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Federal Summit Eyes Crackdown On Texting While Driving 408

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-i-can-still-play-bejeweled dept.
suraj.sun sends along this quote from an Associated Press report: "Opening a government meeting on auto safety, the Obama administration reported Wednesday that nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in vehicle crashes connected to driver distraction, a striking indication of the dangers of using mobile devices behind the wheel. The Transportation Department was bringing together experts over two days for what it's calling a 'distracted driving summit' to take a hard look at the highway hazards caused by drivers talking on cell phones or texting from behind the wheel. ... Driver distraction was involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal and seven states and the district have banned driving while talking on a handheld cell phone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Many safety groups have urged a nationwide ban on texting and on using handheld mobile devices while behind the wheel."
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Federal Summit Eyes Crackdown On Texting While Driving

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  • Its just stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @10:57AM (#29593669) Journal

    This has been the common thing in many European countries for many years already. You're only allowed to talk in car if you're wearing a hands-free device to talk.

    Even more as speaking on a phone, SMS'ing is just stupid. You're not only putting your concentration it, but changing your view from the street to the phone screen. Sound's like a great idea.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:08AM (#29593847)
      The dangers of texting while driving are completely overblown. I do it all the time and have never gotten into an accidsdiosdfnkasdnsdjksdfjhsdjkhkhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

      ------------
      Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld
      • Re:Its just stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:19PM (#29595047) Homepage Journal

        "Distracted" driving? WTF? Texting drivers are WAY more than "distracted". I almost got hit by a stupid bimbo just yesterday who was weaving into my lane, looking down at her phone that she was holding with both hands. After I blew the horn she looked up, got back in her lane, and started texting again. I had an urge to pull in front of her, slam on my brakes, and collect some cash. Not that it would have done any good, she'd still text.

        What's worse is it's the young inexperienced drivers that are doing the texting.

        Pretty girls walking down the street are distractions. Those blinkey flashey signs you see these days are distractions. The kid screaming in the back seat is a distraction. The passenger next to you sayiing "Oh look! A cow!" is a distraction.

        Texting isn't a distraction; it doesn't distract you, it takes YOUR ENTIRE ATTENTION off of what you're doing. Calling texting "distracted driving" puts me in mind of the Holy Grail's "It's just a flesh wound".

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by shiftless (410350)

          Texting isn't a distraction; it doesn't distract you, it takes YOUR ENTIRE ATTENTION off of what you're doing.

          Only if you're a dumbass whose ENTIRE ATTENTION is needed to send a text message. It is entirely possible to watch the road while texting.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Calithulu (1487963)
            All evidence to the contrary, eh [cnet.com]? Look, I can well understand wanting to send a message while driving, but texting really does limit the ability of a driver to actually drive. Accidents where texting is the reason for the failure of the driver to obey proper traffic laws [ocregister.com] are quite common [google.com]. But if you've seen studies that show something different, please link them - or articles linking to them - here. I'd dearly love to read them.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by shiftless (410350)

              Are you capable of forming an opinion on a subject without requiring a study to back it up? Are human beings in general able to master things that the average person in the average study wasn't capable of?

              I don't doubt that many people are too stupid or unskilled to safely text while driving. There's also a lot of people who can't juggle, and most can't walk on a tight rope over a canyon without falling to their deaths. Yet somehow, some people are able to do these things. I can type out a text message on m

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:05PM (#29595779)

        Sir Bedevere: What is that?
        Brother Maynard: He must have died while texting it.
        King Arthur: Oh come on!
        Brother Maynard: Well, that's what it says.
        King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to text 'accidsdiosdfnkasdnsdjksdfjhsdjkhkhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh '. He'd just say it.
        Sir Galahad: Maybe he was dictating it.
        King Arthur: Oh shut up!
        Sir Robin: Well does it say anything else?
        Brother Maynard: No, just "accidsdiosdfnkasdnsdjksdfjhsdjkhkhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ".
        [knights making groaning sounds]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trip6 (1184883)

      Re hands free talking, it's been proven in many studies that it's the distraction of the conversation that's the real threat over the mechanical fumbling with the dialing of the phone.

