Should Hand Held Cell Phones be Outlawed While Driving??

by minimus 140 Replies latest jw friends

  • minimus

    Well Joe, I responded to what bothers ME more. I'm sure you can read....And NO, it's NOT good common sense to ban phones while driving.It's good common sense to be careful while driving.

  • Joe Bloggs
    Joe Bloggs


    I'm sure you can read.

    Good. But can you? Where is the mention of the person talking to and distracting the driver as a cause of accidents in the study you quoted?


  • minimus

    I never said that this study proved that. I put a AAA study out. Period. Try reading again.

  • Jahna

    Hello Joe

    You stated ?Using a cellphone whilst driving increases the chance of having an accident. It is not necessary to illustrate this with studies that prove this, the UK government has already done that, and, based on those studies, thought it necessary to ban the use of mobile phones whilst driving. But we don't need governments to do studies - most of us have a brain to tell us that.?

    To tell the truth, anything and I mean anything can and will be a distraction. Blowing your nose, sneezing, shaving (if your stupid enough to do that), hanging your feet out of your window (while driving no less, this btw is a actual ticket issued last summer by the Ontario Provincial Police) and a host of other, not cell phone related distractions which are available to the monumentally stupid driver.

    Saving life is always important, that is why it has to start with you. I once took a defensive driving course, and the first thing I was taught was this motto, ?everyone else on the road is an idiot!? This concept actually makes you, and I mean you, the proactive driver, the aware driver and hopefully the one that gets home alive and well driver. If everyone drove with this motto, maybe there will be less accidents because of stupidity and loss of good judgement. Sadly this is not the case in most cities, people are too rushed to get from A to B, all think they are the best driver and sometimes the only driver on the road, and some well, think driving is a nice way to have and eat dinner and pass the time. This is the real cause of our accidents.

    I happen to work closely with the transportation and insurance industry in Ontario Canada, I can honestly tell you, people are just looking for something to blame, and mostly not having anything to do with the real issue. For example ?big trucks? are to blame for accidents, not the little Honda who cut off the big truck, therefore big trucks are now dangerous to the road ways and must be regulated to death and back again. No one ever thought for a moment and said, hey maybe we ought to teach the Honda driver, a big truck needs more room and not to cut them off. This same logic can and should be applied to cell phones.

    Cell phones are useful, in it?s time and place, and with the right equipment which is readily available. Just like guns don?t kill people, people do, cell phones don?t cause accidents, people do.


  • minimus

    No---guns people.

  • Joe Bloggs
    Joe Bloggs


    I never said that this study proved that. I put a AAA study out. Period. Try reading again.

    Don't have to. You were using this study to substantiate your claim (that is obvious from the context of your post) and it didn't. Period. One of the things that bothers me is that sometimes it is the little inconsistencies in somebody's argument that give an indication as to how illogical they are thinking, as in this point in question. Jahna, I agree with your basic thinking on this subject, but it is about magnitude. It is much more distracting to use a cellphone whilst driving than it is to practice many of the things you mentioned. And I agree, it is usually people (or rather their stupid actions) that are inevitably responsible for accidents, not the cellphones themselves! But it worries me that there are some people out there who seem unable to grasp the simple relationship of cause and effect. Joe

  • AlanF

    Cassiline, thanks for posting that material. It proves what I've observed for myself on the road. Hardly a day goes by when I don't have to struggle to get around some asshole puttering along and paying no attention to the road.

    Good comments, Jahna! I completely agree that if people would start being responsible, we wouldn't need all sorts of irritating laws. You said:

    : Law can not replace common sense, it can only make a poor attempt at trying to compensate for the lack of it. If today it is cell phones, tomorrow it will be a new technology, we can continue to make rules or we can start being responsible for ourselves now.

    The problem is that a very large fraction of the population has no common sense, or doesn't care how their actions affect others. That's why we need laws. If everyone were responsible, we wouldn't need laws against murder and stealing. We wouldn't need laws against drunk driving, because everyone would be responsible enough not to do it. Nor would we need laws against irresponsible use of cell phones in cars.

