Time to Mandate Children-Free Driving?

Comments

1
While I'm behind the sentiment of this rant, you have worse arguments than this lady. I mean "Because I'm damn sure there are many, many accidents caused by the diminished capabilities of drivers with a legal .07 percent."

CITATION NEEDED!!!
2
I am completely behind more strict ticketing of people who don't understand the function of a turn signal.

Also, I long ago recognized the dangers of stepping behind the wheel of a career. That's why I don't have one. For safety's sake.
3
My favorite part of the NTSB recommendation is the exemption for hands-free phone devices *installed by the manufacturers*. Even though that's nonsensical.
4
never in a brazillion years. but Fox will be able to make hay of the threat so we're going to have a fight anyway.
5
I don't think it's appropriate to respond to a recommendation based on piles of data and statistical results with a "yeahwhutabout" or two that you've just plucked out of thin air.

The blood alcohol limit was not pulled out of a hat, Goldy. And there are, of course, plenty of data out there on driving with children in the car-- and they don't show what you seem to want them to.

Go ahead and rant, but don't just make shit up.
6
@5, I couldn't agree more. I totally hate this type of "argument": Sure there is tons of evidence on one side and I have absolutely nothing but hunches...but obviously my feelings should hold more weight. Goldy has honestly become more and more intellectually lazy over the last year and it is a shame.
7
Everybody thinks they're a cautious, concientious driver.

But yeah, heaping on new laws when they're lackadaisical about enforcing the ones they already have is not going to help much.
8
anyone who understands anything about working w/ data, knows that goldy's statement on the '.07 issue' is 100% unassailable. that said, most people don't have a clue about how to work w/ data. so... pile on!
9
I understand that you want to use your phone in the car. It's convenient! It's the entire goddamned point of having a cell phone! But 6000 people *die* every year, and another 500,000 are injured, by distracted drivers. I don't care that YOU can handle it, we need to make laws that are going to save lives, and they have to apply to everyone equally. Bite the bullet and wait half an hour to call them back. They'll still be there.

I for one can't wait for Google to figure out those robot cars that drive themselves. Driving is a pain in the ass and a huge responsibility that I don't really want to bear.
10
As a regular driver, and one who often has kids with me, I don’t think there should be a ban on cell phone use. My kids are occasionally a distraction and I agree with Click and Clack that interior conversations can be paused when the road needs your full attention. Of course, I’m also able to tell the person on the phone to hold on a sec.

But I agree completely that before we introduce more legislation, why don’t we focus on what we’ve got? Ticketing people for blocking bus lanes. Ticketing people for improper use of a turn signal. Ticketing for stop- and yield-sign violations. And don’t we have rules about erratic driving? If you are talking on a cell phone and able to stay in your lane and slow when needed and accelerate as needed, it seems you’re a safer driver than the aggressive shit who is blocking the bus lane, or darting between lanes without a signal or safe following distance.
11
Yes, the logic has a certain flow to it. And people against the cell phone ban pointed out in WA that we already had a distracted driver law. The deal is: "distraction" was an abstract concept and the law wasn't enforced.

Cell phones are a recognized distraction, it's usually clear they are being used, and a specific law against them is useful and easily enforced.
12
A phone conversation is nothing like a conversation with someone who's in the room with you.

Using a cell phone while driving should never have been allowed. It's as simple as that.

But, being people who will completely ignore and/or deny statistics, we'll remain safe to kill each other yapping away behind the wheel.

Zebes is right: everybody thinks they're above average.
13
@8

I don't think the word "unassailable" is the one you want there.

But then, maybe "working w/ data" is something newer and better than "examining statistical arguments".
14
I would rather ride in a car with a moderately drunk driver than someone on a phone...let alone texting. And at least a couple of the studies measuring distraction would support this.

