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Text-Messaging Behind the Wheel 517

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the move-over-cb-radio dept.
theodp writes "TIME interviews 21-year-old Taylor Leming, creator of the 600-member Facebook group I Text Message People While Driving and I Haven't Crashed Yet! While Alaska and Louisiana just became the latest states to pass laws banning text-messaging behind the wheel, Virginia resident Leming is still happily texting away while driving despite some near-accidents. 'Sometimes it just seems easier to text 'Be there in 5' instead of calling,' explains Taylor."
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Text-Messaging Behind the Wheel

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  • Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j_sp_r (656354) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:48AM (#23980843) Homepage

    Why is it important to text that you'll be there in 5 minutes anyway? You can also wait 5 minutes.

    And I hope when he crashes and kills himself he doesn't take others with him. Driving and calling (even hands free), texting, or doing anything else (tuning the radio, setting up your nav system) for that matter is just dangerous.

    • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:03AM (#23981045)
      God: Where are you?

      Idiot: Be there in 5 mins.

      CRASH!! BANG!!

      Makes sense to me.

    • Re:Darwin (Score:4, Funny)

      by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:15AM (#23981191) Homepage Journal

      Driving and calling (even hands free), texting, or doing anything else (tuning the radio, setting up your nav system) for that matter is just dangerous.

      My taxi driver the other day was obsessed with his nav system while driving me home -- He was playing solitaire on it. If I had been able to communicate with him, I would have cursed him out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Why couldn't you SMS him? Did you at least try to ask him for a phone number? After all, he's right there.

    • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Funny)

      by gemada (974357) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:19AM (#23981235)
      The best example yet of this occurred here in Canada. A teenage girl was driving her parents' minivan and got into an accident while texting her boyfriend.....and here is the kicker....HE WAS IN THE BACK SEAT!
    • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cyberwench (10225) <tunalei@gmail.com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:33AM (#23981391)

      And yet, barely anyone gives a second thought to tuning their radio while driving or talking to a passenger while driving - both things that are shown to create just as much of a distraction.

      I don't think there's anyone out there who never ever deals with distractions while driving. Having a sandwich, drinking something, changing tracks on a CD, driving while not having enough sleep... everyone does it on one level or another. All of it is dangerous, but the only thing that seems to get people keyed up is cell phone use. Can anyone explain to me why?

      • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:42AM (#23981493)

        People who use their phones while driving don't grasp how dangerous it is.

        I'll tune my radio on the road, but only when I'm in a clear patch when nothing is happening at the moment. I also take as little time as possible to do so; all of my favorite stations are programmed into buttons, so it just takes a moment, and doesn't take much attention.

        The same is true with my passengers. When the driving gets tough, I will stop talking to them, often in mid-sentence.

        But people who use cell phones on the road don't seem to understand these ideas. They will frequently place the cell phone first, driving second. They won't interrupt their conversation for a difficult section of driving, they won't try to minimize their conversation, and to compound it all they frequently have only one hand free for actual driving, which means less steering control and poor or nonexistent use of turn signals.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          People who tune their radios while driving don't grasp how dangerous it is.

          Seriously, your post comes off as a bit condescending. "Other people who do something seemingly safe are too stupid to realize that it's dangerous. But when I do something seemingly safe, it's because I'm smart enough to know that it actually is safe!"

          That's fantastic that you only do it when you're on a barren straightaway and only press one button. Phone talkers who only phone while on straightaways and only press one button to d

          • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:24PM (#23982761)

            You know what else is dangerous? Driving.

            I'm not saying that I'm safe while other people are not. I'm saying that there are things you can do to limit your distraction and reduce the danger of the activity. The problem is that people who talk on cell phones while driving by and large do not do these things. Some of them do, and are thereby reasonably safe, and I have no problem with them.

          • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Fjandr (66656) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:57PM (#23983147) Homepage Journal

            Phone talkers who only phone while on straightaways and only press one button to do it (speed dial) can make exactly the same argument. Guess what? It's still dangerous. Changing the radio station while driving is dangerous. Period.

