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Are Hands Free Laws Effective?

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Are Hands Free Laws Effective?

Old 07-28-21, 07:17 AM
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Are Hands Free Laws Effective?

I don’t spend much time in A&S so this has probably been discussed ad nauseum…….I didn’t do a search but didn’t spot any recent posts.

For those whom live in States with Hands Free regulations, how effective do you think they are? I’m in NC and wish we’d adopt them. I see people driving and weaving everywhere, especially on Interstates where drivers are already greatly exceeding speed limits. It’s very conspicuous while driving when it’s dark enough to see the phones held by drivers lit up and held in front of their faces. It seems tractor trailer drivers are even weaving more these days…..or maybe there’s just more big rigs on the roads and it’s the law of percentages?

Knowing the independent thinking in SC I’d be shocked if they ever adopted them. “You can’t tell me I have to wear a motorcycle helmet to ride my motorcycle”……..

I see some drivers texting while out riding but I notice it more occasionally versus regularly. But fortunately I’m normally out riding on less traveled two lane roads.

Before I retired my employer went even further. They required you to be stopped in your vehicle when using a mobile device for talking, texting, emails etc.. However it could be used as a GPS device for navigation but it had to be hands free. My employer put a huge emphasis on safety.

I’m disappointed NC hasn’t taken that step to limit its use but there are a lot of items that need addressing.
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Old 07-28-21, 08:05 AM
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In Colorado text messaging while driving is prohibited, drivers under 18 are prohibited from ANY mobile communication, even hands-free, and drivers of any age with a learner's permit are also prohibited from using any mobile communication device. I don't think Colorado Springs has any additional prohibitions. Even so, I see fewer and fewer drivers with phones up to their heads while driving. At stoplights, the phones come up for texting.

This is where my AirZound airhorn come in handy. A quick toot gets a driver's attention, and if a texting driver in front of me doesn't notice the light change to green, I honk also.

I still remember watching how cellphones began distracting drivers as they became more popular. However, I also remember as a kid in Chicago watching drivers read newspapers, magazines, books and maps behind the wheel in traffic before that.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
In Colorado text messaging while driving is prohibited, drivers under 18 are prohibited from ANY mobile communication, even hands-free, and drivers of any age with a learner's permit are also prohibited from using any mobile communication device. I don't think Colorado Springs has any additional prohibitions. Even so, I see fewer and fewer drivers with phones up to their heads while driving. At stoplights, the phones come up for texting.

This is where my AirZound airhorn come in handy. A quick toot gets a driver's attention, and if a texting driver in front of me doesn't notice the light change to green, I honk also.

I still remember watching how cellphones began distracting drivers as they became more popular. However, I also remember as a kid in Chicago watching drivers read newspapers, magazines, books and maps behind the wheel in traffic before that.
Good point on driving distracted……I guess it’s always been something. I used to see people shaving, doing makeup and flossing their teeth when I was commuting into Charlotte.

And I’ll admit to solving engineering problems on my front seat while driving 3 hours to sit for the Professional Engineers exam……
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Old 07-28-21, 05:34 PM
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Indiana has a hands-free law,
"July 1, 2020 marked a new day for Hoosiers. The state enacted the hands-free law. Indiana law prohibits drivers from holding mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in their hands while driving to reduce distracted driving and improve safety on Hoosier roadways."

All BS, has made no difference that I can see. About 1/3 of the cops are looking at their laps as they drive by.

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Old 07-28-21, 05:40 PM
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In Hawaii it's illegal to hold an electronic device while driving. When first passed the media were highlighting it, and think maybe HPD was doing special enforcement, but that went away. Not sure if it actually is making a difference or not.

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Old 07-28-21, 09:54 PM
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Unless there is enforcement those laws are USELESS!
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Old 07-29-21, 06:03 AM
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I'm curious how many states have this law. In Florida it was required to have at least on hand on the handlebars, until a major change in the bike laws, which for some reason the issue of number of hands was totally omitted. However, I never had a problem when it was a requirement, no cop ever stopped me because I had two hands off the bar.

As for texting and cycling (or any phone use on the bike), nothing is mentioned in the Florida bike law and I don't remember ever seeing a cyclist using their phone while riding; however, we do have a law prohibiting use of a listening device while riding.



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Old 07-29-21, 06:52 AM
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Effective at what?

Quick googling shows that the law probably reduces the most obvious examples of people overtly texting while driving, but that there's no evidence this has any effect on the number of fatal crashes in a state.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:03 AM
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Texting while driving is illegal in both MN and ND. MN requires hands free for voice while ND does not. I honestly don't see any difference in phone use while driving on either side of the river. The real issue is the attitude of drivers.
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Old 07-29-21, 09:38 AM
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In my state they had good intentions when they introduced the legislation many years ago to curb phone use while driving, but after a lot of derision and bickering it go watered down to simply not texting.

