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Smartphones More Dangerous Than Alcohol, When Driving

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the mothers-against-tweeting-while-driving dept.

Cellphones 358

judgecorp writes "The Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK has carried out live tests which prove that using smartphones impairs driving ability more than drug or alcohol use, making reaction times 37.6 percent slower (PDF). The result is a big concern since a quarter of drivers admit to sending texts from their phones while driving. 'Young people have grown up with smartphones and using them is part of everyday life. But more work needs to be done by the government and social network providers to show young people that they are risking their lives and the lives of others if they use their smartphones while driving.'"

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358 comments

more laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39251923)

More laws on the way - I can't wait

Re:more laws (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252245)

More laws on the way - I can't wait

Already laws. Just get them enforced.

Couple days ago I'm sitting in my car in a parking lot and nearly creamed by an SUV-driving phoner. Tricky enough on the street, but parking lots are mazes where unpredictable things are the norm - people walk out of nowhere, car suddenly backs out, car suddenly comes around blind corner, etc. You need to be on your toes there - besides, parking lot accidents are paid for by YOU -- fault, in my experience is never assigned on private property or public parking lots. Tough beans, even if you were not at fault. If you are at fault, you may find yourself taken to court for whatever your insurer is unwilling to cover.

Re:more laws (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252301)

The thing the "policy-makers" ignore is that laws make it worse. Laws against texting while driving move the phone into the driver's lap, worsening reaction times and increasing collisions. This is a situation where laws make it worse. Of course, when your only tool is a hammer...

Re:more laws (1)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252337)

I don't dispute the importance of road safety.......

But what is it with the obsession with taking away motorists rights? They can be pulled over for any reason that the police might make up. The thrust of policy seems to be making their lives more miserable, encouraging congestion, raising prices to drive, lowering local speed limits etc.

And if you care about saving lives - why not care about the current NHS reforms which I am sure will mean a worse level of service for those who cannot afford private care. Undoubtedly people will die as a consequence.

People also die when they are homeless or don't have adequate access to housing - caused by draconian zoning policies (extreme green belt laws mean that you need to be very well off to buy a home in the south of the UK - now middle class people buy ex council flats.)

People die because of the war on drugs - why not deal with that?

Disabled people have a nasty habbit of dying especially when you cut their already miserly disability benefits.

People have short life expectancy when they are poor - why not deal with increasing income inequality?

Instead we overly obsess about the roads. Maybe it useful for governments because it distracts from more important issues.

Re:more laws (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252467)

There are indeed a lot of bad/populist/NIMBYist laws about driving in the UK.

Banning using a phone while driving is not one of them. It's just a shame it only covers handhelds.

Re:more laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252593)

Why not reframe the question? If I where an operator of a gantry crane and you worked in very close proximity to me. Would you want me texting while I was moving two tons of metal near you? Would you not fire someone for being drunk while operating that same crane(instead of making them take classes)? Wouldn't you at least give the operator a tongue lashing for operating the crane unsafely, even when no-one was hurt?

Cars are extremely dangerous, more dangerous than guns because people operate them very frequently and at least some people operate them with little or absolutely no thought of what is safe. I could spout a hundred anecdotes about how I and other operated cars in a manner that was unthinking and unsafe. It is a miracle that people don't die more often in car accidents.

What would you say about someone who brandished a handgun in order to get someone to get out of the way? Then think of the same thing the next time you or someone you know creeps up on a pedestrian in a crasswalk because the driver is in a hurry or just doesn't like being made to wait four second.

The reason car driver's 'rights', which I can only assume you mean the 'right to drive fast and ignore proscribed procedures', are taken away is because people are stupid and ignorant and need to be told what to do because we are self-destructive by nature. Especially when we get a little adrenaline rush from driving fast or narrowly avoiding an accident.

Re:more laws (4, Interesting)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252479)

If you want to get hit by some idiot driver who is using their cell phone in a parking lot. Because that almost happened to me a couple of days ago, he would have hit me and then ran into a couple parked cars. If I hadn't noticed he was looking down at his phone and not looking forward. 3 mph or 30 mph, it doesn't matter, it still dangerous.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39251937)

I don't stare at my beer or have a conversation with it. Drinking and driving is a minimal effort hobby.

