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Guest MINDSETTER™ Steven Artigas: Time to Disable the Cellphones
GoLocalProv.com ^ | April 16, 2013 | Steven Artigas

Posted on 04/17/2013 10:40:36 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I was almost sideswiped by another driver on Interstate 95 today. He missed me by a couple of inches and I looked over with alarm as he passed to see him looking down into his lap and not out the windshield. No proof, naturally, but it's a safe bet he was texting on his cell phone. If fact, I had been watching him in my mirror as he approached from behind in the passing lane, and his directional control was marginal, to say the least.

Who among us has not been witness to an inattentive driver using a cell, whether talking or texting? Of course, the cell phone industry likes to use the term 'distracted driving' which allows them to justify mobile phone use by saying it is no different from tuning the radio or talking to a passenger.

We would do well to ignore this self-serving argument. Reliable experiments have shown that talking on a cell while driving is tantamount to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08, or legally drunk. Anecdotal evidence tells us that texting is much worse. Legislation does not seem to help, as you are guilty only if caught, and the police can't be everywhere. However, this problem can be solved with existing technology. Cell phones are now Global Positioning System (GPS) capable. One of the measurements available from a GPS receiver is speed over ground. It would be a simple programming matter to make cell phones disable themselves at speeds over, say, 10 miles per hour. The phones would not make outgoing calls and would direct incoming calls to voicemail. Texts would be similarly curtailed.

Yes, I can hear the howls of protest from every direction. "Suppose there is an emergency!" The disabling function would include an exception for calls to 911.

"The passengers wouldn't be able to use their phones either!" If it isn't practical or safe to stop, the call can wait. It wasn't that long ago there were no cell phones and we managed our lives quite well.

"Limiting my cell phone use is an infringement on my rights!" This, no doubt, would come from the American Civil Liberties Union. And yes, it is a restriction, just like that old canard about not yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater. A driver is expected to blend into traffic, not create a hazard.

"I'm a multitasker, I can drive perfectly well while talking or texting!" Sure you can, just like that driver who almost punted me off the road.

Now, as a realist, I understand that my suggestion has approximately zero chance of enactment. The cell phone industry has plenty of money to fight any encroachment in the use of its product. In addition, at least some lawmakers would be loathe to affix their imprimatur to a law curtailing this popular practice, whether mindful of re-election or for their own personal convenience. But no true downside to this proposal comes to mind. Perhaps a family member of a government official has to be hurt or killed by a driver using a cell before definitive action is taken.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Computers/Internet; Health/Medicine; Outdoors
KEYWORDS: accidents; cellphones; driving; gps; texting

1 posted on 04/17/2013 10:40:36 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Of course, the cell phone industry likes to use the term 'distracted driving' which allows them to justify mobile phone use by saying it is no different from tuning the radio or talking to a passenger. We would do well to ignore this self-serving argument. Reliable experiments have shown that talking on a cell while driving is tantamount to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08, or legally drunk. Anecdotal evidence tells us that texting is much worse.

All true, I'm sure.

But that talking on a cell is like driving while legally drunk tells us nothing at all about how dangerous it is relative to talking to a passenger.

2 posted on 04/17/2013 11:24:29 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

Talking to a passenger does not require the use of a hand or for you to take your eyes off the road. Additionally the passenger can look where you are going and stop talking if the situation demands it.


3 posted on 04/17/2013 11:39:13 PM PDT by Fai Mao (Genius at Large)
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To: Fai Mao

Talking to a passenger does not require the use of a hand or for you to take your eyes off the road. Additionally the passenger can look where you are going and stop talking if the situation demands it.


And a hands-free, voice-controlled setup like I have, doesn’t require me to use my hands or take my eyes off the road either.

Plus all the data I have seen seems to show that auto accidents having been dropping every year for a good while, even as cell phone usage has skyrocketed.

If cell phones are so dangerous, why is this happening?


4 posted on 04/18/2013 12:07:06 AM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I only turn my GPS on when I need it because it uses more battery power.

What’s to stop everyone from doing the same?


5 posted on 04/18/2013 12:09:24 AM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I don’t think we need any more laws. Just as people have been willing to stop using them in theatres, absent any laws, they are also adjusting their behaviors when in cars.


6 posted on 04/18/2013 1:39:49 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

This guy has obviously never been on an early(or late)commute in CA. Cell phone users are no more dangerous than the People who prop newspapers on their steering wheels and read them while driving or the women(countless)who put on their makeup while doing 80 on the freeway. These are just two of the things I used to see when I was still working. Do we outlaw newspapers and make up as well as cell phones?


7 posted on 04/18/2013 5:35:20 AM PDT by calex59
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Simple: If (and ONLY IF) you break the law and your cell phone was ON and ACTIVE at the time, penalties double.

Thus, no infringement and only the crime is punished.

HTH, HAND,
Peet


8 posted on 04/18/2013 5:41:12 AM PDT by Peet (Come back with a warrant.)
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To: Fai Mao

I agree. However, if we are going to talk about how dangerous these various types of distracted driving are, the discussion should be based on research, not on off-hand opinions.

Personally, I think talking to a passenger or even on a cell might in some cases be less dangerous. Myself, I have a tendency to drift off when driving, and anything that keeps me awake is helpful.


9 posted on 04/18/2013 5:58:20 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: chaosagent
If cell phones are so dangerous, why is this happening?

Practice, practice, practice.

10 posted on 04/18/2013 7:50:20 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (For me, I plan to die standing as a free man rather than spend one second on my knees as a slave.)
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