*Sigh* I can't even
This is some straight up bullshit. Correct me if i'm wrong but isn't distracted driving already illegal?

While we're at it, lets ban billboards, street signs, passengers, adds on buses. oh and make it illegal to put on make up, shave, do your hair, eat, change clothing. And whatever else might possibly distract a driver.

Or here's a better idea, tell the ass-hat in burien his excuse is shit and it's still his fault.
Couldn't agree more, Charles.

In fact, I'm seeking investors for some new patented technology I've developed that ensures that drivers never take their eyes off the road.
No. Just fucking no.
@foobarbaz: lets ban.. . and whatever else might possibly distract a driver.

Yup, I've seen some babes with the kind of asses that should be banned.
You're right. Let's go back to unfolding maps while driving. Much less distracting.
charles, i love when it you make it so laughably obvious that you're arguing in favor of a position you don't actually believe in a feeble attempt to troll readers.

but hey, at least you're getting those sweet sweet page views, right?
Um, without GPS navigation, I'd have to go back to navigating by using a sheet of paper in my lap with all of the directions written down (much more dangerous). Don't blame the tool for the idiocy of the user.
Good Morning Charles,
Well, you're going to catch heck all right.

I don't disagree that driving an automobile is a dangerous task. But, it doesn't have to be. First and foremost, it MUST always be done sober.

I agree that distractions should be minimized. A few quibbles. I have no problem listening to music while driving especially when alone. It's a negligible distraction. The radio is probably the oldest entertainment feature in a car and it's relatively safe. Listening to it can even be important for safety announcements etc. I agree that bus drivers should be left alone WHILE driving. Nonetheless, they all expect to get questioned while driving. It might be in the passenger's best interest to wait and get an answer while boarding a bus. But, I think the bus driver should exercise that discretion. In other words, it's up to the driver as there may be a bus queue waiting in inclement weather.

I'm old fashioned. I don't use GPS. I read & use maps if I'm unfamiliar with an area. Indeed, I plan my route BEFORE I commence driving. Since I don't own a car I get a charge out of planning and driving. It's not a chore for me to drive. However, I can see your point about drivers using GPS.

My very last point is a disagreement. The driver in Burien is held accountable not his technology. He was distracted by using it AND driving at the same time.
I sometimes like to listen to music while driving. But even though radios have been in cars for a long time. It is still really distracting.
I agree with Charles on this one. The amount of people I see texting when on the road is nuts. When I stop for a red light and check my rear view mirror and everything around me it is so obvious to spot. Head down looking at lap. I can instantly spot it even while driving and give myself even more distance from these clueless nuts.
Driving and texting!?!? I just can't get my head around it.
I put my phone on Airplane mode and sort out everything distracting around me before I even drive. I don't want anything distracting me from driving (don't even talk to me). If I have people in my truck it is my responsibility to get them to where we are going safely. It is like a couch on wheels going very fast and all the lives in my truck are my responsibility.
We have created a norm that promotes over confidence or a sense of "couch sitting, living room casualness". You can't just do whatever you please, texting, putting on makeup, eating, having a small dog sit on your lap, talking on phone and even going old school and choosing a radio station are all distracting.
For me I am just trying to survive every trip and limit my distractions and be safe. But that is only part of the problem the larger problem is the other people on the road that don't. I have to somehow be aware and dodge those bullets every time and that is just the distracted driving part, never mind bad driving, consisting of illegal turns, lane changes, speeding, burned out lights .... .
Driving is such an unnatural thing to do but somehow most drivers treat it like sitting on a couch and watching TV (another unnatural human experience). Here in vancouver we have another problem compounding the bad driving and distracted driving issue that exists.
Foreign Illegal driving licences and scams involving people given a pass on drivers tests when they actually failed.……

@FTW999: Let's go back to unfolding maps...

And arguing with one's spouse!
Drivers seats should be surrounded by some sort of sound proof shield, so as to avoid distraction from things like conversation with your passengers, or the cries of a baby.
If the distraction warrants taking one's eyes off the road or hands off the wheel, even momentarily, then I can see how a case could be made here. But devices inside a vehicle that utilize audio broadcast (e.g. radios, hands-free phones, GPS devices) provide no more - or less - distraction than most external stimulae. @2 calls it: the fault lies not with the device, which is after all merely a tool that can be used correctly or incorrectly, but exclusively with the driver, who made the choice of HOW to use it.
Radios/Music devices
Spoken books
Passengers who speak
SUVs & trucks for personal travel
Mobile devices
Built-in auto gizmos
Pedestrian women who look great, especially in fine weather

They all are distractions, texting & sat-nav are the tip of a massive iceberg.
@) 8, im attacking what may seem obvious to you but in fact is bizarre when checked against reason. but careful contemplation on the matter will reveal that im right.
@7- Let's go back to pulling over, looking at your map, memorizing the sequence of turns you needed to make, driving at a reasonable speed so you can see the signs, using your damn turn signals, and not being an asshole.
@16 I think you should realize that in order to remove distractions from driving we'll essentially need single occupant cars and many more police. You've already mentioned how distracting work is for bus drivers, and that those distractions must be eliminated. Thanks for embracing the necessity for single occupant cars.

Please tell us, what other distractions that we've listed should be banned? Did we miss some?
I think too many cars are driving over the bridge that our resident troll lives under.
@16 nothing that you've ever written for the stranger requires "careful contemplation", charles. you're a provocateur of the laziest and lowest sort, and you know it.
Finally, somebody who agrees with me. I have long asserted that we should remove those gosh-darn distracting instrument panels in the dashboard. If you're going to take on the responsibility of driving a deadly vehicle, you should also NEVER look away to see how fast you're going, or if you're in reverse, or if your engine is about to overheat. EYES ON THE ROAD, MORONS!

