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Another Study Confirms Hands-Free Texting While Driving Is Unsafe

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the not-that-anybody-who-texts-behind-wheel-will-stop dept.

Transportation 286

schwit1 writes with a followup to a story we discussed in April about how using voice-activated texting while driving was no safer than using your hands. Now, a study by AAA has found that using voice commands to send texts is more dangerous than simply talking on your cellphone. "Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a 'large' amount of mental distraction compared with 'moderate/significant' for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and 'small' when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today. Automakers have promoted voice-based messaging as a safer alternative to taking hands off the wheel to place a call and talk on a handheld phone. About 9 million infotainment systems will be shipped this year in cars sold worldwide, with that number projected to rise to more than 62 million by 2018, according to a March report by London-based ABI Research. 'As we push towards these hands-free systems, we may be solving one problem while creating another,' said Joel Cooper, a University of Utah assistant research professor who worked on the study. 'Tread lightly. There's a lot of rush to develop these systems.' The findings from the largest U.S. motorist group bolster National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman's call to ban all phone conversations behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices."

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286 comments

No shit (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#43988111)

And in other news, water is wet, and jumping off a tall building is a "bad idea."

Re:No shit (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#43988251)

And in other news, water is wet, and jumping off a tall building is a "bad idea."

And yet, I could stand at almost any intersection with a camera, and I bet at least 25% of all drivers are in the middle of talking or texting despite it being illegal. Some days, it seems like more.

As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one. Not unlike people who believe they're still good drivers when they're half hammered.

Re:No shit (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#43988377)

And yet, I could stand at almost any intersection with a camera, and I bet at least 25% of all drivers are in the middle of talking or texting despite it being illegal.

Illegal's not the problem. If it were safe yet illegal it would only be their problem. Since it's so dangerous it's everybody's problem.

Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law. That leads to disrespect for law in general.

Re:No shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988509)

Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law. That leads to disrespect for law in general.

So you want your driver's license taken away because one of your neighbors killed someone while texting behind the wheel?

Re:No shit (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 10 months ago | (#43988527)

Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law. That leads to disrespect for law in general.

So you want your driver's license taken away because one of your neighbors killed someone while texting behind the wheel?

If you were texting while driving... yes.

Re:No shit (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#43988719)

Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law. That leads to disrespect for law in general.

So you want your driver's license taken away because one of your neighbors killed someone while texting behind the wheel?

No, no, no... I want your driver's license taken away until you can prove that you're not a selfish fuckhead who is incapable of operating 2 tons of Rolling Steel Death without endangering everyone around you.

Re:No shit (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 10 months ago | (#43988779)

The problem is many people are dangerous even without the cell phone or texting. Removing those things doesn't make them safe.

Re:No shit (5, Insightful)

mdielmann (514750) | about 10 months ago | (#43988987)

The problem is many people are dangerous even without the cell phone or texting. Removing those things doesn't make them safe.

BUT, most people are more dangerous when driving while texting or using a cell phone. Adding that makes them less safe.

Re:No shit (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 months ago | (#43988655)

As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one.

So, 20 years ago, before all this got started, traffic fatality rates were higher (both absolutely and per mile traveled) than they are now.

Do any of these studies explain why it's a problem that accident rates have been DECLINING since long before texting or chatting on a cell while driving became common?

Re:No shit (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#43988735)

As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one.

So, 20 years ago, before all this got started, traffic fatality rates were higher (both absolutely and per mile traveled) than they are now.

Do any of these studies explain why it's a problem that accident rates have been DECLINING since long before texting or chatting on a cell while driving became common?

Do they need to? Airbags, crash testing, frame strengthening, and many, many other safety technologies have been around so long (at least since the 1970's), they're kind of a given.

Re:No shit (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 months ago | (#43988799)

/sighs

They haven't stopped declining SINCE cellphones became a big thing, either.