So you can read email, watch videos or anything else you care to do with your phone while driving a motor vehicle here. Just don't text!
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Old 07-30-21, 10:24 AM
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From initial responses it’s apparent that without enforcement the regulation doesn’t work…….probably the case with any law???? I suspect any law deterring the use of mobile devices while driving needs to be easily enforceable and the penalties have to be large enough to get everyone’s attention. Plus, there needs to be sufficient personnel to enforce the law…..

I know the state I live in is woefully understaffed with Highway Patrolmen and drivers are practically going whatever speed they want on interstates.
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Old 07-30-21, 01:16 PM
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There are so many laws that are quite difficult to enforce. Hands free cellphone use seems to be yet another of them. I think the law is more a "lets make it look like we're doing something" than it is actually doing something. I don't see much difference in before and after hand held cellphone usage in automobiles.

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Old 07-30-21, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
I don’t spend much time in A&S so this has probably been discussed ad nauseum…….I didn’t do a search but didn’t spot any recent posts.

For those whom live in States with Hands Free regulations, how effective do you think they are? I’m in NC and wish we’d adopt them. I see people driving and weaving everywhere, especially on Interstates where drivers are already greatly exceeding speed limits. It’s very conspicuous while driving when it’s dark enough to see the phones held by drivers lit up and held in front of their faces. It seems tractor trailer drivers are even weaving more these days…..or maybe there’s just more big rigs on the roads and it’s the law of percentages?

Knowing the independent thinking in SC I’d be shocked if they ever adopted them. “You can’t tell me I have to wear a motorcycle helmet to ride my motorcycle”……..

I see some drivers texting while out riding but I notice it more occasionally versus regularly. But fortunately I’m normally out riding on less traveled two lane roads.

Before I retired my employer went even further. They required you to be stopped in your vehicle when using a mobile device for talking, texting, emails etc.. However it could be used as a GPS device for navigation but it had to be hands free. My employer put a huge emphasis on safety.

I’m disappointed NC hasn’t taken that step to limit its use but there are a lot of items that need addressing.
I moved here(NC) from MD in November of 2019. While I live in an area that seems more rural, than suburbia. Before I moved, they(MD) were really resistant up there. Laws were eventually passed in DC, MD, and VA. The problem with the original law in MD. Was that it didn't make it illegal to talk on the phone if a driver used a 'hands free' device while driving. Then they(MD) changed it to no talking at all. After accidents were still happening. I really got on my elderly parents' for this very problem. They didn't take me seriously at first. Now they don't talk on the phone while driving.

But here in NC. I have noticed a resistance to giving up the phone while driving.
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Old 07-31-21, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
In Colorado text messaging while driving is prohibited, drivers under 18 are prohibited from ANY mobile communication, even hands-free, and drivers of any age with a learner's permit are also prohibited from using any mobile communication device. I don't think Colorado Springs has any additional prohibitions. Even so, I see fewer and fewer drivers with phones up to their heads while driving. At stoplights, the phones come up for texting.

This is where my AirZound airhorn come in handy. A quick toot gets a driver's attention, and if a texting driver in front of me doesn't notice the light change to green, I honk also.

I still remember watching how cellphones began distracting drivers as they became more popular. However, I also remember as a kid in Chicago watching drivers read newspapers, magazines, books and maps behind the wheel in traffic before that.
The cell phone is a bit different from many other distractions in that it actually summons the user for a response.

While those other distractions are bad, once put down, they do not summon you. Phones ring, make attention sounds for texts and otherwise demand attention. That IS by it's nature, distracting.
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Old 09-26-21, 07:02 PM
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In my opinion the handheld device while driving laws are redundant and a waste of legislative time. Distracted driving is already against the law (in Texas anyway, not sure about other states). That means that texting as well as playing a video game, reading a newspaper, putting on makeup etc... while behind the wheel are already illegal. I wish they would have just pressed enforcement. As it is now nothing has changed. I routinely sit at an intersection waiting to turn left and watching cross traffic go across and turn next to me. It seems that 50% of drivers, sometimes more have their phones in their hands as they go by. People like to blame kids but it's adults just as much. We need less virtue signaling and more enforcement.
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Old 09-26-21, 11:29 PM
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Are Hands Free Laws Effective?
Nope. Not when it's nearly impossible to catch and penalize the average scofflaw.

If anything, today I see 10x the number of people with their eyes buried in some electronic device while driving. Usually behind me or next to me. At all speeds, on all roads. Far too many to count. Seemingly, occasionally as many whose eyes aren't on the road as there are people actually just driving.

About the only way it'd be "effective" (as in, severe fines/jail for anyone caught doing this): if all device activity were compared to the GPS and if active while moving then instant fine, tripling the next time, tripling the time after that, etc. (Of course, that'd negate the effectiveness of, say, Nav systems running on smart phones.) Not likely to happen. And people would find some way around such a thing, anyway.
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Old 09-27-21, 01:21 AM
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If you look at vehicle deaths per billion miles, it has steadily been decreasing over the years.