      California enacted hands-free talking last year then quickly realized they forgot text messaging. They pushed a bill through quickly that also bans texting.

      This is one of those "duh" issues.

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      The study showed that drivers who text and drive become more than one third slower than if they were coherent and not texting - this was compared to a person at the DUI limit or under the influence of illegal drugs. Text messaging lowered reaction time by 35 percent, while people high on marijuana slowed down 21 percent and those who were drunk slowed down by 12 percent.
      On top of those findings, people reading or writing text messages drifted out of their lane more than people who were focused solely on dri

    • by Zumbs (1241138)
      Headsets are also a distraction, as you are still concentrating on the conversation when you should be concentrating on the road. Which is why it is also illegal where I live. The fine for use of mobile phones, however, is rediculously low: ~100 Euro.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MBGMorden (803437)

      Actually the most recent studies are showing that holding the phone versus using a hands-free device has virtually zero difference in accident rates. The research indicates that merely talking on the cell phone - not holding it - is the main contributor to accidents, which seems pretty obvious to me anyways (it seems pretty obvious that holding a phone to your ear requires a fraction of the attention and concentration that the conversation itself does).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Actually the most recent studies are showing that holding the phone versus using a hands-free device has virtually zero difference in accident rates. The research indicates that merely talking on the cell phone - not holding it - is the main contributor to accidents, which seems pretty obvious to me anyways (it seems pretty obvious that holding a phone to your ear requires a fraction of the attention and concentration that the conversation itself does).

        It surprises me somewhat, since it seems it would be harder to use your turn signals when the other hand is holding a phone instead of the wheel and harder to glance around at where other nearby cars are when you're holding something against your ear. I suppose it could just be that nobody does those things anyway, or maybe that they don't actually help...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Al Dimond (792444)

          It's not that hard to drive completely left-handed with a little practice. Driving a manual-transmission car would be more of a challenge (you'd have to hold the phone between your head and shoulder while shifting, which is hard to do with most cell phones). The big problem is that the people you're talking to are often inconsiderate of the fact that you're driving, and they can't know when you're coming up on a merge or a turn. Police officers have lots of gadgets in their cars, and bus drivers and truc

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nametaken (610866)

        Holding a phone to talk and typing out a text message are two completely different things. As a regular motorcycle rider, you pay attention to things like this.

        People talking on phones merely irritate me. They drive slowly in the left lane holding up traffic. They take weeks to pull out of gas stations, etc. It's like they know they're temporarily disabled, so they do everything slowly. They do sometimes become a bit oblivious to the people around them.

        People texting while driving, however, should thei

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Deosyne (92713)

          No doubt. It still boggles me that there is this big push to make texting illegal since it seems like there could be no possible way that it could be legal. As much of a freedom junkie as I am, I am still perplexed at how it could possibly be legal to read and type while hurling down highways at 50+ MPH in conditions where death can occur within seconds. Even the phone users I am willing to overlook while gritting my teeth, despite the many times that they have nearly swirved into or in front of me, always

    • by corbettw (214229)

      It's already illegal in several states, with more debating the laws. This isn't a Federal issue, so why are they even wasting time talking about it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What about everything else? Makeup, Food, Kids, etc? Does the EU regulate what you can and can't do in your cars? I know Americans are different from a few countries in the regard that driving is a waste of your time and you can multitask, where other countries see driving as 'the task at hand'.

      After driving German cars for most of my life, you can see that Germans use their cars to drive. I can just see the conversation now from back in the day:
      Manager: Zee Americans komplain about 'cup holders'.
      Engineer:

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by rho (6063)

        Old Volvos are like that. Completely cup-holder free.

        The conversation was probably similar, only more like this:

        Manager: Orgee borgee bork bork bork!
        Engineer: Der chicken in de pot bork bork bork!
        Manager: Bork bork bork!
        Engineer: Bork bork bork!

