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  1. #1
    bac
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    I found this to be a pretty balanced article on the use of cell phones while driving. This article sites a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. This scientific study states that cell phone use while driving is as dangerous as a driving while drunk. Having witnessed the actions of drunks behind the wheel, and cell phone users trying to drive, the anecdotal evidence seems to be consistent with this scientific study.

    So, the obvious question is this: Why do we allow cell phone usage while driving if it is as dangerous as this scientific study suggests? My theory is based on the greenback. Certainly, the telecommunication industry (especially with the explosion in cell phone usage) has nearly unlimited funds, and resources that they use to influence policy, and indeed, law in this country.

    You ask, what about the liquor-based industries? Do they not also boast incredible influence, via the greenback, with our politicians? The answer is of course they do, but we all know about the dangers of driving drunk. However, driving while on the cell phone is generally not considered dangerous by the uninformed public, and is acceptable.

    What do you think?

    Clicky Clicky

  2. #2
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    Laws seem to always lag behind technology. The scope of the hazard posed by cell-using drivers is slowly coming to public awareness. I don't think it is money from the telecoms impeding laws. If laws are enacted banning hands-on cell phone use while driving, this would cause a boom in hands-free equipment & headsets. Instead, I think it is more driven by people believing they have the God-given right to do whatever they want, when they want, and damm the consequences.

    Having said that, many personal injury lawyers have adopted the practice of subpeoning (sp?) cell phone records in auto accident cases. And I work for a multi-national service company, where we are on 24-hour call, and out business lives & dies by rapid communications. And we have banned use of cell phones while driving.

    If we push, make it a major issue, there can eventually be laws against cell phone usage while driving. Just like there are laws against driving drunk.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  3. #3
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    I think that the main difference is that one is temporary and optional, the other lasts through the duration of the drive (and may get worse on the way). I ride drunk all the time, but I know that I am impaired a lot of the time. I wouldn't drive a car like that.

    When you are on the phone, it may only be 30 seconds of distraction. When on the phone without a headseat or speakerphone, a hand is usually taken off of the wheel, which limits motor control of the car, too. This may explain the correlation in accidents for cell/vs alcohol....

    There have been a lot of inovations integrating cell phones into cars to allow the person to concetrate all of their physical thought on driving, while holding a conversation. I know that people have talked in cars since cars were first made - it's not that different than talking to someone in the passenger seat.

    I don't really know what my point was, but I've been typing for awhile, so I'm just going to post it...

  4. #4
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Tinker
    I don't think it is money from the telecoms impeding laws. If laws are enacted banning hands-on cell phone use while driving, this would cause a boom in hands-free equipment & headsets.
    Right, and if studies showed that hands-free cell phone driving was safe (or even safer), I would agree. However, studies have shown that hands-free cell phone usage behind the wheel is just as dangerous as hand-held usage:

    University of Utah Study

    Sweedish National Road Administration Study

  5. #5
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    A good point. I was thinking in terms of the current crop of anti-use laws did not flat ban cell usage while driving, but only mandated the use of hands-free equipment. Wimpy, if you ask me.

    Our company rule is a flat ban. No exceptions.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

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    Hands free or not - it is the limitation of the drivers attention that matters. When talking to another person in the car - that person is aware of what is going on, so if a light turns green or another car swerves across, you dont have to explain to that person why you have stopped talking in mid-sentence.

  7. #7
    Old dude on old bikes Seeker's Avatar
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    Who wants to bet we will never see Mothers Against Cell Phone Driving? Besides the fact that MACPD isn't as catchy as MADD most of my close calls with cellular users behind the wheel has been women on the phone. Now before you haul out the flame throwers I'm not saying that men have better control over their driving while on the phone it just seems to me that maybe more women have cell phones usually with the thought of them being safer if they are able to call for help in an emergency. However, last week alone I had three near misses with women driving while yakking it up, and only my own alertness prevented my being creamed by all three.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    It's interesting that the graph is so high for changing radio stations. People must fiddle with the dial, or something. I have five buttons on mine, and can punch one of them without even looking when I switch stations.

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    FOG
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    If it is dangerous to talk hands-free on a cell phone, is it equally dangerous for police to talk on their radios? Is it dangerous for pilots to talk on their radios?

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOG
    If it is dangerous to talk hands-free on a cell phone, is it equally dangerous for police to talk on their radios? Is it dangerous for pilots to talk on their radios?
    The issue here I think is context-switching. I shall refer you to previous posts I've made on the subject...

    Yippee - maybe it will be enforced...
    Yippee - maybe it will be enforced...
    Cell Phones Again!!
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  11. #11
    Dictator trystero's Avatar
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    Several years ago I read a great article (I don't recall where) about people pointing their finger at the wrong end of the drunk driving equation. The author went back through time and compared the relative harmlessness of drunken pedestrians, canoers, horseback riders, and cyclists. The obvious conclusion was that people drink and travel, and if this can be harmful then perhaps people should look at the technologies that make it harmful, not the drunken travelers.