Note that tech from the '70s does NOT imply continued improvement from, say 1990 to 2013, which would be covered by "20 years ago". I wasn't talking about "traffic fatalities fell from 1980 to 2000, then stopped declining". I'm talking "they started declining way back, and ARE STILL DECLINING!

In spite of all the people talking on their cellphones.

Re:No shit (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988953)

Yes, because OTHER IMPROVEMENTS to safety are ongoing. The point which you can't seem to grasp is that they would be declining at a STEEPER RATE if people were not talking on their phones or texting.

Re:No shit (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 10 months ago | (#43989017)

All of the technologies you mention would increase rather than decrease accident rates. Something like anti-lock brakes would decrease it.

Re:No shit (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988769)

There are causes of accidents other than distracted driving. In the last 20 years many improvements have been made to the cars and roads. There has also been increased focus on DWI. Put those things together, and you have a declining accident rate, EVEN IF the rate of accidents from distracted driving is going up.

You make it sound like there is some acceptable rate of traffic deaths, and as long as we maintain that rate there is no reason to try to improve. The acceptable rate is 0, and once we hit that we can stop improving.

Re:No shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988911)

Seriously? You can't wrap your head around the notion that fatality rates would be even lower than they are now if we didn't have texting and phone calls distracting drivers?

You sound like some of the morons I see driving -- which includes weaving, tailgating 1 car length back at 45MPH, blowing through stop signs and red lights, and more -- while taking a "really important" phone call. And yes, I've seen all of those things happen within the last two weeks and had to take extreme measures to avoid accidents in two instances.

Driving while texting or talking on a phone should be treated exactly the same as DUI.

This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988131)

This seems illogical. How can talking be more or less distracting then talking? There has to be some sort of flaw in either study that would account for the big difference.

Re:This seems illogical. (2)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#43988165)

Autocorrect.

Re:This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988553)

Came here for this.

Re:This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988669)

Not to mention fiddling with knobs, talking to passengers, looking at billboards and road signs, looking through the rear view mirror, etc.

Re:This seems illogical. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 months ago | (#43988203)

Well if you are Talking in the car with a passenger, he can tell you, Dude you need to stop your car. Vs talking to some one who doesn't have a stake in your driving safety (and can't know if he does).

I just recently got in an accident. I have a hands free unit. The phone rang, and the split second it took me to read who it was on the dashboard was long enough for me not to keep my eyes on the road to see the car in front of me doing a quick stop.
I didn't even pick up the phone, I was just wondering who it was, and it showed right on the dashboard.

If I am driving and someone is with me, and I get too distracted, or when I am riding with someone and see that they are about to do something dangerious. I can say, Hey the car is stopping!.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 10 months ago | (#43988227)

And how is that situation any different than looking down at the clock on your dashboard? Or the radio? Or the fuel gauge or speedometwr?

Re:This seems illogical. (5, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988303)

Several ways. First, looking at the clock, radio, speedometer, etc is done at a time convenient for and chosen by the driver. There is no sense of urgency about it - it is not an interrupt. Most drivers are not going to be looking at those things except for when it is relatively safe to do so. On the other hand, many (most?) people treat an incoming phone call or text as something that must be dealt with RIGHT NOW.

Secondly, looking at those other things takes very little thought, and thus causes very little distraction. Reading a phone number or name takes a lot more thought, and distracts you for a longer period of time.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988387)

Several ways. First, looking at the clock, radio, speedometer, etc is done at a time convenient for and chosen by the driver. There is no sense of urgency about it - it is not an interrupt. Most drivers are not going to be looking at those things except for when it is relatively safe to do so. On the other hand, many (most?) people treat an incoming phone call or text as something that must be dealt with RIGHT NOW.

Secondly, looking at those other things takes very little thought, and thus causes very little distraction. Reading a phone number or name takes a lot more thought, and distracts you for a longer period of time.

