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Cell Users As Bad As Drunk Drivers

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the eyes-on-the-road dept.

738

An anonymous reader writes "News.com reports on a cell-phone use study which confirms that talking on your cell is as bad as being drunk, when it comes to driving skill. The researchers studied 40 volunteers in a driving simulator." From the article: "[The subjects were observed] while undistracted, using a handheld cell phone, using a hands-free cell phone and while intoxicated to a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level--the average legal level of impairment in the United States--after drinking vodka and orange juice. Three study participants rear-ended the simulated car in front of them. All were talking on cell phones and none was drunk, the researchers said."

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The usual response (5, Insightful)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638317)

"But I can put my phone down, I can't stop being drunk." Except that people don't put the phone down, they crash.

Re:The usual response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638382)

But how many of them stop being drunk?

Re:The usual response (1, Interesting)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638393)

That's a behavioral problem that is under someone's control. I always use my hands-free set, which I plug in upon entering my car, and pay the physical phone itself no mind. Some of my friends wonder if I ignore them on the phone -- and I sometimes do if I'm driving. I pay attention to the road first, phone second.

They should not punish or forbid driving while talking on the cell phone -- but there should be stiff penalties if they cause an accident via reckless driving. I know many states are strictly no-fault, but that should change. The person who caused the accident is and should be at fault! That person should pay for the damages. Let stiff fines and financial consequences be the factors that make people make decisions -- don't penalize me because some idiots can't prioritize thier behavior.

Re:The usual response (1, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638463)

I always use my hands-free set...

If you read the fucking article, you would know that their results were the same, hands-free or not.

Re:The usual response (0)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638542)

I did read the article.

If you read my fucking comment, you would clearly see that I said the problem was behavioral -- I don't pay attention to the conversation, but instead the road.

Re:The usual response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638567)

You are in serious denial, dude. You don't have the level of self control that you have fooled yourself into thinking you have. Read some more detailed articles about this study. Self-delusion, that's what makes you an asshole.

Re:The usual response (2, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638591)

Just like many people who have been drinking, the cell phone users did not believe themselves to be affected, the researchers found.

Re:The usual response (1)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638488)

I tend to agree with you (oddly enough given my /. nickname), except that, if it can be shown conclusively that cell phones figure into a large number of accidents then it would be better to have tried to prevent the accidents than to "severely" punish the cell phone driver. A dead person's family member isn't going to get a lot of satisfaction from a stiff penalty issued to the person who killed their loved one.

Re:The usual response (5, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638518)

FTA:

  • Just like many people who have been drinking, the cell phone users did not believe themselves to be affected, the researchers found.
  • They studied 40 volunteers who used a driving simulator four times--while undistracted, using a handheld cell phone, using a hands-free cell phone and while intoxicated to a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level
  • Motorists who talked on either handheld or hands-free cell phones drove slightly more slowly, were 9 percent slower to hit the brakes, and varied their speed more than undistracted drivers.
  • "Driving while talking on a cell phone is as bad as or maybe worse than driving drunk,"

Everytime this comes up, people always say that they use hands-free. That's not the point. This isn't about having two hands on the wheel. This is about paying attention to what you are doing. Talking on a phone is an added distraction. Its that simple. You can argue to what degree that distraction is, but you cannot deny that it is a distraction.

Then people always talk about how they can drop the phone, or stop the conversation if a situation that requires their complete attention arises. Ever think that situation may not have risen if you hadn't been on the phone in the first place?

Re:The usual response (1, Interesting)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638590)

It's about priority of attention, NOT whether or not someone uses thier hands-free. I did read the article. Did you read my comment?

As for the distraction argument, talking to someone who is in the car is a distraction, as is listening to the radio. There were all types of groups trying to ban using a radio while operating a car when they were first available. The country, at the time, was much less tolerant of stupid and useless laws that punish ordinary people that aren't doing anything wrong.

