Automobiles

Texting Bans: Scourge of the Roadways!

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Or something like that.

Laws banning texting while driving actually may prompt a slight increase in road crashes, research out today shows.

The findings, to be unveiled at a meeting here of 550 traffic safety professionals from around the USA, come amid a heightened national debate over distracted driving.

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all," says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research arm studied the effectiveness of the laws.

Researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute compared rates of collision insurance claims in four states — California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington — before and after they enacted texting bans. Crash rates rose in three of the states after bans were enacted.

The Highway Loss group theorizes that drivers try to evade police by lowering their phones when texting, increasing the risk by taking their eyes even further from the road and for a longer time.

The findings "call into question the way policymakers are trying to address the problem of distracted-driving crashes," Lund says, calling for a strategy that goes beyond cellphones to hit other behaviors such as eating and putting on makeup. "They're focusing on a single manifestation of distracted driving and banning it," he says.

U.S. Transportation Secretary and anti-texting crusader Ray LaHood says the bans just aren't being tightly enforced. The problem is, they're pretty much unenforceable

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  1. the one thing these bans aren’t likely to do is make the roads much safer. And if they won’t accomplish that, there’s no reason to enact them.

    Nothing’s on purpose, Radley.

    1. You appear to lack sufficient paranoia.

      1. I find his excess of faith disturbing.

  2. What’s really odd is that car crashes do occur, often during daylight hours and under perfect weather conditions, but there seems to be no cause or reason for them. One of these days we humans will figure out why cars run into other cars.

    1. And then the cars will revolt, awful plan.

      1. They already have brains. It’s just a matter of time.

  3. The simpler plan would be to ban all internal-combustion engines, which would reduce traffic accidents to zero.

    1. Chad, if you want the keys to the Prius tonight I want you dressed and down here in five minutes!

    2. Re: Chad,

      The simpler plan would be to ban all internal-combustion engines, which would reduce traffic accidents to zero.

      Not if manufacturers offer the Stanley Steamer again, it will not!

    3. I would bet that joggers would still run into parked cars, or any car standing still, bicyclists would do the same, and I expect both with enough velocity that there would be fatalities. Sonny Bono skied into a tree – of course, it could have been a democratic tree that jumped in front of him. Tree, “I regret that I have but 3 or 4 pinecones to give to the cause of a democratic majority.”

  4. Ban those fucking bright blue headlights! Those are the real killers!

  5. Or the texting ban means that less people are honest about why they crashed for fear of getting in trouble…

  6. Actually, I played golf with a guy the other day who has a company that produces a gizmo that disables wireless communication devices while a car is operating. I think it is a voluntary thing that companies with lots of drivers (UPS, FedEx, etc.) are beginning to use. But I can see this becoming a mandatory device in all cars in the future.

    I have an Onstar system that does not require handling a phone, but is it the distraction of attention that matters? Or is it the handling of the device?

    1. So our passengers are supposed to just…talk to the other passengers? I’m sorry but that’s more of a distraction than the driver texting and making pancakes.

        1. Well done, slappy. Your lack of sarcasm detection, combined with the uncanny ability to address the shortcomings of such technology, renders you fit to be tied to the plumbing. Perhaps with your hands free so you can handle your device.

    2. Some people find handling their device while driving is very distracting.

      1. You sound like my wife. “Why do you have your hand down your pants?” I never thought of responding that my device was down there.

        1. Hmmmm…I always referred to it as a stick shift.

  7. People have no business driving cars. That’s what AI is for.

    1. Artificial Insemination while driving will never replace real sex while driving.

      1. Traditionalist!

  8. Let’s see: I am going to make a fucking phone call from my car, because it’s convenient. I look around, don’t see any cops, and make the call. Same for texts.

    Everyone, except the most retarded antisocial asshole, knows that people are going to call and text while in the car. So what that means is that this is a blanket, obvious revenue grab.

    Why would anyone do research on this? There is no research beyond “tickets make money” to be done.

    1. It’s a statist wet dream. The cop doesn’t need proof as we humans know it; he just has to say that he saw the driver talking/texting, and it’s irrefutable fact. So what if the phone company records don’t back him up?

      1. So what if the phone company records don’t back him up?

        Then the case gets dismissed. My sister effectively proved her innocence that way. In New York.

        1. Which cost her how much?

          I admire her for her persistence and willingness to fight a bullshit charge, but the cops still forced her to spend a lot of her time and money to prove them wrong.