Ooh ooh I know this one.
Set the NMI flag in your CPU control register and don't worry about interrupts.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988505)

Well, if you can do that, great. Of course that means you have no reactions at all and should not be driving. So the next best thing is proposed - don't generate the interrupt in the first place.

Re:This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988573)

No-no, you just *poll* the road regularly.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#43988865)

Many people turn down the radio when they are looking for an address. The reason is because the radio is distracting.
And that is not even active listening. It is passive listening. Yet it still is distracting.

That should be enough evidence.

Re:This seems illogical. (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43989053)

Concentration and alertness are not the same thing. The radio certainly interferes with concentration, and when you are looking for an address you are concentrating. Normal driving does not require concentration, it requires alterness. In fact, concentration interferes with alterness. One reason that beginning drivers are so bad is that they are concentrating so much on the mechanics of driving that they are not alert. There is no indication that the radio interferes with alertness.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 10 months ago | (#43989015)

There is a way to make this much less distracting if one practices it, and it applies to other things we should be doing like looking in our mirrors as well. Glance at the mirror or instrument and immediately look back ahead. Our brain can figure out what we saw after the fact without us fixating on the scene.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988345)

And how is that situation any different than looking down at the clock on your dashboard? Or the radio? Or the fuel gauge or speedometwr?

It isn't. He was tailgating and doesn't want to change the way he drives. I've known multiple habitual tailgaters who have totaled cars and they always have an excuse for driving right into another vehicle. I've yet to see one change to even a normal following distance, much less the recommended one of three seconds.

Re:This seems illogical. (5, Insightful)

Garion911 (10618) | about 10 months ago | (#43988265)

One of 2 reasons for your accident.

1. You took longer than you think to read the name.
2. You were following too closely.

Answer is most likely 2. People follow MUCH too closely nowadays.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988817)

Yup, because assholes cut in in an unsafe manner if you do leave a safe gap.

Re:This seems illogical. (3, Insightful)

crakbone (860662) | about 10 months ago | (#43988839)

Just bad driving. If he knew that he needed to look he should have made sure he had a proper braking distance for the time it takes to check the screen. That's part of driving. Analyzing the environment and accounting for problems before they happen. My wife constantly got on me about slowing down for green lights ( I watch cross traffic and slow if it looks dangerous). One day we are driving late and I started slowing for a green light to watch cross traffic, I hit the brakes hard and a truck full on blew the light at 70 miles an hour. If I had not checked the cross traffic we would have been t-boned and our car would have taken out four drunks crossing the road. As it was the driver barely missed the drunks. Situational awareness is very important in driving.

Re:This seems illogical. (2)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 10 months ago | (#43988561)

Stop tailgating and leave a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you and that won't happen.

Texting, or talking, while driving is not the problem. Bad drivers are the problem. Texting and talking while driving makes bad drivers worse.

Re:This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988903)

I fully agree with you when you say that bad drivers are a problem. Indeed because the drivers engaging in these distracting activities while driving are assholes without consideration for other people's lives that part of your statement is true.
Your comment shows however problems elsewhere were it becomes apparent that you have no fucking clue. There are plenty of reasons car drivers shall be looking what is happening in front of their cars (and around them) - car in front of you that was moving the same direction when you looked at it last time is only one of them.

Re:This seems illogical. (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#43988431)

It's completely logical.

Your passenger, like you, has a significant interest in surviving your trip, and will tend to react by quieting down when you're in a tough spot, or help you out with a "Watch out!" if you're about to, say, pull into an occupied lane next to you.

The person on the other end of the phone, by contrast, isn't there with you and has no understanding of your current situation.

The basic thing to understand, though, about why hands-free makes no significant difference is that it's not the driver's hands or eyes that are the limiting factor, it's the driver's brain.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

crakbone (860662) | about 10 months ago | (#43988863)

You obviously have never been a designated driver. Passengers are just passengers. They talk and yell and scream. It's the drivers job to filter it out and to drive with enough safety margin that distractions are not a safety issue.