            Talking on the phone engages your attention for a continuous period of time. A half-second to push a button != several minutes of distraction. Not saying the momentary distraction is not dangerous, but it does not even come close to approaching the level of danger that talking on the phone while driving presents.

            Text messaging is even worse though, since it requires the concentration to produce the text mentally (much more thought intensive than speaking naturally) and some form of error correction (or worse, watching your phone constantly as you enter text). Sadly, these people don't always have one-party crashes. If they only killed themselves in car crashes, I'd be fine with it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jez9999 (618189)

          But people who use cell phones on the road don't seem to understand these ideas. They will frequently place the cell phone first, driving second.

          Sorry, but that is nonsense.

          Using your mobile (cell)phone whilst driving is illegal over here, because our Orwellian government passed a law against it. I don't think it's sensible. Before that, I did talk on a phone whilst driving and you know what? I was able to put the mobile phone SECOND and driving FIRST. What makes you think that the class of drivers who

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            What makes you think that the class of drivers who are unable to prioritize tasks properly are limited exclusively to those using a mobile phone whilst driving?

            Absolutely nothing at all! There are plenty of worthless drivers out there, both with and without cell phones.

            However, most people using cell phones on the road will be this worthless sort. Why? Well, first, because most drivers are this worthless sort, period. Secondly, because people like you and I will generally make short calls out of necessity, whereas this worthless sort of driver will make constant long calls. Thus the odds are extremely high that any given driver on a cell phone is a worthless moron

      • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stickerboy (61554) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:50AM (#23981585) Homepage

        >And yet, barely anyone gives a second thought to tuning their radio while driving or talking to a passenger while driving - both things that are shown to create just as much of a distraction.

        I don't think there's anyone out there who never ever deals with distractions while driving. Having a sandwich, drinking something, changing tracks on a CD, driving while not having enough sleep... everyone does it on one level or another. All of it is dangerous, but the only thing that seems to get people keyed up is cell phone use. Can anyone explain to me why?

        Mostly because it's the bigger idiots that try to text message while driving. There seems to be a tiered system of stupidity while driving. On one level there's the eating a sandwich or sucking on a soda pop or leaning over to tune the radio. On a higher level of idiocy, there's the people reading a newspaper, doing makeup, driving without your seatbelt, and texting or calling on a cell phone.

        Unlike talking to a passenger, who should have a nominal idea of what's going on in traffic, the person on the other end of a call has no sense of when they should shut up or avoid bringing up issues requiring heavy thought. I have no problem with someone making an essential short call when it's safe to say, "Hey Dave, the meeting is canceled today. See you", and then hanging up. It's just that most people who I actually see talking on their cellphones in traffic aren't that bright, and continue to natter on forever while they're swerving and stomping on their brakes.

        The title of the Facebook group says it all about the people who text message while driving. "Haven't died, yet!" Congratulations... you win the dumb luck award? Soon to turn into another Award?

      • Re:Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Drakonik (1193977) <drakonik@gmail.com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:13PM (#23981863) Homepage

        Because to use your cell-phone for texting, you must look AWAY FROM THE ROAD and at a small screen to read texts.

        When you're talking to a passenger, yeah, you're distracted, but talking and listening does not require that you take your eyes off the road. Nor does adjusting the radio, once you're used to using it.

      • Cognitive load (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dire Bonobo (812883) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:36PM (#23982183)

        the only thing that seems to get people keyed up is cell phone use. Can anyone explain to me why?

        Higher cognitive load.

        Carrying on a conversation is more mentally taxing than turning a radio dial, and isn't as interruptable, since you're only in control of half of it. See, for example, this research [cmu.edu]:

        "the Carnegie Mellon study, for the first time, used brain imaging to document that listening alone reduces by 37 percent the amount of brain activity associated with driving. This can cause drivers to weave out of their lane, based on the performance of subjects using a driving simulator."

