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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the keep-your-eyes-on-the-road-your-hands-upon-the-wheel dept.

Transportation 367

schwit1 (797399) writes "Texting and driving is dangerous but a new survey finds talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel may be even worse. The National Safety Council's annual report found 26 percent of all crashes are tied to phone use, but noted just 5 percent involved texting. Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce driver distraction."

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Easy stats to pull (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597813)

Why not just pull stats from the infotainment system since most cars have them, and couple that data with black box crash data if it isn't already?

Re:Easy stats to pull (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597835)

There's this thing called privacy that brats like you don't comprehend.

Re:Easy stats to pull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597967)

Who says the phone is even connected to the infotainment system?

"I WILL GIVE UP MY MOBILE..." (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46598399)

"When you PRY it from my COLD, DEAD... oh, yeah. Well, never mind. Carry on and all that."

Re:Easy stats to pull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598235)

I'm sorry, you lost that privacy, while on a public road whilst crashing your car. So when the person you hit sues, and your black box data is pulled anyway, I guess we'll find out anyway. And don't think for two farts in the wind that the automakers don't already collect and know this data. And while your your new car in 2015-2018 is gearing up to read your phone for the music you like and and places you visit, prepare for in car ads -- shop here now. You're approaching Sears. Sears is having a sale on tools today, 20% off. Privacy my ass. You sync your phone, it will know all about you, who you are, where you go, how fast you drive, and report all of it to every advertiser along every street you drive on. Privacy, what f*ucking planet do you live on? If you want privacy, go back to using land lines, ohh wait, nvm. :)

Another amazing fact: (3, Insightful)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 6 months ago | (#46597843)

Some people are more prone to be in / cause an accident period. Distracted driving increases the likelyhood of an accident, be it texting, be-bopping to music, talking on the phone, enjoying the company of the fellow passengers, or just plain dealing with kids.

There's a reason the pilot of a plane is sectioned away from the screaming babies.

Re:Another amazing fact: (2)

nickittynickname (2753061) | about 6 months ago | (#46597929)

They need to compare it to how often drivers use their phone in their car. I know the first thing I do on my commute is make calls. I'm not very social but it wouldn't take much for me to be using the phone 25% of the time while I'm driving.

Re:Another amazing fact: (-1, Flamebait)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#46598173)

distractions, like, oh, I don't know, KIDS IN THE BACK SEAT, yelling their fucking heads off?

stuff like that, maybe?

we going to outlaw 'mothers+kids' in car?

I'd feel a lot safer on the road if the soccer moms would put a plexiglass sound proof barrier between them and their crotchfruit.

stupid mothers who don't give attention enough to driving are far worse for our collective safety than cellphones.

but mothers are a protected class, untouchable. we all know that.

Re:Another amazing fact: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598219)

So are niggers like you. But we all know that.

Re:Another amazing fact (5, Informative)

ben_white (639603) | about 6 months ago | (#46598363)

You are an idiot.

Women between the ages of 30 and 50 (i.e. mothers) have the lowest fatality and accident rates of any other age or gender group.

See here as one example of easily obtainable information: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topic... [iihs.org]

--
cheers - ben

Re:Another amazing fact: (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46598411)

There's a reason the pilot of a plane is sectioned away from the screaming babies.

I thought it was 'cause he didn't have a first-class ticket.

It's the conversation, (3, Insightful)

dfetter (2035) | about 6 months ago | (#46597861)

not the holding of the device, as anybody who'd thought this through even for a second was saying back when "hands-free" was being touted as a safety feature.

Re:It's the conversation, (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46598135)

Holding the device always makes it worse, especially when dialing. Especially in a stick-shift.

Many drivers communicate all the time while driving, on the radio or more modern cell-phone based alternative. They have before cell phones existed. It's the driver who's dangerous, not the phone.

Re:It's the conversation, (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 6 months ago | (#46598241)

It's the driver who's dangerous, not the phone.

Phones don't kill people, conversations do.