Re:This seems illogical. (1)

tgd (2822) | about 10 months ago | (#43988633)

Its a lot like speaking a second language you're not that familiar with. Your natural flow and grammar doesn't always work and the response you get back isn't always what you expect. It just takes your brain more attention to handle it.

The brain also tends to have a greater problem following dis-embodied conversation. It takes less effort to talk to someone you can see than someone you can't.

There are nuances to how the brain processes things that tend to be a surprise the more we collectively learn about it.

Re:This seems illogical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988985)

Talking with someone who isn't there requires greater attention than talking with someone who is. I never really understood this until I started making phone calls in a language other than my native one. Despite the fact that I speak the language fluently, conversing over the phone is far more difficult than having an in-person conversation. Once I noticed the phenomenon in those languages, I started noticing how much more attention I paid to conversations on the phone in my native language.

I'm not sure why this is, but there's something in our (or at least my, though I doubt I'm all that unique) brains that optimizes in-person interactions that doesn't work over the phone.

Mc Donalds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988139)

Is not safe! Do not go there!

Working Bluetooth would help a bit. (0, Offtopic)

pecosdave (536896) | about 10 months ago | (#43988145)

Has anyone else had any luck with getting Bluetooth headsets to work with anything other than normal phone calls with Android? Mine doesn't work with Skype, Tango, regular voice recognition like Google Now, or Waze. It's a Jawbone, not like it's obscure. Didn't have much better luck way back in the past when I used iDevices either.

Re:Working Bluetooth would help a bit. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#43988305)

No it wouldn't. have a look at this guy. [slashdot.org]

Besides, this is about TEXTING. Yes, phones are dangerous but texting is moronically dangerous. If you dumb kids don't stop it, before you know it they'll mandate measures to disable cell phones in cars, and then even your passengers won't be able to phone, text, or google. Look at "open container" laws, if idiots didn't drink and drive, the passengers could have a beer.

So just stop it!

Re:Working Bluetooth would help a bit. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 10 months ago | (#43988555)

All I really want it for is Waze and to reply "driving" anyways. I have no real interest in texting while driving. I'm mostly bitching that I can't use my Bluetooth while not driving and it instantly came to mind. Seriously - what good is a video chat if you can't hear each other?

doing anything but driving while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988153)

is stupid and dangerous

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 10 months ago | (#43988243)

So then why aren't the same people trying to banning dashboard gauges, clocks and radios?

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (1)

operagost (62405) | about 10 months ago | (#43988381)

They should. They should also ban any communication devices at all, for everyone. No more phones or radios for cops or truck drivers. What's so special about them that it's OK for them to spread death all over the road?

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (2)

Applekid (993327) | about 10 months ago | (#43988401)

So then why aren't the same people trying to banning dashboard gauges, clocks and radios?

Because they aren't new fangled technology and trying to blame them won't work because they're not new and scary.

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#43988413)

You might want to read a comment [slashdot.org] or two before jumping in, trying to get first post, and making yourself look like an utter fool.

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988479)

Because they aren't distracting. You probably check the gauges, etc dozens of times during a trip, and never even realize it. If I asked you what the gauge said a few seconds after you looked at it you could probably not even tell me. However, if you got a text or phone call, I bet I could ask you 10 minutes later and you would know exactly who it was from. In the case of gauges no real 'processing' or memory is involved - you are just looking for a quick confirmation of something, and as soon as you have that you can forget about it. Not so with texts and phone calls.

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988535)

Maybe they should. I had a friend that constantly fiddled with the radio while driving. I warned him numerous times that it was dangerous. Anyway, he killed someone. It tortures him daily that he killed someone just because he couldn't find a station he wanted to listen to. Justify it however you want. When someone dies, you don't get a redo.

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988421)

I just finished a human factors psychology class. Very interesting stuff. We can safely multiprocess several different ways assuming we are operating on different resource types. Also, a really bland, repetitive environment reduces sensory arousal and can lead to vigilance reduction. I'm not arguing with the study but a sterile driving environment doesn't mean you outperform better than someone who is properly multitasking after vigilance reduction begins to set in.