And my argument was based on the principal that the law should punish those who actually do something wrong, not do something that might lead to doing something wrong. This is why I vote libertarian.

Re:The usual response (1)

oborseth (636455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638586)

"Just like many people who have been drinking, the cell phone users did not believe themselves to be affected, the researchers found."

Re:The usual response (5, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638427)

"But I can put my phone down, I can't stop being drunk." Except that people don't put the phone down, they crash.


Exactly. I got rear-ended at two consecutive red lights once, by the same cell-phone-impaired driver. Fortunately, the only damage was a matched set of trailer-hitch prints in his front license plate.

forget cells... (5, Funny)

torrents (827493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638321)

how about the idiots trying to use wireless email behind the wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

War Driving Unsafe? (2, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638405)

Are you implying that wardriving [wikipedia.org] from the driver's seat is unsafe?

How about makeup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638538)

One time I drove several blocks behind a woman who was applying makeup; both sun visors(?) were down (limits visibility, wasn't really sunny that day), and she used the mirror in the one in front of her to meticulously apply mascara.

After a while I got pissed since she was driving relatively slow; I passed her on the right, and while doing so, I noticed that she had her kid in the child seat in the back.

I used to think that women are better drivers, but now I know that it all comes to one simple fact -- stupidity does not discriminate.

Bad drivers (1)

Sodki (621717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638332)

Maybe they're just bad drivers.

Re:Bad drivers (1)

Marnhinn (310256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638407)

I guess I would go along this line more after reading the rather short article (which of course lacks real statistical information) because only the cell phone users hit the simulated car - and none of the drunks.

Also, I would venture a guess, that you can learn to drive w/ a cell phone whereas it is considerably tougher to learn to drive drunk. What I found was interesting was that (at least according to the article) handsfree phones were as bad as handheld - I would have thought that handsfree were much safer. It makes me wonder if people that sing along with songs on the radio are worse drivers (cause its somewhat similar to talking on a handsfree phone).

Re:Bad drivers (1)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638524)

...(which of course lacks real statistical information) because only the cell phone users hit the simulated car - and none of the drunks.

While it may be true that the statistical size of the experiment is not good. The fact that only cell phone users and none of the drunks were in accidents is actually pretty interesting statistical information.

Re:Bad drivers (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638544)

It makes me wonder if people that sing along with songs on the radio are worse drivers (cause its somewhat similar to talking on a handsfree phone).

They better not make it illegal to sing along with the radio or .... there'll be a lot of people I know unhappy with that. Right, yeah, people I know wouldn't like that.

Um, yes of course they *are* bad drivers (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638566)

Talking on the phone while driving is bad driving.

There's been research round for a few years now that talking to someone on the phone to take their eyes and attention off the road as they think and respond to the person talking. It's worse than talking to someone in the passenger seat or listening to the radio because you are required to respond to someone who has no idea what situation you're in.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1885775.stm [bbc.co.uk]

 

I'm Not Drunk (4, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638342)

Just like many people who have been drinking, the cell phone users did not believe themselves to be affected, the researchers found.

Honestly officer ... I wasn't really talking on the phone ... I just hold it by my head to keep warm.

Confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638343)

This is old news. The Mythbusters already handled this one. Who needs a "study" when we have a great episode of Mythbusters, anyways?

I think I solved our Problem (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638438)

I think we should just take all those who talk on the cell phone & drive and put them on a mythbuster porta potty [kwc.org]

Yeah, you're awesome, I love you man... (2, Funny)

DaSenator (915940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638344)

What about drunk dialing someone from your cell phone?

Re:Yeah, you're awesome, I love you man... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638439)

Korea's working on that. -> Cell Phones Prevent Drunken Calls [com.com]

Re:Yeah, you're awesome, I love you man... (3, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638502)

Funny, in one sentence it says it will prevent you from calling anyone if you're drunk and in the next says you should call a cab if you're drunk. How does that work again?

