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Old 10-11-06, 05:24 PM   #1
Blue Order
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Crackberry

Crackberry

Danger: Drivers who type on their Treo or Blackberry
TEXT-MESSAGING A RISING CAUSE OF CAR ACCIDENTS
By Kimra McPherson
Mercury News

Still complaining about drivers talking on their cell phones?

That's nothing compared with the ones who are typing.

From teenagers and twentysomethings text-messaging friends from their Sidekicks and Razrs to tech execs who can't step away from the ``CrackBerry,'' it's hard for some to resist the urge to e-mail and text on the road.

``I know it's dangerous and I shouldn't,'' said Shannon Gonzalez, a San Jose State University freshman who said she occasionally pulls out her phone to send messages at red lights. ``But I do it anyway.''

Law enforcement officials and others say it might be just the beginning, as high-tech cell phones and other handheld devices tempt bored commuters with games, videos and Web browsers.

Texting in the car ``is a relatively recent development,'' said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who wrote the hands-free phone bill signed into law last month. It's not covered by the new law, and its omission was a strategic move on his part: Simitian said he wanted to keep focused on hands-free talking so the bill would pass.

But he knows it's a growing danger -- and not just because of teens texting with their friends from the driver's seat. It's now possible to send text messages to Google to get directions, to ``American Idol'' to vote for a contestant and at least one Bay Area radio station to request a song. Many professionals stay tethered to the office with their ever-present BlackBerrys -- even on the road.

``We're all guilty,'' said Pierre Khawand, the founder of People-OntheGo, a San Francisco-based company that advises professionals on how to manage their e-mail and electronic devices.

Sending a text message on a phone is a lot like dialing: Letters are assigned to the number keys, and users hit the keys multiple times until they reach the letter they want to type. Other devices, including Sidekicks and Treos, have full keyboards.

In one of Khawand's workshops, he asks BlackBerry users how often they use e-mail while driving, and offers multiple-choice answers: never, only at red lights, at red lights and in traffic jams, or on the highway ``but only going slowly in the right lane.''

That last one was initially included for laughs, Khawand said. But now, two to three people in a workshop of 15 to 20 will admit to e-mailing on the freeway.

Simitian said someone in the governor's office asked him almost immediately if his bill meant no more e-mailing in the car.

``We've got folks who couldn't get through a day without their BlackBerry,'' Simitian said.

What makes texting and e-mailing on the road especially dangerous is that all but the most skilled texters have to look down at their screens to see what they're typing. A study released earlier this year by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that punching in numbers or letters on a cell phone or other handheld device tripled a driver's risk of a crash or near-crash because they were looking at the phone, not the traffic.

``It's another challenge for drivers, another temptation,'' said Sgt. Les Bishop of the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP only recently started tracking cell phones as a contributing factor in crashes, Bishop said, and doesn't yet break out text messaging as a separate category.

Reports of crashes caused by texting are scattered nationwide -- possibly, law enforcement officials say, because drivers don't always fess up. But in one case, a Colorado teen served nine days in jail after he struck and killed a bicyclist with his car while texting in November 2005. In another, a 26-year-old Tennessee man flipped his pickup truck and died while attempting to send a text message in March 2005.

And the news isn't good from countries where texting is more prevalent: England, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Switzerland, among others, have reported fatal crashes involving text-messaging drivers.

``It comes down to responsibility by people who are driving,'' Bishop said. ``They need to realize that they're potentially in a deadly weapon.''

Khawand said he understands the impulse to text from the road -- in an instant-gratification culture, many are afraid that missing one crucial text message or e-mail will mean they're out of the loop. But it can be dangerous way to multitask, he said.

``In one second, it's possible to get into an accident,'' he said, ``and then be very unproductive for a while.''
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Old 10-11-06, 05:31 PM   #2
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I almost got creamed by a left turner typing into his black berry.

Another time I was waiting behind a car in the left turn lane. The traffic clears and he doesn't move, for like 5 seconds, I look in through the back and see him typing stuff into his blackberry, so I go by him and all of a sudden he realizes he's holding everyone up, guns it, and almost creams me. I knock on his window and make the cell phone hand gesture and shake my head. He rolls down the window and yells "I'M NOT TALKING ON MY F**KING PHONE!!" "WELL STOP SENDING EMAILS THEN JACKASS! THIS IS THE ROAD! THIS IS REAL LIFE! PAY ATTENTION!" So he swears at me, guns it and cuts me off before speeding off into the distance.

Blackberrys are totally worse than phones because they take your hands and eyes away completely!
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Old 10-11-06, 05:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Shiznaz
"I'M NOT TALKING ON MY F**KING PHONE!!"
Literalist jackass.