Re:doing anything but driving while driving (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988725)

Any driving course will teach you how to avoid 'highway hypnosis'. If you are in a 'sterile driving environment' (ie staring straight ahead) you are doing it wrong. The correct way to fix that is to look at different things (when it is safe to do so). However, you should NOT be dedicating a significant part of your brain to that activity (like by trying to identify a bird or something). If you are texting or phoning you ARE dedicating a significant part of your brain to that activity.

Anything New Is Learning Curve Intensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988179)

A complete newbie was brain-monitored while doing hands-free, voice texting. Of course it was intense: All new learning is.

And another study shows... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#43988187)

And other research shows that the sky is blue when It's daytime and there are no clouds. What does it take to convince people? Especially people stupid enough to text while driving?

Look, folks, a text isn't like a phone call. It's like email. That goddamned text will wait until you're stopped.

Re:And another study shows... (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 10 months ago | (#43988743)

Well, as far as I know, this is only the second study that consider hand-free texting. So i'd say, I will only be convinced myself after a couple more.

really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988213)

Do we need a another study to say that people who are paying attention to something other than driving while on the road is dangerous. It amazes me how people do not take driving seriously when it has consistently been a leading cause of early death in this country.

Even worse (3, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 10 months ago | (#43988217)

What is more dangerous is having stupid people driving..... period. Whether they are texting, juggling, talking on the phone, or playing PS3. Especially when they try to merge onto a 65 MPH freeway going 30 MPH.

Re:Even worse (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about 10 months ago | (#43988945)

What is more dangerous is having stupid people driving..... period. Whether they are texting, juggling, talking on the phone, or playing PS3. Especially when they try to merge onto a 65 MPH freeway going 30 MPH.

Damn, now I want a PS3 for my car!

Re:Even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988949)

This is one of my pet peeves. To top it off, last week I passed a cop with a LIDAR gun on a HIGHWAY ACCELERATION RAMP! WTF!!! Does he want you to stay at the previously posted 50 KPH until you merge on to the 100KPH highway? Fucking moron cop.

Exactly what constitutes "radio"? (2)

mariox19 (632969) | about 10 months ago | (#43988223)

Tasks such as listening to the radio ranked as a category “1” level of distraction or a minimal risk.

Are we talking vapid pop music, idiot morning DJ's, or "stimulating" discussions on Public Radio? My gut tells me that these aren't equally distracting. Additionally, what qualifies as "listening" to radio. There are some people who sing along to songs on the radio, or switch stations constantly. Is this what the experiment simulated, or did people just drive while passively listening?

Neat (3, Interesting)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about 10 months ago | (#43988235)

Remember last time when Texas A&M did this? They asked people to LOOK AT THE PHONES AND MAKE SURE THE TEXT WAS CORRECT. Of course it's more distracting. I don't know the details of this study, TFA is light on details and direction (though it mentions the A&M study).

In case no one here was aware - doing anything other than driving, when you're driving, means you aren't driving at 100%/

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988451)

In case you aren't aware doing not engaging your other mental resource pools while doing a task can speed vigilance reduction, so if you are doing nothing else other than driving then after 15 minutes or so then you also aren't driving at 100%. Funny how the human brain works.

you don't think people would check normally? (2)

Chirs (87576) | about 10 months ago | (#43988465)

I don't know about you, but whenever I use the voice-to-text capabilities in android there are multiple wrong words. Given that, I'd be willing to be that the vast majority of people would in fact check to make sure the text was correct before sending.

Re:you don't think people would check normally? (2)

AuMatar (183847) | about 10 months ago | (#43988559)

I wrote my own hands free texting app, that automatically determines when you're driving (based on speed). It solves this in a very simple way- after you speak your response, it repeats it and asks if you're sure you want to send. If you say no, it lets you re-enter your response. No need to look at a phone at all.

