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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use 367

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-eyes-on-the-road-your-hands-upon-the-wheel dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes "Texting and driving is dangerous but a new survey finds talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel may be even worse. The National Safety Council's annual report found 26 percent of all crashes are tied to phone use, but noted just 5 percent involved texting. Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce driver distraction."
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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

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  • Easy stats to pull (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @07:03PM (#46597813)
    Why not just pull stats from the infotainment system since most cars have them, and couple that data with black box crash data if it isn't already?
  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @07:57PM (#46598377) Journal

    The joke falls flat because every single professional driver with a dispatcher (from taxis to police to heavy trucks) has conversations while driving, often involving reaching for a map. It comes down to the driver.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @08:26PM (#46598619)

    Here's a question: Would the black box tell you how many of these accidents would have happened even if there was no cell phone involved? If so, let's see it. (I honestly don't know.)

    As it is, this one in four figure is useless, and all it does is add to the fire for people who just like to bitch about other people using cell phones (I know people who bitch about other people using cell phones while walking or even sitting, which poses no harm to anybody.)

    Why is it useless? Well, today we happen to have a lot more cell phones around than we used to, namely because cell phone services are both A) more popular B) much cheaper than they used to be. More people have and use phones, so more people are going to be doing other things with them while they use them. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. You're equally well off in saying that talking on a cell phone is more likely to cause you to get outside for some fresh air if you happen to walk outside while talking on a cell phone.

    Here's the $64 question: If a quarter of accidents happen to occur while somebody is using a cell phone, does that also mean that accidents are up 25% above when nobody had cell phones? Because I never heard that figure anywhere in here. Even if that is in there, there could be other factors coming into play, i.e. more cars being on the road now than there were then.

    Until that is determined, sensationalist figures like these are more harmful than helpful. Why? Because stupid politicians make their careers off of adding new laws that get more people put into jail and/or fined without actually providing any benefit to anybody other than satisfying people who just can't stand the sight of seeing somebody else having a conversation that they aren't a part of.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:28PM (#46599403) Journal

    As it is, this one in four figure is useless, and all it does is add to the fire for people who just like to bitch about other people using cell phones (I know people who bitch about other people using cell phones while walking or even sitting, which poses no harm to anybody.)

    I know this is anecdotal, but I'd say 80% of the close-calls I've had whilst riding my motorcycle were caused by folks talking on their phone, completely oblivious to me in the lane next to them. The nice thing about a bike is I can move out of the way quickly and safely, and I also sit as high or higher than 90% of drivers on the road - and can see in to their car really easy to see them texting or talking and look up startled as I honk and swerve... I've even turned in video footage (I have a helmet cam) to drivers who were especially egregious - hard to deny you were texting/talking when there is a good chunk of video proving it.

    Distracted driving - of which phones are a major contributor because it is interactive (usually 2 way communication, as compared to the one way of a broadcast radio/satellite/CD source) - is a serious danger. If something is SO IMPORTANT that you have to talk on the phone NOW - then pull over. Thirty seconds won't kill you - but it might kill someone else.

  • by Smauler (915644) on Friday March 28, 2014 @01:17AM (#46600079)

    People have been studying this in excruciating detail for years. While there is a strong correlation between cell-phone use and accidents, any evidence of causation is glaringly absent.

    There have been plenty of studies in which drivers perform certain tasks, either while using a phone or not. Some have drivers doing both, one after the other, some have half and half split randomly. In all these studies, those using phones (including hands free) did significantly worse.

    I'd be interested to know what you think causes those using phones to do worse in these studies.

  • by Smauler (915644) on Friday March 28, 2014 @01:43AM (#46600175)

    No, it's two sets of focused drivers. One set is driving, the other set is driving and on the phone.

    Using a phone does decrease your ability to drive well. Just because other things also decrease your ability to drive well too, does not mean that we should not try to deal with people using phones when driving.

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