    The point is that to expect that all people will all of a sudden develop common sense and become responsible is unrealistic. It's as unrealistic as expecting that minimus will all of a sudden start answering challenges from various posters rather than merely giving evasive replies.

    Good point about the insurance lobby, talesin. However, it took many decades, and a huge change in the political climate, before most states enacted strong drunk driving laws. And I don't know if that was in response to the insurance industry or to the attention drawn to the problem by organizations like MADD.

    Good points, Joe! But expecting that minimus will actually deal with the points you made is obviously like expecting that he'll somehow develop common sense and an ability to argue logically.


  • Sunspot

    **If the stats show that cell phone use while driving causes accidents, the insurance lobby will see to it that they are outlawed.

    Dollars and cents, is what will decide it in the long run, like everything else.

    I was just going to mention this! Insurance rates are bound to go up when studies are made about the impact of cells "impairment" on driving. The problem will be settled (more or less) when this happens.

    Right---or priveldge? It's not whether or not someone's "rights" are being infringed upon, because the law sees it that driving is a priveledge---and CAN be revoked when the laws of the road in your area are broken. It's not anyone's "right" to drive, as it may seem to some.

    There was a horrible accident not too far from here last week. A mom was driving with her 3 year old son and bent down to grab her cellphone. ***She lost control of the car, veered off to the right shoulder of the highway, slid sideways and crossed over into oncoming traffic.*** Both were killed. (I copied that right from the front page of the paper)

    The car was loaded with balloons, a Spiderman cake, and decorations for a birthday party---for the little boy that was killed. He was to turn four the next day.

    The news brought out that the person who had spoken to her last---the one who made the call---heard the screams and the crash.........just after the mom had "picked up".......

    What a tragedy.

  • boa
    Let's cut to the chase here, Boa. Basically, we agree on all the important points except whether governments should restrict cell phone use by drivers. I should add that I'm glad that you're actually addressing issues rather than evading them, like certain other posters are.

    Why, thank you! I figured I stepped in this with both eyes open and with a cell phone in hand, so I'd better answer the qs.

    :: Why do you think there's any difference between laws against murder, drunk driving and smoking in public places (which stop people from hurting others unnecessarily and impinging on others' freedom) and laws against using cell phones while driving (which stops people from hurting others unnecessarily and from impinging on others' freedom not to be hurt by stupid actions)?

    : Because it comes down to degree.

    Precisely my point! But deciding degree is a matter of opinion. In the case of society, government's role is to decide on the degree of various actions that might be proposed to be restricted.

    I believe in the end, the whole point of this matter, everything having been said is the part 'deciding degree is a matter of opinion'.

    No matter what, this is a grey area that some jurisdictions make into a black and white enforcement issue by enacting a new law. It is like most of the other 1000s of laws out there. They simply make it possible for a government to exercise control over a person or the population for their own reasons. These laws are not inheirent to this universe, they are arbitrary and manufactured by people.

    All of the posts showing studies, against the evils of cell phone use and how they are this percentage worse than drinking coffee or playing with yourself while driving don't in the mean a hill of beans to the real issue which is responsible driving. A person can have all the rules in the world but if they don't follow them or some new technology arrives (in-car dvd players are becoming an issue in Canada), driving is still a dangerous, risked-filled endeavour! If people think driving will be oh so much safer with another rule against cell phone use in cars (while driving), they are sadly mistaken. I do agree that such a law will affect at least some of the population who may not be aware of the dangers of cell use while driving and these possibly law-abiding, concerned citizen types will comply. Idiots who don't care will continue to use them and to me I stand by the law that already exists of 'driving without due care and attention as being sufficient'.

