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Text-Messaging Behind the Wheel 517

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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  • Re:Kids these days (Score:4, Informative)

    by jrothwell97 ( 968062 ) <jonathan.notroswell@com> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:06AM (#23981085) Homepage Journal

    In my experience, this is how people carry out such short conversations.

    Party 'B': Hello, B speaking.
    Party 'A': Hello, it's me.
    Party 'B': Hello, A.
    Party 'A': Whereabouts are you?
    Party 'B': I'm just walking past the music shop opposite the church. Where are you?
    Party 'A':I'm walking past the hotel. I'll meet you at the swimming pool.
    Party 'B': OK, see you later. Goodbye.

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Re:Kids these days (Score:5, Informative)

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

    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:Darwin (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:53AM (#23981623)

    Ahh, an AC idiot who thinks he is smart because he uses the continuum fallacy. []

    Living humans can stop talking when distractions are present. It is much less dangerous. But, if you were not an idiot, you would know this already.

  • Re:Darwin (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:17PM (#23981925)

    This is why (just picked the first relevant example from 30 seconds' Googling):

    Almor also explained that when applied to the visual task of driving, the results show that simply using hand-free devices are not very helpful.

    "This isn't getting through to many legislators," he said, adding that with driving talking on the phone is also different from talking to someone in the car.

    "When you have someone sitting next to you they are acting as an extra set of eyes, something that a remote person can't alert you to."

    The person on the other end of the phone can't see what's going on, and won't know when they need to shut up. Additionally, it takes more brain power to decipher speech coming over a crappy digital connection than when it is coming from somebody who's right there, so the distraction is actually far greater.

  • 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 []:

    "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:Idiot (Score:3, Informative)

    by skiingyac ( 262641 ) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:18PM (#23982695)

    A lot states have laws like this. In DE, my wife got rear-ended (lightly) by some teenager when coming to a stop at a red light in good weather (she was not the first car to stop and didn't brake hard or anything), and his explanation was basically "sorry, I didn't see you".

    The trooper gave him a ticket for "inattentive driving". It didn't matter whether he was texting, eating, or whatever else (he claimed he wasn't doing anything), because he obviously wasn't paying attention to what he was doing. I'm sure it didn't help him that his insurance card was expired, it was a weekend, and my wife was pregnant, but the necessary laws do exist.

    The problem is enforcement is hard until they hit somebody.

  • Re:Darwin (Score:2, Informative)

    by shiftless ( 410350 ) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:34PM (#23982867) Homepage

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

    Well gee, let's see: maybe you are meeting some people who have been waiting on you and may leave you if you don't let them know you'll be there in a couple minutes? I am sure I can think of hundreds of reasons why you would want to send such a text message. What a stupid criticism.

    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.

    Oh please. Driving is a dangerous activity, period. Yet somehow people manage to arrive safely at their destinations in most cases. I guess if you're a retard or clumsy geek who's totally incapable of doing two things at once you might want to refrain from tuning the radio, etc. while driving through rush hour traffic. The rest of us get along just fine texting, calling, etc while driving, especially out on the open highway with little traffic. Hell, I've been known to send text messages while riding a fucking motorcycle, and here I am, still alive and breathing.

    I wish people like you would quit trying to be everybody else's mommy.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"