          It’s a “you can’t win” situation.

          1. Didn’t cost her anything except a little time, which she was happy to spend in defense of her rights and principles. That’s what courts are for, aren’t they? Genuine police states have no courts.

        2. So, Ma’am, the records show you didn’t actually complete the call I saw you making. Nice try.

    2. Why would anyone do research on this? There is no research beyond “tickets make money” to be done.

      The auto insurance companies needed an excuse to charge drivers in states with texting bans more. Or they wanted a statistical basis to try and get the laws repealed.

    3. “Everyone, except the most retarded antisocial asshole, knows that people are going to call and text while in the car.”

      I know selfish and/or ignorant people will call/text while driving b/c they can externalize the cost onto others. Do you have any good ideas about how to place the cost (increased risk) of this decision back on the folks who choose to create/increase it?

      It sounds as though these bans aren’t accomplish much good (if any). Maybe we should allow people to acquire a license to call/text while driving. It would require them to pass a rigorous test proving one can drive safely while texting/talking on the phone. Texting while driving w/o a license would be an expensive fine.

      1. Jesus, now who’s the asshole? It’s nonstop with the statists, I swear.

        1. i’m no statist, but texting while driving is pretty fucking stupid.

          perhaps not as stupid as people who read the newspaper while driving (i’ve actually seen this too) but it’s up there.

          1. I saw a woman driving while sleeping. During rush hour. Funny as hell. Also scary as hell. She was in the fast lane. I was afraid to blow my horn and wake her up, fearing she’d overreact and swerve into the other cars, so I went around her, but somehow she got behind me and was gaining on me. And I was boxed in! And here comes this car on my tail, driven by a sleeping person! I am not making this up.

            1. that’s only funny because it didn’t happen to me.

          2. i’m no statist, but texting while driving is pretty fucking stupid.

            You have the right to be stupid.

      2. Or how about we stop punishing people for things that might happen. If they cause a wreck, throw the book at them. But you can’t play prevent defense the entire time or else they’ll throw underneath all day. Isn’t preventive warfare the exact concept that most people hated about George Bush? Why is it okay when it is declared against the citizenry?

      3. “Do you have any good ideas about how to place the cost (increased risk) of this decision back on the folks who choose to create/increase it?”

        Sure. Pay attention to the way people around you are driving and distance yourself from bad/distracted drivers. If you see that they’re texting and it’s affecting their driving, maybe honk at em or yell at them out of your window to “Watch The Road!!!”

        1. Yeah, other drivers love that.

          1. You’re right. I should put myself between bad drivers and drivers who don’t watch out for bad drivers because it is my civic duty to do so.

        2. Well, that might be a terrific recommendation but it clearly does not place the burden back on the person who created/increased the hightened risk by electing to send texts while driving a car. Instead, your proposal ask other drivers to mitigate the harm that the texter/caller created and/or warn the dangerous driver – possibly a salutory move. I’m not 100% sure how that would play out, but I’d welcome anecdotal evidence regarding its effectivness. Menawhile, do you have any good ideas about how to put place the cost back on the person who created the risk?

          1. Part of being a good driver is learning to spot and stay away from bad drivers. People who allow themselves to be distracted while they drive are all bad drivers but not all bad drivers are bad because they get distracted some are just really bad. Whether they’re dangerous behind the wheel because they get nervous alot and make bad split second decisions or they’re careless and don’t pay attention to the road, there’s no way to make bad drivers be the only ones endangered by their driving. If it makes you feel any better, bad drivers are more likely to get themselves killed.

    4. No argument from me that “tickets make money”, but… other than asking people to keep their fucking eyes on the road pretty please – how does one address this problem? Overall accidents may be down but I wonder if accidents caused by people not looking where the fuck they’re going are up.

  9. They recently passed a law in WA state making talking on the phone a primary offense, in the name of safety revenue generation, of course. Now when I pass a cop I have my hand to my ear. I have yet to be pulled over, but I figure it’s only a matter of time.

    I hardly ever talk on the phone while driving, but it’s quite obvious this is shakedown operation for states that are out of money.

    1. The solution to this is to ban driving while holding your hand up to your ear.

      1. Make it illegal to take your hands off the wheel. Naturally, manual transmissions will have to be banned as well.

        1. Surely we have the technology to also track eye movement. Look down, or sideways too long or in the wrong mirror will generate a fine. And the fine can be printed out Demolition Man-style from your dashboard. And you will be fined if you touch the fine while you are still driving.

