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Old 12-01-05, 10:05 PM   #1
rhputt
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Petitioning congress banning cell phone use / in sydney's name

It's amazing. The community on this forum and the respect we all had for sydney. I just wondered thought if anyone considered that petitioning congress or state reps would banning cell phone use in cars. I know in Michigan you can still use cell phone and I'm not sure about any other states. I figure if we can write posts to remember sydney, maybe we could do a little more and petition to save the next sydney or ourselves.

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Old 12-01-05, 11:01 PM   #2
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Talking on a cellphone is radically different than checking text messages. The latter requires you to take your eyes off the road. Cellphone usage makes people more likely to get in accidents, including hands-free cellphones. So the issue is distraction/engagement, at least in part. But listening to the radio, or talking with a fellow passenger (especially if they're in the backseat) may have the same effects. You're making a pretty big leap here.
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Old 12-01-05, 11:06 PM   #3
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I think a cell phone ban in cars, much like the seatbelt law, sounds really great in theory, but it always amounts to an excuse for cops to pull you over for any and every arbitrary reason they feel like,(driving while black,etc.) Just one man's opinion.
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Old 12-01-05, 11:59 PM   #4
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I think some PSA's would be a good start on this
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Old 12-02-05, 02:15 AM   #5
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I said the same thing in a different forum. Cell phone laws are tricky to write, pass, and enforce. I feel that I am a safer than average driver because of my time on the road as a cyclist. On a bike, I learned how vulnerable I was, and how blind people are in their cars. Now, when I drive, I keep those things in mind. If PSAs were broadcast that could somehow show more drivers how dangerous driving is, it just might help.
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Old 12-02-05, 07:30 AM   #6
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I am not a lawyer, but I think it would probably be in that gray area of constitutional law revolvong around national authority to do something like this on the national level. On a state by state level, I think it could be done, but probably ineffective in dealing with the real issues.

However a law is written, I think there will just be technology introduced to bypass the law. Text messaging is just ludicrous in a car, however, if it is outlawed on a cell phone, it will be email on a laptop or palmtop. Or people will have text readers and speech recognition.

I think in general people just think they are too darned important to not be constantly available to the people that need them... Now that the public is used to that level of availability, it is here to stay.

I had an instructor answer her cell phone in the middle of a lecture a few weeks ago... I have little doubt that she would answer it (or make a call) on the road, and be pretty oblivious to the dangers.

I think the PSA / education of the public is the key. That and strictly enforced laws for those who disregard te safety of others, however they do it.
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Old 12-02-05, 07:30 AM   #7
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South Carolina, and I believe many, if not every, state already has a "distracted driver" law on the books. A law enforcment officer has to use his discretion on wether the driver was distracted. Dashboard cameras have helped prove cases. The SC General Assembly tabled a bill banned mobile phone use while driving, citing dupilcation of an exhisting law.
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Old 12-02-05, 07:52 AM   #8
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One larger issue here is that driving should be seen as a privilege, not a right. This isn't so much a legal issue as a cultural one, though laws can impact cultural perceptions. People not taking driving for granted are much more careful (like me, on those rare occasions when I realize that I left my license at home). Not saying that I'm not careful otherwise, but I take the right to drive pretty much for granted, and most other Americans do so as well.
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Old 12-02-05, 08:07 AM   #9
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Looks like there is no shortage of research on the subject. I figure that it is like cigerettes or leaded fuel. It will take a big effort, a lot of deaths and time to get significant movement in this area.

A Bibliography of Research Related to the Use of Wireless Communications Devices from Vehicles

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd...eless_Comm.txt
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Old 12-02-05, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhputt
It's amazing. The community on this forum and the respect we all had for sydney. I just wondered thought if anyone considered that petitioning congress or state reps would banning cell phone use in cars. I know in Michigan you can still use cell phone and I'm not sure about any other states. I figure if we can write posts to remember sydney, maybe we could do a little more and petition to save the next sydney or ourselves.

Putt


I'm sorry, but I thought the underage driver that hit Sydney was text messaging. Was he talking on the cell phone or writing an email?
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Old 12-02-05, 09:39 AM   #11
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yep - he was using his cell phone when it happened.
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Old 12-02-05, 10:55 AM   #12
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Although the Federal Govt may not be able to write a law to ban cell phone use, they can put language in highway bills that require the various states to write laws to ban/limit/etc. cell phone usage or else risk having Federal highway funds withheld. This is how the legal drinking age was ultimately raised back to 21. This may have also been used for state seatbelt laws.

Its not much, but in Maine you can't use a cell phone for the first 6 months after you get your license.
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Old 12-02-05, 10:59 AM   #13
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here is a list of countries and US states that currently ban cell phone usage:

http://www.cellular-news.com/car_bans/
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Old 12-02-05, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
South Carolina, and I believe many, if not every, state already has a "distracted driver" law on the books. A law enforcment officer has to use his discretion on wether the driver was distracted. Dashboard cameras have helped prove cases. The SC General Assembly tabled a bill banned mobile phone use while driving, citing dupilcation of an exhisting law.
Yeah, our state has such a law, unlawful to eat or drink anything while driving. 'course nobody pays any attention to that law and I've never known of it to be enforced. In a strict interpretation it may already be unlawful to use a cel phone while driving. I think it would be better to have a law specifically prohibiting using a cel phone while driving, even though I do it occasionally.

