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Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    23 Apr '11 01:17
    The Economist, Apr 14th 2011

    Extract: Through a combination of laws, education and cultural change, the struggle against drunk driving has come a long way since the 1970s. This is one reason why traffic fatalities have been falling in America—to some 32,800 deaths in 2010, the lowest since the Truman administration. Other reasons include safer cars (with anti-lock brakes, air bags and such) and stricter seat-belt and speeding enforcement.

    The counter-trend has been increased distraction. Many things can compromise drivers’ attention, from kids to food or the radio. But mobile phones pose the biggest risk, for research shows that these gadgets distract in a more pernicious way.

    The human brain has to work harder to process language and communication with somebody who is not physically present. (Conversation with passengers is much less distracting, apparently because those passengers are also aware of the traffic situation and moderate their conversation.) A study by Carnegie Mellon University using brain imaging found that merely listening to somebody speak on the phone led to a 37% decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, where spatial tasks are processed. This suggests that hands-free use of mobile phones cannot help much. Such distractions, according to one study, make drivers more collision-prone than having a blood-alcohol level of .08%, the legal limit in America. It appears to raise the risk of an accident by four times. Texting multiplies the risk by several times again.


    Whole article here: http://tinyurl.com/3shq63n

    ==============================================

    Possible debate:

    Should there be a ban on hand-held mobile-phone use while driving?

    Should there be a ban on texting while driving?

    What should be the policy towards hands-free use of mobile phones?
  2. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    23 Apr '11 08:37
    Originally posted by FMF
    The Economist, Apr 14th 2011

    [quote]Extract: Through a combination of laws, education and cultural change, the struggle against drunk driving has come a long way since the 1970s. This is one reason why traffic fatalities have been falling in America—to some 32,800 deaths in 2010, the lowest since the Truman administration. Other reasons include safer cars (wi ...[text shortened]... texting while driving?

    What should be the policy towards hands-free use of mobile phones?
    [/b]
    These things are already forbidden in many places for several years now.
  3. 23 Apr '11 08:39
    Using handheld phones in cars was banned a couple of years ago here. Not sure if it helped reduce accidents though, handsfree phones are still very distracting.
  4. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    23 Apr '11 08:51
    Originally posted by Palynka
    These things are already forbidden in many places for several years now.
    The article seems to suggest that hands-free use of mobile phones should be forbidden too. Do you agree?
  5. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    23 Apr '11 09:16
    Originally posted by FMF
    The article seems to suggest that hands-free use of mobile phones should be forbidden too. Do you agree?
    Not really. I would like to see more evidence, anyway, but so far we have some study that says this is equivalent to the legal alcohol limit then it seems low enough to me.

    Especially since the article here is trying to push the point that this is serious, so this seems to be the "worst" they could find.
  6. 24 Apr '11 18:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    The article seems to suggest that hands-free use of mobile phones should be forbidden too. Do you agree?
    Yes. When the talk of banning hand-held devices first surfaced some years ago, I remember thinking that they don't understand the issue. That the real issue is trying to converse with someone who is not present - even with a hands-free device.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Apr '11 19:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    The Economist, Apr 14th 2011

    [quote]Extract: Through a combination of laws, education and cultural change, the struggle against drunk driving has come a long way since the 1970s. This is one reason why traffic fatalities have been falling in America—to some 32,800 deaths in 2010, the lowest since the Truman administration. Other reasons include safer cars (wi ...[text shortened]... texting while driving?

    What should be the policy towards hands-free use of mobile phones?
    [/b]
    The first 2 were banned in many US states long ago.

    Personally, I don't see a huge difference between talking on a hand held phone and a bluetooth. Most people can drive competently with one hand. Talking on a bluetooth or speakerphone is distracting perhaps, but people talk to passengers all the time in cars. I don't think that needs to be banned.

    Texting? That's a different ballgame. You have to take your eye off the road to text. That should absolutely be illegal.

    I can deal with the ban on using a hand held phone. I don't think I'd favor it, but I can understand it.

    I absolutely do NOT think that speaking on a bluetooth or speakerphone while driving should be banned. If you do, you might as well ban listening to the radio or talking to passengers.
  8. 24 Apr '11 19:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    The first 2 were banned in many US states long ago.

    Personally, I don't see a huge difference between talking on a hand held phone and a bluetooth. Most people can drive competently with one hand. Talking on a bluetooth or speakerphone is distracting perhaps, but people talk to passengers all the time in cars. I don't think that needs to be banned.

