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October 05, 2009

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Alan

We've had a hands-free ban on cellphones in Quebec for over a year and it's a joke. It has made no difference because the odds of being caught are minuscule. I still see people driving down the highway talking on their phones. Just yesterday, I was doing 100 km/hour on an Autoroute and a younger driver in the car in the next lane was texting while driving!

John

I can think of a few reasons;
1) Maybe your friends at U of T are wrong, in fact, from my observations, they are definitely wrong,
2) Cell phone usage forces people to drive with one hand, or to try to crank their head to the side and hold their phone with their shoulder,
3) If they're driving with one hand they don't use their indicator,
4) If they're texting, they're not even looking at the road,
5) If people have to spend extra for a hands free machine, maybe they won't buy it,
6) Maybe they'll get a few tickets on their record and their insurance premiums will go up.

elyse

Cellphones, texting, typing on laptop - and that's not an inclusive list - should be banned while driving - period. I've lost count of how many near misses I've had down here in the States with clueless individuals yakking into cellphones, or reading a newspaper spreading across the steering wheel(!) or curling their hair (with both hands!) Cars are NOT your living room, your bathroom, etc. It's a mode of transportation. If you're a passenger, yak away, but if you're driving, put the cell away.

I think that anybody caught on a hands-hell cell should get an automatic non-refundable $500 fine, a point on their license, and sent to a mandatory boring LONG lecture on the evils of inattention while driving, culminated with a trip to the morgue to see what a car can to do a human body (or a PowerPoint presentation with photos).

Unfortunately this cellphone/texting problem is far too widespread.

Philip

I wholeheartedly agree. While holding a phone up to your ear is certainly not safe, it's really the mental distraction that is the danger.

My understanding, however, as to why the hands-free version is not subject to the ban is because it is practically impossible to enforce. How can you tell if a driver is using a hands-free device? An officer can clearly see, however, if a person is using a hand-held phone.

Maybe some day...

Mike Elliot

And stop giving tickets for rolling stops at Stop Signs that should be Yields. How about giving tickets for bikes that go the wrong way on bike lanes or that ride across intersections from sidewalk to sidewalk (again often in the wrong direction).

R. Eader

Great article Jim. You know, I know, we all know it has absolutely nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue generating. Our city's finest, no, make that our city's "Revenue Generators" will only ever do what is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way of raking in the money and reaching their ticket quotas. Unfortunately, going after left-lane bandits and red light runners is harder than standing at the side of the road with a radar gun.

justAjoe

There seems to be a uncomfortable disconnect, between 'just stayin' alive on the road' and what the government sees as a positive this month, to run up the mast-head of highway safety. Attitudes must be changed. It's all about getting along out there, and facilitation of traffic around you. If you do that, it actually works out. How many times have you waited to make a left on a 2 lane road and the guy approaching puts his right-turn signal on, thereby facilitating your movement? Smart movement does happen. That's what we should be concentrating on. Be safe. Be smart. Gotta get along.

Timothy

I agree 100%...as well, think of all the delivery drivers who rely on their phone for business, or the taxi drivers, or anyone who well driving on sales calls all need their phone to communicate with the outside world. It's bad enough that we end up spending 3 hrs a day driving to and from work, but now heaven forbid we cannot even talk on the cell phone...what a stupid stupid law, as well how is the officer supposed to catch us, why yes officer I did have the phone up to my ear, but no I was not talking..prove it in court..stupid stupid stupid

Derek Chadbourne

And to make the matter worse, there are no points to be taken off for the ones the police ticket. The people who can afford to drive like idiots will continue.

M Cook

Mr. Kenzie

You are using your brain which is something our politicians do not seem capable of. I have read several studies on this and all conclude the same thing it makes no difference if it is hand held or not. The problem is they care more about VOTES than safety. The sad part is the really poor drivers think they are great drivers because they have not been ticketed. Of course they have not because it seems there are only two highway traffic act laws speeding and stunt driving. If Ontario wants safer roads then all HTA laws need to be enforced with the same effort as speeding is. This will not happen because the politicians will lose votes. Most speeders I see are the drivers that are paying attention, using signals, checking blind spots, using the correct lane and actually know how to get onto a highway. Hint for those that do not know you have to be at 100KM/H to safely merge with traffic; that is why the on ramps are so long. I see drivers trying to merge at 40 - 60KM/H and they believe the bad drivers are the ones that do not slam on the brakes to let them in.

