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  #1  
Old 07-28-2009, 03:00 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default The Proof: Texting While Driving is Idiotic

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/technology/28texting.html?_r=3' target='_blank'>http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/t...xting.html?_r=3</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research - and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions. The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting."</em></p><p><span><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1248744932.usr1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></span></p><p><span>While common sense tells us that texting while driving is a bad idea, I frankly didn't realize what a stratospheric jump in the chances of having an accident texting incurs. This is a sobering article that I'd urge everyone to read and pass on to their friends - there's absolutely nothing cool about endangering the lives of those around you. Don't send or read texts, or emails, while driving. Nothing you're getting send to you is important enough to warrant endangering the lives of those around you.</span></p>
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:44 AM
Rob Alexander
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Let's see... I'm going to watch tiny letters on a tiny screen instead of watching the road ahead of me as I careen down the highway in 2,000 pounds of steel, and I'm going to use both hands to press tiny keys instead of using at least one of them to steer the vehicle... how could that be dangerous? The amazing thing is that we even need to have this conversation, and that we needed to spend $6 million to prove what any moron ought to be able to figure out with a moment's thought. If you are smart enough to press the keys, you should be smart enough to know that texting while driving is just plain stupid.
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:55 AM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Alexander View Post
Let's see... I'm going to watch tiny letters on a tiny screen instead of watching the road ahead of me as I careen down the highway in 2,000 pounds of steel, and I'm going to use both hands to press tiny keys instead of using at least one of them to steer the vehicle... how could that be dangerous? The amazing thing is that we even need to have this conversation, and that we needed to spend $6 million to prove what any moron ought to be able to figure out with a moment's thought. If you are smart enough to press the keys, you should be smart enough to know that texting while driving is just plain stupid.
Exactly my thoughts. Seems blatantly obvious to me. I've never texted while driving; I mostly avoid using cell phones at all while driving, unless I'm coordinating to pick up someone at the airport, etc.

--janak
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:59 PM
Fritzly
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It is as dangerous as:

Reading books
Reading newspapers
Reading documents in a folder
Fixing make-up
Filing nails
Etc. etc.

And yes I have seen people doing all the above while driving.

It does not surprise me that, here in the US in spite of those pathetic speed limits, there are as many fatalities as in Germany where Autobahn have long segments that do not have any and you can drive at 150 Mph and more.

Instead of spending millions in useless studies like this teach people how to drive and improve quality of the roads; things will change.
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:40 PM
burtcom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritzly View Post
It is as dangerous as:...
Indeed -- its stupid to OMG BAN TEXTING!!11! when anything can be a distraction while driving. Even talking hands-free can be a dangerous distraction.

If there's a law, it should be a blanket THOU SHALT NOT DO ANYTHING BUT DRIVE THE DAMN CAR.

/I'm as guilty as anyone -- I never text because I just don't text, but I have talked on the phone hands-free while driving, and subsequently missed a turn, or had to do a sudden stop. Now I just let the phone ring, and when I can pull over I'll check and see if I have to call back.

Hands free is not mind-free
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:04 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritzly View Post
It is as dangerous as:
I'd argue it's actually much worse than all of the things you cited. Those don't involve navigation through a UI which involves the coordination of looking for small buttons, hitting them, and looking at the screen to see what happened.

(Not that I support any of the other activities, mind you.)

Quote:
It does not surprise me that, here in the US in spite of those pathetic speed limits, there are as many fatalities as in Germany where Autobahn have long segments that do not have any and you can drive at 150 Mph and more.
And what does this have to do with the conversation at hand?

Quote:
Instead of spending millions in useless studies like this teach people how to drive and improve quality of the roads; things will change.
How do you propose to teach people how to drive better? Most road tests (certainly the ones in NY) aren't a free pass. You're making a big assumption that people care. They don't. They take driving for granted.

Road quality is a different issue; the roads here are terrible. But the amount of money spent on this study is a microscopic drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing roads, especially in a place like NYC where the roads are torn up by huge trucks every single day. If you're arguing that it is blatantly obvious, perhaps. But the study points out that texting, in particular, has significantly higher risk than other forms of car multitasking.

--janak
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:21 PM
burtcom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
But the study points out that texting, in particular, has significantly higher risk than other forms of car multitasking.
Thats fine -- but I certainly hope it doesn't lead to people thinking its OK to talk on the phone instead of texting because it's "less dangerous"

As for education -- I think we should have to repeat a driving test, written and behind-the-wheel, everytime we go for a renewal.
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:41 PM
Jorj Bauer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burtcom View Post
As for education -- I think we should have to repeat a driving test, written and behind-the-wheel, everytime we go for a renewal.
I don't think that actually solves the problem; it means more bureaucracy, which would probably lead to a dumbed-down test (or dumbed-down application of the test) in order to shuffle people in and out faster. I think you'd wind up with the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve.

I think a better solution is to adopt what Europe already has: mandatory classes in order to get your license in the first place. These classes are serious and *expensive* (thousands of dollars). They teach you things like how to handle your car skidding in the rain... by forcing you to drive *your* car on a (closed) wet track on which a piece of the road actively slides sideways to force your car into a spin. If you can't control the spin, you don't pass the class and aren't allowed to take the test.

I have no doubt that your average 19-year-old in Germany has a much better idea of how to drive than your average 40-year-old in the US.

(I'll step off my soapbox now.)
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2009, 06:21 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorj Bauer View Post
I think a better solution is to adopt what Europe already has: mandatory classes in order to get your license in the first place. These classes are serious and *expensive* (thousands of dollars). They teach you things like how to handle your car skidding in the rain... by forcing you to drive *your* car on a (closed) wet track on which a piece of the road actively slides sideways to force your car into a spin. If you can't control the spin, you don't pass the class and aren't allowed to take the test.
Ah, interesting. I have also heard that it is fiendishly difficult to get your license in some European countries. A few of my Romanian friends here told me that the driving inspectors actually try to trick you (like, "turn here" when it is an illegal turn) and you have to repeatedly put your foot down and refuse, else you'll fail. I'm not sure that's "fair", but it certainly makes you comprehend the driving regulations a bit more carefully.

--janak
 
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:53 PM
jgrnt1
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I will admit to driving with an installed hands free device. I know studies have shown that it makes me less safe on the road, but I spend a lot of time on the road and, out of necessity, my car becomes a virtual office. I don't do anything which requires me to use the phone itself. I rarely make calls, but will take them when somebody calls me.

It's interesting that this study calls out texting as being more dangerous. It's amazing what people will do behind the wheel. The most egregious example I've ever seen was a woman driving her SUV in the lane next to me on a very crowded 60mph highway. She was obviously driving with her knees because she had a bowl of cereal, WITH MILK, in her left hand and a spoon in her right hand. I know the cereal had milk in it because it was dribbling down her chin.
 
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