Before the pile on: I don't ride in cars with drunk drivers. I'm just saying I would feel safer. Fortunately, this is not an issue with most of my friends. But if I had a ray gun that would zap anyone I see on the road using a phone, I'd use it.
15
I am not the first person to note this, but apparently you guys have not read anything about this issue:

The difference between talking to someone in the car with you and talking with someone on the phone is that the person in the car with you reacts to things outside the car, which makes the driver react to things outside the car. The person on the phone doesn't.
16
I think the NTSB making a loud noise about this issue is a necessary step on the road to ubiquitous cell communications in new cars. It should be required in all newly made vehicles, and it (along with some form of autopilot) is definitely on my list of features of Cars From The Future. All voice controlled, of course, and it comes on when the ignition is engaged, and waits for you to address it with some standard phrase.

Moneywise, it should work like a phone: if you have a cell plan, the car would simply be a new device with its own number. If you don't have a cell plan, then it works only for emergencies.

This seems like a big DUUUH to me- We have things like OnStar and Sync, of course, but there needs to be a universal service that works with all providers and auto models. It's borderline negligent for the NTSB to whine about safety problems and not lobby at all for a universal comm service. (It would be cool if they are already are, but i really doubt it.)
17
@10. Yes, we should ticket drunks for weaving, blowing stop signs, and tailgating instead of pre-emptively pulling them over for DUI. Drunks and cell phone drivers are DEADLY. Make the behavior negligent to start with, not after the fact.
18
Whining about safety issues, whether or not it's reasonable to fix them, is NTSB's raison d'être. They don't have rule-making authority, and explicitly do not perform any sort of cost benefit analysis on their recommendations.

Is it safer to drive a car without having a cell conversation than while having a cell conversation? Certainly. Is that safety benefit worth the costs of banning such conversations? Unclear. It's equally unclear whether you could achieve similar safety benefits through less restrictive policies.
19
They need to concentrate on getting drunk drivers off the road. Hands free is the answer because, politically, a total ban will never fly.
20
Goldy likes data and findings (such as insurance industry data regarding red light cameras) until he doesn't (such as here).

You're rationalizing.

As an aside, I don't know about Washington, but someone driving in Colorado with a blood alcohol level of .07% would be cited for DWAI (driving while ability impaired). I would be very surprised if there wasn't such a law on Washington's books, but I'm not surprised that Goldy apparently couldn't be bothered to research it.
21
@6, it is weird. I adore Goldy, but his posts are more and more "Here are my first thoughts about the surface appearance of something I just read. I posted before my curiosity had a chance to poke me to scratch any deeper. But hey, you commenters, go ahead and do that yourselves if you like, I'm busy. And you're welcome by the way."
22
The research behind this looked at both hands free and handheld phones. They found no difference between them; they're both equally dangerous. That's what the data say. You can debate why that is if you wish, but to deny that hands free phones are dangerous while accepting that handheld phones should be banned is cherry picking facts in the worst way.

You have to either deny that the science is valid, in which case you should have no problem with a hand held phone. Or you have to trust that the research is correct, and there have been multiple separate studies around the glob that all say the same thing.

It's like denying that evolution is true but wanting to enjoy the benefits of modern antibiotics. That's dysfunctional thinking. It's a package deal.
23
Based on no data whatsoever, I have a suspicion that even a hands-free cell phone conversation in the car is a lot more distracting than talking to someone riding with you, and I would bet $10,000 (if I had it) that carefully designed functional MRI studies would prove it.

The thing is, people evolved communicating in each others' presence. These are a few ways I imagine the brain might be taxed (without our noticing) by phone conversations:
1) telephony compresses speech into a narrow frequency range; the brain probably has to re-map what it hears via phone to a certain extent to embedded profiles of word sounds heard in direct speech.

2) Face-to-face communication involves a lot of subtle physical cues such as expression and body language; in their absence, the visual cortex probably does a bit of work trying to synthesize input based on the vocal patterns alone, and this may drop a dangerous scrim or delay over what your eyes are seeing from the road.