You know, there's one BF member who believes that his cell calls are more important than your-- or my-- right to live. I wonder if he believes his Blackberry also outweighs our right to life? I suppose I could wander over to any thread where he's expounding on the necessity of his PEEK-A-BOO riding style and ask, but he's only interested in saving cyclist's lives, and can't be bothered about giving up his phone.
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Old 10-11-06, 06:41 PM   #4
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"We're all guilty"

No, we're not. Not everybody allows the leash to control their lives. At work they almost demanded that I get a Blackberry, they were going to pay for it and everything. I told them if they bought me one I wouldn't turn it on, so not to bother. They were pretty insistent, but in the end the let me not get one.

Of course, it helps that I could truthfully say that since I have no life, it's of no use. I spend all my time either in front of a computer at work or within a few hundred feet of one at home. "But what about when you're out at lunch?" "I never, ever go out to lunch. Ever." Eventually they gave up.

It also helps that there's no cell phone service at my house, so when I'm not at work it's useless anyway, and when I'm at work, it's also useless because I'm always at my desk (no meetings).

It would have been the easy path to take it, but I'm not going to have one. I bought a cheap Virgin Mobile $5/month phone as an emergency lifeline, but that's it. I use about 3 minutes a month on that thing. Eventually I'll have hundreds of dollars in my account there (unused time adds up).
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Old 10-11-06, 06:47 PM   #5
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Remember as "experts" here say: "motorists are doing all they can... "

Yeah right!
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Old 10-11-06, 07:27 PM   #6
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How are we going to legislate the use of blackberries? You can't really see somebody using a blackberry like you can see them using a phone. I'll bet there are a lot of blackberry users driving around Santa Barbara. Sometimes you see people driving that just don't look like they're paying attention to their driving but you can't really tell what they are paying attention to.

Anyway, Airzound. That's my answer.
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Old 10-11-06, 07:30 PM   #7
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I think, at a minimum, it is now an essential part of a lawyer's professional responsibility to subpoena phone records anytime somebody is involved in lawsuit arising from an accident.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:39 PM   #8
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The cyclist that was killed in Colorado was one of our own here in Bike Forums, sydney.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
I think, at a minimum, it is now an essential part of a lawyer's professional responsibility to subpoena phone records anytime somebody is involved in lawsuit arising from an accident.
good point! sad it takes a reactive stance though...

could they (manufacturers or DMV) demand that any of the cell-phones, blueberries, etc NOT work while in a car or only when ignition was off? (except 911)...proactive!
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Old 10-11-06, 10:00 PM   #10
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good point! sad it takes a reactive stance though...

could they (manufacturers or DMV) demand that any of the cell-phones, blueberries, etc NOT work while in a car or only when ignition was off? (except 911)...proactive!
Demand they don't work when ignition is on? I use my web browsing cell phone all the time, when my wife is driving.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by genec
Demand they don't work when ignition is on? I use my web browsing cell phone all the time, when my wife is driving.
If making them all unworkable in started cars was the only way to prevent drivers from being able to use one, would you support it? (I'm torn, myself.)
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Old 10-12-06, 09:53 AM   #12
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I am feeling very antagonistic tthis morning, and I think some of the folks here consider me a "cager defender"

So, I thought I would offer my thoughts on cell phones and text messaging.

I sometimes talk on my cell phone when driving.

I am totally infavor of banning cell phones and text messaging while driving.
Even the hands free stuff.
Whats next fax machines in the glove box?
Toaster in the console?

Talk radio is bad enough.
I really think talk radio in a car is like slapping a man with a gun.

He has a weapon dont be doing things that might make him snap.
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Old 10-12-06, 11:28 AM   #13
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If making them all unworkable in started cars was the only way to prevent drivers from being able to use one, would you support it? (I'm torn, myself.)
No. The problem is not more tech to defeat tech. The problem is making drivers responsible.

Of course in the long run, motorists are not even going to be the drivers of their vehicles anyway... computors will do the driving and then the passengers can do anything they please.
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Old 10-12-06, 11:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by genec
No. The problem is not more tech to defeat tech. The problem is making drivers responsible.

Of course in the long run, motorists are not even going to be the drivers of their vehicles anyway... computors will do the driving and then the passengers can do anything they please.

This is probably true.

But it brought to mind a funny thought.
I suppose bicycles will suffer this fate also.
They will be all automatic, no pedaling, no steering
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Old 10-12-06, 12:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by R-Wells
This is probably true.

But it brought to mind a funny thought.
I suppose bicycles will suffer this fate also.
They will be all automatic, no pedaling, no steering
The technology is not being developed for bikes. (there is a certain irony in me mentioning that "tech should not be used to undermine tech" and then mentioning even bigger future tech... sorry.)