  • by hemp (36945) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:00AM (#29593719) Homepage Journal

    At least 22 states currently text traffic conditions, emergencies, etc to motorist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053)
      Receiving a text is very different than sending one. I'll read a text or a brief email while I'm driving. It's not much different from looking down at your stereo. Actually composing a text requires that you focus both on what you want to say and hitting the proper buttons to say it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afabbro (33948)
        I think you think the average idiot reads as fast as you do... Nothing like driving down the road and seeing some chick next to you mouthing each word as she holds the phone up to her face...
        • A majority of the problem comes from how people hold their phones. Quite a few people I see texting seem to either have it in their lap or right up in their face.

          May I suggest holding the phone at arms length right above the dashboard. Your eyes won't have to swap focus as much nor will they have to change location. It'd be about the same as a HUD.

          I'm not saying it's perfect or better than no texting, but it's much better than setting it in your lap.

      • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:15AM (#29593965) Homepage

        You can also text "hands free" using let's set so double the killer delete select all.

      • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:27AM (#29594175)

        I think you're deceiving yourself here. It's actually recommended that users specifically NOT mess with their stereo while driving as that too is a major cause of accidents. Taking your eyes off the road is a bad thing. It's why so many cars now come with steering wheel mounted controls for the stereo so that you can skip tracks and such without having to reach over or take your eyes off the road.

    • They also will probably email you the same information, that doesn't mean you should pop open a laptop while you drive down the freeway to check for traffic warnings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Yes and it is a good thing gone very bad.
      I would love to get those texts as I am walking out to my car, stopped at a light, or when I am stopped in a traffic jam or when I am riding as a passenger in the car.
      The problem is that too many people will try to read them while driving. I don't buy the idea it is no different that looking down at your radio. If you have to read your radio then you have issues.
      Really folks keep your eyes on the road. Even messing with the radio should be limited to when you are sto

      • by horza (87255)

        I read my radio. How else do you tell which radio station you are on?

        Phillip.

  • Dramatization (Score:4, Informative)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:05AM (#29593793)

    Here's an anti-texting-and-driving PSA video I came across.

    It's a dramatization, but I found it to be uncommonly disturbing. Worth watching, if for no other reason than the quality of production.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I54mlK0kVw [youtube.com]

  • Driving is risky (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swb (14022) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:08AM (#29593849)

    Not paying attention while driving is even riskier. Do we really need to establish a new Federal law, complete with its own bureaucracy and enforcement regime to control (another) risky behavior?

    At what point will people feel "safe"?

    • by ZekoMal (1404259)
      I'll feel safe when no one has arms anymore. Just have 'em lopped off at birth and you get robotic arms attached only after passing twenty seven complicated common sense tests. That way the morons that cause these safety laws to be required don't stand a damn chance of getting voted in to congress anymore. Maybe we can make a similar method for breeding, too...
    • Four things will make me feel safe:

      1) Make the driving tests harder. Many people are simply bad at controlling a vehicle. If more than 75% are passing the test, it is too easy.

      2) Make the punishment for a DUI conviction an automatic 5 year suspension. Make the punishment for a second DUI conviction a suspension forever.

      3) Make hit and run an automatic felony.

      4) Make people pay attention. Two hands on the wheel except to shift and control lights and wipers. And get the damn radio control buttons off of the s

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        4) Make people pay attention. Two hands on the wheel except to shift and control lights and wipers. And get the damn radio control buttons off of the steering wheel.

        Minor quibble, but radio control buttons on the steering wheel are actually safer, as the alternative is for someone to lean over and find the button, which is almost going to necessarily requiring looking at the radio. If they're on the wheel in a simplified fashion (volume up/down, and track forward/backward), then a user can generally do that by feel without having to look away from the road.

        Also, I'd question whether two hands on the wheel makes any difference. Heck when I was learning to fly I instinctively put two hands on the yoke and was immediately told not to - too much pressure on the controls tends to make you go with the flow and follow pulls and such as they happen. One hand with less pressure allowed you to receive more feedback from the controls and adjust more quickly. My inclination would be to say the same could very well apply to cars.

      • by swb (14022)

        I think (1) makes a lot of sense, and I'd buy into the idea of the behind-the-wheel test involving a drive on real streets and highways for an extended distance (20 miles?). And why not it a re-test every 7 years after age 55?

        The rest makes sense too, although radio controls on the steering wheel I think makes you MORE focused, not less, since you're not reaching for the controls.