Re:Yeah, you're awesome, I love you man... (1)

MadRocketScientist (792254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638443)

Coincidenally, TFA links to a phone for that, too. [com.com]

Re:Yeah, you're awesome, I love you man... (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638516)

You forgot to mention that you're changing the radio station and getting a hummer from the skank you picked up at the bar while drunk dialing.

Old (3, Informative)

cosmotron (900510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638345)

This was already on MythBusters...

Incomplete study... (5, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638350)

I would like to see a few more test groups added to this. How about the average pot smoking teenager, the girl putting makeup on, and my personal favorite that I saw recently... a woman brushing her teeth!

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Incomplete study... (1)

jagossel (973849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638381)

Don't forget about the guy shaving! I actually saw a guy driving and shaving at the same time before. That was interesting.

Re:Incomplete study... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638479)

I shave in the morning.
I talk on the cell.

Last accident I was in was being hit from behind while sitting at a red light (while it was still red).
Accident before that, I was sitting at a red light and the person put it into reverse and backed in to me trying to change into the left turn late after it was way too late to do so.

Both accidents were 8 years ago in my large durango SUV that i had at the time in those glorious days of .88 cent gasoline.

Prior that that... hmm maybe 1990? so 26 years? I was given traumatic news while driving in the car by a friend about 30 seconds before.

I recognize it is a danger- I was almost broadsided by a lady, talking on her cell. She was at the stop sign- I was on the thru street with no stop sign doing about 30- why she decided it was time to go is beyond me.

I think some people are more of a danger than others. I don't look at what I do when I'm shaving. I just run the electric shaver up and down my face.

Whenever things feel at all threatening in the car on the cell, I say I have to go- or even just hang up.

I see lots of other drivers, on cells, doing as good a job as other drivers on the road. So I don't believe these reports. I want to see their sample size and the sample make up. I want to see the driving records of the sample outside of the cell phone tests. And I want to know where the funding for the study is coming from. Who has an ax to grind.

I have never driven after drinking since I know it screws you up. I've seen the evidence there and it is convincing. Of course, I've only been drunk like 6 times in my life and been drinking at all perhaps 20 times. I'm not a big drinker except for annual events.

Re:Incomplete study... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638560)

Your cell phone may not affect your ability to drive, but apparently it inhibits your ability to do arithmetic. 1990 was in fact sixteen years ago - not twenty six.

Re:Incomplete study... (1)

rcamera (517595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638561)

hmm maybe 1990? so 26 years?

maybe like 16 years? so let me get this straight - you were in an accident 16 years ago and two accidents 8 years ago. i'm predicting you'll have three accidents within the year.

Re:Incomplete study... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638564)

I see lots of other drivers, on cells, doing as good a job as other drivers on the road. So I don't believe these reports.

I'd say about 90% of the time that I actually notice that someone's on a cellphone - and I do look at other drivers very carefully, because you never know who you might see - it's because they're driving like a fucking idiot. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, but I think you're wrong about this.

Personally, I use the headset, and like you, I ignore people if driving requires my attention. I don't have such high regard for my conversation that I will let it distract me, at least not any more than when I'm talking to a passenger. That is also often a frustrating experience for my passenger, because I never look at them and I often have long pauses while concentrating.

Re:Incomplete study... (4, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638455)

I would like to see a few more test groups added to this. How about the average pot smoking teenager, the girl putting makeup on, and my personal favorite that I saw recently... a woman brushing her teeth!


Also, I want to see a study of how much reading while driving impairs your ability. I want to know how much more dangerous I make my drive home, so I can calculate if the probable time savings are likely worth it... :)

Re:Incomplete study... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638466)

The most amazing thing just happened to me. Some of you might not believe it -- like the image of the Virgin Mary in the cheese sandwich or on the side of a building but...

