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View Full Version : California to ban cellphones while driving, "unless...



sarongsong
2006-Sep-16, 06:09 AM
...the law...will take effect in July 2008, Californians risk a minimum $20 fine for driving while yakking into a phone — unless they are using a headset, speaker phone, ear bud or some other technology that frees both hands while they talk...emergency situations would be exempt... Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-me-cell15sep15,1,4555385.story?ctrack=1&cset=true)I dunno'...doesn't the mind go 'somewhere' when on the phone?

yuzuha
2006-Sep-16, 08:48 AM
Yes. All the studies I've seen equate talking on the phone (hands free or not) is equivalent to driving while intoxicated.

zebo-the-fat
2006-Sep-16, 11:17 AM
We have had the same rules in the UK for a couple of years now, a hand held phone is illegal but a hands free kit is ok. (One odd thing is that ham radio operators can use a hand help microphone legaly - I don't see the difference!)

Larry Jacks
2006-Sep-16, 12:57 PM
It isn't so much a question of using one hand to hold a phone or using a hands-free device. The real problem is distraction. In daily driving, just about every time I see a car being driven poorly (weaving, driving well below the posted speed limit, not moving when the light turns green, etc.), it's due to someone talking on a phone. They just aren't paying attention to the task at hand.

Distraction while driving takes many forms. Messing with the radio, dropping or lighting a cigarette, talking to other passengers, kids screaming in the back seat are just a few examples. Sometimes, you just have to shut out the distractions and drive.

Argos
2006-Sep-16, 01:37 PM
They´re banned down here and the fine is equivalent to US$ 40. Some states forbid headsets, arguing that they can also be distracting.

Trebuchet
2006-Sep-16, 01:45 PM
Personally, I've found that I'm a worse driver even when talking to someone who is actually in the car.

R.A.F.
2006-Sep-16, 02:09 PM
IMO, "hands free" phones are less distracting than hand held phones.

The reason I think this is because every time I see someone talking on a hand held phone, I yell at them to "get off the $^#%#% phone".... :)

Gillianren
2006-Sep-16, 06:00 PM
Personally, I've found that I'm a worse driver even when talking to someone who is actually in the car.

I'm actually often an asset to have in the car, myself; the person with whom I ride most frequently uses me to back up whether or not she should go. My reflexes are better than hers, generally, and I don't yell at her to go when she doesn't feel comfortable doing so.

Stregone
2006-Sep-16, 11:16 PM
IMO those studies about driving with a cellphone are flawed, or atleast misinterpreted by people who use them as evidence against cell phone use in cars. The tests I have seen or read about don't give the test subject the option of setting the phone down or ignoring the person they are talking to for a moment.

Lurker
2006-Sep-17, 04:12 AM
...the law...will take effect in July 2008, Californians risk a minimum $20 fine for driving while yakking into a phone ó unless they are using a headset, speaker phone, ear bud or some other technology that frees both hands while they talk...emergency situations would be exempt... Los Angeles Times

I dunno'...doesn't the mind go 'somewhere' when on the phone?
I can't speak scientifically, but driving the freeways around San Francisco, I would say that the answer to your question is, "yes!!." I have had many close encounters with drivers on my way to and from work, and they inevitably seem to have only one hand on the wheel, holding a cell phone in the other, and more engrossed in their phone conversation than in the road.

I would also say, that I have been on the other side of those situations. Every Thursday morning at 10am my team holds a status meeting in the main conference room here. It is inevitably that there will be at least one or two engineers on the road during this meeting. It can be very difficult to hold a coherent technical conversation with them while they are trying to drive.

jfribrg
2006-Sep-17, 02:43 PM
I dont talk on the cell phone too much while driving, and I do think that I am a less safe driver when I do. I also notice that I slow down quite a bit when I am on the phone. I've noticed others doing the same thing. Perhaps the slow speed offsets the skill impairment from the phone.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Sep-17, 03:03 PM
I wonder when those radio noise transmitters that cut off cell phone conversations near them becomes a standard accessory in cars. :)

soylentgreen
2006-Sep-17, 06:55 PM
I imagine this might be this right place to ask this.

-First, let's say holding a cell phone and making a call while driving is at best foolish and dangerous and at worst illegal(depending on the local legislation).

-and let's say watching a television/dvd player(or reading a newspaper/book, for that matter, I suppose) while driving is at best damn stupid and at worst illegal.

Well, my question is - How is having some video screen with a gps map on it sitting on the dashboard any less dumb or dangerous? Considering that a person who really needs help with directions is already suffering from an element of confusion and unfamiliarity with the road they're on, wouldn't that make them the absolute last person who should be taking their eyes of the road?

And before someone says "They speak!", I know that. Problem is, the average human being will by instinct LOOK at the screen if there is one. Can people be trusted to pull of the road if they're not sure where they're going(or what the hell they're doing!)? In my driving experiences...NO. They can't.

