastic driver, who could easily compete on the pro racing circuit, if they only had the time and resources.

But the sad fact is that almost EVERYBODY drives like a blind 9-year-old girl on LSD, and only a very small percentage of the driving population have real skill and ability.

The funny thing is that EVERYBODY who just read that told themselves that they are one of the few who really is a fantastic driver.

You're not.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746702)

Why shouldn't distracted driving be an offense? You talk about specific rules (like banning food) but just like fraud, you can make the generalized cases illegal and not have to think of every form of it.

Look, I'm tired of speeding being the most enforced rule on the road. From what I experienced, speeders are focused on their driving, and less likely to put others around them to sleep. Yet, I never seen cops pull over people for failure to use turn signals or any other offense.

It's time to clamp down things other than speeding for once. Shit that leads to accidents. Just like drunk driving began to be taken more serious in the 70s and after.

Re:Banninate it. (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746716)

But, more to the point, it's a slippery slope issue. Eating in your car is also distracting. Do you solve it by banning drive-throughs? Reading in your car is a distraction. [blah blah blah]

It really isn't a slippery slope though.
Your asinine argument seems to ignore the reality that we haven't already banned those things since Henry Ford brought cheap cars to the masses 97 years ago.

And yet here we are, with safety experts and organizations consistently endorsing legislation that singles out cell phones.

You, like most statists, are proposing a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that doesn't have one.

Oh please. 99% of us are statists.
The only difference is how and where we think think the state should be acting.

P.S. Banning *anything* while driving is not the same thing as a general prohibition. You're dumb for making that argument.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747802)

being distracted while driving is actually illegal in most countries.

doesn't matter what the reason is.

but adding specific distraction laws is supposed to underline some distractions.. but actually it's hurting the general concept, because people will then label everything else as ok.

Re:Banninate it. (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746756)

To add to the last post:

Some people can multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. Some people need a hands-free device to achieve the same result.

A lot less than many people think. Most overestimate their abilities:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794 [npr.org]

Which is a very American trait, I noticed:
http://desicritics.org/2006/10/20/012720.php [desicritics.org]

Kind of like how those people who "work" 12 hours a day, brag about it, and lag behind people who work an honest 8 hours a day in productive because they spend most of the time at the watercooler or on the internet. Seriously, when you're driving, please drive - stop overestimating your abilities when they really get reduced by not paying attention. If you don't want to do that, either carpool with someone who doesn't have that problem and is willing to drive, or use mass transit.

But stfu because you can't stop diddling with your smartphone for 30 seconds and want to bullshit the rest of us that you're just as good with it as without it.

Re:Banninate it. (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747176)

Agreed, many people think they have super human abilities, especially young men. Turning ones eyes upward while thinking is a very common behaviour that basically shuts out whatever else is going on, most (if not all) people do it unconsciously. When mobile phones first became popular in the 90's I would talk on mine while driving with no apparent problems, however one day I realised that I was turning my eyes upward to think about the answer to a question the caller had asked. I suddenly realised what I was doing and it scared the shit out of me, I haven't used a mobile while driving since that realization.

As a 35yr vetran of the road, my advice is that if your mobile rings while your driving either pull over or (heaven forbid) ignore it.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747026)

Don't know in the USA, but in my country eating while driving is of course prohibited; that doesn't apply to drive-throughs because in that case you're driving in a private road. And children in the back seat must be secured in safety seats. It's possible that a minority of people could relatively safely text (eat, watch tv, be drunk, ...) while they drive very carefully, but then it's also possible that some children could drive a car better than many adults can, and it's not a reason to let children drive.

This doesn't fall in the "nanny state" category, as the State has all the rights to make laws that prevent people from putting other people's lives in danger. In particular, it should do so when a particular behaviour has been reckoned to be a major cause of death or injury of innocent people. It has nothing to do with alcohol prohibition: you don't directly become dangerous for other people by drinking; you do if you drink and then drive a car, and in fact driving while you're drunk is prohibited.

Re:Banninate it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747416)

Only a very small percentage of the population can actually multi-task properly (5-10%), even though most people think they are pretty good at it.