          1. A fine and the immediate termination of vehicular function.

            1. immediate termination of vehicular function

              For cops, the rolling ATM works much better when it’s rolling.

              “BIG MONEY, BIG PRIZES! I LOVE IT!”

              1. I’d buy that for a dollar!

          2. Piker!

            With the advance of EEG technology, they will be able to fine you for just thinking about doing something wrong.

            (It occurs to me that I may have said too much.)

        2. I’m envisioning sensors on the steering wheel at ten and two that will shut the car off as soon as you take your hands off the wheel. Of course that would do away with turn signals and manual windshield wipers, but who uses that stuff anyway?

          1. I thought 8 and 4 was the new 10 and 2. I’ve always preferred 12 and 6, although arms locked at 9 and 3 is pretty fun as it makes me feel like I just hit 88 mph and am accelerating back, to the future!

            1. 6 O’clock in Paul’s car. That’s exactly where my knee makes contact with the underside of the wheel. Leaves the hands free for more important shit like holding my Orange Crush.

      2. I’m surprised they have yet to go after smoking while driving. They will sooner or later and the Fascist who does it will be a fucking superhero on Cap. Hill. And I will be an angry angry angry angry man.

        1. Yet, they will never ticket the a-holes who throw their butts out the window.

          I hate those jerks so much! I don’t care if they smoke, but stop littering. Us drunk drivers learned long ago to hide our empties under the seat. Why can’t they use their ash tray?

          1. Some cars don’t have ’em anymore. I bought a Toyota, and they’d put this fuzzy cloth in the ashtray with a “no smoking” sticker. No joke!

  10. Laws banning texting while driving actually may prompt a slight increase in road crashes, research out today shows.

    Has to be a contender for Most Disingenuous Lede Award, featuring the classic logical fallacy: correlation proves causation.

    1. “may”

      1. Spoonman.|9.30.10 @ 1:27PM|#
        “may”

        “May” is a weasel word. Governor X “may” have beaten his wife. A diet rich in fibers may reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer.

    2. Uh huh, just like anti-smoking laws reduce heart attacks, or the claim that cell phone bans caused a fatality reduction of 20 percent.

      CHP numbers show a 20 percent reduction in fatalities and collisions in the six months following implementation of that California cell phone ban. The bill was signed into law in 2006 and went into effect on July. 1, 2008.

      The study that’s the subject of this blogpost is far more scientific. It actually made an attempt to eliminate other factors such as economy, reduced miles/increased miles driven etc.

      The CHP claim did no such thing.

  11. There is one way to enforce texting bans. Place a camera in the car, with the feed going to an intelligent agent that detects the use of a handheld device while the car is in motion. A ticket is automatically generated and delivered to the driver via text message.

  12. “Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all,” says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research arm studied the effectiveness of the laws.

    The findings “call into question the way policymakers are trying to address the problem of distracted-driving crashes,” Lund says, calling for a strategy that goes beyond cellphones to hit other behaviors such as eating and putting on makeup. “They’re focusing on a single manifestation of distracted driving and banning it,” he says.

    Let’s turn people into mindless robots so they don’t act like living, breathing human beings while driving.

    Vote for Landru, The One That Can Save Us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

    1. Liberals would fucking love Landru. “Your individuality will merge into the unity…”

    2. how about banning “driving while stupid?”
      O yeah, auto industry would collapse…

  13. Or maybe there is no correlation between texting and accidents, perhaps texting is no more dangerous than changing radio stations or sipping coffee, and the Great Texting Scare was just another moral panic having no more validity than the “Comics Books Cause Juvenile Delinquency” scare of the 1950s.

    1. Except that it is one more law on the books that they can get you on.

  14. Texting while driving is stupid, but so are doing a lot of other things other than driving.

    1. I believe you mean:

      Txtg whl drvng is stpd, bt so r lts of othr thgs xcpt drvng.

      1. I crashed just reading that.

    2. My theory is that good drivers are good drivers because they pay attention to driving. In my experience, the driver who texts all the time is the same driver who would do a bunch of other shit if you took their phone away. They will always find something more interesting than the road and that’s why they crash. They’re bad drivers!

  15. is it the distraction of attention that matters? Or is it the handling of the device?

    Research is clear on this one. It is the distraction of attention. Hands-free does not help.