Cheap plug: Text Soundly is available at the Play Store here [google.com].

Re:you don't think people would check normally? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988793)

I've spent years trying to come up with an idea for a useful app. Fuck you, buddy.

Re:you don't think people would check normally? (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43988959)

Wow, android not being able to do this natively is a major fail. Awesome that you fixed a major failure in the OS.
Sadly there is no way to launch your app hands free.

Re:you don't think people would check normally? (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43988947)

I dont, I dont give a rats arse if it is wrong. but if android cant send it blindly with voice only, never ever looking at the phone, then it is an epic fail of voice control.

Re:you don't think people would check normally? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#43989003)

I mainly use the text-to-speech function if I'm walking and want to compose a text message. (Little danger of a high speed collision there.) One time I decided to use it as I started my car (but was still parked). It changed "each" in my text to my wife to "eat sh**" (yes, it put in asterisks). Next time, I'll keep take the extra few seconds to type out my message (while keeping the car in Park, of course).

Re:Neat (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43988935)

Which means,

  Radio on? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
Passengers in car? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
Windows Open? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
hungry? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
Tired? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
Angry? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
Happy? YOU ARE UNSAFE!

basically by all these studies, unless you are driving with the concentration of a race car driver, YOU ARE UNSAFE!!!!!!!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

Yet they ignore that most drivers are simply unsafe because they are far too stupid to be driving a car to begin with. Example, Tailgaiters, weavers (drift left to turn right), old farts putting at 35-45 on the interstate, Red light runners, People that do blind right turns, etc....

hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988255)

I wonder if this test would hold up after the users have used their handsfree TXT setup for 1-3 months. Doing anything new requires more brain power then something you have had practice doing.

Re:hmmmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988315)

How do you get that practice?

Quality of hands free solution (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about 10 months ago | (#43988299)

I have no interested in texting and driving. But, I can't help but wonder if these hands free capabilities were easier to use if the outcome of this study would have been different. I have two cars with voice recognition capabilities. One, works pretty well. The other is so difficult to use I would never use it while driving. If using hands free technologies were like having a conversation with someone sitting beside you, I would think the level of distraction would be significantly less than is currently the case. Maybe we just aren't there yet.

Distracted driving (2)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#43988363)

What I disagree with is all these laws that punish the acts of distracted driving, but all too often do not sufficiently punish the damage, or place the responsibility on the people who choose to take the risk.

Like drunk driving, I would like to see that laws punish those that actually cause damage, not just arbitrarily set rules and regulation. If someone is driving recklessly, I don't care if they are distracted or just don't know how to drive, they should be ticketed. Why should a attentive reckless driver be treated better than a distracted driver. If someone gets into an auto incident because they are drunk or because they are texting, then assign the blame completely on them. Sure the other party might have done something wrong, but in most situations it is two way street. Both drivers have to be aware so that when mistakes are made, which we all do, everyone is aware enough to avoid the incident. If someone dies as a result, and it is not the distracted driver, then manslaughter charges and prison time should be the norm. Not wasting cops time setting up roadblocks to punish drivers that are otherwise safe.

Re:Distracted driving (1)

thoth (7907) | about 10 months ago | (#43988615)

All that sounds great, but then the majority of Slashdot posters also vehemently defend their 4th Amendment rights against improper search and seizure. Look at the thread about cops examining cell phones at crash sites.

I'm not disagreeing, I'm just pointing out that assigning blame onto somebody requires investigative work, evidence gathering, due process and so on - can't count on the guilty party to voluntarily confess they were distracted, 5th Amendment and all - so how exactly is that going to mesh up with needing warrants to get the evidence before it naturally disappears (e.g. intoxication). Same with text messages, looking at a phone and seeing a partly written but unsent text is good evidence they were in the middle of texting, but unsent texts aren't logged and by the time due process comes through the non-idiot party will have erased that data.