I just took a glorious dump and had quite a mess to clean up back there. The deuce itself was quite large and solid, but it was coated with a 1/4 inch of greasy shit mud (which was actually quite nice because it lubed the loaf, so to speak).

Anyway, after I got done wiping I looked down at the toilet paper (who doesn't) and I noticed it was a slashdot thread. That's right, by some miracle, my shit stains were a striking replica of a slashdot thread, complete with moderation, dupes, grammar errors by the "editors", and the typical shit posted in these threads. Praise Allah, it is a slashdot miracle!!

Re:Incomplete study... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638508)

Just so you know, the constant shit-trolling, even as an Anonymous Coward, is likely to get you IP-blocked.

Re:Incomplete study... (1, Insightful)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638478)

I'd also like to see them do it with young drivers and some old people. Prove once and for all that young people who drive a bit fast but are alert and have quick reflexes are, in fact, safer on the road than old people who go along at 20km/h everywhere and pay ridiculously low insurance rates.

Re:Incomplete study... (4, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638510)

They can't find enough pot-smoking teens with the motivation to get off of the couch, let alone actually DRIVE somewhere.

All three were Cell Phone incidents? (1)

jagossel (973849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638351)

Man, no wonder I said that I would never buy a cell phone... then again, a lot of things that I said I wouldn't buy, I end up buying, including my cell phone. I cannot even hear my cell phone's loud speaker if I'm driving. I might as well hang up the whole cell phone thing. Ah well, life without phones... what is that like?

Re:All three were Cell Phone incidents? (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638411)

I decided to try it for a while due to the whole NSA phonetapping deal...it ended after 3 days. Life without a phone isn't fun.

Re:All three were Cell Phone incidents? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638458)

Ah well, life without phones... what is that like?

Bliss.

Aside from the quiet (and, oh say, not driving like a drunk), you're able to keep your job from interfering from your life (boss can't call you anytime, anywhere), and keep your life from interfering with your work (yeah, honey, it's terrible that that dog yukked up all over the new carpet, but I'm under a deadline here!). You can walk down the road and -even if you do suddenly remember something "important" (in quotes because it usually isn't), there's nothing you can do about it until you get home. So you relax and put aside your worries for a bit.

There are some advantages to being connected all the time, but I think the disadvantages outweigh them tremendously.

Drop the phone. Live your life on your own time.

Things that make you go "Hmm.." (3, Funny)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638353)

What about drunk drivers who are also on their cellphones?

Hmm..

Re:Things that make you go "Hmm.." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638584)

They cancel each other out.

What about (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638355)

What about just having a passenger to talk to? what about screaming kids in the back seat? What about trying to fish that CD out from behind the seat so you can change your music? How drunk does doing these things make you drive?

yes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638357)

but does it drives linux ?

Sure... .but (3, Insightful)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638362)

talking on your cell is as bad as being drunk So lets propse another study... how bad is it when we talk to other people in the vehicle while driving? Is it same as talking on cellphone or not?

Re:Sure... .but (4, Informative)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638430)

according to accident statistics, talking to other people in the car is the #2 cause of driver distraction accidents. Second only to rubbernecking at stuff outside the car.

cell phones barely make the list. According to anecdotal evidence, they're the #1 cause of "almost had an accident", but for real accidents they barely make the list.

Re:Sure... .but (3, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638453)

So lets propse another study... how bad is it when we talk to other people in the vehicle while driving? Is it same as talking on cellphone or not?


The study's been done, and the answer is "no": the passenger usually has the sense to shut up in dangerous situations.

Re:Sure... .but (3, Interesting)

LoveGoblin (972821) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638571)

Not to mention that the sound quality's a hell of a lot better. You're not spending brain resources trying to make out what they're saying over a crappy cell connection.

Re:Sure... .but (4, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638501)

how bad is it when we talk to other people in the vehicle while driving?