Re:It's the conversation, (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46598377)

The joke falls flat because every single professional driver with a dispatcher (from taxis to police to heavy trucks) has conversations while driving, often involving reaching for a map. It comes down to the driver.

Re:It's the conversation, (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46598537)

The professional driver remains compensated for his windshield time only so long as he's relatively problem-free on the road.

Unlike your amateur drivers, a single DUI or license suspension ends your budding career. The weak have already been weeded out to some degree.

The threshold for reproduction is marginally less for drivers of POVs.

Re:It's the conversation, (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#46598565)

The joke falls flat because every single professional driver with a dispatcher (from taxis to police to heavy trucks) has conversations while driving

I don't understand your point. Are you saying that professional drivers don't have accidents?

Re:It's the conversation, (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46598155)

I call BS on that, or having passengers talking to you cause accidents.

Ham radio operators talk on the radio all the time and dont have accidents at that rate, Semi truck drivers use a CB heavily and also dont.

Hell us kids throwing crap and constantly yelling "DAD HE IS HITTING ME!" should have had my family dead in a ditch 80X a year.

The problem is not talking it's the morons texting and checking email/facebook.

Re:It's the conversation, (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 6 months ago | (#46598293)

We didn't need seatbelts back then, neither. Being flung from the backseat into the windshield during sudden stops was a rite of passage when I was a boy. People was just smarter and stronger back in them days.

Re:It's the conversation, (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46598437)

And our fatalities were caused by HIGHWAY HEAD, not cissy cell phones!

Re:It's the conversation, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598477)

True story..

My wife, when a child had a family friend die of exposure after being flung out of the car in a single car accident in the middle of fucking nowhere in the Eastern Washington. She laid on the ground unconscious for hours before dying of exposure. She wasn't wearing a coat or a seatbelt.

The response of her mother was to always demand that she wore a coat when riding as a passenger in the car.

Re:It's the conversation, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598305)

The problem with phones really is "TAKING YOUR EYES OFF THE ROAD". Reading that last text message, dialing your phone or going though your inbox while screaming down the road at 60 MPH is down right stupid. It takes both your attention off the road and causes you to focus your eyes on something other than the road.

Two way radios (like CB and Ham Radios) are not usually going to take your attention from the road. Grab the mic and push to talk. That is why they are somewhat safer. But still, distracted driving, even if it's the kids in the back seat or eating your hamburger, is a problem.

Re:It's the conversation, (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 months ago | (#46598533)

Ham radio operators talk on the radio all the time and dont have accidents at that rate,

Two things.

First an anecdote - I know a ham who did HF CW in his car while driving.

Second, I really wonder how they defined a cell phone as being involved in an accident. Did they just record any accident where a phone was someplace visible to the driver? Did they record any accident where a call was in progress? Did they try to determine if the call itself contributed to the accident? Did fault come into it? If you're parked talking on the phone and somebody rear-ends you, does that count as a phone-involved accident?

These stats might be really telling us that lots of cars have cell phones in them.

Passengers ARE THERE TOO (2, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 6 months ago | (#46598535)

Many magic tricks work based upon how predictably easy it is to distract humans.

Passengers are also paying some attention and CAN more than compensate for the distraction they create. (NOTE: I used the word "can.")

It only takes an instant of looking at the wrong place to miss the magic trick. Same with driving except the result is not enjoyable.

Many of the stereo systems I've seen are a disaster, you could die just trying to change the station and when new they have too much of a learning curve - plus all those blinking lights designed to SELL it like a bait for a fish.

I've missed many accidents over the years and I had a mix of Cell phone, Brats, and airhead teenage boys almost get me. The phone being the only one where it's 100% the user's fault for putting others at risk. They should be punished for reckless endangerment because that is exactly what it is! brats need driving around and teen boys can't help themselves but a cell user could WAIT like everybody used to do not that long ago.