Re:Distracted driving (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#43988931)

If you are engaging in the activities that cause you to get punished at a roadblock, then you are NOT 'otherwise safe'. You just have not yet met the condition for your lack of safety to be exposed.

The main problem with your idea is that it requires someone to actually be harmed before any action is taken. That is just stupid. That harm could have easily been prevented in the first place, and it should have been.

Re:Distracted driving (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 10 months ago | (#43988961)

I feel like that type of law aims at reducing the number of people that get into accidents. If you ticket (or jail) people AFTER the accident, I do not think people would care as much and do it by themself. Once you are dead, you don't care about getting a ticket.

If you applied that to speeding, there are many cases where I could speed safely, but I do not because I need to keep my driving license. My judgement of when it is safe to speed or not is certainly not perfect, and that would make the road more dangerous.

If you hit me while you are texting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988405)

It will be the last thing you ever do.

clear and concise (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 10 months ago | (#43988423)

If my wife texts me while im in the car Ill engage Siri and voice text back. However, if it doesnt work exactly right on the first try, i give up until i can pull over. I found i was dedicating too much brain power trying to correct it. I also make sure i fully form the message in my head before i engage Siri

Re:clear and concise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988631)

And yet, you are still fucking around with your phone while driving. Sure, you pull over if you have to simply retype the message, which is better than people that type on the drive. But, dictating the message, reading it (or having it read back to you), then trying to send the message while driving is dangerous, whether you are physically touching the screen or not.

Ahh, but I forgot, you are a good driver, so the rules do not need to apply to you.

Re:clear and concise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988807)

I've always wondered what the data would look like asking "Are you a safer driver than the average person?", "How many accidents have you been involved in?", "How many of those accidents do you feel were your fault?", "How many of those accidents were you found legally at fault for?". I get the feeling it'll be like self performance appraisals from engineers, where the good ones tend to rate themselves lower than others.

Re:clear and concise (2)

MindStalker (22827) | about 10 months ago | (#43988797)

And really this is the major problem. I can't just say
"Siri, text wife, pickup milk on your way home".

Its NEVER that easy, and if it was it would be pretty safe to use while driving.

Using hand-held devices while driving (2)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about 10 months ago | (#43988429)

As a person who drives a lot for work and has to be always available to answer a phone call, I do use my cell-phone A LOT while driving. Texting while driving is the worst idea ever especially with touchscreens - a person actually needs to look at what he or she touches. I, personally, miss calls and don't answer texts (thank Android for speech recognition) if it is not safe.

I also can see why law is in place. Mostly because of teenagers who don't have proper driving skills but possess texting addictions.

A sandwich is a handheld device but nobody is banning food in the vehicles. They should. Some people would benefit from that.

Use the cellphone or not while driving it is always your judgement call.

Re:Using hand-held devices while driving (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 10 months ago | (#43988657)

As a person who drives a lot for work and has to be always available to answer a phone call, I do use my cell-phone A LOT while driving. Texting while driving is the worst idea ever especially with touchscreens - a person actually needs to look at what he or she touches. I, personally, miss calls and don't answer texts (thank Android for speech recognition) if it is not safe.

I also can see why law is in place. Mostly because of teenagers who don't have proper driving skills but possess texting addictions.

A sandwich is a handheld device but nobody is banning food in the vehicles. They should. Some people would benefit from that.

Use the cellphone or not while driving it is always your judgement call.

It requires a lot less brainpower to use a sandwich than a phone. Even if the phone is hands-free.

Now, a hands-free sandwich... hmm.

but but but people want to text (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988437)

the biggest (one of the biggest?) killers of healthy people before the automobile was falling off horses (head trauma), so horses were very unsafe. skiing is unsafe. so what? people wanted to use horses and they still ski.

i want to text while doing other things. so does everybody else. let's stop trying to prove it's unsafe, and start trying to improve safety.

back before it was illegal and before touch screens made typing stupid, I would hold my T9 phone as a heads up display just off the side of my face, eyes on the road I would thumb in words, dart my eyes over and check every now and then. it was awesome, i was awesome, and it was a lot safer than looking at me typing on my touchscreen in my lap while i drive.