  • by bannerman (60282) <bannerman@rocketmail.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:11AM (#29593895)

    Driving while distracted is already illegal. Telling us exactly how to do everything is not making people any more responsible. Solve the problem by applying existing law using common sense instead of making new laws that are easier to apply.

    • by bcmm (768152)

      Solve the problem by applying existing law using common sense instead of making new laws that are easier to apply.

      Not everybody has common sense. As it stands now, I'm sure there are plenty who think they are supermen* who aren't "distracted" just because they're texting. Sure, if they cause an accident, the judge won't agree, but it's better that they've heard unequivocally that "texting and driving is illegal", and don't cause an accident in the first place. Just like the way we have drink-driving laws a

    • Agreed, this is covered by existing law and it doesn't need it's own. I'm not against the law itself, but it is redundant.
    • by dbet (1607261)
      Exactly. If a cop pulled you over because you were texting, he can give the "reckless driving" ticket and I'm 99% sure a judge would uphold it in court, if it came to that.
  • This is stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:12AM (#29593909) Homepage Journal

    It's just another loop hole insurance companies will use to not pay out claims.
    Fault will be immediately assigned to the driver who was texting, there insurance won't pay, everybody is screwed...well except the insurance companies.
    Just like if their is an accident and a vehical has a broken bottle of liquor fault is assigned to that vehicle EVEN IF THE DRIVER WASN'T DRINKING, and it's damn hard to get anyone to review and change the fault even with a toxicology report.

    If someone is driving recklessly, give them a ticket. You can not pass laws to specifically name every way someone could drive dangerously.

    OAN: isit me, or is EVERYTHING more dangerous then driving while drunk?(.08)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's just another loop hole insurance companies will use to not pay out claims.

      I have no problem with this. Lower premiums for people who are not idiots. This is the way things should work.

      Fault will be immediately assigned to the driver who was texting, there insurance won't pay, everybody is screwed...well except the insurance companies.

      Explain how I will be screwed, since I'm not the driver who was texting.

      Just like if their is an accident and a vehical has a broken bottle of liquor fault is assigned to that vehicle EVEN IF THE DRIVER WASN'T DRINKING, and it's damn hard to get anyone to review and change the fault even with a toxicology report.

      So put it in the trunk. What is liquor doing in the passenger compartment anyway, if nobody was drinking it?

      If someone is driving recklessly, give them a ticket. You can not pass laws to specifically name every way someone could drive dangerously.

      No, you can't. Nor is it easy to convict someone of being "reckeless" or "dangerous" since those are subjective terms. On the other hand, "drunk" (defined by BAC) and "texting" are things that can be proven.

  • Don't you have an existing one that applies, like driving without due care and consideration? [motordefenceteam.co.uk]

    example applications

    accidents caused as a result of distractions such as smoking, changing a CD/tape or eating/drinking are likely to be prosecuted as careless driving.

    are you guys subjected to the "something MUST be done" syndrome [parliament.uk] by your politicians as well

    VI) THE "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE" SYNDROME

    47. Another problem identified by a number of witnesses was what might be termed the "something must be done" syndr

    • by corbettw (214229)

      Yes, we do have those laws already. Every state in the Union has one, there's no need for a Federal crackdown. Careless driving has nothing to do with interstate commerce or any other area of the Federal government's responsibility. Color me shocked that Obama* and his team still feel the need to poke their noses into this issue, though.

    • by berashith (222128)

      I am not sure about a due care type of law in the US. A few years back, some idiot was watching a dvd in his pickup truck and killed another driver. The specific act was not written as illegal yet, so he got off without any big charges against him. If lawyers can use this defense, then the laws are unfortunately going to have to be written out explicitly as what is not allowed to be done.

  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:17AM (#29594001) Homepage

    This guy was coming right at me, crossing 2 lanes of traffic one night. Driver behind him reported that he was looking down and fumbling with a device while driving (likely texting):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28154298@N05/sets/72157605928214101/detail/ [flickr.com]

    He never slowed down after hitting the bank on the opposite side of the road, and nailed the house at around 50mph.