        • Re:Cognitive load (Score:5, Insightful)

          by camperdave (969942) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:31PM (#23982843) Journal
          The problem isn't the cell phone. It isn't the radio. It's the fact that the majority of driving does not require a lot of concentration. It has a low cognitive load. Thus drivers have a lot of free attention that needs to be channeled into something: listening to the radio, talking on the phone, etc. Otherwise they get bored and sleepy. That's why a lot of highways have rumble strips on along the side.

          The problem occurs when driving suddenly requires a lot more concentration/attention than we have to give it. If we can't shift mental gears fast enough to act to avoid a situation, we crash.
    • I mean, really, folks. If you've constantly got that phone in your hand pushing buttons, how the hell are you supposed to hold on to your beer?
  • Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrothwell97 (968062) <jonathan&notroswell,com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:48AM (#23980851) Homepage Journal

    despite some near-accidents

    Enough said.

    Also, just because someone hasn't had an accident in the past, it doesn't mean they won't have an accident in the future.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iPodUser (879598) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:51AM (#23980895) Journal
      Exactly. If they've already had near accidents then it's just a matter of time until something bad happens. And so help me if they crash into me...
    • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Informative)

      by tonycheese (921278) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:10AM (#23981135)
      Did ANY of you actually RTFA (including the person who submitted it???)? Clearly, the group was created as a joke and she said in the article that she supports the law even if it would be hard to enforce. She says that although she does do it sometimes, she realizes it's stupid and dangerous and would follow the law if it were to become one.
      • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jrothwell97 (968062) <jonathan&notroswell,com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#23981169) Homepage Journal
        But surely if she considers it irresponsible, she shouldn't do it, EVEN if it is not specifically illegal?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Yep. People like her are the reason why religion exists. Let me explain. Despite her reason and common sense telling her that it's not a good idea, she's going to continue doing it simply because "it's not illegal." The only way to get her to actually change her behaviour (and that's a big maybe) is to have some sort of "punishment" go along with the action.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          But surely if she considers it irresponsible, she shouldn't do it, EVEN if it is not specifically illegal?

          Bit of a case of "do as I say, not as I do". And don't call me Shirley.

      • Re:Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

        by wk633 (442820) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:55AM (#23981653)

        "I would support [a law], however, because I consider myself to be a pretty good law follower and would feel pretty horrible if something happened because of me breaking a law."

        Yeah, because something bad happening because you do something you know if fucking stupid would be ok.

        What, she'd only feel bad if she killed someone while doing something 'against the law'?

        Idiot.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Also, just because someone hasn't had an accident in the past, it doesn't mean they won't have an accident in the future.

      Or, as the financial types like to say... Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

    • The group is called "I Text Message People While Driving and I Haven't Crashed Yet!"

      Seems like the police should keep an eye on people who suddenly leave the group. :)
  • Kids these days (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iPodUser (879598) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:49AM (#23980865) Journal
    I can't believe these people! What's so "fun" about text messages? Why the aversion to real communication? I'd much rather talk to someone than exchange emoticons while risking the lives of those on the road around me.
    • by Wister285 (185087)

      I don't view texting as fun. I view it as a way of communicating when I don't need or want to have a conversation. Some things don't need a phone call.

      Person 1: "You coming tonight?"
      Person 2: "No."
      Person 1: "Going to be fun, eh?"
      Person 2: "Yeah..."

      *awkward pause*

      Person 1: "Um, okay, bye."
      Person 2: "Yeah, bye."

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      What's so "fun" about text messages?
      I agree. I just don't have time for text messages. It can take an hour of back and forth to have a two minute conversation. I can barely put up with IM, but it is required in our office so that people can interrupt your train of thought if you accidentally get on a productive streak.
      I have no "text plan" on my phone, so incoming texts that I didn't ask to receive cost me 15 cents. Outgoing don't cost me anything because I don't do them. I don't have time. Life is too s
      • Re:Kids these days (Score:5, Informative)

        by Yosho (135835) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:35AM (#23981413) Homepage

        I agree. I just don't have time for text messages. It can take an hour of back and forth to have a two minute conversation. I can barely put up with IM, but it is required in our office so that people can interrupt your train of thought if you accidentally get on a productive streak.
        I have no "text plan" on my phone, so incoming texts that I didn't ask to receive cost me 15 cents. Outgoing don't cost me anything because I don't do them. I don't have time. Life is too short for text messaging. Call up, get your conversation done and move on.