Did the accident rate increase? (5, Insightful)

geneing (756949) | about 6 months ago | (#46597877)

The main question is if the total accident rate has increased since cell phones became ubiquitous. As far as I know the answer is "no", the accident rate actually went down. "Tied to" doesn't mean "caused", or "increased the chance of". Usually "tied to" is a lazy qualifier from a lazy researcher or journalist.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597985)

I'm willing to be that an even higher percentage of crashes involve radio usage!

dom

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597997)

Agreed. More than 1 in 4 sounds like bullshit anyways. Yet another agenda-driven article.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46598169)

You should see how the books are cooked for "alcohol-related" crashes. Beer in the trunk of the car that was blindsided? Alcohol-related! Agenda-driven statistics.

I can certainly believe 1-in-4 if you include passengers in the not-at-fault car on the phone as "phone related"

Remember, there are lies, damn lies, and anonymous posts on the internet! Or something like that.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46598557)

+2 Sounds like truth.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598171)

Well gosh, if your gut says it's wrong then it must be a conspiracy by liberal ivory tower scientists trying to ruin all of our fun!

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598013)

The main question is if the total accident rate has increased since cell phones became ubiquitous. As far as I know the answer is "no", the accident rate actually went down.

"Tied to" doesn't mean "caused", or "increased the chance of". Usually "tied to" is a lazy qualifier from a lazy researcher or journalist.

Even if there's been no rise in accident rate after cellphones became ubiquitous, that doesn't mean phoning or texting while driving isn't dangerous.

First, we don't know what the accident rate would be had cell phones not become so popular.

Second, even if we could know what the accident rate would have been, and it would still be the same as it is, that could just mean short-attention-span idiots found other ways to be idiots while driving and didn't need to text to be fools.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46598493)

>Even if there's been no rise in accident rate after cellphones became ubiquitous, that doesn't mean phoning or texting while driving isn't dangerous.
Or is.

Most of the time it's correct to admit you don't know either way.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#46598125)

Fatalities went down, did indeed the ratio/amount of traffic accidents go down? I doubt that.

The accident ratio went down because of:
safer cars
safer roads
better street signs
speed limits
traffic jams
Pick your reasons.

Certainly not because people now use cell phones.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 6 months ago | (#46598153)

It doesn't matter if the total accident rate has increased or decreased. There are lots of things that can cause the total accident rate to increase or decrease.
The problem is that there is solid research showing that you are 4x as likely to have a crash when you are using a cell phone (McEvoy et al (2005); Redelmeier & Tibshirani (1997)). This has been measured with actual data from emergency department visits and property damage only accident reports.
The report also states that 9% of drivers are using cell phones at any given time. (2012 NHTSA)

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (1)

bsane (148894) | about 6 months ago | (#46598333)

It does matter- take away phones and you could see the total number of accidents stay the same- now with phone distractions replaced with 'HE CAME OUT OF NOWHERE!' ie: not paying attention.

Re:Did the accident rate increase? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46598517)

>The problem is that there is solid research showing that you are 4x as likely to have a crash when you are using a cell phone (McEvoy et al (2005); Redelmeier & Tibshirani (1997)). This has been measured with actual data from emergency department visits and property damage only accident reports.

That is not solid research. That is bad sampling.
Sampling only the journeys that ended up in an accident is the most heavily biased sampling you can perform.

Just because it sounds official doesn't mean they understood the first thing about statistical inference.

here you go, oh callous youth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598165)

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/

In my day, it was drinking and driving. This the the modern equalizer. Prepare to apply a negative pressure to a personal member!

News just in: 100% accidents tied to breathing (2, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 6 months ago | (#46598441)

This is a very stupid and misleading statistic. I've seen statements like this on Slashdot before, and in my local paper, so I did look up the numbers, and the accident and fatality rates have both been dropping steadily since before handheld cell phones even existed. Almost 100% of the population has cell phones, and they are being used in some manner or another off and on continuously throughout the day. So of course they are being used during a significant number of accidents, because they're being used during a significant number of miles driven.

