Driving safely is a learned skill and it only comes by paying attention and practice. I eat, drink and talk on the phone when commuting but you have to drive first and do the other things as secondary operations, DRIVING COMES FIRST. You can't safely text in traffic! They should give tickets for poor driving not for having a phone in the car. What ever happend to the don't tailgate rule?
One of the other stories sent to me with this one, was the one regarding focusing on requirements. So, it is with great interest that I see the various detailed schemes by which people wish to solve this problem.
We do not need scores of new laws or new technical solutions. We only need personal responsibility. You are individually accountable for each distraction, be it from texting or eating french fries or gawking at the hottie washing their car.
We can make "stupid" and "incompetent" illegal, but it will not change behavior.
If the DOT wants to eliminate deaths due to distracted driving, they should encourage efforts to speed along development of cars that will drive themselves. Take away cell phones and drivers will find something else to distract themselves. Lets face it, driving is boring to most people. You can cause a traffic jam (and a resultant accident) by simply pulling your car over to the shoulder, lifting the hood, and looking under it.
Let's move forward and not bakwards. Electronics caused, electronics will solve the problem. I bought a Chrysler 300C w/ the adaptive cruise control and I amamazed thet the DOT is not looking at makeing all cruise controls have this feature. (It slows down a car to match the car in front.) It also eliminates road rage totally. Awesome feature. At minimum a sensor should alert the driver something bad is about to occur if they contine on. Normal driving has become such a drag, typically requiring very little of the driver's attention that sleeping will replace the phone, we already have applying makeup, reading, shaving distracting us. In this hurried up world we look to shave minutes, the phone is just one of the ways. The safest mile is the one not driven. If by the phone conversation I can avoid driving it was a benifit.
A couple months ago I had to use my horn against a VA state trooper that had drifted into my lane while fiddling around on his dash mounted laptop. He must have got the message as he sped up and found the first turn-around to pull into.
People accept the 30,000 number because it happens spread out in quantity, time, and location.
This is just another example of how the government just doesn't understand how to do their job. It's illegal to have a TV screen in the front of the vehicle, for the obvious reason that you would be tempted to just watch that instead of the road. Now we (me included) have touch screen computers in the front. Not only are you tempted to watch it, but you must watch it while you are trying to control the vehicle. Navigation, weather, the heat/AC, the phone, etc. It's doubly bad since, as a touch screen, you MUST take your eyes off the road to use it (it used to be that I could control the AC with fixed buttons without taking my eyes off the road). I've seen recent commercials for higher end cars that even have multitouch and web browsing. The irony is it takes less attention from the road to watch a movie (illegal) than to use a touch screen (legal). Even when my passenger uses it, it's VERY distracting. At least when I play a DVD in my car, the video goes dark while the car is moving. I like the touch screen, but it should be illegal for it to be functional while moving.
What does work well are the buttons on my steering wheel for the radio. It allows me to control the radio without even thinking about it. It's so ingrained in my physical memory that in my second car (same manufacturer, but without the buttons) I'm always feeling around for them.
The solution is a fixed set of hardkeys (buttons) on the steering wheel, some programmed to touch screen macro's.
Among the other road hazards I now watch for is the cell phone up to the drivers ear or texting. I'll have to say this about cell phones, it is a lot easier to tell there is a distracted driver around that a drunk driver.
The problem with attempting to regulate such behavior with laws is that it doesn't work any better than the ability and willingness to enforce it.
Since it is the insurance companies that pay when an accident does occur, it seems more sensible for the insurance companies to simply refuse to insure any driver proven to be operating a cell phone while driving. They do this with seatbelts now which is why I won't allow passenger to ride with me unclicked.
This simple act on the part of the insurance companies would also give law enforcement the tool they need to get distracted drivers off the road since driving without insurance is highly illegal most places.
My favorite distracted driving story is that while on a trip, 1,000 miles from home I sat at a stop light and watched a texting driver pull up behind me at a rapid rate coming very close to hitting my camping trailer.
I also find it interesting that generally when on the phone with someone they simply refuse to politely end a conversation when you tell them something like, "I have to go now, the tornado sirens are going off." Same is true for cell phones.
Watashi; And I am less hesitant to give the driver that drifts into my lane, or sits at a green light, while talking on a cell phone, a good blast on the horn. I wonder what the person on the other end of the call thinks when they hear the horn.
First, Duke just finished a study showing that speaking on the cell phone (all hands free) is highly distracting and dangerous. This can easily lead gov't bureaocrats to decide it is time to move in on us and make cell phones in the car illegal. I'm likely far more dangerous working with my GPS than my cell ... should we make GPS illegal as well? Several years ago, there were 7x more issues with people changing the radio station than talking on the phone. Do we remove the radios? If talking hands free makes you less safe, then what about talking to a passenger. So in the end, we we end up with one driver in the vehicle with no distractions. Not too dis-similar than when I am on my motorcycle. How do we then go the next step and prevent people from day-dreaming?
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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