Re:Obvious (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39251969)

I don't stare at my beer or have a conversation with it. Drinking and driving is a minimal effort hobby.

Article translation: We overestimated the dangers of alcohol on driving.

Re:Obvious (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252227)

I think it just says

reaction_time(smartphone-user) > reaction_time(drunken-driver)

Society has now successfully established that reaction_time(drunken-driver) leads to more accidents (especially troublesome because you are not just injuring yourself with your stupidity, but other, innocent people are killed).

The logical conclusion is that the danger of smartphones is large and people are not aware of it (unlike with drinking or phoning). While we are also now kindof aware that calling while driving is a bad idea, those two don't have a real stigma yet (like NZ ads "If you drink and drive --- you're a bloody idiot").

Re:Obvious (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252503)

Society has now successfully established that reaction_time(drunken-driver) leads to more accidents (especially troublesome because you are not just injuring yourself with your stupidity, but other, innocent people are killed).

That's false. MADD proved .15 BAC lead to more accidents, then argued "lower is better" until the impairment from the legal limit is well below impairment from cell phones, radio, kids, rain on the windshield, and anything else ever measured. The conclusion should be that the current DUI levels are below measurable increase in risk.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252031)

Go drive here [oddee.com], I heard it's better after a few drinks.

Re:Obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252101)

Huh, I've never driven on a 404 before..... ....idiot.

Re:Obvious (5, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252133)

I don't stare at my beer or have a conversation with it.

Clearly you need to start drinking better beer.

Re:Obvious (4, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252153)

I don't stare at my beer or have a conversation with it.

Clearly you need to start drinking better beer.

Or just more of it.

For you guys, maybe (5, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39251951)

I can text, check my Facebook, AND drive with no problems. I think I'm one of only about 20 world-wide that can do it.

Re:For you guys, maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252003)

That's what all of these idiots think.

Re:For you guys, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252087)

That's the joke.

Re:For you guys, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252213)

.jpg

Re:For you guys, maybe (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252335)

I can text, check my Facebook, AND drive with no problems. I think I'm one of only about 20 world-wide that can do it.

I only can do that if I'm drunk.

Re:For you guys, maybe (5, Funny)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252563)

One of 19 people, now. Devon, the one in South Carolina, got into an accident and died last month, so you're down by one, now.

This study is from the UK. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39251989)

All driving is more dangerous in the UK, because they insist on driving on the wrong side of the road.

Re:This study is from the UK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252247)

Ah, a little historical urban myth said that we drive on that side because it allowed our horseman in ye olde times the opportunity to skewer the frenchies with our sword in the right hand. Of course they buggered it up by driving on the 'wrong' side?

Re:This study is from the UK. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252429)

the first time I visited the UK (I'm from the US) some friends there asked how I was doing, dealing with the 'opposite side' driving problem. I said it would be no problem, I would just go to one of your nice pubs, have a few and then, I'd just naturally drive on the wrong side of the road. which, in this case, would be the correct side.

they didn't think it was funny.

Re:This study is from the UK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252581)

the first time I visited the UK (I'm from the US) some friends there asked how I was doing, dealing with the 'opposite side' driving problem. I said it would be no problem, I would just go to one of your nice pubs, have a few and then, I'd just naturally drive on the wrong side of the road. which, in this case, would be the correct side.

they didn't think it was funny.

Of COURSE that's not funny!

We call them "bars" here.

And people say WE'RE the backwards, culturally insensitive clods!

I wonder what cops think about the study? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252007)

Every cop in US has been using their cell phones and laptops while driving and it has not been an issue at all.

Re:I wonder what cops think about the study? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252075)

It absolutely HAS been an issue, with many lawsuits related to it, and many people injured by cops texting, using their laptop, speeding -- without their sirens on.

And? (1)

x1r8a3k (1170111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252019)

Isn't using your phone in any fashion without a hands-free kit already illegal in the UK? If you must, enforce it.