Cam

Thanks for writing in an article exactly what I've been telling everyone who will listen to me since this madness started! I am a traffic engineer in Ottawa, and although not a researcher, I have the professional ethic to make traffic engineering judgments based upon academic research. It pains me to see this going ahead to satiate our public's willful blindness to reality.

Dario "DjDATZ" Zgrablic

"All this stupid law does is give the cops more nuisance things to do, leaving them less time to do something useful."

LOL I can't say I don't agree with this statement 200%.

Like I said last time, personally (and this is just me) I've noticed that I'm much less distracted if I'm using bluetooth to converse where I don't have to actually hold the phone itself up to my ear versus actually holding it up to my ear. There may be scientific evidence, but this is what I've noticed. Also, while driving, if my attention is required on driving, I will stop, mid word and put all my attention on driving, when necessary.

Add to that, I try to keep my phone calls as short as possible with "hey, I'm in the car right now, can I call you when I get in please?" I've yet to be met with a no.

That said, I would be willing to completely stop any and all phone-based conversations if and/or when the REAL law comes into effect.

Saba Ali

I just moved back to Canada from Australia where I was for two years. I am a new driver here, and find the driving absolutely horrendous! It's not that people are just breaking the rules anymore, it's that they have become rude drivers and are not courteous either!
I remember in Australia, if you indicated, the person behind you would always give you way, and if someone needed to come into a lane and you gave them way, they could always raise their hand in thank-you. Here, I have barely seen any Hand waving thanks-you's, rather the other type of hand waving!
I agree with Mr.Kenzie, on this topic.
In Australia, the only way you could talk on the cell phone, was done by hands-free, but I think Torontonians passed that stage a while back with their "so-called" driving skills. They really need to think this strategy over, or get the politicians to drive their OWN cars once in a while to show them whats wrong with Toronto drivers.
Banning cell phones but allowing hand-helds only makes the cell phone a little less distracting... doesn't seem to be helping anyone seeing as many people already have bluetooth in their cars or own hands-free devices!

I agree, toss the cell phone people and LEARN HOW TO DRIVE!

jakes

Okay, so let me get this straight. Studies have shown that physically texting on a cell phone is just as dangerous as talking on a hands free unit. Please give me a break. Maybe the researchers were using their cellphones while doing the study. The less going on in the car the better. If an outright ban on any type of communications in vehicles will never happen, then at least take most of the physical part out of the equation. probably half the drivers on the road today shouldn't be allowed to drive let alone talk on a phone or even to another passenger. I love being behind those yapping drivers who turn towards their passenger while talking and driving,almost as bad as the drivers with 2 cubic yards of dingle balls or shrines or dice hanging from their rear view mirror.

Barbie

I'm fully capable of talking to my passengers or singing while driving, why could I not manage the same on a hands-free phone?

dan

i agree.
Its dangerous and stupid. the problem will still be there...

David

I think that it is also important to realize that exceptions are being made to the law, not because of safety, but because of politics.

Taxi drivers, in general, are not known for being the safest drivers - yet they will be allowed to use their radios. Why?... because it is convenient as they earn their income. If this was truly a safety issue then it would out weigh the convenience factor.

Truckers will be allowed to use their CBs. No I realize that truckers are professional drivers, but the use of the CB has more to do with a social outlet than anything else. 90% of the time they are just chatting... or heaven forbid, warning other trucks of upcoming police.

Why is it okay for truckers to have this social outlet while other drivers will be prohibited from using a CB.

Let's get safe... yes, but let's not do it with politicians at the wheel.

James Buffin

You are talking like an idiot. The new law is a step in the right direction. Encouraging people to think that the law is BAD lacks common sense on your part and also that of your editor. This law can help save lives of innocent people - telling drivers otherwise is ignorant. Just because the law is not as complete as you think it should be, does not mean you should disregard it or encourage others to do so. Shame on you.

Jim

If the government was serious about correcting the wireless device distraction problem they would have the cellular carriers drop all calls where the speed of the device is over 15 Km per hour.

With the GPS information course and speed are easy to extrapolate.

Booze kills more people on the highway than any other single factor but the government refuses to take direct action because of the huge profit the taxes generate.