It's a different thing entirely to converse with a passenger in the same car. There's a lower drain on your cognitive resources, the person next to you responds to the same environmental cues as you do, and will shut up and/or scream if you're heading for trouble.

An alert passenger in your front passenger seat improves your ability to drive safely, even if you're deep in conversation. It's another set of eyes watching the road. A remote voice on the other end of a cellphone has the opposite effect.

Re:Sure... .but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638575)

What about an unalert passenger? Sometimes I'll pay attention to the road when someone else is driving, but usually I won't.

heh (2, Informative)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638363)

not nearly as bad as this dude [cbs4.com] tho.

NBA Player & Pron in CAR = Accident (2, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638496)

FTFA in your link [cbs4.com]
he was watching pornography in a DVD player mounted on the dashboard of his Cadillac
he was masturbating himself going down that street.


Dude ... you're an NBA player making millions of dollars a year ... buy a girlfriend!

they should study other things... (1)

mluchsinger (741323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638369)

like eating, smoking, talking on cell phones, and putting makeup on all at the same time. I volunteer my wife for the study.

Hot Damn! (4, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638380)

You mean I might have a chance with the hot babe at the party whose sober but chatting on her cell phone?

Re:Hot Damn! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638548)

Only if you get to her via her blind spot in less than 70 milliseconds.

Re:Hot Damn! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638594)

No, sorry, the severe impairment just doesn't generalize quite that far.

its been done (2, Informative)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638385)

Mythbusters all READY did the study, only they didn't get a grant to waste doing it...

hmm (2, Insightful)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638391)

40 people? thats not that many.
its just as likely that they got the really good drivers drunk and all the shiat drivers were handed cell phones.

not that i doubt the conclusion, or anything. i hate cellphone-talking drivers. i'm just saying that 40 is kind of a small sample size for something being touted so much by the anti-cellphone-while-driving peoples.

Re:hmm (1)

BBlinkk (985908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638446)

Yeah, did anyone else realize that only THREE people out of 40 on their cellphones rear ended the car??? A whopping 7.5% Which makes me believe that these people just suck at driving to begin with. I really cant stand "tests" like these that cannot produce any meaningful results due to a low sample size. I highly doubt that any of the four groups are significantly different from each other using a standard anova test. Gotta hate that though, you cant really trust any statistics that you read unless they have all the statistical tests and details out in the open for you to see.

Re:hmm (3, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638477)

40 people? thats not that many.
its just as likely that they got the really good drivers drunk and all the shiat drivers were handed cell phones.

not that i doubt the conclusion, or anything. i hate cellphone-talking drivers. i'm just saying that 40 is kind of a small sample size for something being touted so much by the anti-cellphone-while-driving peoples.


If you look at the study methodology, it's quite large enough. They didn't divide it up into several smaller groups, they tested each participant under four different conditions: undistracted, talking on a hand-held phone, talking on a hands-free phone, and drunk.

Re:hmm (1)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638512)

touche, salesman.

read an article earlier today about this reporting that they split them up into groups. can't say which one is incorrect, but this article definitely makes it more statistically sound.

Re:hmm (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638582)

i'm just saying that 40 is kind of a small sample size for something being touted so much by the anti-cellphone-while-driving peoples.


Dateline on NBC had a special last year (maybe 2004) with a professor who has done repeated studies on this subject. He takes people of different ages, sex, backgrounds, etc and puts them on a closed course. The course has some curves but also has objects jump out to simulate kids or animals dashing in front of the car and such

The first time through there are no distractions. Every person completes the course perfectly. The second time he has them use a cell phone to perform various tasks (making a call, receiving a call, writing directions, etc). In every case the people were distracted enough to run over cones, hit obstacles and in one case the woman didn't see the styrofoam cut out of a deer pop into her lane and destroyed it.

This same professor then had the same subjects get moderately drunk (just like in this experiment). While only slightly better all of the drivers still hit things or screwed up.