    1. Handsfree texting?

      And wouldn’t that also be true of listening to the car radio, changing a CD, talking to a passenger, telling your kid to stop screaming “are we there yet,” listening to your kid screaming “are we there yet,” etc?

      1. Handsfree texting?

        Yep, my new smartphone does voice recognition (in a manner of speaking) and will let you speak your text message out. Now ask me how well it actually works…

        1. Cow whale does if actually worst?

    2. It just seems that passengers would be just as dangerous if that were the case.

      Single-serving cars?

    3. When are we just going to get the cars they had in Minority Report where every one is on a track and even climbs up and down buildings?

    4. Can you name one peer reviewed article?

      I have yet to see one.

      1. It’s self evident, just like how smaller class sizes improve education. How can you argue with this stuff you communist?

    5. Research is clear on this one. It is the distraction of attention. Hands-free does not help.

      Hands-free is worse.

      Before the stupid cell phone ban when my phone rang, I picked it up and talked on it then set it down. Then I got sucked into the whole Bluetooth thing. Don’t even get me fucking started. I spent more time dicking around with my “hands free” device when it wouldn’t pair, or wouldn’t work properly with my phone… I finally gave up and went back to talking on my cell phone, the tried and true safe way.

      1. This has been my experience too.

        When you have a phone in your hand, you know you have a phone in your hand. Your mind is much less likely to wander from the more pressing demands of driving when you have that tactile cue.

        And I find that dialing the number is the most dangerous part of the call. That’s only compounded by having to handle hands-free equipment as well.

  16. And isn’t it typical that when confronted with data such as the findings Radley is reporting about texting bans having no effect, the response from the professional nannies is always “Then we must have MORE laws and MORE restrictions!” It’s never that their premise is wrong. It’s that they didn’t regulate enough.

    1. See: Stimulus spending.

  17. Laws banning texting while driving actually may prompt a slight increase in road crashes, research out today shows.

    Perhaps these laws explain the people I now see who think that pulling half-way out of a lane and coming to a complete stop to type a message constitutes safe behavior.

    1. That seems dangerous. The ones where I live keep moving, but they slow down for no discernible reason, or gradually drift into another lane. It’s so funny when they jerk their car back into its original position, especially when another car is there.

      1. The ones where I live keep moving, but they slow down for no discernible reason, or gradually drift into another lane.

        There was plenty of that where I live long before people had cell phones.

        1. Indeed, and I see even more of it now. Also cars sitting at green lights.

  18. Trying to type and drive isn’t a good idea. But talking on a phone and driving is different. Consider that cops may talk on their radio while chasing someone at high speeds.

  19. These laws are pointless, as we can see here. But you are still a fucking asshole if you text while driving.

  20. The way to tackle this, I think, is post-accident. After you have an accident, your phone records are checked.

    If you were texting when the accident occurred, you get whacked with extra penalties. No reason why your insurance company shouldn’t be able to pull its coverage, as well.

    I refuse to believe that texting isn’t significantly more of a distraction than talking to someone else in the car, or talking on your phone. You don’t have to take your eyes off the road to do those, but you do to text.

    1. I think it’d be too difficult to pin down the exact time for the phone records. If someone got into a wreck, the first thing they would do if they are still conscious is try to contact someone, either by call or text.

    2. The way to tackle this, I think, is post-accident. After you have an accident, your phone records are checked.

      Got this one handled. I carry two cell phones. If I ever get pulled over, I hand over the second cell phone which will have no record of any calls before or during the stop.

    3. What counts as texting in this instance? What if I received a text during the time of an accident, but didn’t look at it (or didn’t even hear the notification)? What if I looked at it but didn’t respond? The phone records would treat both cases the same, except I only took my eyes off the road in the latter example. Or does it only count for a text conversation, with both inbound and outbound texts on my call records?

  21. Secretary and anti-texting crusader Ray LaHood says the bans just aren’t being tightly enforced.

    Ray Lahood has already proven himself the most impaired retard in government. Bar none. Now this.

    Hey Lahood, how tightly were texting bans being enforced before there were anti-texting laws?

    And tell us all about minimum speeds on the highway again? That never gets old, you fucking retard.

  22. Two stipulations:

    1. Texting while driving is an obsessive/compulsive behavior demostrating a sociopathic casual indifference to the safety of everyone on the road.

    2. There may be no effective way to prevent the sociopaths from text while driving by law.

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