I would be pleased if our elected officials legislated something other than the "feel good" ban on hand held devices while allowing a "hands free" distraction.

hans

wow - never heard of anyone actually texting hands free - maybe you can give us a demonstration??

you really show your age and that you're out of touch with technology.

very poor article

Devon K

While I largely agree with Jim's analysis here, I'm not so upset about cop time being burned up enforcing this new rule - if it means police devote less time to running their speed traps on roads and at times when cars could safely be doing 50% over the often ridiculously-low limits.(Fifty kph on a major 4-lane arterial road? Gimme a break!)

Mike Oxloong

I think that Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto is actually located less than HALF a kilometre from Queen’s Park! Perhaps those pols should turn their heads that way and pay attention for once to the work going on there that does so much for Ontario's society and economy.

SEZ JIM: Geez, it seemed like a lot longer than that back in the day! I used to drive my Fiat 600 instead of walking (it DID have seat belts; no cell phone...).

anon

Apparently the cops have nothing better to do.

Tony Wright

To Jim Kenzie; your last sentence is easily answered : because we have Jim Bradley at the helm.

Peter Ramsden

The government here in Newfoundland banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving a few years ago. It had commissioned a study that came to exactly the conclusions Mr. Kenzie outlines here - 1.using a cell phone while driving is a significant risk factor; 2. it makes no difference whether it is hand-held or not. So, of course, the government banned hand-held devices while allowing hands-free ones - because it's made up of politicians, who are not noted for their critical thinking abilities. Oh...and then it announced that it had no intention of ever enforcing the statute. So you see Ontario, things could be worse.

Micheal dennis

dumb means that you cant speak not idiotic

Colin

How can the idiots texting, etc. see the pixel signs in the first place when they're not even focusing on the road.
Replace the pixel signs with a cell/blackberry ZAPPER every mile on the major highways that will wipe out the call and/or text message.

Ivan

Aren't these the same type of arguments that people made about seat belts 10 years ago?

SEZ JIM: Um, not sure I see the connection. I have always been a strong believer in seat belts, again because the research proves they work.

Michael S. Wolman

We are not quite sure why you seem to have missed the initial point yourself. Looking at any device requires taking your eyes off of the road, the first fundamental tenet of driving safely. Eyes on the road. Duh. While we agree that a distraction is a distraction, at least we will be safer from steamroller road workers, long haul truck drivers and even TTC bus drivers looking down into their laps. A first step is at least the beginning of the journey to remedy this horrible safety hazard.

Robert Marshall

What about simply requiring car manufacturers to install a working cell phone disruptor in cars where the driver has been caught talking on a phone. Or instead of trying to waste the time on enforcement how about installing the disruptor in cars (limited range disruptor) which are disabled if an accident takes place or if the driver triggers emergency lights.

P Parent

Obvious UH HUH UH HUH! What is so completely obvious is that all "The public Sector" is interested in doing is "ASS_COVERING". Make sure that you are not held responsible for any thing. Don't give out information, because someone may sue you if it is found to be faulty. So do NOTHING, SAY NOTHING, HEAR NOTHING. That way you {public officials} can not be found responsible for anything, FORGET "SERVING & PROTECTING" just hide in back lots, eat lots of donuts and only go for sure fire convictions, upholding bogus laws. Our FINEST in action. But realize this, they learned from our top politicians SAD SAD SAD state of affairs.

Mark Hillard

I heard this exact research a number of years ago in the United Kingdom who banned cellphone use in cars a few years ago. However, despite the seemingly futile nature of the ban, I have also read research which suggests that since the ban, the number of accidents where cellphone use was considered a factor in the cause, has reduced measurably.
Ultimately this should be the goal, safer roads. Lets see if there is any improvement in road safety after the ban is introduced.

Dennis Regan

The problem with phones, is that those using them while driving have difficulty in controlling their concentration. It is very easy to let the mind wander into the conversation, and as a result, fewer mental functions are at the wheel. Some argue that drinking coffee etc. can do the same. For possibly a few nanoseconds that is true. Reading anything in my opinion while driving is similar to a kamikazee mission. Talking on the phone though, can extend that mission, depending on the importance of the call.

Prashanth

Sometimes politicians do things to make themselves happy.Researchers should post their work to Toronto Star so that people know it.
Science beats myth any day. Listen to the research.

