Skip to comments.Indiana Toll Road asks drivers to 'Put the Phone Down'
Posted on 04/11/2017 11:02:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
When you're driving, there's a good chance you've seen someone on the phone, and maybe you've even been that person. Fifty-seven percent of American drivers admit to being on their phone while driving.
Indiana Toll Road construction for the 80/90 Push project is just about halfway done. They expect to be finished July fourth, but in order to do that, they need workers to stay safe. So they're trying to cut down on those numbers.
It really is difficult to put a dent in those numbers because we're all on-the-go. On top of that, you probably haven't met anyone who actually got pulled over for being on their phone.
A few years ago texting and driving became illegal in Indiana, but that doesn't make things like Facebook, Snapchat, or doing anything else on your phone illegal. That's why it's so hard to police.
"Unfortunately that is a little bit difficult to prove," Sergeant Jeff Whiteman with Indiana State Police said. "Because, legally, we can't really ask someone to see their phone."
It might be unlikely to get pulled over, but you're about 23 times more likely to get in an accident. In that situation, you'll get in trouble for a lot more than just sending a text.
"If you cause an accident it's going to be from following too close, improper lane usage, there's still going to be a secondary type violation that you could get in trouble from if you cause a crash whether you're on your phone or not," Whiteman said.
Crashes from cell phone usage affect a lot of people.
"It's the drinking and driving of this generation," Whiteman said. "Nationally, there's 400,000 crashes a year from texting and driving. 3,000 People lose their lives every year from texting and driving."
It's a big problem right here in Michiana as well.
"We lost two of our employees in 2014 to a distracted driver," President and CEO of Rieth-Riley Keith Rose said.
"The majority of the crashes we had here this past summer at the work sites were from distracted driving," Whiteman said.
That's why several groups are hopping on the "Put the Phone Down" campaign.
"The message we have to the motoring public is please put your phone down," Rose said. "Pay attention as you're driving through our work zones."
What they hope to see is an increase of "Put the Phone Down" license plates to remind people who look up from their phones to put the phone down.
"Just in the last year we sold 650 of those plates," President of the Indiana Motor Truck Association Gary Langston said.
The funds raised go toward education on distracted driving.
"They have simulators and they teach kids through videos and through presentations that it's really a bad idea to be texting and driving," Langston said.
On top of that, you'll see more police in work zones on the toll road.
"Just don't be texting while you're driving," Whiteman said. "Because it's a triple threat as far as getting in a accident because it takes your eyes off the road, your brain off driving and it takes your hands off the wheel."
If you'd like to contribute to the cause, you can get the "Put the Phone Down" license plate from the BMV.
“A few years ago texting and driving became illegal in Indiana, but that doesn’t make things like Facebook, Snapchat, or doing anything else on your phone illegal. That’s why it’s so hard to police.”
They should have made it a comprehensive distracted driving law that encompasses playing with any iToy while driving.
That used to be called plain old “distracted driving.” It was first evident from how the car was behaving in traffic, not from what the driver could be seen doing through the window.
To go back to that would probably be fairest to everybody. If goofing around with your car’s climate control system or your CD player sends you wafting all over the road, it should be no worse or better than if goofing around with your phone does so.
Other things that can be done in a car can have similar effects. My guilty pleasure is trying to adjust the climate control in my old Buick LeSabre. A row of rockers that feel the same and whose effect can only be read upon looking at a postage stamp size display. Probably not the brightest in-car ergonomics on earth, though cool and luxurious looking. To be fair I didn’t pick that car out of long consideration. It was a hasty replacement for a wrecked vehicle.
Oh yeah, a good distracted-driving law would cover that, too (sorry!). Our dad used to like to fiddle with the radio when he got going. Of course, he was a slow driver even at top speed so we survived intact.
Modern traffic policing can get too obsessed with things like phones. With modern phones being able to do GPS-like things, which are generally benign, a phone in the hand isn’t necessarily a devil in the car. (Though I found a way to prop it up in the convenience tray.)
How is the car behaving. That’s what should matter.
And likewise, this should encourage cell phone designers to come up with methods of interaction that minimize car misbehavior in traffic. Voice interaction, if done well, is one of those things. You get a text, the phone speaks it or spells it to you. You want to answer, you say your answer, the phone verifies it with you (hopefully with near 100% accuracy) and then sends it. Not utterly distraction proof, but ideally no worse than talking with somebody else in the car.
“How is the car behaving. Thats what should matter.”
Only if it’s a self-driving car.
I’m kind of zero tolerance for such things, even with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road people still get killed or kill others (but in less numbers). It takes just a split second.
So I’m of the mind the only reason a person should be using any device is to call 911 due to an emergency - and then he should set the device down.
“And likewise, this should encourage cell phone designers to come up with methods of interaction that minimize car misbehavior in traffic. Voice interaction, if done well, is one of those things. You get a text, the phone speaks it or spells it to you.’
It might help a little, but the underlying problem with any technology - even handsfree - is the human brain cannot process two things at the same time.
Tho, I could see hands free being allowed on long, lightly traveled stretches of road. Like a very long & lonely desert trip. In that case, it might even help to keep some drivers awake.
At least say the self-smart scientists, but the truth is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Respect human factors and you get a great design. Handsfree has been pretty clumsy in many cases. It should be no more a puzzle than talking (and also have phone etiquette respect things like “excuse me I am concentrating on traffic” which is often a voluntary choice). Reserve puzzling for what happens on the road.
“It’s the drinking and driving of this generation,” Whiteman said. “Nationally, there’s 400,000 crashes a year from texting and driving. 3,000 People lose their lives every year from texting and driving.”
You know that voice interaction is available, right?
I don’t remember a rash of traffic deaths due to people talking on their CB radios.
(or texting on them)
They’re going to be coming out with hand held radar guns that will also detect if someone is texting or not. I don’t recall how it works or how they determine if you’re receiving or sending but it’s true and it’s coming.
I was behind a woman the other day who was swerving all over the road.
As I got closer I noticed that she had a smart phone clipped to her windshield to her left, and she was SURFING THE INTERNET AS THE CAR WAS IN MOTION!!
I generally do not support one more law or rule to restrict Americans’ liberties....but this driving with cell phones thing is getting way too dangerous.
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