As far as driving an using a cellphone, most countries already make the concession that using a handsfree is okay, even though most studies show it to be just as dangerous as holding the phone. Having an active conversation is the distracting part.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_and_driving_safety

Your comparison to prohibition is just plain silly. The equivalent here would be to make cellphones completely illegal because people might drive while using them.

Re:Banninate it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747528)

Simple--they need to enforce the laws they have. They don't need new laws.

If you are talking on a phone, eating, fiddling with your stereo, jacking your music so you don' t know the traffic situation, and have an accident, and it's remotely material, CHARGE THEM.

Funny thing this /. story is here. Earlier this afternoon, I was rear-ended. I was the 2nd vehicle waiting for a red light, no vehicles behind me. Complete stop, must have been there about 30 seconds. What ended up being about 10-15 seconds before the light went green, I noticed a minivan approach. Then it seemed to be slowing awfully slow, then it had my full attention looking at it from my side view, noticed the lady talking on the phone, not quite slowing right, probably will suddenly brake, then oh shit, wham, she just didn't stop.

NO EMOTION WHATSOEVER registered on her face AS SHE CONTINUED TO TALK ON THE PHONE.

I'm a little peeved at this, still watching her, had my passenger pull the registration and insurance, paper and pen, I pull my license from my pocket.

I exited my vehicle, waited at my rear bumper. I pulled my cell phone out to note the time of the accident. And waited. And waited. I waited more than 2 full minutes (minutes change 3 times), WHILE SHE LOOKS AT ME AND CONTINUESD THE SAME PHONE CONVERSATION. She never hung up, pressed buttons on the phone, just kept talking. No, she wasn't calling the police, that came later when she wouldn't hand over her driver's license so I could confirm her insurance information. In fact, she didn't stop talking until I got ticked because people were looking at me like it was a road rage incident (think about it--front vehicle driver has exited car staring at rear vehicle)--so I walked up to her vehicle, she's still talking, and said "Come on, get off the phone." She looks at me irritated, like why am I here, continues to talk, 20 seconds later, she hangs up, and says "Are you okay?"

Other crap ensued (apparently, she thought this half Asian was an illegal because I wanted to see her license to confirm/verify her pic matches her and the license address matched the the insurance info). Officer finally shows. I hand him my info, she sees that, and calls me a "citizen." I tell them what happened. She admits she was talking on the phone. No charge for careless driving for her.

The police--they don't phracking care even when they CAN do something.

Re:Banninate it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747902)

[,,,] or slamming blindly headlong into a telephone poll.

"And how often do you use your telephone?"
"Oh, abou- *CRRRASSSH*

Re:Banninate it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746848)

The only solution is making it illegal internationally.

Let me guess - you work for the US Government?

How 'bout just showing a little self restraint and not using phones while driving. There are far too many restrictive laws already - no matter which country you're from.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

FyberOptic (813904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746940)

If showing a little self restraint was a viable solution to problems, then thousands of people wouldn't die every year from distracted or impaired drivers.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747418)

It's illegal in many districts, but the law is ignored by many. Their personal convenience is more important.

One of the most shameless examples is the mayor of Toronto, who has been repeatedly been caught by the citizens of Toronto yapping on his cell phone while driving. You'd think he would lead by example and avoid the bad publicity, but he's too narcissistic to learn his lesson.

Re:Banninate it. (1)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747710)

You think the _US_ should be the one to be convincing _others_ of this? In the UK it's already illegal, it's the _US_ that needs to learn this from other countries.

Don't Ban the whole US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746320)

I live in central Nebraska and I can tell you that using a cellphone while driving here is much safer than in the big cities. I don't text and I don't build model airplanes while driving. Please take common sense into consideration before making a generic law which bans cellphones for everyone. Thank you!

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746372)

It's still dangerous even if you are in rural Nebraska, even if it isn't as dangerous as it is in the cities and there's ultimately no reason why one should be talking on the phone without at least a headset.