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...hs_per_VMT.png

A lot of that is better seatbelt use, airbags, crumple zones, and safer overall cars. The modern cars do pretty well at protecting the passenger compartment in crashes.

Even looking at the total number of fatal crashes, numbers aren't dropping quickly, but they are generally down since the cell phones became more popular in the early 2000's, as well as the increased prevalence of smart phones.

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Old 09-27-21, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I'm curious how many states have this law. In Florida it was required to have at least on hand on the handlebars, until a major change in the bike laws, which for some reason the issue of number of hands was totally omitted. However, I never had a problem when it was a requirement, no cop ever stopped me because I had two hands off the bar.

As for texting and cycling (or any phone use on the bike), nothing is mentioned in the Florida bike law and I don't remember ever seeing a cyclist using their phone while riding; however, we do have a law prohibiting use of a listening device while riding.



.
Wow...I totally misunderstood this thread

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Old 09-27-21, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Knowing the independent thinking in SC I’d be shocked if they ever adopted them. “You can’t tell me I have to wear a motorcycle helmet to ride my motorcycle”……..
SC passed a "no texting while driving" law several years ago. There was a complete "Hands Free" law proposed last year (I think) but it never made it to a vote in the legislature.
Yeah, I agree, that's pretty stupid.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If you look at vehicle deaths per billion miles, it has steadily been decreasing over the years.



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...hs_per_VMT.png

A lot of that is better seatbelt use, airbags, crumple zones, and safer overall cars. The modern cars do pretty well at protecting the passenger compartment in crashes.

Even looking at the total number of fatal crashes, numbers aren't dropping quickly, but they are generally down since the cell phones became more popular in the early 2000's, as well as the increased prevalence of smart phones.

Those stats are for occupant deaths in vehicles. Naturally, if you make safer cars, fewer people will die in crashes.
However, if you look at the stats for the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed BY cars, the trend is definitely not good.
Deadliest Year for Pedestrians and Cyclists in U.S. Since 1990 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
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Old 09-27-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
SC passed a "no texting while driving" law several years ago. There was a complete "Hands Free" law proposed last year (I think) but it never made it to a vote in the legislature.
Yeah, I agree, that's pretty stupid.



Those stats are for occupant deaths in vehicles. Naturally, if you make safer cars, fewer people will die in crashes.
However, if you look at the stats for the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed BY cars, the trend is definitely not good.
Deadliest Year for Pedestrians and Cyclists in U.S. Since 1990 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Spot on, that's a major problem--distraction is more about hitting people and things outside of the vehicle.


Also, I tend to think deaths per billion miles is a weird measure. and am not sure how longer commutes, etc., might distort the actual picture.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
SC passed a "no texting while driving" law several years ago. There was a complete "Hands Free" law proposed last year (I think) but it never made it to a vote in the legislature.
Yeah, I agree, that's pretty stupid.



Those stats are for occupant deaths in vehicles. Naturally, if you make safer cars, fewer people will die in crashes.
However, if you look at the stats for the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed BY cars, the trend is definitely not good.
Deadliest Year for Pedestrians and Cyclists in U.S. Since 1990 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
The numbers are disturbing to say the least.

Autonomous vehicles are coming on fast and strong and they just may be a technology that saves us from ourselves. The number of autonomously controlled trucks and autos increasing by the day. How many people know that there are many autonomously operated semi-trucks traversing the highways of the nation right at this moment? Depending on where you live, if you look closely you are likely to see them.

I can see a not too far off future where human-operated motor vehicles will be considered for sport or recreation only and restricted to areas where they do not pose hazards to pedestrians, cyclists, autonomous vehicles, etc. Bring it on.
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Old 09-27-21, 12:41 PM
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We could have similar threads discussing the effectiveness of drinking and driving laws, of red light and stop sign laws and speeding laws.

The question shouldn't be if these laws are effective. The question should be how to make them effective?
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Old 09-27-21, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
We could have similar threads discussing the effectiveness of drinking and driving laws, of red light and stop sign laws and speeding laws.

The question shouldn't be if these laws are effective. The question should be how to make them effective?
Yeah, no. I don't think you can have any sort of sensible answer to the second question if you can't answer the first. either negatively or positively. These questions are too intertwined.

Stop lights definitely improved safety when they were first introduced, thus it's a question of making them more effective.
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Old 09-27-21, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
We could have similar threads discussing the effectiveness of drinking and driving laws, of red light and stop sign laws and speeding laws.

The question shouldn't be if these laws are effective. The question should be how to make them effective?
Have severe penalties in place if the laws are broken and then APPLY those severe penalties to the person breaking the law. That might help. This coddling of law breakers needs to stop.

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Old 09-28-21, 07:29 AM
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In a previous incarnation, I used to do research into crime policy and effective law enforcement. The main thing I learned is that it's one of those areas where nobody really KNOWS anything, and EVERYBODY thinks they're an expert. It's the public policy equivalent of controlling obesity.
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