    Thus, it is obvious I am in agreement that enforcement of improper or dangerous use of a cell phone while driving IS necessary because it is one of thousands of things you can do in a car that are distracting. I just don't agree with a special new law to address it. The existing laws would allow for the important use of a cell phone for those who can do so in whatever conditions make it an tolerable risk (law enforcement officers is one example of those who need several different forms of communication while driving), tow trucks, ambulance, fire, taxis, commercial drivers, transit buses, real estate agents etc. AND allow for enforcement of those who if they cannot decide to not use the cell, or do anything else they shouldn't because of conditions, they are crap drivers or whatever,

    : You ARE allowed to drink and drive in many jurisdictions including BC up to .08 blood/alcohol level. You are allowed to smoke in public places all over the world, though many jurisdictions restrict doing so inside buildings, planes, restaurants.

    Right, but I'm talking about impaired to the degree that most everyone would agree is over the top. And who is it that decided on these standards? Government officials. For whatever reason, they've decided that .08 blood alchol should be the dividing line between legally DUI and not. There has to be some definite line; otherwise no one could objectively decide whether a person was impaired or not. By impaired, I certainly don't mean something black and white, but something with shades of gray. This dividing line is not arbitrary, but has been chosen based on the experience of officials who've measured the performance of people who've drunk alcohol. I think that everyone would agree that a blood level of .5 would be way too high. So who would you propose to set the line? You? Me? How about the government officials we pay to make such decisions?

    As you said above, we basically agree on most points. I would add that it wouldn't surprise me that many laws and 'dividing lines' are decided somewhat arbitrarily, though I don't have anything to back this up.

    You seem not to like dividing lines, and I agree that they often don't make sense, but they're still necessary. That's why the legal dividing line between adult and child is 18 years of age, and there's another one at age 21 for drinking alcohol and smoking. Without objective dividing lines like this, it would be impossible to decide about many important things.

    Its not just that I don't like dividing lines, its the thought by many in the general population who are fooled into the 'big brother knows better' and 'laws make a better country and civilization, thus more laws must make an even betterer country'. I believe in personal responsibility and think our society (yours and mine are not that different in this) has gone WAY too far in allowing people to not take responsibility for their actions. (If you're into Sci-fi at all AlanF, read that LeModessit Jr. book Gravity Dreams - its awesome!)

    : Cell phones are not black and white dangerous all the time for everyone.

    Nor is a blood alcohol level of .08. The point is that a degree of impairment occurs in both situations. Government has a responsibility to determine where to draw an objective dividing line.

    Indeed, I concur.

    There's an obvious difference between using alcohol and cell phones while driving. You can drink varying degrees of alcohol, but there are no degrees of cell phone use: either you're connected or you're not. That's why the dividing line with respect to cell phone use has to be either you're allowed to use it or you're not. Surely you wouldn't propose testing people for ability to multitask.

    This is where I believe the existing laws should be enforced thus allowing a person to take responsibility for his/her actions behind the wheel. Some use of cell phones by qualified and competent drivers is an acceptable risk to me.

    It's obvious that many people are severely impaired when they drive while talking on a cell phone. Do you think that they should be allowed to endanger other people? I don't. If you do, then please explain why.

    I agree with the first, and repeat that enforcement of existing laws is sufficient.

    I guarantee that if your ox were gored by some asshole driving while on a cell phone, you'd have no difficulty agreeing that such dangerous action should be prohibited, the same as you'd be outraged if your kid were killed by a drunk driver.

    LOL....I had to read that a few times and still think its a funny (as in ha ha ) illustration. However, emotional appeal to my family member's safety won't change the fact that a law exists which could work for enforcing cell phone use while driving. And that the government has decided that a certain part of the population SHOULD'NT drink AT ALL and drive because they would be too impaired but IT IS STILL LEGAL from the purely technical standpoint. Now, if such a person had an accident, killed someone, and then was test/recorded for alcohol in the blood, it could become a part of a court case convicting that person of 'manslaughter due to dangerous driving' but they would still be innocent of breaking the blood/alcohol limits. These are the things government rather anonymously takes upon itself to decide that SOME alcohol in your blood while driving is allowed.