If cell phones are a significant cause of accidents, the numbers would very clearly show it, yet they don't. So the best anyone can come up to throw at us is this kind of misleading garbage. 100% of all the accidents I have ever been in involved contacts to correct eye vision. Obviously my contacts are a major problem then?

great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597885)

I'm glad we're using science to decide what is safe and what is not. Now, can we get rid of the laws that make it a DUI to have any Cannabis in your system?

Re:great (1, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 months ago | (#46597913)

And moving .08 up to a reasonable number.

Re:great (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46598523)

The problem is a safe limit is a very personal thing - I've known people with enough driving skill and experience that I'd mostly trust them behind the wheel even when damn near falling down drunk. I've also known people I barely trust behind the wheel stone-cold sober. I certainly wouldn't trust the second group behind the wheel after a drink or two, much less after the 3-5 it'd take most people to reach 0.08 BAC. It's all about *how* impaired they are, and how capable they were to begin with.

Perhaps some progress could be made with personalized BAC levels - say we lower the default level to 0.06 or so (to get the hardliners on board) while also making it possible to go to the DMV totally soused and take an extended simulator test to get a higher personal limit stamped on your license. If you can go in at 0.25 and spend a half-hour in the simulator demonstrating average competency then that's what they raise your personal limit to.

On the other hand, barring DUI checkpoints and bar parking-lot "sniping", that's pretty much the situation we have now - if you're shitfaced drunk but still driving competently you won't be pulled over in the first place.

Re:great (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 months ago | (#46598567)

Never going to happen. DUIs of people at that level is very very lucrative

going to make even more criminals (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 6 months ago | (#46597911)

sort of like how the old 55-mph universal speed limit did.

Re:going to make even more criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598233)

And having a law against murder makes more criminals than not having a law against murder.

In fact, any law at all means more criminals than no law! Repeal all laws and we'll live in a society free of crime!

Re:going to make even more criminals (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46598573)

Damn straight. Maybe we could revive the old Norse code - it's only murder if you try to hide it. Announce it to everyone and it's just a killing - you pay wereguild to their family to avoid retribution and life goes on. But if you try to hide it and get caught you get declared a "wolf in hallowed places" (literal translation) and it's open season for anyone who want to take a shot at you.

Re:going to make even more criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598385)

Hey, the ole double nickle was for FUEL EFFICIENCY, not for safety or anything else. It was about getting better MPG with all those thirsty V8's and was extremely frustrating for all involved.

Carter (a.k.a. Obama's first of three terms) was all over that Arab Oil embargo thing and this was his best shot at a fix. Yea, it was stupid, but what else do you expect from a peanut farmer/Community organizer....

About Fucking Time. (5, Insightful)

zenlessyank (748553) | about 6 months ago | (#46597937)

Most people can't drive properly and legally as it is.

Re:About Fucking Time. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598005)

Most people can't drive properly and legally as it is.

Especially women and old people and teens.
Actually, I think only middle aged men should be on the road.

Re:About Fucking Time. (0, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 months ago | (#46598027)

Making automatic transmissions illegal would be a good start.

Re:About Fucking Time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598111)

Making automatic transmissions illegal would be a good start.

I support this.

Re:About Fucking Time. (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 6 months ago | (#46598269)

YES! If only because I'm still driving a 2000 Corolla because it's a manual and I'm only going to replace it with something brand new, or when it breaks; now that I can afford something new, nothing I both like and can afford even has manual as an option. Sad.

Re:About Fucking Time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598391)

This [wikipedia.org] comes in manual.
This [vimeo.com] is why you'll want one.

Re:About Fucking Time. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 months ago | (#46598419)

Brand new cars are for chumps.

Get a clean used Honda S-2000.

Re:About Fucking Time. (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about 6 months ago | (#46598137)

And bring back manual spark advance while you're at it.

Re:About Fucking Time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598299)

And bring back manual spark advance while you're at it.