Steve Shumak

The thrust of your rant is right on. But you did commit one (fairly substantial) error of fact. The research that demonstrated the equivalent risk in using hands-free and hand-held devices came from the U of T's Faculty of Medicine and not Engineering. The lead author was Don Redelmeier. Here is the URL to the relevant abstract (and note that this, the FIRST paper on the subject, remains the definitive one): http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/336/7/453

Chris

I was going to slam Kenzie for this type of inflammatory article typical of what we see on the internet today.....Lots of style but no substance: however I was surprised to see a literature search actually backs up Jim's argument here: there is NO difference between hands-free vs. hand held devices.

J Safety Res. 2009;40(2):157-64. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

However, ultimately more research is needed to make a definitive reason.

No matter what, use of any devices (including our iPod, CD, radio or 8-track diminish our ability to concentrate on task #1: driving.

Vincent L

Get the government OUT of my car.

I find it more distracting with handsfree - I often find myself talking with my hands (waving etc) at red lights - I used to never do that before with one hand on my phone.

Also, why not regulate eating? drinking coffee? This law is just plain dumb.

papa

the new law obviously won't solve the whole problem, but perhaps it will at least have an effect on the most outright of offenders texting while driving. besides, an all out ban would literally be impossible to enforce.

jon

so your argument is to ban the use of hand held devices too...

Hang up

You hit the nail on the head with this article. People lose all grasp of where they are when talking on the phone. I once got a dirty look from a woman standing in line at the market because she thought I was "eavesdropping" on her conversation. Actually I was trying to not hear about what her gynecologist said to her earlier that day as she was telling her friend on the other end of the call. That woman was so engrossed in her conversation that she seemed oblivious to where she was and how many people could hear her. At least she wasn't driving that time.

John

Agreed, the government has identified the wrong body part. It is not the hands that are distracted, but the brain.

And for those who do not agree consider this. Imagine you are competing for a $10000 prize by playing a driving simulator. Would you prefer to complete the challenge while you are on the phone conducting a business call? If not, then you agree that talking on the phone, hands free or not, is distracting you from one of the most dangerous activities you engage in.

elldee

I don't understand - Kenzie says the real problem is the fact that people are talking while they are driving? Does he intend that we should not have conversations with any passengers riding in the car either?

Wilson Family

Thank you! Common sense here - finally! Now if only the Liberal government would come to their senses and admit that this is the truth (not likely)

Derek

Gee Jim, don't be so vague... what do you really think?

Brandon Smyth

I'm interested in actually understanding why this ban won't work but this article helped in no way. There is one sentence in this article (post? blog?) which actually explains why the ban won't work. The rest seems to be one liners attacking various civil servants and a plug for U of T.

About that one sentence, what do you mean by "some of the research"? Should I assume that the rest of the research indicated that it was the "manipulation of the devices" which caused the "deterioration in driving skill". Also, by "mental distraction of phoning" do you mean talking? because that's all that's involved in a hands-free setup.

How do you text hands-free by the way?

I can't believe this is on The Star's homepage. This really belongs on TV or a blog. The Star should offer up a higher standard of journalism.

R. Brockhill

there must be a dampener that would be required in every car in Ontario the idea being a cell phone would not work in the vehicle.

Jonny

Personally I would start by encouraging positive driving skills instead of prohibiting what is arguably hard to enforce anyway. How about raising speed limits on the HOV lanes, to lets say 130 while requiring no hand held communication is these lanes. How about requiring passing on the LEFT only? How about ticketing those who hog left lanes?

On local streets there are other problems. Drivers make right turns directly into a 2nd or 3rd lane, same with left turns.

Stop sign are abused and there is way to many of them. Eliminate most 4 way stops. The more stops you have in unnecessary places the more likely people are going to ignore them where they are actually required.

Improve driver testing by including defensive driving techniques in the tests. Fail most drivers and send them to a real driving school.

jonny@cryptoheaven.com

lethagic

i think this blog misses the point. you can't legislate people to not talk or be distracted in the car. that we live in a city where people think it's ok to eat or text or do their make up while driving is the reality. so you legislate what you can. no hand held devices. it's a small victory in an otherwise insurmountable mountain of stupidity. but a victory nonetheless.

a better focus? regulating driving schools and mandatory retesting. i'm surprised the government has completely ignored this cash grab. i'm sure they'll get around to it, after their unsatisfied with their latest raise...