Thank you, Charles. Your absolutist position is just SOOOOO helpful to the argument. You are just awesome.
Indeed, rather than having people routed efficiently through complex streetscapes, we should have people driving around willy-nilly, increasing their travel time and contributing further to climate change and increasing the chance of them hitting somebody in an unfamiliar location.

Truly GPS units are nothing but harbingers of death and they can ONLY detract from the urban environment. This ironclad logic is just SO incredibly sound.
@21) are you having a meltdown? if you read what i wrote, you will see its reasoning. again, apply more thought to the matter. at present, you are not and so are still operating within the rationale of the ideology. i'm asking you first to recognize that there is a car ideology and that it has an inside and an outside. once that is understood, then this post will make more sense.
By the way, everybody, ideologies are not things that only happen in commie countries. i just had to make that clear.
| TROLL LINE:                           |
Charles, the problems isn't so much that driving is so "mentally exhausting", but that some drivers are simply careless. Your heavy-handed authoritarian idea that we simply ban all possible distractions is unfair to those of us who operate these devices responsibly. In a free society the best approach is through education, not punishment
You are my soul mate, I totally agree!! I have often said drivers are more distracted by the passengers they carry than any "toy", maybe we should ban passengers especially talking ones. Or we should reduce the speed limit. My last idea is that we all start driving Velomobiles. You don't even need an operators license for that and it can go 30km/hr (18 miles, my American friends)

There is no question that the #1 cause of accidents is, indeed - by far - driver inattention. But it has always been the #1 cause - well before cell phone or GPS devices existed. Someone getting into an argument with their kid or spouse in the car is equally if not more distracted than someone quietly listening to a satellite guided voice tell them which turns to take in a city they are unfamiliar with.

I guess I don't understand a post like this that doesn't zero in, instead, on, say, texting and driving, driving while drunk, road rage, etc.

I spent 5 weeks on the west coast (including LA, San Fran, and Seattle) in 2012 traveling by myself, part of the time with a car, and would have been hopelessly lost had I been unable to memorize a map and each road name. And I have used my GPS app numerous times since.

It is merely a guiding device, Charles. It has an video feature - showing your car on the map - but you don't need the picture - again, the effing things talks to you and guides you verbally around town.

This is just a silly post.

@28, it is silly because you have not applied enough thought to it. you are still looking at the matter through the logic of car ideology. it takes work to look at the matter outside of the box of this kind of thinking. some dutch traffic engineers have done just this, and would easily understand why GPS systems are dangerous. lastly, if kids are always going to fight with each other and parents, why have them in a car in the first place? work hard and think in these terms.

Charles, I appreciate the response, but frankly it has left me a tad baffled.

I have not applied enough thought to it? From what I recall (it's been a long day), you did not provide the results of the Dutch study in your article, or a link to same, but I don't think anyone needs a study to confirm that distracted driving is dangerous. I acknowledged that in my comment that it's the #1 cause of accidents, by far - this is, of course, widely known. The problem is, cars, at least in the U.S., are here to stay, and are an everyday reality for the vast majority of us. Not everyone lives in an area with subways or street cars and can get around their whole life exclusively on same, or bike everywhere as they do in cities in Europe. So cars are what we have to get back and forth to work, daycare, the assisted living facility, grocery store, etc. And most cars come equipped with radios - it's hard to find a car that doesn't come with a radio, surely - and this is a source of distraction and has been since radios have been in cars - what is that, 40 or 50 years? Now many cars have built in GPS in the dashboards as well, or some of us use the GPS system in our cell phones. And how many minivans come equipped with those annoying behind the headrest tv screens for the little ones to zone out on in the back seat? Blaring kids tv shows at probably top volume.

When you combine all of this with the fact that most of us have others (such as kids and/or spouse/significant other) regularly - sometimes daily - inside of our vehicles, that spells a lot of distraction. And that is dangerous and leads to accidents, but as a society, Americans have obviously decided to accept this as the unhappy but inevitable result of modern living - the price of admission for having this (for many of us) necessary modern mode of transport in our lives.

You asked me: "if kids are always going to fight with each other and parents, why have them in a car in the first place?"

I'm not even sure how to respond to this. Why have them in the car in the first place? Charles, of course you understand that parents - again, other than those who live in NYC or a place with decent, and frequent enough public transit - have to otherwise ferry their kids to school daily, or at least the school bus, to soccer practice or music lessons or both after school, to take them to grandma's house, to the park, etc? Parents don't all have automatic built in baby sitters they can leave the kids with each and every time they go to the grocery store. And the reality is that kids in a back seat are built in distraction machines, and two or more kids back there are going to fuss and fight because tight quarters + confinement + proximity of siblings = fights, hair pulling, name calling, etc.

So again, I guess I'm confused about this statement asking why people would have their kids in their cars in the first place. Were you being sarcastic?

I also don't understand your last statement: 'work hard and think in these terms.' In what terms, Charles? (Also, should we really have to 'work hard' to understand a post on Slog? I'm obviously not the only commenter that didn't "get" the premise of your article. Maybe that is a sign it wasn't very clear?) I know that I live in the everyday, modern reality of the world, in a largely rural state (Maine) with shit to nonexistent public transit. And as I'm not independently wealthy, I work for a living, 5 days a week, 15 miles from my house (at one point I worked 33 miles from my house) so a car is not something I can do without. Yes, GPS is yet another distraction for drivers - no question. But it is hardly used every day (unlike the radio, unlike having your kids in the back seat or spouse sitting next to you) and so I guess I'm disagreeing with the whole premise of your post that GPS is a major issue - any more than kids/spouse.

Thank you.

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