OOHHHHHH YEAHHHHHH

Re:About Fucking Time. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46598543)

>And bring back manual spark advance while you're at it.

As long as I can write and android app to automatically tweak it in time with the music.

Re:About Fucking Time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598427)

I'm going to make the assumption you aren't being sarcastic, but

Yes! I'm not the only person who thinks this! I swear that something so simple as having to change gears makes you more aware of what's going on around you on the roads.

Seatbelts are even more dangerous than texting (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 6 months ago | (#46597951)

How many people-hours are spent texting while driving vs. talking while driving? The fact that only 5% are linked to texting doesn't say anything about the "specific danger" of texting, that is, the danger of texting normalized to some sane metric (people-hours spent texting, number of people who routinely text and drive, etc.). Since most people wear seatbelts, one could say that a very high percentage of accidents involve seatbelts, but that's not exactly a useful statistic. Apologies if this info is prominently in TFA...

That said, shut up and drive.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597965)

I bet 1 in 4 crashes involve tailgating assholes.

1 in 3 are Alcohol (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 6 months ago | (#46597979)

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehicl... [cdc.gov]

So:
30% Alcohol related
25% Cellphone related
  5% Texting (separate?)
-----
60% of accidents could be eliminated if people would stop using cellphones, texting and driving drunk.

That would be really nice.

Re:1 in 3 are Alcohol (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46598041)

Actually better done and accurate studies would be even better.

Re:1 in 3 are Alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598245)

There is no guarantee that these are non-overlapping categories: in the extreme, it could be that only 30% total are "related" to some combination of alcohol, calling, and texting. Further, it is a massive leap to assume that just because an accident is "related" to one of the above it is necessarily "caused" by one of the above. There is a reason, after all, why the use the term "related" in the first place.

Re:1 in 3 are Alcohol (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#46598265)

60% of accidents could be eliminated if people would stop using cellphones, texting and driving drunk.

That assumes that cellphones, texting, and driving drunk were the causal elements in the accidents and not just contributing or correlated with. I.e., I'm talking on a cellphone when an 18 wheeler runs a red light and t-bones me. Would not being on the cellphone have prevented that accident? Probably not.

And it also ignores the fact that eliminating some causal elements doesn't mean it eliminates the accidents altogether. I'm using a cellphone and am distracted, crash. Prohibit cellphone use, I may switch my attention to my new dash-mounted Sirius/XM radio and be flipping through the channels when I run into someone. If I'm someone who tends to allow distractions of one kind, I probably will be distracted and continue to allow distractions of other kinds.

Re:1 in 3 are Alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598347)

Yeah, if you believe those statistics. I for one, don't.

Considering more than 1 in 4 drivers are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46597999)

on the phone, that means driving while talking is actually safer. We should mandate people talk on phones.

Re:Considering more than 1 in 4 drivers are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598461)

Exactly. Republicans hate carphones so they're going to make-up whatever crap they feel they need to to demand a ban. All they do is whine and ban. In this case, they are making the roads more dangerous with their assault on freedom.

Needs more context! (1)

Myu (823582) | about 6 months ago | (#46598007)

After all, more than 1 in 4 car crashes involve someone who'd been inhaling oxygen for a prolonged period. We need to compare this against some sort of null hypothesis in order to properly evaluate the figure.

Re:Needs more context! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598187)

100% of all car accidents involve a car with round tires. 100% also have stereos in the car. and another 100% of all car fatalities involve having seats in the car.

If we outlaw tires, stereos and seats we will stop 300% of all fatalities... People will come back from the dead!

This "study" is as accurate as what I just brought up.

Statistics suck (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46598015)

You know what is more dangerous than cellphones in cars? Breast. No lie.

It is a fact that in over 50% of all accidents there were at LEAST 2 breasts in the car at the time. Often times 4 or more! Breasts are twice as likely to be involved in any accident that cellphone or penises. I call for an immediate ban on breasts in moving vehicles. They can be near them while the car is at rest, preferably at a car show, both otherwise they more dangerous than drunk driving!!!