Derp

Meh, a women who's boyfriend seemingly lives on my street was too busy waving to him in the doorway as she reversed out of the driveway to notice me riding past on my bike and nearly hit me. It really has to do with the level in which people take driving seriously. Some clearly feel that if they kill someone, it'll be no big deal and drive accordingly. Others actually realize they're driving two tonnes and that a simple act of being careless, even for a milisecond could result in someone being seriously injured and drive accordingly. IMO they should just ban all communication not related to driving such as eye contact and signals. Make it mandatory for everyone to have a GPS device installed in their car that will monitor their speed (assign tickets based on speeding over a period of time) and then give everyone a device that we can see Kudos or Nags by pointing and shooting them toward the offender. Say after you recieve 100 Nags (a negative shot from another driver), you are given a summons to appear before a panel of your peers to explain why so many people have issues with the way you drive. Likewise people who recieve on average more Kudos than Nags could be entered to win raffles, given bumper stickers that claim things like "I'm a Kudo Driver, I'll let you in!" etc... GPS devices can clearly gauge your speed, with some tweeking, they could surely monitor alot more; all we need to do is install ones that are monitored by the MOT and force people to drive properly. Health & Safety is Everyone's Responsibility, leaving it to the police to police clearly isn't working...

Bruno

I disagree almost entirely with your perspective (except for the texting part).
Basically because I don't think, I don't believe that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous. What is dangerous, is to see how many BAD DRIVERS are out there with a legal Driver's License. If these people cannot drive and talk on a cellphone, they shouldn't be allow to drive with passengers, family and, most of all, DON'T ALLOW THEM TO DRIVE WITH KIDS IN THE CAR. If they cannot hold a phone conversation, how are going to be able to handle crying, or hungry, or annoying (or... whatever you want to call them), KIDS, or any kind of passanger.
Don't take me wrong, I'm not saying that cellphones are not distracting devices, but having so many commercial signs on routes and highways are more distracting than a cellphone, that you only look at it when you have to dial a number. ALL THE OTHER SIGNS ARE THERE ALL THE TIME.
I do disagree with the texting issue... And still, I've seen women reading magazzines while driving.
B.

Ian Millard

"Can anyone explain to me why obvious stuff like this is so hard for these people to understand?"
Yes.
Because doing the right thing makes the politician unpopular - tantamount to a death sentence.
As long as we have government by popularity nothing useful will be accomplished.

hraj

totally agree with this article!!!!

Dave Brown

"There's no doubt - you witness it every day - that talking and/or texting while driving is dumb and dangerous. The issue at stake here is: Hand-held, hands-free - it makes absolutely no difference."

If the author actually agrees with this presupposition, it should also follow that measures be taken to prevent accidents that result from the behaviour. It is not possible to prevent 'dumb' people from driving, however it is possible to penalize people from engaging in 'dumb' behaviour while driving.

Singh

I like your attitude and the way you talk like you have it all clear, clean and cut.

Firstly, You're right you are a genius for figuring out that dexterity only plays a small part in preventing accidents and such and its more the psychological distraction.

However, You're suggesting we ban all "in-car communications" Do you think in this day and age everyone is going to follow that rule? Do you think people are going to quietly with little resistance agree to that demand? So Jim, what is it, we follow your rule, we ban all in-car communications and no one follows it because in reality most of us do need to use our phone. All people will do if that rule takes place is look around for police, quickly whip out their phone, have a convo, put the phone down asap or better yet just use speaker/blue tooth (some ladies can just hide it under their hair). Anyways my point is that it will not work at all. So where are we now after hypothetically implementing your suggestion? No where.

So what the government has done is understood the part you weren't able to understand that is, that people will always use communication devices in the car. Secondly, the government taking this into consideration has then taken the step to allow them to do this with little restrictions to spur a thought that it is perhaps dangerous due to it having limitations. Think about the same thing as alcohol having a limit versus banning alcohol 100% in car even if you drank a sip.

You see the distinction? The govt is taking a step forward, this is knowledge people have to understand that cellphones distract them mentally, and this is an attempt to make everyone think and take this seriously. If we follow your route we go nowhere, the govt way is a step forward + makes it common knowledge that cellphone use increases accidents,etc (not so common to some people) possibly equally people being more aware, using hands free with extra caution. You fail to realize the government isn't putting a full stop to everything but only addressing problems with limitations allowing us to 'be normal' but careful.