Hang up and drive (0)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#43988467)

Hang up and drive, already.

We need fully automatic driving so that people can be on social networks while in motion. At least that's coming.

There are certain patterns of impairment to watch for in people using cell phones. There's a tendency to under-brake when coming to a stop at a stop sign or traffic light. So the vehicle's nose ends up out in the intersecting street. Turns tend to be too wide, since the driver only has one hand on the wheel. Left turns may cut through the stop area of the cross street.

How we do it in airplanes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988491)

When piloting an aircraft, there is a strict hierarchy of behaviors: Aviate, Navigate, and only when these pose no demands, Communicate.

voice messages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988511)

I don't know why this isn't popular in america, but when I was in China, people use voice messages a lot. As it's tedious to type pinyin they have many apps that simply store the voice message and pings the users at the other end to listen to it. They use that service to bypass long distance fees too.

Crazy ass drivers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988539)

People are far too careless while driving and I'll admit until I drove a semi I was just as bad as everyone else. I guess the best thing I learned was to worry about how everyone around me is driving and to drive defensively. Winter 2007 a SUV came flying past me with the driver sending a text or dialing.. I shook my head then all the sudden they lost control spun around and 5 kids were ejected out the rear.
I stopped and I had a feeling it was going to be very bad but, I was relieved that I was wrong, luckily for them the snow was very deep and they only had minor injuries. Even though everything turned out good I was almost arrested for giving that lady a piece of my mind for a good 30 minuets.

Why the outrage over texting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988591)

...when there is no similar outrage over applying cosmetics, eating a cheeseburger, reading a newspaper, disciplining a child, conversing with a passenger, drinking a coffee, corralling a bee out the window...etc, etc, etc? Are those activities any less distracting?

I think the answer lies not in technology, but in education; i.e., teach people to drive properly to begin with, and don't allow them to continue to drive if they refuse to do so.

Re:Why the outrage over texting... (1)

fuzznutz (789413) | about 10 months ago | (#43988813)

Amen. The biggest problem driver I encountered this week was driving very slow and dropped from 20 mph down to 5 mph on the road. When I passed, I saw it was because they had unfolded a large map they were reading it. They had no idea what was in front of them or which way they were pointed. They were still moving when I turned.

Re:Why the outrage over texting... (1, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about 10 months ago | (#43989041)

... and these are the same people trying to ban the practical use of satnav devices while driving, leading to everyone reading maps in traffic.

I am sick of the automotive nanny state.

Hands don't matter. Eyes are the key. (1)

aarongadberry (1232868) | about 10 months ago | (#43988611)

Imagine driving and taking your hands off the wheel for a few seconds. Now imagine driving and closing your eyes for a few seconds.

You know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988709)

Studies are like assholes, everyone has one.

Whats unsafe while driving:
Eating\Drinking
Changing the radio station\CD
Driving with one hand on the wheel and other in the GF\Wifes crotch
Checking out that hot blond in the car next to you
Tailgating
Weaving
Singing to a Nicky Minaj song

Etc etc etc etc etc....

Study is bullshit. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43988765)

Because when I talk to Siri it's the same amount of distraction as talking to my passenger.

Siri, send a text to boss, I am running late......... yes...

IF that is as distracting as looking down and trying to type for 15 seconds, then my wife in the car is as distracting as driving while blind drunk. Which makes the study 100% BS.

I want to see their raw data.

But other distractions are okay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43988871)

So..
Touchscreen stereos, button based stereos, thirst busters, talking, cameras, all are fine?

And distractions such as talking, listening to music, thinking, all okay?

I feel any distraction is bad and singling out this one is unfair, things such s not using turn signals are causing more accidents?

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