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746790)

The headset is nearly useless. Talking over the phone is more distracting than a car passenger, because passengers realize when to stfu because of situational cues, and you aren't pressured to keep the conversation going when the situation demands all your attention since a passenger realizes this, but a phone participant doesn't and keeps on going.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002374605_cellphones12.html [nwsource.com]

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747030)

The headset is nearly useless.

I'll see you one useless and raise you a dangerous.

With a normal phone other drivers have a decent chance to notice the person with their hand up to their ear and give them a wider berth. But with the various handsfree laws in many states there is basically no way to distinguish between a normal driver and one who has half their mind on the other end of a telephone conversation.

The only study to ever show a significant improvement in safety with a handsfree phone versus a handheld phone was commissioned by Plantronics - maker of phone headsets. These handfree laws are just another case of "This situation is terrible! Something must be done! The wrong thing is something! So we must do the wrong thing!"

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747900)

The only place I would disagree with cell phones being dangerous while driving is exactly that sort of place. When you have a hundred miles of practically straight country road ahead of you and nothing but grass plains on either side, it's pretty hard to swerve off the road, run into someone, or hit something bigger than a prairie dog.

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746388)

Compared to fully-attentive driving, using a cell phone while driving in Nebraska is no safer than anywhere else in the world. Text while driving, and you give X% less attention to the road. Being in central Nebraska just means you have less stuff you're likely to hit, so all driving is safer.

Think of it this way: If it's reasonably safe to drive in Nebraska while using a cell phone, imagine how safe it'd be if you didn't!

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746642)

And wear a condom while you drive, you'll be that much safer.

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747134)

And wear a condom while you drive, you'll be that much safer.

Darwin principle in action, ya gotta love it. Please use a telephone pole, not some innocent bystander to do it. Bye.

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746444)

False sense of security. There may be less obstacles on the road but a deer is far less likely to run out in front of the car in a big city.

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (4, Informative)

sitkill (893183) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746536)

False sense of security.

There have been studies, and more well known, mythbusters did an episode on something very similar (is talking on a cellphone while driving just as bad as drinking and driving), and while mythbusters is a bit hollywood science at times, they confirmed the myth. Texting isn't that far off. And in other studies, is just as bad.

But don't take my word for it, take a look [reuters.com] at [theatlantic.com] all [cnet.com] the [caranddriver.com] studies and materials [wikipedia.org].

There's a reason why texting/talking on the phone is rapidly becoming illegal while driving. But hey! Maybe in Nebraska, facts and truths aren't the norm!

Re:Don't Ban the whole US (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746646)

Texting isn't that far off. And in other studies, is just as bad.

Wouldn't it be even worse because when you are talking you are still looking at the road, while when texting you are looking at the phone?

Mythbusters: Deeper conversations impair driving (1)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746934)

To expand on this, the Mythbusters confirmed that the poor driving resulted regardless of using a hands-free device. The greatest component in the loss of driving abilities was the amount of concentration required by the discussion. They had people drive obstacle courses while having conversations three ways, 1) holding the phone 2) using a hands free device 3) with a passenger in the car.

The tests concluded that while having a casual conversation, the obstacle course was navigated well. When asked to solve simple math problems while driving, such as 56 divided by 8, the participants failed miserably. This was with a person in the back seat asking the questions.

I used to have my passenger read the letters from the Jumble puzzles to me while driving to pass the time. I thought I was safe as long as I had two hands on the wheel and I wasn't reading them myself. I don't do that anymore.

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746374)

People would be constantly checking their phones to see if they're working again. At least with a working device you only bother with it when it notifies you.
 
While I agree that they're a distraction, I just don't see them as less of a distraction if people keep checking them to see if it's working again.

Re:Nonsense (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746408)

Uh, no. If their phones notify them when they receive a message, there is no need to constantly check even during an outage.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746696)

You're assuming the people think that way. It's a very false assumption. I guess you either don't spend any time around end users or you don't realize what mistakes you're making with your own technology. Either way you're a fucktard and a cunt. Shitbag!

Solution (1)

Geak (790376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746398)

Here's a simple solution that could be built in - a gps check to see if the phone is travelling too fast to be a human on foot - and disable the keypad.