Education does nothing. Young kids don't really care if what they do is dangerous, in fact, thats often why they do it.

Re:And? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252071)

Isn't using your phone in any fashion without a hands-free kit already illegal in the UK?

It amazes me that so many people seem to believe the proximity of one's hand to one's ear is the problem when it comes to making phone calls while driving.

Re:And? (1)

x1r8a3k (1170111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252149)

When driving a manual, like the majority of UK cars are, it is.
Also the scary 37% slower figure comes from texting and social networking while driving.

Re:And? (4, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252241)

If God didn't want us driving a manual transmission car whilst texting on a smartphone he wouldn't have given us knees.

Re:And? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252595)

But thats where I hold my beer!

Re:And? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252129)

Yes, this sort of behaviour is already against the law. It isn't widely enforced, though, and way too many people still do it. It needs to become socially unacceptable, the same way drunk driving now is.

As an aside, driving while using a hands-free kit is hardly any safer. It's just harder to detect and penalise. Unfortunately, that means the government here in the UK didn't outlaw it at the same time, thus sending a clear (but completely wrong) message that "The government says driving using a hands-free kit is safe!". Of course, lots of companies who sell hands-free kits had huge displayboards in stores the day these laws came in playing off that misunderstanding, and to this day a lot of people think they're safe driving and talking as long as they've got hands-free.

More dangerous when driving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252023)

Easy solution -- don't smartphones drive.

Until they get a bit smarter, at least...

Re:More dangerous when driving? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252189)

Easy solution -- don't smartphones drive.

Until they get a bit smarter, at least...

I'd rather have the phone be driving than most people on the road, to be honest.

I believe it, but it is a choice as well (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252025)

While what happened in this story [msn.com] is tragic, she knew the consequences. I don't agree with the parent's response of lobbying for new laws, either- theft is illegal, but that doesn't mean people don't steal.

Re:I believe it, but it is a choice as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252191)

Driving at 80 mph while doing Facebook updates? That's natural selection at work there. No reasonable law could have kept her alive long enough to spit out a few, yet perhaps education could have bought her enough time to reproduce before electrocuting herself by using a hair dryer while sitting in the bath.

I see fuckers here chatting on phones, running red lights and generally driving like cunts. Existing law needs to be enforced, and driving while smoking or chatting on a phone should become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

Re:I believe it, but it is a choice as well (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252199)

That story is just natural selection in action. It's only tragic when natural selection is averted. e.g., if the texter survives and procreates, or the texter takes the life of a non-texter.

I know in alcohol related crashes, the drunk is less likely to die than their victims are. What's the statistics on texting crashes?

Re:I believe it, but it is a choice as well (2)

robus (852325) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252309)

And if you're a dead victim of their "choice"?

Laws can be a way for society to set clear limits on acceptable behavior. Currently people aren't seriously considering the risks they're taking with others safety. That has to change - soon.

continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (3, Insightful)

ath0mic (519762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252041)

Does this risk change if you consider a sufficiently long period of time? Presumably for a given trip you spend more time intoxicated than you do checking or responding to a message on your phone.

What about non-smart phones? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252113)

How about for non-smart phone users?

Does it help if you don't have to hold the phone with both hands to type?

Re:What about non-smart phones? (3, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252265)

No. Any distraction, even with a dumb phone, is a distraction. Driving is a full-time job, requiring 100% of the drivers attention.

Re:What about non-smart phones? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252399)

Everything is a distraction at some degree, even thinking about this message tomorrow while you're driving could distract you.

Yes or no is meaningless, and 100% is concentration is almost certainly unachievable. Stop being silly and give me numbers, dammit.

Re:What about non-smart phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252501)

Most of my driving is long distance, and if I didn't have the cell phone + radio/CD player, I probably would have ended up in a ditch somewhere in the middle of Nevada from falling asleep.

Of course, when you are the only car on a two lane highway for miles in every direction is a *very* diffrent situation than the 16+ lanes of heavy traffic that you see in some California cities.

The problem with this country is the one-size-fits-all mentality that results in frankly dangerious situations.