Seems to me, these stupid things are just as, if not more dangerous than cell phones.

Gnomistic
2006-Sep-17, 07:15 PM
IMO those studies about driving with a cellphone are flawed, or atleast misinterpreted by people who use them as evidence against cell phone use in cars. The tests I have seen or read about don't give the test subject the option of setting the phone down or ignoring the person they are talking to for a moment.
On the other hand, neither does a kid on a bicycle who darts into the path of a car driven by a cellphone user.... Picture it: "Hang on a minute, willya? I just ran over a kid."

In other words, many of those studies were specifically designed to replicate reality, and reaction-time in real world settings is what counts.

The Backroad Astronomer
2006-Sep-17, 11:11 PM
some people actually try to hote reservations while driving , I even had a few do it over onstar.

ktesibios
2006-Sep-18, 12:20 AM
Personally, I've found that I'm a worse driver even when talking to someone who is actually in the car.

My experience also. Driving with a passenger has made me realize that those "DO NOT TALK TO OPERATOR" signs they put in buses are there for a very good reason.

As for cell phones and driving in general, the vast majority of the times that I've had to slam on my brakes or take evasive action to avoid colliding with another car whose driver has just done something stupid, that driver has turned out to have a cell phone glued to their ear as they go by.

My own policy is never to touch my phone while I'm driving; my voicemail message makes it clear that you should leave a message and I'll call back when I get to my destination.

edit: fixing typo

NEOWatcher
2006-Sep-18, 12:20 PM
...Well, my question is - How is having some video screen with a gps map on it sitting on the dashboard any less dumb or dangerous? ...
Seems to me, these stupid things are just as, if not more dangerous than cell phones.
The difference is the stimuli. A DVD or some other distracting device pulls your attention at any time independent of the act of driving. A gps screen is something that is referenced when conditions dictate (at least for most)

I think that the handheld law is a good start. It's obvious that driving is more difficult with one hand, and most people have a natural tendancy to "save the phone" in certain situations.
I agree that hands-free is still a danger. I say that anecdotally, because I've had those situations where I thought "I don't remember getting here".
But; the issue arises that the hands free situation can not be easily distinguished from radios, or talking to other occupants.
I personally don't like cell phone laws, because I believe the laws should apply across the board. You are distracted, you pay, no matter what the technology is.

Robert Andersson
2006-Sep-18, 01:14 PM
Well, my question is - How is having some video screen with a gps map on it sitting on the dashboard any less dumb or dangerous? Considering that a person who really needs help with directions is already suffering from an element of confusion and unfamiliarity with the road they're on, wouldn't that make them the absolute last person who should be taking their eyes of the road?
I think I've read it somewhere that they usually have a switch that disables the screen when the cars goes above ~10 mph or so. Should be fairly simple to "fix", if you wanted to.

Nicolas
2006-Sep-18, 02:02 PM
How does talking on a cellphone while driving compare to talking top somebody in the car while driving?

Captain Kidd
2006-Sep-18, 02:11 PM
Maybe it's just psychological, but I can pay more attention to driving if it's a person in the car rather than the few times I've used my phone. Personally I think it's due to that you're spending more energy focusing on listening. Even with a headset, it’s easy to miss what’s being said, so you’re concentrating more to make sure you catch everything. Plus the rider is aware of what’s going on and will, usually, stop talking when they see that more concentration is needed for driving. But that’s just my opinion.

Peter Wilson
2006-Sep-18, 05:08 PM
... Plus the rider is aware of whatís going on and will, usually, stop talking when they see that more concentration is needed for driving. But thatís just my opinion.

You hit the nail on the head. The studies back your opinion. The hands-free cell phone does absolutely nothing to improve highway safety.


Follow the money...

A hands-free set costs about $40, according to Argos. There's about 20,000,000 Calif drivers. So a cool $400,000,000 will be extacted from the pockets of the many, who have little, and will be given to the few, who already have much.

Its great to see our elected officials stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

WHarris
2006-Sep-18, 06:30 PM
Yes. All the studies I've seen equate talking on the phone (hands free or not) is equivalent to driving while intoxicated.

And confirmed by the MythBusters.

Sock puppet
2006-Sep-18, 06:40 PM
A hands-free set costs about $40, according to Argos. There's about 20,000,000 Calif drivers. So a cool $400,000,000 will be extacted from the pockets of the many, who have little, and will be given to the few, who already have much.

Its great to see our elected officials stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

Oh no. The poor, poor, underprivileged citizens of California. :boohoo:

farmerjumperdon
2006-Sep-18, 07:09 PM
I'm actually often an asset to have in the car, myself; the person with whom I ride most frequently uses me to back up whether or not she should go. My reflexes are better than hers, generally, and I don't yell at her to go when she doesn't feel comfortable doing so.