  • What is saddest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jolyonr (560227) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:22AM (#29594091) Homepage

    ... is that people have to be told that sending/reading text messages when driving is unsafe.

    Are people really that fucking dumb these days?

    Judging by the evidence above, it seems so.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:23AM (#29594111)
    The summary says that "nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in vehicle crashes connected to driver distraction". What percentage of accidents was that? What percentage of people who drove last year was that? How many of those "driver distraction" cases were text messaging? For that matter, how many were from people using "mobile devices behind the wheel"? How many were changing the radio station? How many were eating something?
    Texting while driving is stupid, but current laws already cover it. I am pretty sure that a ticket for reckless driving given to someone texting while driving would hold up in court.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      I agree with this completely. And in a population as large as even one developed nation, 6000 is a pittance. More than this will be killed due to almost any other type of death statistic measured.

      I also balk at the blanket of 'driver distraction'. Does this cover sneezing? Or better put, how long until this does cover sneezing? Because that kills people too. Probably something like 6000 a year. What about falling asleep? Can we mandate caffeine tests for all drivers?

      Operating huge chunks of plastic

  • by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:25AM (#29594149)

    Opening a government meeting on auto safety, the Obama administration reported Wednesday that nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in vehicle crashes connected to driver distraction, a striking indication of the dangers of using mobile devices behind the wheel.

    ...

    Transportation officials said in a research report that 5,870 people were killed and 515,000 were injured last year in crashes where at least one form of driver distraction was reported. Driver distraction was involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008.

    Where did this "striking indication" come from, when the statistics given by the article do not say how many of those crashes were related to being distracted by cell phones? It could just as easily be babies in the back seat, blow jobs, etc. The point is, we don't know.

    Imagine the following made up story:

    Opening a government meeting on home safety, the Obama administration reported Wednesday that nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in accidents around the house, a striking indication of the dangers of keeping guns in the home.

  • by RepelHistory (1082491) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:26AM (#29594159)

    Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal and seven states and the district have banned driving while talking on a handheld cell phone.

    This is an example of states setting their own laws to respond to an issue that directly affects the lives of their citizens. The possibility of the federal government stepping in and usurping this power is analogous to America's situation as far as the legal drinking age goes - MADD used its lobbying power to get Congress to essentially coerce the states into following its will. Keep in mind, barring a constitutional amendment, congress lacks the power to directly affect the drinking age - hence their questionable approach (albeit one that has been upheld by the courts) of saying, "well look, states, we're not telling you you HAVE to set the drinking age at 21, but if you don't, something might happen to your federal highway funding. We're just saying, it could happen." I realize that it would be somewhat impractical for the federal government to stay limited by an extremely strict interpretation of the Constitution, but there is absolutely no reason for the national government to waste its valuable time meddling here (don't we have a health care crisis or recession or whatever that they should be dealing with?). Cell phone use, like the drinking age, is one of those areas which should not be controlled nationally - if we take away all the powers of the states to set their own laws, then what's the point of even having a federal system to begin with?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mbone (558574)

      You forgot to mention that Liddy Dole, as Secretary of Transportation, was largely responsible for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. I remember her pushing the 21 year old drinking age, yes, in heavy collaboration with MADD, during the first Reagan administration, a period when this country seemed besotted with stupid ideas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      And then the state should say "Fuck you" and then put big signs along the interstate freeways saying:
      "This road is not being repaired becasue the federal government refuse to fund it" along the freeway.

      At the very least, the truckers union will start to get annoyed becasue it impacts their members, and shipping companies will start to get annoyed, and then your funding will appear. Probably be some newly elected officials.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        "This road is not being repaired becasue the federal government refuse to fund it" along the freeway.

        Well, if the Libertarian folks around here are to be believed, the federal government *shouldn't* be maintaining the freeways. Since when was it the fed's job to keep state roads in good repair?

        'course, by that logic, the interstates would've never been built in the first place, but...

  • And now, all the new cars are coming with these fancy IN DASH computer [automotivetraveler.com] thingies with GPS and stuff, creating even MORE distractions in the car.

    I can't wait till we start to see those bastards on the road.

