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  1. #1
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    More Drivers Than Ever Talk on Cell Phones

    WASHINGTON (AP) - More people than ever are turning their cars into personal phone booths, with a million and a half drivers gabbing on cell phones at any given time. Women and young people are the most common yakkers.

    About 10 percent of the people on the road during the day are using cell phones, up from 8 percent in 2004, the government reported Thursday.

    Six percent of drivers were holding the phones to their ears, up from 5 percent last year.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which issued the report, recommends that motorists use cell phones while driving only during an emergency.

    Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia prohibit talking on hand-held cell phones while driving. The new data could add fuel to the debate over whether drivers should be limited in their use of cell phones on the nation's highways.

    Cities such as Chicago and Santa Fe, N.M., require handsfree devices in automobiles. But eight states - Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon - bar local governments from restricting cell phone use in vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Researchers have tried to figure out the possible risks of driving and dialing. A study published by the British Medical Journal in July found drivers using cell phones were four times as likely to get into a crash that could cause injuries serious enough to land them in the hospital.

    But the study, conducted by the Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, suggested that using a handsfree device instead of a hand-held phone may not necessarily improve safety. Researchers found that both phone types increased the risk.

    Industry officials contend cell phones are just one form of distraction: many drivers eat fast food, push buttons on their stereo, apply makeup or talk to other passengers.

    "Talking on a cell phone is one of many possible distractions and by narrowly focusing on just this one could create a false sense of security with drivers," said John Walls, spokesman for CTIA - The Wireless Association.

    Matt Sundeen of the National Conference of State Legislatures said state lawmakers have lacked the kind of conclusive data that was used in the past to bolster arguments for tougher drunken driving or seat belt laws.

    "You don't have that wide body of accepted evidence yet on the driver distraction debate," Sundeen said.

    The NHTSA survey was conducted between June 6 and June 25 at 1,200 road sites across the nation. Trained observers watched vehicles go by and charted what the driver was doing. The ages of drivers are estimates based on their observations.

    The survey found that 10 percent of drivers between 16 and 24 were holding cell phones to their ears, compared with 8 percent in 2004. Only 1 percent of drivers ages 70 and above were using handheld cell phones.

    Many states have sought restrictions for young drivers using cell phones. Ten states and the District of Columbia carry the prohibitions, with many of the laws approved in the past year.

    The National Transportation Safety Board, meanwhile, voted in September to recommend that all states make it illegal for teenagers and new drivers to talk on the phone while driving.

    Brian Schaffner, 24, who works for a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., said his cell phone is "almost a part of me" and admits using it behind the wheel. But he doesn't think it affects his driving.

    "I'm probably young and arrogant, thinking that I can't hurt myself, but for the most part I feel perfectly safe using when I drive," Schaffner said.

    Women were more likely than men to use handheld phones behind the wheel, with 8 percent of women driving and talking into their cell phone, compared with 5 percent of men.

    For the first time, the government examined drivers manipulating hand-held devices at the wheel, including dialing, typing a text message or playing a video game. Only 0.2 percent of drivers were observed fiddling with the gadgets.

    Richard Roy, a state legislator in Connecticut who sponsored the state's ban on handheld devices, predicted the new data would help states pursuing similar laws.

    "It will make it easier for other lawmakers to a get a law passed," Roy said.

    Source

  2. #2
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Brian Schaffner, 24, who works for a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., said his cell phone is "almost a part of me" and admits using it behind the wheel. But he doesn't think it affects his driving.

    "I'm probably young and arrogant, thinking that I can't hurt myself, but for the most part I feel perfectly safe using when I drive," Schaffner said.
    Doesn't that make ya feel warm and fuzzy? Lil' Brian feels perfectly safe when driving distracted.

    As long as Lil' Brian is happy...

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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  4. #4
    imminent danger
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    "I'm probably young and arrogant, thinking that I can't hurt myself, but for the most part I feel perfectly safe using when I drive," Schaffner said.

    thinking that I can't hurt myself

    I can't hurt myself

    Cheers mate, thanks for caring so much.

  5. #5
    Stooge thebankman's Avatar
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    Around the San Francisco Bay Area, the number of yakking idiots on cell phones is much higher than the quoted numbers of this study. MUCH HIGHER. Just stand on the street corner and watch the people drive by. A couple days ago I did this while waiting for someone, half the cars had a yakking SOB at the wheel. bummer

  6. #6
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    Well I think Miami beats the Bay Area. I've given up counting the people TALKING on cell phones, its much easier to count the people NOT TALKING on cell phones. I amuse my self at red lights during rush hour counting the number of cars going by with drivers NOT yakking and I haven't gotten to double digits yet!

  7. #7
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
    "I'm probably young and arrogant, thinking that I can't hurt myself, but for the most part I feel perfectly safe using when I drive," Schaffner said.

    thinking that I can't hurt myself

    I can't hurt myself

    Cheers mate, thanks for caring so much.