That's, of course, unless you want to actually use statistics for something other than alarmism.

Re:Statistics suck (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 months ago | (#46598053)

It's even worse in two car accidents. Fully 75+% of those involve breasts.

Sense not 100% of accidents are 1 car; the majority of accidents are breast related.

Re:Statistics suck (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 6 months ago | (#46598081)

While your logic is sound, your proposal is ridiculous. How many car crashes are there where all occupants are naked while wearing a ridiculous hat? Not very many. Clearly, we should mandate that *everyone* drive naked (and wear a ridiculous hat).

Re:Statistics suck (1)

willy_me (212994) | about 6 months ago | (#46598213)

I have observed that breasts outside the vehicle and penises inside the vehicle is also a bad combo. Especially on those hot days when people tend to perspire. I suppose the only solution is to keep both breasts and penises out of vehicles.

WHere is the paper (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46598023)

they base this on? every other 'estimate' was based on a guess'

Literally, based on guess. Not based on call or text logs. Just there where x amount of accidents, 70% have cell phones, so we will just say a 3rd of those were caused by cell phone use without even checking if they where that many on the phone.

I don't believe 26% of accidents where cause by cellphones, and I won't until some actual good studies are done.

Re:WHere is the paper (5, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 6 months ago | (#46598175)

If you'd bothered to RTFA where they explain the research and the methodology, it would have answered your questions... Yes, it's based on actual "good studies" and no, it's not just a guess.
Here's a clue for the clueless: McEvoy et al (2005); Redelmeier & Tibshirani (1997)

Distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598047)

How is talking on a cell phone via a Bluetooth headset any different from talking with a passenger in the car? Talking is distracting but so are lots of other things. Playing with your car radio is distracting. Shall we remove radios from cars? Of the four accidents I've had in my entire life: two were the fault of old people who shouldn't have been driving (I live in south Florida), one was a truck that had a blowout in front of me, and the last one (my fault) a traffic jam and I didn't stop quick enough because I was talking to a coworker in the car.

I certainly don't buy this statistic at all.

Re:Distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598449)

Shall we remove radios from cars?

Oh no.. It's CUP HOLDERS that need to go along with that radio. Then you can do away with "Drive through" windows too, which will keep us all healthier.

Oh I love this liberal "You are to stupid to know what you should do/eat/drink/get paid etc" They are just inventing a crisis to push their social agenda.

Re:Distinction (2)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 6 months ago | (#46598471)

Studies have addressed the puzzling fact that there is a correlation between cell phone talking but no correlation to be found with talking to a passenger. The dominant theory is that the passenger is within the same context as the driver, so if something happens around the car that requires the driver's attention it does not seem odd to the passenger that they stopped talking in the middle of a sentence.. and the passenger does not start saying "hello?? are you there?".

In the case of the radio, attention is optional. Media on the radio is highly repetitive with the assumption that you may have had lapses in attention.

Let the phone relay a message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598091)

Cell phones can handle the nav in cars so let them ask the driver: "So-and-so is calling, would you like me to relay a message or that you'll call them back when you're able?" Then the driver can provide a response and leave it at that. Of course a passenger (and thus the driver) could still pick up...

Re:Let the phone relay a message (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46598203)

My android phone does this.

Passengers (2)

GameMaster (148118) | about 6 months ago | (#46598109)

What I want to know is what percentage of accidents involve at least one vehicle containing at least one passenger beyond the driver of that vehicle. I don't know for certain, but I'd imagine it's something up around 80%-90% or more. I think it's pretty safe to assume that if there is a passenger in the car, the driver probably spends at least some of their concentration paying attention to that person and/or talking to them. Just think of it, we could eliminate almost ALL accidents if we just outlawed the carrying of passengers... /s

Re:Passengers (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#46598275)

yes but another passenger is another set of eyes on the road. Ever been in a car where the passenger alerted the driver "see that stop sign your about to blow through?"