    Textin e banned. If you do, you might as well ban listening to the radio or talking to passengers.
    I absolutely do NOT think that speaking on a bluetooth or speakerphone while driving should be banned. If you do, you might as well ban listening to the radio or talking to passengers.

    Did you miss the following?:
    "The human brain has to work harder to process language and communication with somebody who is not physically present. (Conversation with passengers is much less distracting, apparently because those passengers are also aware of the traffic situation and moderate their conversation.)"
  9. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Apr '11 20:00
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    [b]I absolutely do NOT think that speaking on a bluetooth or speakerphone while driving should be banned. If you do, you might as well ban listening to the radio or talking to passengers.

    Did you miss the following?:
    "The human brain has to work harder to process language and communication with somebody who is not physically present. (Conversation ...[text shortened]... se those passengers are also aware of the traffic situation and moderate their conversation.)"[/b]
    I guess I did; but I'm not convinced that's a salient enough difference to warrant government intervention.

    If someone gets into an accident and you want to use it as a factor in favor of a finding of negligence in a civil lawsuit, fine. But does the government need to ban everything that may be slightly unsafe? I don't think so.
  10. 24 Apr '11 20:08
    Originally posted by sh76
    I guess I did; but I'm not convinced that's a salient enough difference to warrant government intervention.

    If someone gets into an accident and you want to use it as a factor in favor of a finding of negligence in a civil lawsuit, fine. But does the government need to ban everything that may be slightly unsafe? I don't think so.
    How about this part?:
    "A study by Carnegie Mellon University using brain imaging found that merely listening to somebody speak on the phone led to a 37% decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, where spatial tasks are processed. This suggests that hands-free use of mobile phones cannot help much. Such distractions, according to one study, make drivers more collision-prone than having a blood-alcohol level of .08%, the legal limit in America. It appears to raise the risk of an accident by four times."

    I wouldn't categorize being "more collision-prone than [being legally drunk]" or raising "the risk of an accident by four times" as being "slightly unsafe".
  11. 25 Apr '11 16:32
    Originally posted by FMF
    The Economist, Apr 14th 2011

    [quote]Extract: Through a combination of laws, education and cultural change, the struggle against drunk driving has come a long way since the 1970s. This is one reason why traffic fatalities have been falling in America—to some 32,800 deaths in 2010, the lowest since the Truman administration. Other reasons include safer cars (wi ...[text shortened]... texting while driving?

    What should be the policy towards hands-free use of mobile phones?
    [/b]
    needed: $1000 fine for talking, $2000 for texting, no hands-free exemption.
  12. 25 Apr '11 18:40
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    needed: $1000 fine for talking, $2000 for texting, no hands-free exemption.
    I would hope the law would recognize the difference between driving on the open highway in light traffic verses trying to merge in heavy fast moving traffic.

    Pulling over to make or take a call (or even taking an exit) can in some circumstances create a bigger hazard than talking while driving. Also, you'd hope that while completely stopped due to heavy traffic (e.g. rush hour) you'd be able to make a phone call without having to change 2 or 3 lanes to get to the shoulder (and don't even try to stop in Manhattan).

    Cell Phone technology includes the ability to do a "hot hand-off", which means you can maintain a phone call as your handed off from one cell tower to the next, and the next. It would be a shame if in the end this was utilized to benefit only passengers.

    Texting while driving, well that's bad. Although would we make it illegal to receive a text while driving? I'm signed up for Amber Alerts, which are quick notifications for when a child was abducted and often includes make and model of a car. It would be a shame to send out an Amber Alert that no one on the road can read because they're afraid of a huge fine.
  13. Standard member Quirke
    Racing Ralph
    26 Apr '11 00:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    needed: $1000 fine for talking, $2000 for texting, no hands-free exemption.
    People should be fined for driving recklessly, not for using a phone. Slowing suddenly for no reason, drifting out of lanes, rear ending stopped traffic, etc. should be the behavior punished. People vary in their ability to drive with a phone, but addressing the behavior would also get the commuters shaving, shoving their third egg McMuffin with bacon and processed cheese in their face, applying makeup, grabbing crap off the floor of their car, reading books / newspapers, writing on notepads, living your midlife crisis and wearing aviators before dawn, scrolling through a Kindle or iPad, trimming fingernails, picking their noses, and all the other fools I avoid every morning driving to work.

    Texting is bad enough that it should be banned - I agree with you on that point.