Chris Miller

I almost always agree with your rants. The problem is that you offer logical ideas based on research and facts. In order for the gov't to listen you need to add ways they can make money.

Left lane bandits and red light runners only get minor tickets. We need more laws like the street racer law, except trick the gov't into creating a law that will actually help while distracting them with potential income.

The gov't could impose a heavy tax on cellular communication based on the number of cell towers used during a call. This is a terrible idea, and falsely targets passengers, but it would actually help reduce accidents and is still less terrible the street racer law. On top of that it doesn't violate the charter of rights.

Thanks and keep up the good work.
Chris

jbs_waterloo

Let's ban all talking while driving. Hey no more back-seat drivers. Phones you can turn off. Back-seat drivers...

Justin Wells

The author of this piece is a buffoon who meanders from one point to the next without ever logically connecting anything. In reading it, I always had the impression that I was on the verge of learning some interesting criticism of the new law--yet anyways disappointed by the level of tom-foolery to which the author resort.

State some point everyone worries about, then meander off into the irrelevant, this is the style of this author.

Pathetic. The star can do better: Fire this jerk and hire someone who can follow one sentance with another. Please.

Y2K Blackout

You make a weak argument. The research may indicate that distraction is the factor that causes people to drive worse when using a phone, but that does not mean that driving hands-free will not alleviate the problem. Certainly, there are gains to be had while driving with both hands on the steering wheel. Legislation advocating hands-free communication means that texting will no longer be possible, which will completely prevent all accidents that could have been caused by texting, which are clearly more likely to occur, as this is a far more distracting task than speaking on a phone. Furthermore, while cell phone use in while driving is distracting, so is listening to the radio or operating the temperature controls, etc. Given that cell phone use is only legal when it's hands-free, the level of distraction likely will be reduced to a manageable level; I see no difference between talking on a hands-free device while driving and talking with a passenger while driving. There is an appreciable difference between holding a cell phone to your ear while driving and talking to a passenger. The main point is, this law was made to save lives [and possibly increase sales of bluetooth devices] and in the end, the benefit far outweighs the cost. We will likely see a decrease in collisions involving cell phone use without us having to relinquish the convenience of being able to use the phone while driving--the best of both worlds. As for cops giving out tickets, they wouldn't have to do so if people obeyed the new law. And just because the police will be issuing tickets on this, doesn't mean that they'll be less able to catch "red-light runners" or "left-lane" bandits. With respect to "real crime," you can rest assured that they'll leave you with a warning if they are required while issuing you your "useless" ticket.

Jim Kenzie

Hey Justin:

So, you don't want to become president of my fan club, eh?

Cheers,

Jim Kenzie

Mike

I am startled by the ignorance in this article. How could a person possibly imply that a law that helps keep people's eyes on the road would be anything except helpful?

It may not be a perfect solution but it might help prevent a few accidents, and if it saves even 1 life it will be worthwhile.

Lydia

I get that hand-held, and hands-free are the same risk factor because of the lack of concentration, but I don't understand the rest of your argument. Because we can't ban both, we should ban neither? Seems like a bit of a leap.

While the ideal solution would be to eliminate telecommunications by the driver in any but emergency circumstances, at least banning hand-held devices is a start.

Let's face it, it's also a bit more obviously enforceable - as you can see the bozo in the other car driving dangerously because he has his phone cradled against his ear as he drives.

Ryan Mcmaster

Just how do you suppose they enforce hands free communication.One can simply say that they were singing along to the radio ortalking to themselves.It would be impossible to prove.This is simply the only partial solution they have at this time.
Also,you can text hands free with Fords Microsoft Sync

We meet by accident

Pilots are trained to properly multitask while flying. Drivers are NOT! People who feel they have to carry on a conversation while driving need to carpool or get a life to preserve the one they already have, and that of the others on the road. The premiere episode of 'Trauma' showed how these idiotic morons cause horrific accidents. As an accident reconstructionist I look forward to meeting them or their file and reviewing their autopsy findings. Unfortunately, they will include other innocent people in their stupidity and irresponsibility.

We meet by accident

Perhaps Future Shop and the other electronics retailers including the wireless companies, will start stocking Bluetooth adapters for non-bluetooth cell phones as a public service? There are several available for a mere $40 which is far cheaper than a new phone or Blackberry. No one stocks them because they don't sell enough. funny that, eh? They don't sell them because they do not stock them. Imagine that?