Re:Solution (1)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746438)

Here's a simple solution that could be built in - a gps check to see if the phone is travelling too fast to be a human on foot - and disable the keypad.

That would also keep passengers from using their devices, including people in taxis, trains and buses. It'll never fly. You take away one of the top use cases for mobile devices in urban areas.

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746442)

GREAT! Now every passenger inside a commuter van or public transportation can no longer use their phones.

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746456)

What if a passenger wants to use his phone? Of course, it might not be that bad if it can keeps rude individuals from shouting into their cellphones, annoying everyone else on the bus (or train car).

Re:Solution (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746470)

Yeah, because last summer when I was working from the back of our car during a nation wide road trip with my wife and son was SOOOO dangerous. That and It is definitely safer for people to try and read paper maps while driving than it is for them to have turn by turn directions coming out of their phone. After all, it's a phone. It must be dangerous. Right?

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747012)

Don't you know better than to argue against a religious belief? Much like belief in AGW and the evils of secondhand smoke, belief in phone danger! has reached an irrational fever pitch. Just wait until they start tallying "cell phone related accidents" using the same intentionally disingenuous methods they use to count alcohol-related car accidents.

You will be lucky to avoid "reeducation" if you stay this vocal. Anon for obvious reasons.

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746660)

passengers and bus riders

I believe it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746406)

Texting while driving is stupid and irresponsible. What is so important that it can't wait til you arrive at your destination? I would say let them all die and weed their genes out of the gene pool, but too many innocent people would be injured as well.

Sent from my iPhone (while driving)

Re:I believe it! (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746482)

Doing anything else while driving is stupid and irresponsible, but people keep doing it. I don't drive all that much and I've seen people: texting, talking on the phone, fiddling with their navigation system, fumbling with stuff in the locker, receiving blowjobs, giving blowjobs, checking diapers, changing diapers, counting money, reloading a shotgun, shooting with a shotgun, choosing music, changing the car radio presets, sending shit from their iphones even. That is why the responsible measure against violators should be a preemptive Darwin award.

Re:I believe it! (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746656)

What is so important that it can't wait til you arrive at your destination?

If it is important, just stop and then text/call. But the people who text while driving are probably part of the group who will overtake a car just to arrive at a red light (that they saw before overtaking) one second sooner.

Data or It Didn't Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746540)

TFA says "Road traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi are said to have dropped by 40%, and there was a 20% reduction in Dubai in the past week." But that could have been totally spurious noise that coincidentally aligned with the Bberry outage. If accidents had been higher instead, would they have ignored it? If you only ever make note of coincidences and ignore non-coincidences, then life can seem pretty magical when really all you have is a filter that shows you what you'd like to believe. Bottom line: please share the data and let us all judge for ourselves whether there is cause-and-effect going on here.

Re:Data or It Didn't Happen (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746770)

Agreed. Rare incidents like car crashes generally generate Poisson distributions. Without knowing how many accidents typically occur in a week, there's no way to know if a 40% change is statistically meaningful. The standard deviation is just the square root of the mean count. The value 40% is suggestive of a total count of 5 or 10, though of course any multiple of 5 would work. If it's a change from 5 to 3, it's not meaningful.

Theyab Awana (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746578)

Yes, very likely.

A famous football player there was killed in a car accident.

His father made a plea [thenational.ae] for people not to use smart phones or Blackberry devices while driving.

wholesale5dvd (1)

dvdwholesale3 (2432850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746588)

wholesale5dvd [slashdot.org] is an extremely intense program.Sheer will and determination may get you to the finish line,but to achieve the best results,youâ(TM)ve got to have the proper quality and quantity of nutrition.We make these supplements optional,so you have a choice.But know that P90x supplements were designed for this program and will supply your body with the necessary nutrients to give you added strength energy,and stamina for each workout. As you may notice from the math on the following pages, wholesale5dvd [slashdot.org] is not bulit around adaily âoecalorie deficitâ for weight loss like the general Beachbody plans found in Power 90,Kathy Smitsâ(TM)s Project :You!Type 2,and Slimin 6.Itâ(TM)s important that you understand why ,so you have the right training mentality with this program ,with the right expectations. http : //www.wholesale5dvd.com

Without a Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746596)

From where I live .... drivers around here are doing many other things except ... driving.

