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Cellphones Handhelds Transportation

Could Anti-Texting Laws Make Roads More Dangerous? 709

Posted by samzenpus
from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new study has found that various state laws that ban texting while driving might actually make the roads more dangerous. If that seems counterintuitive, it's the laws of unintended consequences at work. The theory is that the laws don't do much to stop people from texting while driving — but instead, leads them to try to hide the activity more. That is, they end up trying to text with the phone held lower down to avoid it being detected. But, of course, that also takes their eyes even further off the road. The study itself looked at texting-related accidents both before and after 4 different states implemented such laws, and also compared them to neighboring states with no such laws. The results suggest the laws certainly don't help and in some cases appeared to make the situation worse. So if the laws don't work, what is a better solution to preventing texting while driving accidents?"
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Could Anti-Texting Laws Make Roads More Dangerous?

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  • by Chirs (87576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:37PM (#33736792)

    Studies have shown that it's not the act of holding the phone that is the problem, but rather the fact that you're concentrating on something other than the road.

    Granted, speech-to-text would be less of an issue than talking because you can pause while doing some tricky driving, but you're still going to be thinking about the message you're composing rather than on your driving.

  • Original data (Score:5, Informative)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:42PM (#33736890)

    Ugh. A slashdot article linking to some dude's blog post linking to the Christian Science Monitor's discussion. Can't *someone* link to the original study by the Highway Loss Data Institute?

    Here's the HLDI's summary, with graphs:

    http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr092810.html [iihs.org]

    Links to more details on that page. It's actually a pretty interesting analysis, if you go beyond the lede.

  • Re:Considering (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:57PM (#33737172)

    there is no a single good study that actually show how dangerous...

    A report by the National Safety Council found cell phone use leads to about 1.6 million crashes a year. About 200,000 of those accidents are caused by texting while driving. Studies show teenagers are especially prone to text and drive.

    Link is Here [nsc.org].

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:01PM (#33737256)

    Why do people always immediately go to the restrictive solution? How about speech-to-text instead of forcing a feature disabled...

    Because more of the danger is from distraction than the use of a hand on the device, so speech-to-text solves something that isn't the problem.

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:18PM (#33737560)

    The gov't can flaunt all the studies/stats out there even show videos of what happens when you get into an accident, but that won't help. People will still think to themselves, "Shit, I need to tell XYZ that I'm going to be home late, or to let out the cat...."

    Last week I was walking in the mall and saw a woman about 75ft in front of me looking at her phone while she was texting and walking. I stopped walking and just stood there. A few seconds later she walked right into me. In the 75ft that she walked, she never looked up once. She proceeded to blame me for not getting out of the way and I calmly told her that I was standing there looking at the display, I can't be responsible if you were not paying attention to where you were walking.

    I can only imagine what this woman is like when she's driving a 3000lb car going 45mph.

    I agree with the other posters, if you're texting while in an accident, hefty fine, removal of driving privileges, suspension of license, put it on your record (like a DUI), increase your auto insurance rates, public flogging etc...

    Btw, in California they are trying to lower the fine for making a 'rolling stop' at a stop sign from $450 to $219. The fine is supposed to be painful.

  • That is the whole problem with trying to foolproof society, we just keep making bigger fools. I remember reading last year about cops in Florida (isn't it always Florida?) busted a woman for driving like a nut at 70+ while shaving her pubes and driving the car with her feet. I'll never forget what the arresting officer said "I thought I'd seen it all when I busted a guy trying to shoot up while driving down this stretch last year, but I gotta say, this tops it."

    So maybe instead of banning we should make those that want the "right" to text and drive take a test to prove they are capable? Because I've known those that can do multiple tasks and actually be good drivers, whereas I've known others that I still can't understand how they got a license in the first place. But you'd think we'd learn after our 80 year+ drug war than banning don't do squat except make people sneaky, just as in TFA.

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