Singh

Firstly, You're rightfor figuring out that dexterity only plays a small part in preventing accidents and such and its more the psychological distraction.

However, You're suggesting we ban all "in-car communications" Do you think in this day and age everyone is going to follow that rule? Do you think people are going to quietly with little resistance agree to that demand? So Jim, what is it, we follow your rule, we ban all in-car communications and no one follows it because in reality most of us do need to use our phone. All people will do if that rule takes place is look around for police, quickly whip out their phone, have a convo, put the phone down asap or better yet just use speaker/blue tooth (some ladies can just hide it under their hair). Anyways my point is that it will not work at all. So where are we now after hypothetically implementing your suggestion? No where.

So what the government has done is understood the part you weren't able to understand that is, that people will always use communication devices in the car. Secondly, the government taking this into consideration has then taken the step to allow them to do this with little restrictions to spur a thought that it is perhaps dangerous due to it having limitations. Think about the same thing as alcohol having a limit versus banning alcohol 100% in car even if you drank a sip.

You see the distinction? The govt is taking a step forward, this is knowledge people have to understand that cellphones distract them mentally, and this is an attempt to make everyone think and take this seriously. If we follow your route we go nowhere, the govt way is a step forward + makes it common knowledge that cellphone use increases accidents,etc (not so common to some people) possibly equally people being more aware, using hands free with extra caution. You fail to realize the government isn't putting a full stop to everything but only addressing problems with limitations allowing us to 'be normal' but careful.

Tim

Last year down the street from where I live I saw a stupid woman on her cell phone drift out of her lane and drive into a row of parked cars. Idiot. That could have just as easily been a sidewalk full of pedestrians. If a driver hits me and I can still walk they are gonna find out what a cell phone enema feels like...

Handsfree

I have a better idea, lets ban all electronic devices, radios, and all other distractions for drivers including passesngers,refreshments, etc. If you allow passengers segregate them in the vehicle.

Hands free is just that - hands free. It means that the driver's hands are hopefully where they belong - on the steering wheel. I agree with a hands free policy but lets not get stupid about it.

Joe Gomes

Personally, I'd give all new drivers an aptitude test. I've reached the point where I begin to believe that some drivers are just not intelligent enough to drive. While they are at it, if you really want to reduce accidents, increase the driving age to 21! You can't drink until ( supposedly ) you're 19 ( 21 in the US ), you can't vote until you are 18 and yet you can drive a car when you 16. I can see no viable reason for a 16 year old to need to drive for any reason other than enjoyment, farm hands notwithstanding. It almost makes you think insurance companies like the steady stream of income generated by the 16 to 21 crowd.

selma

c'mon, looking at the street and around IS safer then not looking.
there is no way in hell you can prove me otherwise.
if you truly believe otherwise, i demand you take off the mirrors in your car.

now that said, it is true that they may be a distraction (more often then not), and they may help you to see less, although you're looking.
so are the billboards (good luck taking those off) radio, funny news, boredom, annoying kids at the back seet...
you may say, why add one more. well let's start by taking off the billboards and banning the music (specially loud and annoying one).

one more thing, good luck stopping on hwy to take a look at your map, but a quick call to your buddy will help you find your way. happened to me soooo many times. just make sure that you have him/her on speed dial.

at the end of the day it is about using your brain.
understand, every time you sit in a car you are taking a risk. not because you are a bad driver, just because you don't know who else is there on the road and there's not much you can do about them at those speeds out there.
so talk on the phone only when you absolutely have to, chat when you pull over or get out.

J. Milne

I can absolutely see the point of banning texting or emailing while driving. I can also see the point of banning hand held devices - anyone who drives standard will attest to that. However, if we ban talking on the phone, what's next? There are five or more seats in a regular car, are we not allowed to talk to each other when in the same car?
The solution isn't banning talking while driving, it's making technology available for people to talk completely hands free. Cell phones are here to stay, we can't un-invent them, so we need to find ways to make them practical. I drive a new Ford with their Sync system whereby a call coming in plays on my stereo and to make a call I simply tell the car to call whoever, and the systems dials from my phone address book. I don't even need to take my phone out of my purse.
I know not everyone has the resources to drive a new car, but if the technology was made available, at a reasonable cost, then the problem of talking is not a problem.
We have to find a way to live with the technology, not ban it because we can't think of a realistic way to use it.

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