  12. #12
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by trystero
    Several years ago I read a great article (I don't recall where) about people pointing their finger at the wrong end of the drunk driving equation. The author went back through time and compared the relative harmlessness of drunken pedestrians, canoers, horseback riders, and cyclists. The obvious conclusion was that people drink and travel, and if this can be harmful then perhaps people should look at the technologies that make it harmful, not the drunken travelers.
    Drunken pedestrians are probably at greater risk. Drunken boaters disproportionately fall off (dunkin' boaters) and drown, among other things. Dunken horseback riding is probably ok if the horse doesn't trot or gallop, assuming the horse is sober, although you could fall off. Drunken cycling is probably safe only because it is relatively rare. I think it would be nuts to get drunk and try to ride.

  13. #13
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    The issue here I think is context-switching. I shall refer you to previous posts I've made on the subject...

    Yippee - maybe it will be enforced...
    Yippee - maybe it will be enforced...
    Cell Phones Again!!
    The next queston is why drivers don't get into trouble with context switching from casual conversation. Maybe our low vehicle occupancy rate has kept this from being a factor.

  14. #14
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOG
    The next queston is why drivers don't get into trouble with context switching from casual conversation. Maybe our low vehicle occupancy rate has kept this from being a factor.
    I think that has to do with "interrupts" and "interrupt lag". A remote interrupt such as a conversational segment that is conveyed over a phone call is psychologically more "distant" in the mind of the general populous and so most people try and spend extra cycles to decipher and "envision" it because unconsciously they think they need to do so. However, when the source of the conversation is local such as with a passenger, the perception is that it becomes easier to understand and thus the brain tends to devote less interrupt cycles to try and comprehend the message stream. There's even a distinct lag based on talking to the person in the front passenger seat vs. talking to someone in the rear because of this phenomenon. Pilots and people who professionally or studiously have trained themselves to deal with this cope better and can thus engage in both remote and local conversations with equal ability. They're also able to prioritise their sensory inputs better so as not to go into I/O starvation due to sensory saturation. As I've said before, safety is almost always 90% training and education. But the 10% which is equipment related is the low-hanging fruit and since we as a society are basically lazy, we tend to ignore the difficult but really more effective way to handle things and pluck that low hanging fruit. Doing things like banning cellphones is an easy pluck but does very little to actually address the crux of the problem.
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  15. #15
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    As I've said before, safety is almost always 90% training and education. But the 10% which is equipment related is the low-hanging fruit and since we as a society are basically lazy, we tend to ignore the difficult but really more effective way to handle things and pluck that low hanging fruit. Doing things like banning cellphones is an easy pluck but does very little to actually address the crux of the problem.
    When I used to regulate truckers we had an informal saying in our office. Trucks don't vote, truckers do. So we regulated the equipment when driver error gave us 90% of our accidents.

    I am also involved in some high levels of research into driver safety today. I think we are starting to get into more effort to identify the totality of circumstances which lead to accidents. There are all kinds of factors which lead up to accidents, and many "operator error" accidents appear to be the result of traps into which operators fall. A notorious example was an IFR flight into a south texas city, I can't remember if it was brownsville or corpus christi, where a second aiport with identical runway markings was under the glidepath, and a large jet landed at the wrong airport. For some reason the second airport was included on charts in some months but not in others, so the pilots in this case were unaware of the second airport, which had been closed temporarily (but not X'd out). There were no injuries or damage from this incident, but there was an investigation. The pilots made a mistake, but the circumstances had induced a trap, making the mistake more likely.

  16. #16
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOG
    A notorious example was an IFR flight into a south texas city, I can't remember if it was brownsville or corpus christi, where a second aiport with identical runway markings was under the glidepath, and a large jet landed at the wrong airport. For some reason the second airport was included on charts in some months but not in others, so the pilots in this case were unaware of the second airport, which had been closed temporarily (but not X'd out). There were no injuries or damage from this incident, but there was an investigation. The pilots made a mistake, but the circumstances had induced a trap, making the mistake more likely.
    Interesting, didn't the marker lights give the pilots a positional clue that they were not on the glidepath for that particular runway? Or were they not performing an ILS approach? Also, wouldn't the lack of VASI lights also clue the flight crew in or where they actually lit? This is an interesting case.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  17. #17
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    All this scientific hoo-hah and comparos are fine and dandy but the fact that I have to make emergency maneuvers to avoid a person making hand gestures while yelling into a cell phone at 70+mph is unacceptable. EVERY DAY! And yes, most of them are women, but that doesn't mean there aren't some guys out there talking with their hands through a cell phone. The 'fast & furious' turds that swing low in the driver seat with their hat tilted forward to block their view while they 'pimp their hoes' on the other end of the phone are just as dangerous on my daily commute.

    Send THAT to your english teacher!

  18. #18
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirona
    All this scientific hoo-hah and comparos are fine and dandy but the fact that I have to make emergency maneuvers to avoid a person making hand gestures while yelling into a cell phone at 70+mph is unacceptable. EVERY DAY! And yes, most of them are women, but that doesn't mean there aren't some guys out there talking with their hands through a cell phone. The 'fast & furious' turds that swing low in the driver seat with their hat tilted forward to block their view while they 'pimp their hoes' on the other end of the phone are just as dangerous on my daily commute.