    Some people are able to drive fairly well while talking on a cell phone. But governments need to set standards that are objectively applicable to the average person. That's why speed limits are set very low in the U.S. and Canada. U.S. and Canadian drivers are generally atrocious, and not well able to drive at speeds that, say, Germans generally have no trouble with. Setting a limit of 160 kph is no problem in Germany, but would increase the death toll hugely in the U.S. and Canada. BTW, I tend to drive at 20-25 kph over the limit, so I'm not arguing this point from a conservative driving viewpoint. I tend to scare people with speed. :-)

    : It comes down to acceptable risk for governments.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you and btw, so do I, though, I'm not sure how scared they are. Do long silences mean my passengers are scairt?

    Exactly. And I'm proposing that governments should declare that drivers impaired by using cell phones present unnecessary risks to others.

    This is very clear, and we both agree there should be a law addressing this. I'm merely saying that law exists already in a more general way and should be enforced.

    : If I get the feel of what you are saying, then you should also support a complete ban on driving over 50km/h because if we all did that and it was enforced, virtually NO people (out of tens of thousands in NA) would be killed in cars EVER again!

    Not at all, because to me (and obviously to most governments) the risks of high speed driving don't outweigh the benefits. If it were up to me, speed limits would be about 25% higher. On the other hand, the risks of talking on a cell phone while driving don't outweigh the benefits. If you disagree, then explain exactly what benefits you get, and weigh them against the demonstrated risk that you'll kill someone. In particular, account for the fact that it's a lot harder to spot a driver at the .08% blood alcohol limit than it is to spot a driver impaired by a cell phone, and explain why the severe impairment imparted by cell phone use is ok and the less severe impairment of the .08% limit isn't. Or do you think that the limit should be raised to be commensurate with the risks of cell phone use?

    This is the part where it is difficult to compare the two examples for me. I believe governments are watching very closely the whole issue and making judgements that either agree with you by making a new law, or disagree and leave things as they are. These people are paid way more money than I, are better informed, and probably most of them are tons smarter so I'll leave it up to them to decided in the end and follow it the best I can. At this point I believe cell phone use while driving is an action that has certain risk that varies widely depending on a number of factors, so an erratic driver should be dealt with by existing laws (I know, a broken record that is).

    :: Where does your freedom to swing your arm end?

    : How far out are you allowed to stick your nose to get in the way of my swinging arm?

    Please answer the question.

    My Q to your Q was just a sass lol. I believe that personal freedoms between any two people or groups of people in a society like ours will always clash over certain things. As long as there is 'freedom' in a society, it will be a tug of war between the so-called rights of individuals vs. the masses. Democratic governments are a good example of this. The Man is always trying to increase its power and control over the population while the Masses have a check/balance to take away some of those powers (I'm not a political animal so its a very 'seat of the pants observation'). Orgs like the dubs worked their collective New York asses off over the years to secure all kinds of 'freedom of religion and how we worship' rights, yet, they have become one of the WORST for taking such rights away from its own members, especially after baptism.

    boa.....jeeeeez....are we done now?

  • Jahna

    Hello Boa

    I agree the best way to cover all aspects of distraction is to make the law ?dangerous driving? a more costly offence. I believe that is the way Ontario is going. This makes all distractions an infraction of dangerous driving laws right along with speeding, cutting people off, weaving in and out of traffic etc.

    Every scenario discussed is not about cell phones, it is about careless and reckless driving, every scenario could have a multitude of alternative reasons why it happened without cell phones being mentioned. It just so happens today cell phones are better news worthy items to be to be mentioned. Get a hot and debated topic in the news, and you sell more, that is just the way it goes.

    I don?t care if an accident happened because of a misguided cell phone user or the kid with the music so loud he/she was distracted and didn?t see/hear what was going on around them, it is the same offence, it remains a tragic example of being a danger on the roads. Now let?s get out there and educate the population and make such things so costly people think twice about breaking the law that already exists on the books in most areas. Let?s use the money that it would cost to create a new law and use it to educate, enforce and strengthen existing law that has a broader range of enforcement. I think it is a much better way to use my tax payer dollars because it has application for today?s hot topic and tomorrow?s.


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