        As you honestly don't seem to understand the use of text messages, I'll explain why I find them useful: for communicating small amounts of information that don't require conversation, and out of respect for the other person's time.

        Let's face it, most people don't want to be interrupted whenever they're doing something. You might be out shopping for groceries, visiting a friend's house, or eating a restaurant, and you probably have your phone with you in case there's an emergency and/or you need to call somebody, but you don't want somebody to call you and suddenly want to have a conversation. Heck, at least in those situations you can talk if you want to; you can't exactly answer your phone and have a conversation at all if, say, you're watching a presentation at work, or if you're already on the phone with somebody else.

        When you get a text message, rather than answering your phone immediately, you can view it at your leisure, and it only takes a second of your time to read it. I can tell my girlfriend, "working late tonight, I'll be home in an hour," or my D&D buddies, "On my way, be there 30 minutes," or a couple of my coworkers, "Meet for lunch at Rudy's BBQ", and it only takes ten seconds of my time and effectively none of theirs. I can even send the same message to half a dozen people at once, and that's much faster than calling half a dozen people and repeating the same conversation every time. If, for some reason, they need to answer the message, they can also do so without disturbing any people around them who don't want to listen to somebody chatting on their cell phone.

        Does that make more sense? Yes, text messages are a horribly inefficient way of having a conversation, but they're not for conversing, they're for disseminating information.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by L0rdJedi (65690)

          Since I wasn't logged in at the time, here's my post again:

          As you honestly don't seem to understand the use of text messages, I'll explain why I find them useful: for communicating small amounts of information that don't require conversation, and out of respect for the other person's time.

          Let's face it, most people don't want to be interrupted whenever they're doing something. You might be out shopping for groceries, visiting a friend's house, or eating a restaurant, and you probably have your phone with you in case there's an emergency and/or you need to call somebody, but you don't want somebody to call you and suddenly want to have a conversation. Heck, at least in those situations you can talk if you want to; you can't exactly answer your phone and have a conversation at all if, say, you're watching a presentation at work, or if you're already on the phone with somebody else.

          Ever heard of voicemail? If I'm somewhere where I can't answer the phone and I get a call, I simply let it go to voicemail. If it's that damn important, leave a short message. If the voicemail notifier goes off, I excuse myself and check it. Otherwise, I figure I can call them back later.

          If I ever get a text message asking me a simple question while I'm in the grocery store, I would probably be 1) pissed because it just cost me $0.15 and 2) pick up

  • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:51AM (#23980881) Homepage Journal

    What a moron!

    exting away while driving despite some near-accidents. 'Sometimes it just seems easier to text 'Be there in 5' instead of calling,' explains Taylor

    With a bluetooth headset, I say the person's name, my cellphone dials the number, I say what I have to say, and never have to fumble around with the phone.

    Any bets on how long before this guy gets his darwin?

    • by ozbon (99708) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#23981161) Homepage

      If you'd RTFA, you'd know that "this guy" is actually a girl.

      TIME's Sarah N. Lynch contacted the group's founder, Taylor Leming, 21, of Round Hill, Va., who submitted her responses via e-mail

      • I read the article afterwords; it doesn't change anything wrt the stupidity involved. She admits not only to nearly causing accidents, but the picture clearly shows that she's not looking at the road.

  • Moron (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smolloy (1250188) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:52AM (#23980903)
    I hope her first accident, the one that teaches her how dumb and selfish this is, only injures/kills her and no one else.

    I also hope her insurance company reads time.com.