Where I live there is a joke. 99% of Drivers are Drunk. Of the rest ... 99% do not have a license. Of the rest ... 99% are sexting.
What does this add up to. One big fuck'n problem even if you are waling down the street on the sidewalk with all the cars fly'n off the road this way and that way. People who ... or once had houses along the main roads are moving out ... pronto.

An what about the louts drive'n their lorries through shopping center and school buildings just to get a piss off.

The End of Civilization.

   

Alberta's new law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37746698)

Here in Alberta, we've recently enacted a distracted driving law which covers talking/texting while driving (holding the handset. Hands free devices allowed), fiddling with mp3 players and GPS units while moving, applying makeup and personal grooming, using a laptop, watching movies in the front seat on a hacked DVD player, etc.

The fine is $172 per infraction and yet I still see people doing all of the above. Hell, I was pulled over just after an intersection because the cop thought I was driving while distracted until he found out my truck has a manual transmission and I was just shifting gears!

celebrity example (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37746830)

If it takes a celebrity example of the problem to get peoples' attention, so be it - whatever works, and focus on celebrities is channeled into something positive for once. (In this case, it's the circumstances surrounding the soccer player's death)

Don't imagine this is primarily cell phone related (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747106)

Both my parents have lived in Qatar for 10 years and have visited most of the countries in the region. Text or no text there are a huge number of shitty drivers in the form of careless nationals driving over there who can get away with literally anything up to and including totalling hundred thousand dollar cars and face minimal or zero prosecution for doing so, even though they endanger other drivers in the process. Check Youtube for videos of young stupid bastards driving up on two wheels. This is something my dad's seen first hand. There is a huge sea change in traffic law enforcement required to make the roads safer in that area of the world. Being smug about cell phone usage doesn't begin to tap into the problem they're actually facing.

Blackberry is evil! (2)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747154)

Remember folks, this is the same RIM/Blackberry that wouldn't grant UAE and a few other countries a private BBM server [slashdot.org] so they got pissed and shut down the service. This article holds a little more than bias. The summary could read "The evil blackberry services were shutdown and our country is safer for it" and the overall message would remain the same.

Yes, I believe it (2)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747180)

Yes, the drivers here (in Abu Dhabi) really are that bad. Blackberry's are not illegal here as other posts have said; they have huge billboards advertising the latest ones all over the place (Blackberry's were banned at one point, but RIM have let the UAE government to see the traffic, as has happened in many countries recently). The cars are also heavily tinted because of the sun, so it's almost impossible to tell what people are doing in their cars.

You also have a good mix of Indian, Pakistani, Arab, European and African drivers who all have different ideas about driving. It is not unusual for the middle lane on a 5 lane road to turn left in front of everyone else going straight.

But the most common accident is being rear-ended by drivers using their phones and not looking at the road. And I can say that over the last week I have seen less accidents, so the numbers actually sound right.

Re:Yes, I believe it (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747650)

Having very recently spent some time in the UAE again it amazes me that people are able to survive at all. Where I come from a lane ending means that you put on your indicator and merge when traffic permits. In the UAE it seems to be a competition of slam your foot on the gas and see how far in front of all the other cars you can get without mounting the curb.

This is all very unscientific (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 2 years ago | (#37747230)

20% and 40% seem like suspiciously rounded figures. I wish people wouldn't make claims without publishing the actual data including the control data and standard deviation. Have the rates ever varied as much during other 3-day periods when there was no phone outage? The story about the soccer player is anecdotal and establishes neither correlation nor causation as it's not even conclusive he was texting and a sample space of 'one' is meaningless.

Re:This is all very unscientific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747700)

In the UAE 40% official statistics might be inaccurate.

Idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37747246)

Kill a famous soccer player a week and legalize texting while driving. No net loss.

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...