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Old 08-16-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
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Distracted Driving

There has been a backlash against those using cell phones recently. I rarely use a cell phone, and I have bluetooth set up for those times that I do.

First off, most states already have laws against distracted driving. To me, the distiction as to whether you lose focus is what's important here. Let's look at degree here, and see where you draw the line.

1) Talking to a passenger.
Many people do lose focus on their driving just by talking to their passenger, or telling their kids to be quiet, etc.

2) Changing the radio station
Yes, there are people that cannot change the radio station without drifting left or right.

3) Eating and drinking
Again, there are people that lose focus, and awareness while eating and drinking.

4) Doing makeup
Yes, the mirrors are pointed the wrong way and they are focused on doing makeup.

All of the above are examples of distracted driving. Not everyone that does the above is distracted to the point of dangerous driving though. Should we outlaw drinking soft drinks because some people start driving to the right when they take their eyes off the road for the 2 seconds it takes to grab the drink and take a few sips?

My point here is...some people are able to multitask, and some are not. Not every person using a cell phone is dangerous. Texting...is inherently dangerous, IMHO.

The question is, is a person who's on a cell phone able to maintain a safe distance, stay in his lane, and be aware of his/her surroundings.

The answer, IMHO, is it depends on the person.

I used to fly, my dad was a flight instructer. One thing I learned was how to CONSTANTLY scan instruments. This is a learned thing that some people cannot do well.

Before there was bluetooth, the few times I would use a cell phone in the car, I would be ready to toss the phone on the other seat if I needed to. I continuously would scan the mirrors and road, and my conversation was always secondary.

Now...there are many people who completely focus on the call, and I believe those are the annoying cell phone drivers who get into accidents and basically give cell phone users in cars a bad name. I do believe there is a certain percentage of drivers who can safely use a cell phone.

I wouldn't mind seeing a drivers license classification for this, where you are tested on your ability to focus on driving more than on the cell phone call.

The other option is to make eating, and all of the above illegal as well, because those types of drivers also can be distracted...just as much as using a cell phone. I prefer keeping it simple. If you're distracted while driving, you get a ticket. Why focus on cell phones when the problem is much deeper than that.
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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People getting into wrecks with cell phones may not be because of the phone. Remember, many people can't drive period, distractions or not.

The bigger problem with cell phones isn't the talking, it's the dialing. Once you take your eyes off the road, it's a whole different situation.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:11 PM   #3
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I'll admit I text and drive or switch song on my phone while driving...been doin it for 2 yrs. the cool thing about my phone (iPhone 4) is that if I have to dial I just speak the numbers and it does it for me!...but yea i also do all the above eat and drink change radio station.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #4
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Unfortunately cell phone usage while driving is still legal in NC as long as you are over 18. Texting while driving is now a fine ($250) in NC (no matter what age).

My husband was hit on his motorcycle by a girl using her cell phone last spring. She had no idea she hit him and drove off like nothing happened. Everyone at the scene was more concerned for my husbands well-being (thank god) - he was roughed up but ok, thank goodness for helmets - $5000 damage to the bike.

I use my handsfree frequently while in the Camaro. It allows me to pay attention to what's going on around me and I still maintain two hands on the wheel. I don't talk endlessly, and if it's something I can discuss later, I'll tell the caller that I am driving and I'll call them back when I arrive home. Unless it's life or death - most everything else can wait.

I agree with all the OP's "distractions" as noted - but like cell phones while driving - they're not illegal..

Cell phone usage while driving needs to be outlawed period.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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Michigan just made texting while driving illegal, but it seems like it is hard for police to prove. Not an issue for me, as I don't have a cellphone.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:53 PM   #7
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Thing is, most of the items you listed require only a brief moment of attention before re-focusing on the road.

Carrying on a cell conversations is quite different from talking to someone else in your car. Passengers will usually stop talking when you need to focus on driving (such searching for a particular address or heavy traffic) because they realize you need to focus. Plus, they can spot things that you may have missed. The person on the other end of a cell phone is quite different. They can't sense the amount of attention you need for driving, and they can't help you if you miss something.

Digital radios are pretty easy to quickly tune these days with dozens of presets, auto-seek, and steering wheel controls. Older radios with the manual tuning knob would probably be a lot more difficult to adjust while driving. However, changing out CD's (particularly single disc units, or going back to 8 tracks and cassettes) while driving could be problematic. Ejecting the old, searching for the one you want, then inserting the new one does take a fair amount of attention. Normally, I don't do it while I'm moving. I'll change them before I leave, or do it at a stop light or something.

Texting usually requires a great deal of both mental and visual focus on the buttons and screen. Grabbing a drink from the cup holder can usually be done without taking your eyes off the road, and it requires little to no thought to control the movement of your arm. Same goes for eating a burger or fries (though I imagine that chicken fingers/mcnuggests would be much more difficult).

Makeup (or shaving) while driving is just plain stupid. You have to watch yourself in a mirror constantly while doing it. Very bad for multiple reasons.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGthe3 View Post
Thing is, most of the items you listed require only a brief moment of attention before re-focusing on the road.

Carrying on a cell conversations is quite different from talking to someone else in your car. Passengers will usually stop talking when you need to focus on driving (such searching for a particular address or heavy traffic) because they realize you need to focus. Plus, they can spot things that you may have missed. The person on the other end of a cell phone is quite different. They can't sense the amount of attention you need for driving, and they can't help you if you miss something.

Digital radios are pretty easy to quickly tune these days with dozens of presets, auto-seek, and steering wheel controls. Older radios with the manual tuning knob would probably be a lot more difficult to adjust while driving. However, changing out CD's (particularly single disc units, or going back to 8 tracks and cassettes) while driving could be problematic. Ejecting the old, searching for the one you want, then inserting the new one does take a fair amount of attention. Normally, I don't do it while I'm moving. I'll change them before I leave, or do it at a stop light or something.

Texting usually requires a great deal of both mental and visual focus on the buttons and screen. Grabbing a drink from the cup holder can usually be done without taking your eyes off the road, and it requires little to no thought to control the movement of your arm. Same goes for eating a burger or fries (though I imagine that chicken fingers/mcnuggests would be much more difficult).

Makeup (or shaving) while driving is just plain stupid. You have to watch yourself in a mirror constantly while doing it. Very bad for multiple reasons.
Let's add to the mix that a person in the passenger seat is as engaged in their own safety as the driver, meaning that they would probably pay attention to the road. A person on the other end of a phone conversation cannot sense what the driver senses, including traffic, pedestrians, or obstacles.
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