Re:What about non-smart (phone) users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252439)

Apparently you are new here or haven't read any of the previously posted research indicating that 'mere' phone conversation during driving renders one as dangerous, due to decreased reaction time, at the wheel of a vehicle as the average drunk. There's no need to approach the keyboard, at all. Just dial-a-distraction and engage in conversation with someone who's not (all) there (either).

I wonder when researchers will establish the coefficient of distraction we can use to calculate the inverse relationship between the 'smartness' of the phone and the intelligence of its user, behind or in front of the wheel?

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (-1)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252127)

Does this risk change if you consider a sufficiently long period of time? Presumably for a given trip you spend more time intoxicated than you do checking or responding to a message on your phone.

+1.

You can stop using your phone if you enter a risky environment. You can't stop being drunk.

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252205)

That does not do any good if you do not notice the environment is risky until it is too late.

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252223)

While driving, a non-risky environment can change into a risky environment in a much shorter time than it takes to read a text.

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252229)

Unfortunately, as the accident stats clearly show, the theoretical ability to just drop your phone or whatever it is you image people doing when they "enter a risky environment" is rarely observed in practice. Presumably this is because while distracted by a conversation on the phone, drivers are significantly less accurate in judging risk in the first place.

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (5, Insightful)

trongey (21550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252269)

+1.

You can stop using your phone if you enter a risky environment. You can't stop being drunk.

-1
You can stop, but I never see anybody do it. Just like drunks who don't just pull off the road and sleep it off.

Re:continuous vs instantaneous distraction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252493)

The entire scheme of allowing people with minimal training to drive a vehicle constitutes a risky environment. Seriously. People driving mini forklifts at 10 km/h in a warehouse get more training (and usually mandatory drug tests) than people that are allowed to drive 1000 kg vehicles at 100 km/h in an unconstrained environment. Where is the sense in that?

Oh, and the people operating the slow mini forklifts are not allowed to use cellphones, stereos, DVD players, etc. when they are moving. There is a good reason for that.

!prove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252073)

... which prove that ...

... which demonstrate that ...

Deja Vu? (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252109)

Hasn't Mythbusters already covered this? Hasn't "common sense" already covered this? And what in the world is an "Advanced Motorist?"
Stop the planet, I want to disembark, thanks!

Re:Deja Vu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252203)

I'm on the ride and I want to get off,
but they won't slow down the roundabout

Mythbusters already did it (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252185)

The Mythbusters showed that [youtube.com] years ago. It was actually quite shocking how similar the test results were between someone who was substantially drunk and someone just talking on the phone (got even worse when they were texting).

Input method? (3, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252187)

I've on occasion attempted to text while driving. Yes, I know, bad me, but unlike others I do realize how terribly risky it is. So I only do it at red lights now. However there are a few things that make it even more tempting to do while in motion:
Swype keyboard (and others) - with decent enough recognition, you can almost thumb-swype a whole message without looking. Corrections are a pain though.
Dictation (Siri, Evi, and speech-to-text) - actually works quite well.
But they all take more concentration from the road than they should.

I think combining a HUD with dictation might just be the way of the future. We need to get these systems developed and studied before we blanket-ban messaging and driving.

Re:Input method? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252239)

or just wait till you get to your destination to respond. 99% of stuff doesn't have to be handled RIGHT THIS DAMN MINUTE. People won't die, the world won't end, ect if you respondin 30 or 60 minutes. and if it is that important to respond right now, pull over and respond.

Re:Input method? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252349)

Jesus, no! Drivers have no business texting while the car us in motion, and the law should be very clear in saying that drivers seen holding a phone while the vehicle is in motion will be treated like drunk drivers. Why even think about a HUD when drivers could simply pull over to browse the web or work on their matchstick model of Big Ben?

I see no reason to waste time making a moronic and dangerous activity slightly safer

Re:Input method? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252357)

We need to get these systems developed and studied before we blanket-ban messaging and driving.

There is overwhelming evidence at this point that the distraction of being on a call or dealing with a message is actually the main danger, and that the physical effort of manipulating the device, while not completely irrelevant, has a much smaller effect.