His final test was to have the drivers stay up all night the run the course again. On average all the drivers were no better than when they were drunk.

While this current study might seem small this subject has been studied over and over and the results are always the same: driving while on your cell phone is just as dangerous as driving drunk or when drowsy.

Mythbusters (1)

Efialtis (777851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638392)

Did an episode on this, and found that it is TRUE...
This study was done in our very own University of Utah (or the primary study was done here)...
Good stuff...USE A HEADPIECE, USE HANDS FREE...

Re:Mythbusters (1)

govtpiggy (978532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638474)

Hands-free cell phones might not be as safe as you think [apa.org] .

What about adjusting the radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638396)

As a fact of raw accident statistics, adjusting the radio is responsible for over an order of magnitude more accidents than cell phone use.

So by this new information, we've just shown that it's safer to drive drunk than to change radio stations.

of course (1)

grahagre (459342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638401)

the 90s called, they want their obvious news back. slow day for posts?

Recent legislation (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638402)

I know a lot of states are passing harsher punishments. for people who were on a cell phone at the time of an accident or other traffic violation. As I understand it, in Illinois it's double the fine for traffic violations if the offender was talking on a cell phone at the time.

Personally I think it should just be downright illegal. It's illegal to wear headphones while driving, and those are hands-free and only require that you listen. Why should it be legal to use a cell phone while driving? If the call is that important, pull your damn car over, or use the speakerphone option (if you've got it). Do something, but don't put yourself and others at risk.

where to draw the line? (3, Interesting)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638415)

Im not going to say that cell phones dont cause distractions while driving. But where is the line of concern drawn? I need to take my eyes of the road in order to change my CDs or the radio station. Or how about the nice people with stereo systems so loud it shakes the windows of your house. There is a small noise ordinance rule for that, but nothing major. Girls putting on make up, combing hair, getting ready, etc. Its unfair to just point out cell phone users and accidents. A line needs to be drawn somewhere if you are going to make that argument.

Re:where to draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638534)

How often do loud stereos actually cause accidents?

Re:where to draw the line? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638592)

Girls putting on make up, combing hair, getting ready, etc. Its unfair to just point out cell phone users and accidents. A line needs to be drawn somewhere if you are going to make that argument.

Yes, and the line should be drawn between getting busted for what you do behind the wheel, and getting busted for actually driving incorrectly. As far as I'm concerned, if you can whip a souffle, shave, paint your nails and scratch your ass while making a phone call and not drive like a jackass, then fuck, go ahead. But some people just shouldn't be permitted to drive a car period. Why should someone who crashes into me because they're shaving get any more of a penalty than someone who crashes into me because they're a dumbfuck?

Driving all over the road (5, Interesting)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638418)

One night years ago when I lived south of Houston, I was driving over to a fast food place to get something to take home for supper.

There was a van in front of me that was driving all over the road. It almost went into the ditch on each side of the road at least once.

When we go to a four lane highway, the van spent part of the time taking up both lanes going our direction and some of the time in the oncoming lanes.

I was surprised to see the van turn in ahead of me at the fast food joint and pull up to the drive through.

Being the nice guy/asshole that I am, I thought I'd do a good deed and suggest that the driver wait for someone sober to drive him home. I stood about 5 feet from the window when I made my suggestion.

It turned out to be a woman who had the foulest mouth of any woman I ever met. She was screaming unbelievably loud that she wasn't drunk, that she was only using her cell phone, and that how she drove was her business and noone elses.

So I got back in my car.

When I finally got around front, everyone inside was laughing. I guess everyone in the place, employee and customer alike, heard her tirade over the speaker system.

I told a local cop about it later. He wasn't amused at all about it.

Re:Driving all over the road (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638595)

I think I had an encounter with the SAME WOMAN in Houston a few years ago! She was all over the road and driving a van! Was the van light brown colored?

multi-taskers (4, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638429)

some people are naturally adept multi-taskers- professional drivers (especially school bus drivers) are trained and in the regular practice of having extremely distracting activities going on and still being good drivers.