    • Re:Moron (Score:5, Insightful)

      by owlstead (636356) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:08AM (#23981109)

      You learn or you die, you cannot combine the two. Anyway, I hope she crashes and just seriously damages the car, with the insurance company not paying out. There is no reason to wish her harm just because she (at 21 years old) makes some stupid mistakes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrbah (844007)
      That last part is actually a very good point. With employers checking up on prospective hires' Facebook profiles, I don't find it a stretch to think that insurance companies would do the same thing. Here's hoping they quadruple the rates of everyone in that group.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:53AM (#23980909)

    the really effective way to make people drive more careful is to replace the airbag in all cars with a big pointy spike aimed at the driver's head.

  • Why a law? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:53AM (#23980917) Homepage Journal
    Sure people are dumb. But how can anyone be so mind-boggling stupid that they would think that texting while driving is a good idea? I mean, why not just go to the next step and drive blindfolded? There shouldn't even need to be a law because no one should be dumb enough to do this. But I guess I have too much faith in humanity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by foniksonik (573572)

      Ever been stuck in traffic for 30 minutes on a freeway, going 2 MPH?

      You can read a book, eat a burger and write out a 2 page email with absolutely no concern for the cars around you.... there's no where to go and nobody can go fast enough to even dent your car much less cause an accident.

  • ...it doesn't mean that you're not more likely to have one while operating any device that takes your eyes off the road.

    Mobile phones are still so new that proper statistics don't really exist. (Ever here in Finland, where most in my generation had a mobile in high school, pre Y2K.) But I still don't think it can ever be safer to drive while doing anything else at the same time.

    Sometimes it makes the most sense to simply find a place to pull over for a moment, if you really need to do something which will t

  • Great Idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deadmongrel (621467) * <karthik@poobal.net> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:55AM (#23980931) Homepage

    I am starting another group:
      "I am drunk While Driving and I Haven't Crashed Yet!"

    It sucks that we have to make laws to compensate for commonsense.

  • How can it be easier? A voice call distracts you for a few seconds, tops- with speeddial, voice dialing, and other options, it takes little to no time.

    Even if you're texting proficient, you still have to look at the screen to check your output multiple times, distracting you from the road.

    While I'm normally a person that is against the "nanny state", idiots who get distracted while driving are not only a danger to themselves, they are a danger to every other person around them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Coopjust (872796)
      Also, I recognize that you do have to continually think about your conversation during a voice call, but you at least have the ability to keep your eyes on the road...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I know people who text without looking (Why would you need to check your output? It's close enough to what you meant) and if the text message in response isn't important, like in the case of texting "be home in 5", it requires lifting up your phone for a couple of seconds and hitting send. Calling could definitely be more distracting depending on how proficient you are at text messaging vs. carrying on a phone conversation.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lilmunkysguy (740848)

      you still have to look at the screen to check your output multiple times, distracting you from the road.

      Like flipping through the radio stations? Here here! Let's call all radio station flippers names and ban radio station flipping!
      Honestly, the cell phone, or the texting, isn't the problem. There are times when it is perfectly safe to text (long empty roads on the way to the coast, for example). As someone above said, the rule should be that you "drive with due care and attention." Banning a particular technology because your view can't apply it in a safe way doesn't seem to be the right answer.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      A voice call distracts you for a few seconds, tops- with speeddial, voice dialing, and other options, it takes little to no time.
      See, I wouldn't have any problem with texting while driving if people would maintain proper distance. Let's say a text message takes 10 seconds to enter (conservative I know), then you need to have your normal 2 seconds plus the additional 10 seconds of space between you and the next driver. At highway speeds, that's about 1500 feet.
      Let's not forget about separation from peop
  • I would like to make organ donation compulsory for these people. At least they can be of some use after they crash.
  • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:56AM (#23980945) Homepage Journal

    I've lost two people in pointless car crashes.

    Please use your goddamn head and pay attention to the goddamn road.

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:56AM (#23980947) Homepage
    when society looks down on physical violence. A solid punch to the chin and that guy may see the error of his ways.
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:56AM (#23980951) Homepage Journal

    We can all remember this thread when the asshat wins a Darwin Award. I've been near clipped many times by people fumbling with their phones. Usually they are gabbing, but more and more it's young kids texting. Youth tends to think it's invincible anyways.