Re:Passengers (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46598539)

Or they had the grace to _shush_ when the driver was dealing with a crazy intersection.

Re:Passengers (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46598359)

What I want to know is what percentage of accidents involve at least one vehicle containing at least one passenger beyond the driver of that vehicle.

Even worse, in 100% of cases a human was (perhaps nominally in some cases) in charge of the vehicle - a problem we do appear to be finally making some headway on solving.

Re:Passengers (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 6 months ago | (#46598401)

A normal passenger shuts up when he senses a dangerous situation, or may even alert the driver to a situation.

Re:Passengers (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 6 months ago | (#46598497)

Careful studies of actual evidence have been done on this. No one has found an actual correlation.

i wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598145)

I wonder how much the companies behind self-driving cars paid the NSC to write this article?

cell phone use while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598183)

Does this mean that law enforcement and emergency personnel will be exempt from such a ban? If so, then does that imply that with training anyone can safely use a cell phone or radio while driving or does it mean that we're ok with a certain amount of accidents being caused by cell phone or radio use as long as the elite are responsible?

FFS (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46598191)

This is the same bad statistics that gets repeated every 3 or 4 months on Slashdot, from some stupid newspaper article.

Looking at the number of accidents involving phones tells you nothing.
It could be that a greater proportion of non-accident journeys involved phones.
It could be that the accident rate would be higher without the phones because people are taking more care driving to compensate for operating a phone.

How about taking a random sampling of car journeys and seeing the relative prevalence of phone use between accident and non-accident car journeys? It would have to be a very large study because the accident rate relative to the car-journey rate is very low. It would have to be a random sampling from a larger sample population to suppress confounding effects.

Good statistics over human behaviors with small effects is very hard to do because it requires big studies. But we know exactly how to do it.

Cold Dead Hands (1)

swinefc (91418) | about 6 months ago | (#46598217)

Nooooooope. Not taking my phone. Nope.

Re:Cold Dead Hands (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46598341)

Nooooooope. Not taking my phone. Nope.

And what, exactly, are you going to do about it, big man?

Not that anyone's actually coming to take your phone, anyway. They'll just fine you or take you to court for using it while driving, because it's a distraction while you're in charge of what is, without proper driver control, a motorised battering ram.

So, don't drive like a dick, and no-one will take your phone! Problem solved! Don't like getting speeding tickets? Don't speed! Plenty more sage advice where that came from.

Or just keep driving while yacking and texting away, and perhaps one day someone will be taking your phone from your cold dead hands. Not that I'd wish that on you, but better yours in that case than someone else's by your actions.

where is the data for this study? (2)

troll -1 (956834) | about 6 months ago | (#46598317)

The NSC cites McEvoy et al (2005); Redelmeier & Tibshirani (1997) as the source for the 1 in 4 stat. I don't see a ref Saurabh Bhargava and Vikram S. Pathania (2013) http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org] . Correlation does not mean causation, folks. Let's not forget that.

why stop at cell phones then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598331)

if it's the conversation causing accidents we better ban speaking to passengers while driving too. or maybe just ban carpooling all together. safety first!

just roll out the self-driving cars already.

Oh please, not this again (0)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 6 months ago | (#46598337)

Distracted driving does not exist, it's an invention to protect the feelings of the weak.

3.9 out of 4 accidents involve piss poor drivers and nothing else. Blaming cell phones or for that matter anything else for car accidents is like blaming smokes for killing smokers. As a society we have formed a system that protects and promotes stupidity and makes it offensive or hurtful to tell someone what you really think.

If you take away all the label and the BS you are left with a simple truthful fact, bad driving is caused by bad drivers being idiots behind the wheel of a machine they shouldn't be. Lets stop calling it by different names and finally call it out for what it is, if your feelings get hurt in the process then maybe we'll start fixing the problem for once.