    Lovely. And I get to share the DC roads with this yahoo.

    BTW,10% seems spot-on for DC. Except I see everyone yakking,not just women and kids.

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  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
    "I'm probably young and arrogant, thinking that I can't hurt myself, but for the most part I feel perfectly safe using when I drive," Schaffner said.

    thinking that I can't hurt myself

    I can't hurt myself

    Cheers mate, thanks for caring so much.
    Sure wrapped in a couple tons of steel with fat air bags to boot.

    Yup this is the attitude of the current driving public... while they "fly" about in their sound proofed cabins with the sounds of rock bands blasting away and chatting on their cell phones... oblivious to anything and everything outside the windshield.

    And folks wonder if it is more dangerous to be a cyclist now then 20 years ago...

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    ... And folks wonder if it is more dangerous to be a cyclist now then 20 years ago...
    Gene brings up a critical point for discussion. I cannot prove anything statistically or objectively, but I trust motorists less than I did 30 years ago. I wonder whether all the airbags, reinforced door beams, oversized SUVs, and 5-star crash ratings are giving John Q. Public a false sense of personal security, leading to a cavalier attitude toward motoring. Add distractions such as cell phones and text messaging (RIP, dear Sydney), and we have a public health pandemic of highway carnage, with bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and drivers of smaller, older cars bearing the brunt of it. Every day, I meet people who would love to do more walking or bicycling, but who have become intimidated by careless motorists.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  10. #10
    OMG! i'm a DURT gurl!!!! caligurl's Avatar
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    "Talking on a cell phone is one of many possible distractions and by narrowly focusing on just this one could create a false sense of security with drivers," said John Walls, spokesman for CTIA - The Wireless Association.


    i take issue with just targeting cell phones... there are a LOT of distractions in cars:

    mother's turning around to stuff a bottle or cookie in their kids mouths... (or smack them!), putting on make up.. men shaving... reading! (YES.. i've seen people reading papers, books, etc while driving along at 60-70 mph!) reaching down to pick up something they dropped! pushing the button on the cd/radio.. changing that cd! talking to your passengers (looking at them while talking)... eating... drinking.... etc etc etc...

    the law needs to state DISTRACTED driving.. NOT just no cell phone use! you can't punish one without punishing ALL!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Every day, I meet people who would love to do more walking or bicycling, but who have become intimidated by careless motorists.
    The people I hear this from are often the ones doing the talking on the phone when driving!
    -- I speak for myself only, not LAB or any other organization of which I am a member.

  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Every day, I meet people who would love to do more walking or bicycling, but who have become intimidated by careless motorists.
    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    The people I hear this from are often the ones doing the talking on the phone when driving!
    Do these "people" call you up from their cell phones while driving to tell you what you "hear" from them? I doubt it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Edited, in order to clarify for ILTB...


    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Every day, I meet people who would love to do more walking or bicycling, but who have become intimidated by careless motorists.
    The people who tell me they would love to do more walking or bicycling are often the same people who are the careless motorists.
    -- I speak for myself only, not LAB or any other organization of which I am a member.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caligurl
    "Talking on a cell phone is one of many possible distractions and by narrowly focusing on just this one could create a false sense of security with drivers," said John Walls, spokesman for CTIA - The Wireless Association.


    i take issue with just targeting cell phones... there are a LOT of distractions in cars:

    mother's turning around to stuff a bottle or cookie in their kids mouths... (or smack them!), putting on make up.. men shaving... reading! (YES.. i've seen people reading papers, books, etc while driving along at 60-70 mph!) reaching down to pick up something they dropped! pushing the button on the cd/radio.. changing that cd! talking to your passengers (looking at them while talking)... eating... drinking.... etc etc etc...

    the law needs to state DISTRACTED driving.. NOT just no cell phone use! you can't punish one without punishing ALL!
    All those others are already covered under careless driving. I've heard many people admit that all the things in your list are distractions, and can affect their driving. I haven't heard anyone admit yet that their cell phone does the same thing.
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  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    All those others are already covered under careless driving. I've heard many people admit that all the things in your list are distractions, and can affect their driving. I haven't heard anyone admit yet that their cell phone does the same thing.
    Distractions yes, but not illegal unless accompanied by some manifestation of careless driving, nor are those activities the juicy target of safety nannies.

    If cell phone users "admit" that cell phone use is a "distraction," can that activity join the others in tacit acceptance, and will the safety nannies then move on to rail against some other activity that offends their sensibilities?

  16. #16
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Cities such as Chicago and Santa Fe, N.M., require handsfree devices in automobiles. But eight states - Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon - bar local governments from restricting cell phone use in vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
    What the hell is the justification for that? Why would a state legislature go to the trouble to pass a law specifically forbidding a local government from passing a law to make people safer?

    Smells like the cell phone industry has been making some campaign contributions, to me.

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