  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:38AM (#29594371)

    ...and maybe running red lights. But you'll never see existing driving-while-distracted laws enforced. So all this hullabaloo about a Federal Summit ignores the fundamental flaw in roadway policing. The cops pretty much ONLY care about the speed you're going. They never pull anyone over for violating basic rules like failing to use a turn signal, zig-zaggers who change lanes endlessly to get 3 car lengths ahead, etc. And to make it even more inane, the speed limits are arbitrary and political, rarely having a correlation to the road they are posted on.

  • NY state just passed "tough" new laws prohibiting texting while driving. But that made the roads a lot less safe in much of the state.

    Two of the most trafficy counties, Nassau and Westchester (the two suburbs right next to NYC, with millions of their own people, and millions more through commuters) already had texting prohibitions for drivers. If a cop there saw someone texting on the road, they could be pulled over just for texting, and given a pretty steep ticket. Repeat offenses quickly revoked their dri

  • by dasunt (249686) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:49AM (#29594573)

    If someone was weaving all over the road while trying to shave, we wouldn't ask for a law against shaving-while-driving to be passed.

    Instead we would charge that individual with some existing law against negligent driving.

    Give the person a ticket. If he or she contests it, proving that the driver was weaving shouldn't be hard in this day of police vehicles with front-dash cameras. Problem solved.

    Why not enforce the existing laws instead of allowing politicians to pat themselves on the back for passing a popular law that is redundant?

  • This entire anti-texting movement makes no sense whatsoever. We've been fighting drunk driving ever since cars were invented, and we've barely made any progress in that area, much less distracted driving. The main thing that has reduced fatalities is better auto safety design, but people are still getting behind the wheel when they're impaired. If we can't stop people from driving drunk, how can we possibly expect them to drive "undistracted"?

    On top of that, how do you prove that texting caused an accide

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:05PM (#29594863) Homepage Journal

    I agree that distracted drivers is a BIG problem. However, the response to it is idiotic:

    Many safety groups have urged a nationwide ban on texting and on using handheld mobile devices while behind the wheel."

    Why is it idiotic?

    There are laws already covering it. If you're driving >10mph under the limit, you're guilty of a reverse "speeding" infraction, AND hindering the flow of traffic. Two lucrative finable offenses.

    If you are weaving in and out of your lane you are guilty of two or three offenses: failure to maintain control of your vehicle, improper lane changes (one offense per time you cross the line without using turn indicators), and reckless driving,

    If you sail right through a stop or yield sign, or if you change lanes cutting someone off (aside from anyone exceeding the speed limit or anyone using the breakdown lane - here in MA the breakdown lane MUST yield to ALL other traffic where breakdown lane travel is allowed, but unfortunately the massholes who use it use it as a passing lane and will not yield to anyone) you're guilty of reckless driving and ignoring rights of way, yield, and traffic signal laws.

    Either way you look at it, there are laws in place which can be used to solve this problem once and for all. However, thanks to assholes who don't think logically, but think with their hearts "Oh someone think of the children" my using my GPS could be outlawed. That's okay though because I will go back to using a compass and street directories. That way, I can become a distracted driver who is paging through a thick book and staring at a map to figure out where I am but that will be perfectly legal, and presumably safer than using my handheld gps/phone with its realtime traffic updates.. Right? Of course the printed street directory will be safer. Gotcha.

    See the problem is the massholes causing the problem are going unpunished because revenue officers are too busy pulling people over who are "speeding" on the interstate (although those evil speeders are traveling at speeds of at least 60mph slower than the interstates were originally designed for - based on 1960s automotive suspension technologies) so they can meet their quotas rather than enforcing actual safety issues covered by law. No, instead it's just easier to punish everyone because of the irresponsible few. Throw the baby out with the bathwater. Don't you dare pick up that cellphone if you're a doctor or an EMT on call. Don't you dare pick up that phone and call for directions when you're lost (instead, drive around erractically as you figure out where you are). Don't you dare check your GPS or click "reroute."

    Instead, much like the drinking age, using cellphones without headsets, and trans fats and sodas, let's throw out the baby with the bathwater. Let's punish EVERYONE for the irresponsibility of the few.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai

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