    They even reference 'near accidents'. All it takes is for one other person around you to also have a lapse of attention to turn that 'near accident' into a real accident.

    If you need to say 'be there in 5' then pull over, or just make them wait 5 minutes. Duh.

  • by DieByWire (744043) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:59AM (#23980999)

    Given that at some point the rate of new members signing up will equal the rate that existing members die, calculate the maximum number of members of 'I Text Message People While Driving and I Haven't Crashed Yet!'

  • by astralan (1122953) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:00AM (#23981009)
    It's thrilling to think of driving south on I-95 in the left lane and see someone driving five feet behind me staring at a phone than my bumper. Isn't that how road-rage gets started? It's more than an accident waiting to happen.
  • Get robbed (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joebert (946227) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:01AM (#23981027) Homepage
    Just because you haven't crashed doesn't mean the extra few seconds it takes you to catch on to what's going on around you doesn't irritate the shit out of everyone else on the road an cause roadrage.

    Don't get mad when I smash out your car window with a tire iron and take your phone at a green light, if you were paying attention it wouldn't have happened.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I ride a Motorcycle, and I can truly say that I am sick and tired of almost being hit by idiots that are text messaging or chatting on their cell phones...
    I have seen people read books, news papers, work papers, shave, eat cereal out of a bowl, put on makeup, etc...and texting or talking on the cell both rank up there with "extremely stupid" behaviors while behind the wheel...
    The next person who nearly hits me ... well, I am building an EMP cannon, it should have an effective range of about 20 feet, and sho

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kesuki (321456)

      http://www.dhbolton.com/articles/diy-emp-generator.html [dhbolton.com]

      the site suggests making the entire device DIY, but i think finding a nice titanium alloy tube that is extremely thin, and extremely strong, to propel a shotgun/handgun round pushing a magnet through EMP coils would be easier, and would launch a much stronger, larger EMP shockwave... the ignition chamber can be thick iron, just the tube needs to be extremely thin and long enough, to create the EMP wave. the coils are going to be a real expensive part, b

  • Virginia resident Leming is still happily texting away while driving despite some near-accidents. 'Sometimes it just seems easier to text 'Be there in 5' instead of calling,' explains Taylor."

    Thats funny, I was just thinking how sometimes it just seems easier to ignore the traffic lights and stop signs. I mean, I get to where I am going so much faster! And haven't had an accident yet, which is of course 100% proof that I never will. /sarcasm

    What a selfish _dangerous_ jerk

    All I can hope for is she only wraps herself around a tree or lamp post, and not another car or pedestrian.

  • there would be a screen instead of a speedometer, and the steering wheel would have a keyboard.

  • by Max von H. (19283) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#23981153) Homepage

    I nearly got killed a few years ago by a "distracted" driver who was happily chatting on his cell phone while running a traffic light. It took me over a year to recover and be able to work again and I'll feel the secondary effects of this accident for the rest of my life (definitely NOT a nice thing, trust me).

    In most European countries, using a cell phone while driving is considered impaired driving and you basically face the same consequences as if you were drunk in case of an accident, meaning your insurance will happily run away from you and you'll be declared responsible for the accident even if it's not initially your fault.

    I'm looking forward to the day it'll be the same here in Ontario as a lot of people don't seem to be able to distract themselves from their crackberries while driving. Maybe a $1000 ticket and a license suspension will teach them a lesson before they get to injure or kill someone.

    I for one hope this moron eliminates himself from the human gene pool without injuring or killing someone first.

  • ...and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment — texting behind the wheel is a symptom of dick-headdery — remember that this is a group on Facebook, OK?
  • I, too, prefer to text over calling for quick messages. But, in the (rare) instances when I feel the need to text while driving, I just pull off the road. At the very least, I wait until I'm at a stop light-- and if the light changes before I can send the message, I toss my phone to the side and proceed to the next place I can pull over. What could possibly be so urgent that it needs to be sent while the vehicle is in motion?
  • how am I going to communicate with people while riding my motorcycle now?!
  • by davmoo (63521) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:40AM (#23981471)

    A number of comments here have asked questions like "how hard is it to pull over" or "why not just call them". Here's another one...