That suggests we blanket ban these dangerous activities (and enforce it) first, and if anyone thinks they've come up with a safe way of doing it the onus is now on them to prove it so before it is permitted on public roads.

Re:Input method? (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252477)

That's true, yet all the laws so far mandate using headsets or some other hands free device to use your phone while driving. This does basically nothing to keep you from getting distracted.

Re:Input method? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252551)

Sadly, yes. As I noted in another post, the biggest screw-up the government made in the legislation here was that they didn't ban hands-free kits as well, apparently on the basis that enforcement would be impractical. That sent a clear message that driving using a hands-free kit was OK, which was then used extensively in advertising campaigns shortly after the laws were introduced.

Re:Input method? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252537)

We need to get these systems developed and studied before we blanket-ban messaging and driving.

your selfishness does not trump safety.

I doubt you truly understand how much energy a moving car has and how much damage it can do.

short of a bonafide emergency (almost never happens) there's no good reason to allow such distractions.

sorry, but you are just not even THINKING, here, dude. no text or email is worth this.

Japanese Car Televisions (2)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252215)

I've heard that it is or was common for Japanese domestic cars to have TVs installed. It seemed strange to me when I heard about it, because I certainly couldn't keep attention to both a TV screen and the road. On the other hand it would probably be easier to regulate attention to that versus a phone conversation where I'm actually pressured to perform two tasks at the same time.

Re:Japanese Car Televisions (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252473)

Is the TV installed for the driver to see, of for the passengers to see? You know, few cars have only one seat ...

Young people? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252217)

Why the focus solely on young people? I see plenty of so-called "adults" that are texting and jabbering incessantly behind the wheel.

Re:Young people? (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252353)

Why the focus solely on young people? I see plenty of so-called "adults" that are texting and jabbering incessantly behind the wheel.

Texting or otherwise using a cellphone while driving in fact suggests that the individual is too self-centered and too into instant gratification to be considered to be an "adult".

Should be in the no-shit-sherlock dept (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252253)

And similar to having a drunk person on the road, the consequences often end up ruining the lives of people who were not making the horrendously bad decision. The problem, of course, is proving it when something bad hasn't happened. This is why so many people get away with sending text messages while driving, because they don't get caught doing it. Unfortunately it gives them the false belief that they can do that safely.

On the cusp of a sea change (4, Interesting)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252267)

I predict that factors like this will be the impetus for society ultimately being OK with switching over to computer driven vehicles. Not saying that's good or bad, just predicting.

OK, fine. The facts are in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252271)

...so let's enact laws that reflect the serious danger of driving while texting. Penalties similar to DWI infractions, for starters. Then, while we're at it, let's also deal with other at-the-wheel distractions, like eating, smoking, applying makeup, and yelling at your kids. No... I am quite serious.

Obviously they need more training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252285)

They need a "Texting 101" class in school, so that students can get properly up-to-speed on texting at a young age, and by the time they can drive it only impedes their reaction times by "only" 20% or so.

Texting is a temporary, controllable condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252299)

This sort of testing is unrealistic. If I'm texting while stopped at a 90-second traffic light, I can stop texting when the light changes. A drunk driver stays drunk.

phones aren't the issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252323)

You can put down a cell phone; But you can't stop being drunk...

Here we go (0)

miltonw (892065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252389)

You always see these single-study reports to get everyone to panic about this "horrible epidemic" just before the powers-that-be attempt to pass some draconian restriction which will stop everyone from doing something just because a stupid minority.

A few years from now, after the legislation has been passed in a panic, more studies will then find that the problem really wasn't that bad and other solutions would be better at solving the real problem without restricting everyone's activities. Ah! Too late, the law was already passed.

Panic early and often, then they can control you.

Re:Here we go (3, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252505)

There is a mountain of evidence that driving and using a phone at the same time is highly dangerous, and it has been growing steadily for a long time. This is about as clear-cut and one-sided an issue as you can get, and innocent people are getting seriously hurt and even killed as a direct result of the dangerous behaviour. Outlawing that behaviour isn't draconian, it's making good law in the interests of society based on a rock solid empirical evidence base. Please take your FUD elsewhere.

