Have you ever been proven right beyond a reasonable doubt and instead of gloating, you are more pissed than ever because you wished people would have just listened to you? This is one of those cases:
The use of electronic devices such as cell phones, including hands-free, precipitated many crashes and near misses, according to a report Thursday.
Using a cell phone behind the wheel is a key cause of traffic accidents and hands-free devices provide little safety benefit, the Detroit News reported, citing federal officials.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researchers said devices like head sets or voice-activated dialing led to longer dialing times than for hand-held phones. The delays offset the potential benefit of keeping both hands on the wheel, the report said.
The research adds to a growing body of studies that suggest hands-free cell-phone systems do not deliver the safety benefits automakers and legislators had thought.
No shit. Who would have ever thought that? Oh yeah, me:
I was bitching about this nonsense before I had even heard of blogs. This is why anyone who has ever had a course in foundations of learning, educational psychology, or a basic course on human memory was screaming that the NY law was absolutely pointless. It is not the hands (or lack of when holding a cell phone), but the distraction.
And that was after a pretty conclusive study that showed similar effects to what this one showed. Of course not having your hands on the wheel is a problem- but it is the problem whether you are drinking coffee, shaving, putting on lipstick, combing your hair, groping the leg of your sweetie, daydreaming, driving while angry, eating a hamburger, futzing with the air conditioner, turning around to smack a nasty child, or restraining a dog that has seen a cow and freaked out (I have seen or been a party to most of these). It isn’t that you are holding a cell phone or handling a cell phone- it is that you are doing something other than driving. Either ban the use of ALL phones while driving, as well as the other activities I have listed, or stop being silly.
You know those big buildings called Universities? They hold people who research things, and most of the time they research things because they are interesting and they provide facts and evidence. Now, admittedly, those facts and evidence sometimes get in the way of political agendas, and then you need to hire an industry friendly lawyer to redact some of those conclusions from your reports. I understand how that could be problematic.
But sometimes, just sometimes, Universities are useful for something other creating than evil libruhls or spreading the dangers of evolutionary theory. Legislators might try listening to them once in a while, although knowing something might not be as exhilirating as ‘doing something.’ I really think this suggestion is one that should be considered.
I was on the phone with someone when they got hit head on. I still haven’t found the right time to mention to her that if she wasn’t so focused on telling me how much I suck as a boyfriend she might have noticed the oncoming car. The moment of the crash was surreal. I think I heard her airbag deploy. Everyone was allright but her chevy truck was destroyed. Good thing she was in a pickup since she was hit by an early 80s Ford Bronco.
I think the crash stats are elevated by that fact that cell phones are more universal in the less experienced/already a public menace while driving “younger crowd.”
I don’t believe the 5 mph under limit/left turn signal always on Senior poke-alongs are simultaneously on the cell phone describing their next doctor appointment to the garden club secretary.
I don’t think that the other activities you mention are as dangerous as phones. I believe there has been some speculation that phones are worse because the person on the other end of the line does not react to the situation in the car, and thus continues to talk and distract.
The driver can more easily shape activities within the car — like conversations with other passengers, or activities that you do alone — in reaction to road events.
I can’t quite figure out why I can have a perfectly normal and non-distracting conversation with a passenger in the car, but I feel incredibly distracted on the phone (headset or no), and therefore almost NEVER use my cell phone except at a light or pulled over.
Why the difference?
Nine out of ten times when I am cursing out a driver of a car making a stupid manuever/not signalling/going to slow, etc. it turns out when I pass them, or whatever, they are on the phone.
I believe there has been some speculation that phones are worse because the person on the other end of the line does not react to the situation in the car, and thus continues to talk and distract.
I wouldn’t necessarily argue with that, but that is because of the cognitive interference created by the conversation- not an absence of hands on the wheel.
The basic point is that doing things other than driving while driving is dangerous (all to differing degrees), so it makes no sense to ban handheld cell phones and not other ones.
FYI- I am in favor of banning all cell phone use- seems to me to be a pretty legitimate enforcement of safety procedures for everyone. I just don;t understand why they thought banning handhelds would do anything- all it would do is give everyone a false sense of security with hands free technology.
Great post. Life is dangerous. We can’t expect (or want) government to try to protect us from every dangerous behavior.
I’ve been blatantly flaunting the Washington, DC cell phone law ever since it went into effect and have yet to be pulled over. And I’m surely not the only one. Not only are the laws pointless, but they’re unenforced.