3) Even if we have unlimited minutes in our calling plan, we're conditioned to think of phone calls as being time-constrained, which ups the emotional ante and makes us less contemplative and perhaps more aggressive than if we're chatting with someone riding shotgun, who will be there for the duration of the ride (and maybe longer).
Not a neuroscientist, but I've read enough research to appreciate the many ways our brains busy themselves, sometimes non-helpfully but almost always without our awareness.
24
Interior conversations (i.e. with other persons within the vehicle) have been shown to integrate themselves into the sensory processes that you are using to read your surroundings in order to operate the vehicle.

Remote conversations -- by phone or text, and with or without a hands-free device -- have been shown to manifest as cognitively distinct experiences, and therefore to distract from your primary responsibility. No matter how good you think you are at them.

There is no equivalence at all between the two.
25
Oh, and Goldy, your false equivalence and slippery slope fallacies are pathetic. They want to ban one of the worst distractions and your counterargument is that we might as well ban every imaginable distraction, large and small? Is that supposed to convince anyone? Sad.

It's proof that the NTSB is on to something when they compare this to addiction. People like Goldy are so dependent on their toys and gizmos that they will say literally any god damn idiotic thing to rationalize their "need" and whitewash the harm.

Time for an intervention.
26
Y'all are forgetting that cops catch speeders and drunks because they are the easiest to catch, and the cops have tons of neat technological toys to help catch them. Radar guns, laser guns, Breathalyzers. Catching dangerous drivers is hard work, with poor return for the effort made.

Nabbing speeders is easy, Officer McDonut can just sit there with his laser gun and wait for the speeders to come to him. It is all about maximizing revenue generation. It is not about increasing safety.
27
Rob! beat me to it.

Rob!: There are studies that back your hunch up. I will attempt to locate one.
28
If I did a study that showed that praying behind the wheel was as dangerous as driving under the influence of bath salts, which one do you think would be banned?
29
I wish cellphones were banned on buses.
30
In fact, just getting behind the wheel of a career endangers both the driver and others.
There's the careful thinking we expect from Goldy in a nutshell.

I might also add that no one gives a shit if you use your turn signal WHILE turning. We want to see you use it BEFORE you turn. It is an indicator of your immediate intention, not a sign of what you're doing now. Every day I see people who are turning or changing lanes flick their indicator on 3/4 of the way through. Now I will assume that these people are Goldy.

Hands-free is bullshit, too. Ban phones period. "But X is dangerous too!" is no more valuable an argument than "but he started it!". It's the argument of a four-year-old.
31
@30 You preach the truth. I would also like to add to those people who just leave their turn signals on while cruising down the HOV lane on 520 when they have no intention of merging...YOU ARE FOOLING NO ONE.
32
Hmm. Usually Goldy would have chimed in with three or four comments by now, attacking his critics with ad hominems and generally showing dismay that we aren't all enthralled by his wisdom. Maybe his doctor advised him not to read the threads on his posts? He is 48, after all, not exactly a spring chicken anymore...
33
@32: Or maybe I'm working on other posts. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

(But yeah, the "career" typo is a funny bit if aphasia.)
34
Please, Please, PLEASE! ban all cell phone use while driving. Maybe you can do it but a whole lot of people can't, I see them not quite pulling it off on a daily basis.
35
If you're half as intelligent and knowledgeable as you seem to believe you are, Goldy, you could quickly read, take in, and answer these comments.

Let's just start with mine - why are you critical of this NTSB finding but not the insurance industry studies you cited in regards to the red light cameras?
36
I want to point out this one: "hands free devices" on cell phones or smart-thingies still require you to 1)plug in the "hands free device" 2) dial or accept the call 3) mess with the volume and 4) sometimes require you to look at the device for some other reason when setting up, receiving or terminating the call.

in other words, to start or end the conversation, you often gotta look down at your phone/i-thingy. you mess with your earphones, cables, ear piece or buttons. you are still very distracted at that moment. you should pull over to set up/terminate call. if you don't, you are just as bad as someone without a so-called "hands free" gizmo.
37
@33

Yeah, "working". On Angry Birds and answering texts. Junkie.