But the technology for auto drive motor vehicles is being developed, on several fronts... the thinking is that the only way to pack even more cars on the road is by elminating the ineffencies of the driver... who does not drive at a steady speed, requires more distance between vehicle and moves laterally at times for emotional reasons, not traffic reasons.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:14 PM   #16
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The technology is not being developed for bikes. (there is a certain irony in me mentioning that "tech should not be used to undermine tech" and then mentioning even bigger future tech... sorry.)

But the technology for auto drive motor vehicles is being developed, on several fronts... the thinking is that the only way to pack even more cars on the road is by elminating the ineffencies of the driver... who does not drive at a steady speed, requires more distance between vehicle and moves laterally at times for emotional reasons, not traffic reasons.

Humor Gene, Humor

Automated bicyles that you dont have to pedal!!!

Laugh damn it laugh
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Old 10-12-06, 12:18 PM   #17
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Whats next fax machines in the glove box?
Toaster in the console?
Sno-Cone machines in the passenger seat. Yum!

Az
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Old 10-12-06, 01:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by R-Wells
Humor Gene, Humor

Automated bicyles that you dont have to pedal!!!

Laugh damn it laugh

Ha ha. But they kinda lose their point, at that point.

However, on the side... I have a dream... of orderly autos all in a row, with cyclists moving comfortably along at their own pace, enjoying the freedom of being "uncontrolled." The ultimate irony of the motor car.

BTW in the late '70s, the reality was watching the motor cars all line up at the gas stations, for blocks and blocks, while I rode comfortably by, not needing a drop of fuel. I really thought that was going to be the future, and it would only get worse for the motorists. Oh well.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:33 PM   #19
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i sometimes talk on the cell when driving, but i'm very attentive, check my mirrors and watch for drivers, cyclists, peds, etc... and i keep the calls short i.e. "say what you need to, im driving so i gotta go, if it can wait i'll call you when i get home if it can't and its gonna be longer than 2 mins i'll pull over" i actually say that... my family can rant. never ever text while driving though. that's silly, if i get a text i'll look at it at a red light, if it needs a response i'll pull over. i have texted riding my bike on a mup though, but never on a road, and i was doing maybe 4mph and the mup had no trees and you could see no one for miles front and back. there's an unenforced law here againsts talking on cells while driving, my dad follows it to a T. if his phone rings in the car he won't answer it. if he needs to make a call he pulls over. if he calls you and you say you're driving he hangs up.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:36 PM   #20
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a Colorado teen served nine days in jail after he struck and killed a bicyclist with his car while texting in November 2005.
I am so frustrated with the court system in this country. An 18 year-old man can have consensual sex with his 17 year-old girlfriend and be labeled a sex offender, serve time in jail, and never be able to get a reputalbe job. Yet, a driver in Colorado may commit vehicular homicide by killing a bicyclist and only get nine days in jail?! Why would courts sympathize so much with negligent, homicidal motorists?
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Old 10-12-06, 01:39 PM   #21
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Oh, and I've seen people reading the newspaper, books, and maps while driving. I just don't understand society sometimes...
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Old 10-12-06, 02:07 PM   #22
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I saw a dude trying to eat a burrito that looked about the size of a 2L pepsi bottle while driving with his elbows. I rode up next to him and looked in his window until I caught his attention. When he looked at me I gave him a kind of "What the heck do you think you're doing?" look. He looked at me, made this semi guilty 'what can you do' look and shrugged his shoulders. He was dripping sauce all over the place! Huge mess!
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Old 10-12-06, 06:13 PM   #23
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I've been known to play games on my cell while cycling. Does that count for anything?

I suppose not, since I have the whole road all to myself when I do this.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:39 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Shiznaz
I saw a dude trying to eat a burrito that looked about the size of a 2L pepsi bottle while driving with his elbows. I rode up next to him and looked in his window until I caught his attention. When he looked at me I gave him a kind of "What the heck do you think you're doing?" look. He looked at me, made this semi guilty 'what can you do' look and shrugged his shoulders. He was dripping sauce all over the place! Huge mess!
I have seen a dude eating a Big Mac and carying a drink while trying to ride a bike.

I dont know that he was endangering anyone but he was very entertaining, and unsucsesfull.
When he dropped his drink he got of his bike and started cussing at the drink on the ground like it was the drinks fault.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:57 PM   #25
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Our society is just way too connected. Added stress, no calming downtime, working on email while sitting on the crapper - it is all a symptom. I have people in my office that have a company Blackberry just so they don't miss a message while they are away from their computer. Funny thing is that they never travel away from the office and do not hold a position that requires that kinda connectivity. Most of the time when she is away from her desk she is either in the bathroom or taking a smoke break.

Life is way too short for this kind of unneeded stress.
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