This is already illegal in the UK, BTW. The problem is more one of enforcement in this case.

I doubt it scales, though. (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252395)

A little smart phone is probably worse than a little alcohol.

Maybe a heap of smart phone is still worse than a heap of alcohol.

I doubt that a whole whopping bunch of smart phone is proportionately worse than a whole whopping bunch of alcohol.

Though, I could be wrong.

The glass is half full (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252397)

In other words, I'm safer driving drunk than all those teens texting on the road. Hooray!

And children are more dangerous than smartphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252415)

It's hard to hit them with a baseball bat and drive at the same time. You can't really hit them with a smartphone.

It is easier to put down the phone than sober up (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252417)

If you are talking/texting you can always put down the phone it you encounter a difficult situation.
If you are drunk, you can't just stop being drunk just because you want to.

Re:It is easier to put down the phone than sober u (1)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252529)

If you are talking/texting you can always put down the phone it you encounter a difficult situation. If you are drunk, you can't just stop being drunk just because you want to.

RTFA. You are the cause of the "difficult situation" you're not trying to avoid someone else who's texting while driving.

Can't folks find the OFF switch or AIRCRAFT MODE or just lock the damned phone in the boot (aka trunk) of the car. You can update FB when you get to a rest area and not while you're driving.

I don't have this problem for two reasons: 1. I'm that stupid fella on the bicycle that you're just about to attempt to kill and 2. I don't have or need a smartphone.

disable phone using GPS (1, Interesting)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252423)

Why not just disable sending and receiving messages while the phone is moving over a specified speed? The phone alerts you to the call or text but you can't view the text or answer the call until you pull over. Why is it that people seem to think that a phone call can't wait a few minutes? Make 911 / 999 calls exempt.

Faraday Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252427)

Why not just engineer cars to be natural Faraday cages?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

Not a problem (1)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252453)

This is BS. I'm posting this from my mobile phone while speeding down the freeway at 80 mph, and look no problems whatsoev (*&$&*# NO CARRIER

I use my smartphone when driving all the time... (2)

Romwell (873455) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252463)

...since I use it extensively as a GPS/navigation aid, as do many other people. It allows me to focus on the road more when I am driving in unfamiliar places.

For many, it is also a music player (which has been a standard component in cars for decades). I doubt that hitting a "play" button to launch a playlist with thousands of songs *once* provides more distraction than going through a CD wallet every hour.

On the other hand, SMS messaging has been present on pretty much cell phones since the beginning, and you could access the WAP web over GPRS from an old Siemens over a decade ago.

My point is that many people use smartphones in a car in a way that doesn't make their driving any more dangerous, whereas you could use an old phone in a way that does. Don't blame the device, blame the activity (e.g. communicating by text while driving). While the article actually delivers this point, the title of the article (and the post) does not. The title should have been Using social networks while driving is more dangerous than alcohol.

It's not just smartphones (1)

Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252519)

People will attempt to perform all kinds of additional activities while driving. I've seen folks reading paperback books, eating cereal (from a large bowl), applying makeup, and even shave--all while "driving."

Canoot read a MAP (-1, Flamebait)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39252525)

The saying in the Military is follow your nose;

1 Get used to an Ordnance survey map and compass
(FACT accurate within 1 Sq ft)

2, Never go on a trek with someone GPS Unit

3, If you are with a person who cannot navigate; you have no business pushing your luck.

4, Batteries die; a compass does not and if you do not understand contour lines on a relief map good luck and fall off the next cliff

5, A real map teaches you everything but that is why big fat American Marines could not hack the mountains in Tora Bora Afghanistan and why people like me had to do it because American forces are full of shit; too fat and cannot cut the grease. Shame on you and that is why you use drones to kill innocent people nowadays.

smart phones and dumb people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39252585)

I wouldn't go so far as to say smart phones are making people stupider, but they do seem to make the stupid ones stand out.

Just today, as I was heading over to the store to get lunch in the City, I watched as some idiot rollerbladed in front of me on the sidewalk while reading something on his blackberry. The mind reels.

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