Personally, whenever I've been on the phone (not too often, I avoid it if possible) and something has gone on, without even thinking about it, my mouth stops and I'm 100% tuned into the road, I don't even notice I was talking to someone until things settle down. I'm used to having a bus full of drunk adults (bachelor parties) and rowdy kids.

I think they should test the subjects general multi-tasking ability and come up with a statistic that correlates multi-taskability (or inability) to accident+phone rates.

Re:multi-taskers (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638452)

clarification: I -never- talk on the phone when driving a bus- only on my personal time.

Well, they don't quite show that. (5, Insightful)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638431)

According to TFA, they compared phone users to drivers who were at the legal blood-alcohol limit, not those above it. So they have, at most, demonstrated that driving while using a phone is more dangerous than other driving that we consider legal. Obviously there's some level of drunkenness that would be more impairing than phone use; finding out where that point is would be considerably more interesting than what this study actually did examine.

I'd also love to hear more detail about the "hand-free" devices that they used for the test. Were these earpieces, or something more speakerphoneish? I seem to recall another study finding that the problem with driving while using a phone is not having your hands occupied, it's the mental isolation that happens as your brain divides resources between your conversational world and your driving world. And that earpieces did not change this, but that speakerphones _did_.

It's not PC, but here could be another reason (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638434)

They keep changing the definition of legally [ncdd.com] intoxicated. [wikipedia.org]

Dunno about the rest of you lot, but I could drink 3 beers and then go jogging. Maybe the reason why we keep seeing "cell phone use"=="intoxication" is because we've set the bar pretty low for the definition of drunk.

I must be the example for this (1)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638435)

They must have seen me driving or trying to drive while dialing a number on my new UT Starcom 6700 device's soft phone. Honest to god, I know I am driving worse than a drunk guy, trying to fit my fat fingers into the soft keypad buttons on the touch screen to dial a conference call number while driving.

Not to mention (1)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638441)

Not to mention the ever-present $soccermom in $suv with $num_kids scream and yelling in the back w/out the use of $turn_signals || $mirror while using the cell phone. Talk about a recipie for disaster!

Re:Not to mention (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638549)

Okay, I get soccermon, suv, and num_kids, but why are turn_signals and mirror variables? Do you see a lot of cars without this equipment?

And when you combine all three... (3, Funny)

MyOtherUIDis3digits (926429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638445)

you are really asking for trouble!

"Yeah, babe, I've been thinking about you"
"Noooo, I haven't been drinking! I'm close to your place, can I come over? I miss you..."


Never ends well.

Handsfree (5, Interesting)

BigDuke6_swe (899458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638459)

I think I've heard about a similar report where driving with and without handsfree was compared. The conclusion was that it's not the fact that your holding a phone thats the biggest issue. It's the fact that you're concentrating on something else than driving that causes reactions to take longer.

Why only 0.08? (1)

ToxikFetus (925966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638461)

Why not plot the "impairment factor" against blood alcohol level and compare that to cell phone usage? Find the "blood alcohol equivalent" of cell phone usage. And then compare to other distracting activities like eating, talking, radio usage, beating an unruly child, etc.

I have a feeling impairment due to alcohol consumption goes up significantly once the blood alcohol level goes beyond 0.08. Don't forget, not too long ago 0.08 was legal in most states. It's not like "drunk driving" is some magic switch triggered by that 3rd drink.

Effect of wife gabbing in your ear while driving? (2, Interesting)

Retired Replicant (668463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638464)

I'm hoping they do a study of this next, so they will have scientific data to back up law against wives nagging their husbands while driving. On the other hand, I know I would make a lot more road trips if such a law existed, so it might not be good for traffic and the environment. :)

B/A Limits are too low! (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638475)

This shows that the Blood/Alcohol level should be raised to compete with similar distractions. I'm think they should go from 0.08 to 0.15 at least. That's usually when I'm in trouble.