    Why not RTFA and discover that its a joke group and its creator is not trying to condone texting while driving.

  • ook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:11PM (#23981855)
    between shit like this and the countless pictures I've seen of girls on facebook taking pictures of themselves while they're driving, remind me again why auto insurance is higher for males?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:54PM (#23982419) Homepage Journal

    I drive a motorcycle in NYC, which is already really dangerous even when people are running only one machine, their car. It's even worse now that people are in their SUVs, sealed from the rest of the world and throwing their weight around in traffic - especially when they're not really NYC residents, but drive those trucks mostly in the suburbs where there's room for them to drive like fools. It's even worse than that with them talking to their phones pressed to their heads, distracted by what's in their hands rather than concentrating with their hands on the wheel. The worst are the SUV drivers with phones in their hands, and of course the very worst are the ones with both hands on a phone, looking at it while they text someone. It's totally insane, though they don't care since they feel like their giant truck will protect them in a collision.

    A month ago, one of these assholes cut me off downtown, almost driving me into a parked car (except I'm a very good driver, so I barely recovered to save my life). They raced to the next red light, which was only a block away anyway. I drove up next to their window and waved at them. I wanted to tell them to watch out, as most of them just aren't aware of motorcycles at all, which don't register in their vision like cars do. They were busy texting someone, as they'd clearly been while they cut me off, and they ignored me. So I knocked on their window. They ignored me. I knocked harder, angrily now. They glanced up at me, obviously having seen me the entire time, and waved one hand, mockingly making an "oh, I'm scared" face (even though I wasn't threatening them or anything). They laughed silently inside their big truck, and bent back down to resume texting.

    So I bashed off their side rearview mirror. I ripped it from the truck, and smashed at their truck over and over again while they watched in shock.

    Then I drove away and got lost among NYC's millions of other cars. Fixing that mirror's got to cost hundreds of dollars and days off the road. If only I could have smashed their window and grabbed their phone, I'd call to check in on how it's going. Maybe next time. If they haven't learned to just shut up and drive already.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ari_j (90255)
      Many motorcyclists have the advice to always assume that you are invisible to other drivers. I make a slightly different assumption when I'm on my bike. I assume that every other driver is aware of my presence but actively trying to kill me. It's a lot easier to remain vigilant when you are being hunted rather than simply ignored.

      I'm glad you survived that asshole and, while I can't advise anything unlawful, if I were in charge of your insurance company I would gladly indemnify you for any claims that
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:56PM (#23983137)

    There's another group on Facebook called 'I've had unprotected sex with 258 crack whores I've picked up at homeless shelters and I haven't caught any life threatening STD's yet'. I think that group and the text messaging while driving group should join forces. They could rename the groups 'we're a gaggle of stupid morons who're really pushing it'

  • by DF5JT (589002) <slashdot@bloatware.de> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @02:11PM (#23983257) Homepage

    Seriously.

    For years I have had a shortwave transceiver in my car and since I don't like voice communication, I had a morse code key between the seats. I am quite proficient at the code, doing something like 40 WPM easily while driving on the Autobahn and I found that concentration was more difficult when I had an actual person to talk to in the car.

    I wish there was a mobile phone with twoe keys, one for dots, one for dashes to let me input text messages. Anything less than a full size keyboard is a PITA for text input; morse code would be a fine alternative, but i realize it's not for everyone. I look forward to a new generation of mobile phones that is open enough to make something like this possible.

    Please no hint at Darwin: I am an experienced driver and listening to music is just as distracting as watching parts of the landscape and in fact when doing morse code at 120 mpH I never need to take my eyes from the road. I would agree, however, that any input interface that requires a look at the input device is an invitation to cleanse the gene pool.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @04:11PM (#23984363) Homepage Journal

    Is already illegal to drive impaired. Why do we need another law to say the same thing is illegal?

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