    Send THAT to your english teacher!
    And my point is that picking on the cellphone isn't going to be anymore effective than banning baseball caps.
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  19. #19
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    Interesting, didn't the marker lights give the pilots a positional clue that they were not on the glidepath for that particular runway? Or were they not performing an ILS approach? Also, wouldn't the lack of VASI lights also clue the flight crew in or where they actually lit? This is an interesting case.
    http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/directline_...dl3_visual.htm
    also :
    NTSB Identification: FTW97IA187 . The docket is stored in the (offline) NTSB Imaging System.
    Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, INC.
    Incident occurred Sunday, May 11, 1997 in CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
    Probable Cause Approval Date: 5/4/98
    Aircraft: Boeing 737-524, registration: N16618
    Injuries: 59 Uninjured.

    The flight was issued vectors to intercept the final approach course of Runway 31 at Corpus Christi International Airport, and was cleared for the localizer 31 approach. The first officer was manipulating the controls, the In-Range and Approach checklists were completed, and the approach was briefed. A previous aircraft had requested the ILS RWY 13 approach and the tower controller had switched the ILS localizer from 31 to 13. After the completion of the approach, the tower controller did not reselect the localizer 31 approach. The flightcrew tuned in the localizer for Runway 31; however, they did not identify it by morse code. The captain reported that the localizer for Runway 31 was intercepted, 'although at the very beginning the course deviation bar did a couple of full scale deflections, but locked on 7 miles southeast' of the final approach fix. The aircraft was in and out of a broken cloud layer at 2,000 feet msl and the visibility was about 5 to 6 miles. After verifying all instruments were properly configured for the approach, the captain looked outside and 'saw a runway at the northern edge of the cloud they were in and out of.' The runway also had the number 31 painted on its approach end. The captain reported the field in sight to approach control and he was instructed to contact tower control. Tower cleared the flight to land. The flight landed at Cabaniss Field which is a Navy auxiliary field located 5 nautical miles southeast of Corpus Christi International Airport. Cabaniss is located on the final approach course for Runway 31 to Corpus Christi. The first officer had just completed ground and simulator differences training for the Boeing 737-300/500 series aircraft, and this was the first flight of his initial operating experience (IOE) for differences training in the aircraft. The first officer had never been to Corpus Christi, and it had been three years since the captain had been there.

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:

    The flightcrew's inadequate in-flight planning and decision, and their failure to refer to the navaids needed for the instrument approach procedure. A factor was the lack of a minimum safe altitude warning from approach control.
    Last edited by FOG; 11-17-04 at 09:14 AM.

  20. #20
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOG
    Tower cleared the flight to land. The flight landed at Cabaniss Field which is a Navy auxiliary field located 5 nautical miles southeast of Corpus Christi International Airport. Cabaniss is located on the final approach course for Runway 31 to Corpus Christi.
    I'm sorry... I know it's not a laughing matter but I have to chuckle over this one. I'm still confused as to how the flight crew didn't think it odd that they hadn't gotten the inner marker (or middle for that matter). Were they not paying attention to their OMI? I guess they might not have been watching for the VASI either but even in an ILS approach, I do.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  21. #21
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    I'm sorry... I know it's not a laughing matter but I have to chuckle over this one. I'm still confused as to how the flight crew didn't think it odd that they hadn't gotten the inner marker (or middle for that matter). Were they not paying attention to their OMI? I guess they might not have been watching for the VASI either but even in an ILS approach, I do.
    Maybe talking on the radio is a problem for pilots. (cleverly getting this thread back on topic)

  22. #22
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOG
    Maybe talking on the radio is a problem for pilots. (cleverly getting this thread back on topic)
    That's why sterile cockpit rules went into effect. Also, that's why there are times when you need not acknowledge controller clearances and instructions. I carry this practice into my driving world too. My wife actually gets annoyed at me when she's talking to me while I'm driving and I don't answer her right away. What I keep having to do after the fact is to explain to her that I was busily engaged in a critical driving operation. Talking and driving, whether it be to the person next to you or over the phone requires certain disciplines and most of all prioritisation and task management skills. This actually applies to vehicle operations of any kind whether it be a car, boat, plane or bicycle. The root of this problem goes deeper than the Nokia sitting on the dashboard.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  23. #23
    FOG
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    Lots of us also think that fatigue is a player in most accidents. It is harder to spread your attention to multiple tasks when fatigues, so distraction becomes a bigger issue.

  24. #24
    Tour de World SteveFox's Avatar
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    Yes, so to bring this thread out of the archives, I just finished watching myth busters, and they did a test to see what is worse, talking on a cell phone while driving or drinking and driving, and they got a worse test result on the cell phone driving test than the drunk driving test...so what should we make illegal? i think our laws are backwards....they did however point out that phones you can trun off and stop talkin on if need, where as you cant turn off being drunk...phones are still bad though...

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