Not really drunk (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638503)

This will continue to be more and more true as they keep changing the definition of "drunk" to be closer to "sober". Next time MADD wins one of their new-prohibition battles, don't be surprised to find out that having a passenger in the car is as dangerous as driving "drunk".

If it's so bad... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638521)

If it's so bad then why haven't we seen major increases in traffic accident rates?

What about Cops (and Firefighters ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15638523)

and Taxi drivers...) and Pilots, for goodness sake...
On Radios?

There is a long history of mobile radio use; Is a cell phone different ?
If so Why?

Catch ya on the Flip-flop Good Buddy!

73
{dit dit}
SK

Confession (1)

iridium_ionizer (790600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638528)

I talk on my cell phone while driving, but I also play ultra twitch, fast action 3D games to compensate. They bring my reaction time back up:P

Seriously, I wonder if driving with a hands-free set is really safer than a regular cell phone. If you are using a regular cell phone, sometimes people behind or beside you can see that you are driving impaired and will give you more of a space cushion. Hell maybe people talking on cell phones should swerve ridiculously within their own lanes or turn on special warning lights to give other drivers the heads up.

My accident didn't occur when I was talking on my cell phone, but when I was pissed off at my girlfriend, and she wasn't in the car.

Obvious BS. (3, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638555)

If three out of every 40 people who talked on cell phones were going to get in an accident, the highways would be a blood bath. A one in 14 chance of an accident? Come now. Nobody that spends a minute thinking about it is going to believe that.

Of course if they do, then they have to also look at the fact that 0. That's right 0 drunk drivers had an accident in the study. That means that the study proves drunk driving is perfectly safe right?

Business plan (2, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638559)

1. Find rich person driving expensive car talking on cellphone.

2. Pull in front, slow down, encourage tailgating, then brake suddenly.

3. ????

4. Profit!

What is the difference... (1)

rtconner (544309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638562)

... between talking on a hand's free set, and talking to passengers in your car?

Can someone please do a study about how distracting passengers are, and then outlaw passengers.

The study is suspect (1)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638574)

This study must not be very realistic if they had 3 rear enders out of 40 drivers. If it was anything like that bad in real life, there would be so many bodies on the road there would be no need for an experiment like this. Not that I think driving while talking is a good idea.

CB Radios (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638576)

I'll stop talking on my cell while driving when truck drivers aren't allowed to use CB radios while driving. If I wreck I cause a lot less damage than an 18 wheeler.

Flawed methodology (4, Informative)

vanillaspice (612837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638577)

So the researchers at the University of Utah determined that using your phone is worse than having a BAC of 0.08, the equivalent of one drink, not the equivalent of being drunk. How does the rubric stand up to two drinks? Four? As it is, the data don't suggest much. And don't be fooled by the "alcohol is involved in 40 percent of the 42,000 annual traffic fatalities" statistic, either. Most states derive that number from whenever any party, regardless of fault, has a BAC of 0.01 or more. In other words, you could eat a cherry cordial and a sober person could plow right through you and the state would consider your death an alcohol-related traffic fatality.

Something is fishy here (2, Interesting)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638578)

I know everybody assumes that cell phone usage while driving is dangerous, and (for about the 10th time) there is a study showing that it's equivalent to driving drunk, but...

US fatalities, per 100 million vehicle miles, have fallen steadily ever since cell phones started becoming common. According to this table [dot.gov] , the rate has fallen from 1.73 in 1994 to 1.44 in 2004, and the rate either fell or stayed the same every year (despite economic variations, etc.).

If cell phones are such a menace, why aren't more people dying in auto accidents?

What about passengers? (1)

yoctometer (568437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15638588)

It would have been nice if they had included another test where the driver was talking to a passenger sitting physically right beside them.
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