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Old 12-02-05, 12:21 PM   #15
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A lot of crimes and misdemeanors committed today are against the law Different questions might be the level enforcement priority or of punishment imposed. Are we trying to make things safer by teaching a lesson or are we raising revenue or exacting retribution? Laws that are ignored, nearly impossible to enforce, which impose only token sanctions, or are simply revenue generators, breed contempt, disrespect and confusion with regard to the entire system.
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Old 12-02-05, 02:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
Talking on a cellphone is radically different than checking text messages. The latter requires you to take your eyes off the road. Cellphone usage makes people more likely to get in accidents, including hands-free cellphones. So the issue is distraction/engagement, at least in part. But listening to the radio, or talking with a fellow passenger (especially if they're in the backseat) may have the same effects. You're making a pretty big leap here.

I was going to make the same point. I have been following this story from the beginning and the fact that this kid was trying to type on a tiny little instrument seems to be getting ignored. Sure outlawing talking on phones would be nice, but let's be practical. Is that gonna really happen? Sure, maybe in a few of the more liberal areas of the country, but I can assure you it isn't going to happen out here. A hundred thousand cyclists could be killed this year and it won't matter. Far too many affluent people use their cellphones to conduct business etc. and won't stand for losing this right.

But back to the point, this kid was text messaging. It would have been much safer if he were reading the paper. It is hard to send a text message while sitting at the desk, let alone in the car. There is an even greater danger that it looks like nobody has addressed. That has been exposed by this tragedy. Perhaps that is why the media is covering the story so well.

Obviously there is a tremendous potential for damage with people text messaging while driving. I can't think of anything that is more dangerous. I might even prefer a drunk behind me.
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Old 12-02-05, 03:51 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ranger
Far too many affluent people use their cellphones to conduct business etc. and won't stand for losing this right.
the most affluent states are the states that have a cell phone ban. new jersey, conneticut, new york, and DC. they're also the states with the longest commute times and very congested traffic. if it can work in these places, surely it can work elsewhere.

in the case of new jersey the ban was pushed through quickly after a woman ran over and killed three school children while blabbing on a phone (or something terrible like that). sometimes it just takes one incident to turn the tide. i'm glad sydney's story is getting publicity.

Last edited by timmhaan; 12-02-05 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 12-03-05, 09:24 AM   #18
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I still don't think it's too radical idea. From my understanding the cellphone ban in NY is semi-effective. Similar to seat belts. Its a start and a letter can't to my district and state rep can't do anything but good.
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Old 12-03-05, 09:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
the most affluent states are the states that have a cell phone ban. new jersey, conneticut, new york, and DC. they're also the states with the longest commute times and very congested traffic. if it can work in these places, surely it can work elsewhere.
But it doesn't work. On any given day I can spot at least one person yapping away on thier cell, even with fines of $100 or more. It's more or less selectively enforced, like seatbelts.

Oddly enough, I had a trooper pull me over last weekend cause he thought I didn't have my belt on. I suspect he used that as an excuse though, as troopers typically don't approach suspected beltless drivers with thier hand on thier gun. Nor does backup arrive.

He gave me a lame "though you didn't have your belt on, Toyotas are hard to see in, blah, blah, blah" story and told me to have good day, drive safely, etc, etc.
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Old 12-03-05, 10:14 AM   #20
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I'm putting together a comprehensive petition right now. It documents other entities through the years that stated cell phones in cars kill (basically). Are there any doctors in the house? I need an article out of a medical journal, and I don't have access.

When I've finished the petition, I'll put it here, and if everyone can send the petitions to different cycling boards, that would be wonderful.

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Old 12-03-05, 11:10 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by dobber
But it doesn't work. On any given day I can spot at least one person yapping away on thier cell, even with fines of $100 or more. It's more or less selectively enforced, like seatbelts.
sadly, you are correct. it's rarely enforced, if at all.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:24 AM   #22
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You still have to take your eyes off the road to dial the number, or answer the phone.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:49 AM   #23
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http://www.petitiononline.com/7474355/petition.html

I started a petition. I'll submit it to the US Congress, as well as the Conference of Mayors. Copy this link and send it out to as many people as possible.

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Old 12-04-05, 06:42 AM   #24
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2,600 deaths and 333,000 injuries in the United States every year due to cell phone distractions! It is long overdue to to end cell phone blabbing while driving.

http://www.bulletinonline.co.za/fast_forward.php
"Professor David Strayer of the University of Utah, released the findings of a study conducted in respect of accidents caused through the use of cell phones whilst driving.
According to an article published in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, cell phone distractions caused 2,600 deaths and 333,000 injuries in the United States every year.
It is estimated that driver reaction time to brake lights is on an average 18% slower. Drivers look but don't see because of the distraction of the cell phone.
The study showed that simply talking on a cellular phone while behind the wheel whether using hands free or not slows a driver's response time and diverts attention more than other common in car distractions, such as adjusting the radio or mirror.
The report by four scientists at that university adds to a growing body of research that suggests calling and driving poses a danger to road users, regardless of the type of phone (hand-held or not) they use. Research data suggest that legislative initiatives that restrict hand-held devices are not likely to reduce interference or distraction (lack of road concentration) from the phone conversation. It was also found that conversing on either a hand-held or hands free cell phone led to significant decrements in simulated driving performance."
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Old 12-04-05, 06:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan

in the case of new jersey the ban was pushed through quickly after a woman ran over and killed three school children while blabbing on a phone (or something terrible like that). sometimes it just takes one incident to turn the tide. i'm glad sydney's story is getting publicity.
Sorry, but I live in NJ. Our supposed cell phone ban is a joke. Police can't pull you over for it. They can only ticket you for it if you did something else wrong. Did I mentioned I almost got t-boned just yesterday by a young kid with a phone in his ear?
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