Americans are crazy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598349)

They are willing to shit on their freedom and privacy for the promise of saving a few dozen lifes a year, but they won't put down their mobile phone if it could save ten thousands of lifes, never mind that it has become useless for leading a private conversation.

They should be sentenced into a large parking place and the cars let loose on them.

Bring Darwin Back! (3, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 6 months ago | (#46598367)

We need to replant trees by the sides of roads. You know, the ones they dug out because drivers kept hitting them. This will give inattentive drivers something better to crash into than other road users, hopefully removing only one set of DNA from the gene pool.

Long live the autonomous car! (1)

Leif Madsen (3595765) | about 6 months ago | (#46598491)

I for one welcome our autonomous car overlords.

I see enough people doing stupid things on the roads that a computer controlled car can't be any worse. Provinces in Canada, such as Ontario, are continuing to ramp up laws and penalties on those who text and use their phones while driving. Just recently the fine went up to $255, and there is legislation tabled that could make use of a cell phone pretty much synonymous with drunk driving (there were more fatalities last year due to cell phone use while driving than drunk driving in Ontario).

Penalties of 3 demerit points and $1000 fine, plus increase in car insurance (do to demerit points) are on the board, and likely to go through. The best way to get around this I believe is in the use of self driving cars. Let them do the mundane driving for us. I'll stick to driving myself when it's fun, or I'm at the track.

And sppech-text systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598513)

It's not much helped by speech-text systems. You're still distracted, dealing with a funky interface, and often looking away to verify spelling.

I still remember the speech-text company I dealt with, telling their employees to go talk up their products on the blogs and forums, while never, never admitting that they were employees. This was accompanied by showing "I Love Your Pruduct" testimonials being shown as slides, that were clearly posted under an assumed name by the company president. Took me 15 seconds to figure out that one: you could tell because they so *carefully* left out personal details, or saying outright that it made driving safer, while implying it in every other sentence.

In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46598551)

100% of drivers involved in accidents were found to have been breathing behind the wheel...

The article simply states: Cell phone use is now estimated to be involved in 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes – up from the previous year.

But it doesn't define what is meant by "involved". Does it simply mean that one of the drivers was on the phone? How is it determined whether that fact in any way contributed? How was it "estimated"? What studies have been done regarding driver distraction due to passengers? How would the following compare: "Talking with a passenger is now estimated to be involved in ____ percent of all motor vehicle crashes."

This is a rediculous piece of reporting and representative of why I have pretty much stopped paying attention to the "news".

Missing some crucial info (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 6 months ago | (#46598561)

Mainly, how prevalent is cell phone use when driving?

Just to make up some numbers to illustrate the point, say 50% of the time drivers were on their cell phones. If cell phones were linked with just 25% of accidents, then that would actually mean cell phones made driving safer. The 50% of cars where the driver used a cell phone accounted for 25% of accidents; the 50% of cars where the driver didn't use a cell phone accounted for 75% of accidents.

I'm pretty sure cell phone use does increase the accident rate. But to neutrally evaluate their effect, you have to compare on the basis of frequency of involvement in accidents / frequency of use in all cases. If you're only given the former, it could mean cell phones are bad for driving or cell phones are good for driving.

Its all bs (3, Informative)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 6 months ago | (#46598569)

Back in the 70s the same people would say cigarette smoking caused crashes because a large % of drivers smoked. Studies have shown that talking on a cell phone is as 'distracting' as talking to somebody else in the car. And given the exuberance to ban cell phone use, can we tackle the most serious problem facing drivers?

Driving with children isn’t just slightly more dangerous; it’s a full 12 times more dangerous, according to the study. When researchers installed cameras in the cars of 12 families over a three-week period, they found talking on the phone only accounted for one percent of distractions. Distractions from children, meanwhile, accounted for 12 percent of all distractions. Over the course of an average 16-minute trip, parents that had kids present spent three minutes and 22 seconds with their eyes not on the road.

Last I checked driving fatalities have been on a downward slope forever. Please stop the safety nanny crowd before it is too late.

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