That person probably should not be driving. If is just such low self-esteem that they need affirmation whenever it is available even if they can still make the decision - then that is one thing. But if they really need help deciding whether or not to go - they should let someone else drive.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Sep-18, 07:11 PM
Oh no. The poor, poor, underprivileged citizens of California. :boohoo:

I feel so bad for them too. They can afford a phone and the plan it came with, but not the headset. That's a line of stinky stuff.

And doesn't just about any phone you get nowadays come with a headset?

Doodler
2006-Sep-18, 07:16 PM
I feel so bad for them too. They can afford a phone and the plan it came with, but not the headset. That's a line of stinky stuff.

And doesn't just about any phone you get nowadays come with a headset?

Nope. The ones from Verizon have headset packages that run about 30-50 bucks a pop, depending on model.

Gillianren
2006-Sep-18, 07:28 PM
That person probably should not be driving. If is just such low self-esteem that they need affirmation whenever it is available even if they can still make the decision - then that is one thing. But if they really need help deciding whether or not to go - they should let someone else drive.

She's still new at driving. She can do it just fine when she's alone, but she's used to driving with people who hassle her if she doesn't go soon enough to suit them, and I reaffirm her judgement instead. Frankly, she's a better driver than most, she just lacks confidence.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Sep-18, 07:36 PM
IMO those studies about driving with a cellphone are flawed, or atleast misinterpreted by people who use them as evidence against cell phone use in cars. The tests I have seen or read about don't give the test subject the option of setting the phone down . . .

The option probably isn't part of the studies because in real life no one exercises it. The constant bonehead moves I see people on phones making is proof they are not putting down the phone long after they should have.

I had one close call, and that's all it took. I never, ever, never, ever place a call while I'm driving. I'll take a call if I'm not in traffic, or if I'm expecting a call and can pull over quickly (and safely).

The excuses and rationale offerred in defense of using a phone and driving are inexcuseable. How did it happen that so many people now feel it's worth risking their lives, and the lives of others, rather than just waiting until the next stop and checking voicemail?

And watching video while driving - don't even get me started. A person has to be a total moron to think it is OK to watch TV while they drive. This is such a straightforward topic as far as any sane person knowing what the rules of responsible behavior should be, that it falls into the symptoms-that-indicate-humans-are-fatalistically-self-centered category of behavior.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Sep-18, 07:38 PM
Nope. The ones from Verizon have headset packages that run about 30-50 bucks a pop, depending on model.

Then they need to pop for them. Simple enough.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Sep-18, 07:45 PM
She's still new at driving. She can do it just fine when she's alone, but she's used to driving with people who hassle her if she doesn't go soon enough to suit them, and I reaffirm her judgement instead. Frankly, she's a better driver than most, she just lacks confidence.

Well, maybe she gets a little slack. I don't like the sound of the "but" statement though. If she can do it just fine alone, there should be no "but" statement about how she does it when she is not alone. Maybe a little more experience, especially at deciding who gets in the car.

Gillianren
2006-Sep-18, 09:00 PM
Actually, she still drives exactly the same when others are in the car other than me; the issue is that it doesn't help her confidence in her own driving to be picked on all the time. (And when you're in the financial state we're in, there's a certain level of "not choosing who's in the car" there--she can't exactly make her boyfriend drive himself, given that they can't afford the extra gas if they're both going the same place. And his physical condition, like mine, frequently means he's not up to driving.)

sarongsong
2006-Sep-18, 09:31 PM
Oh no. The poor, poor, underprivileged citizens of California. :boohoo:...and the police, who will have a field-day issuing tickets; like shooting fish in a barrel!

Peter Wilson
2006-Sep-18, 10:43 PM
Oh no. The poor, poor, underprivileged citizens of California. :boohoo:
Toughest part is finding someone to point the finger at...since we elect the people who rob us :wall:

Launch window
2006-Sep-18, 11:46 PM
I can't speak scientifically, but driving the freeways around San Francisco, I would say that the answer to your question is, "yes!!." I have had many close encounters with drivers on my way to and from work, and they inevitably seem to have only one hand on the wheel, holding a cell phone in the other, and more engrossed in their phone conversation than in the road.



I'd say you can not be a safe-driver and yap on the cell phone at the same time, I've also seen people do this while driving
http://www.nieworld.com/special/hotcold/atod/cellphones1.jpg
(text message on the phone )

Big Brother Dunk
2006-Sep-19, 01:19 AM
Yes. All the studies I've seen equate talking on the phone (hands free or not) is equivalent to driving while intoxicated.
If they need someone for further studies, I'll volunteer.http://www.websmileys.com/sm/drink/trink38.gif

Captain Kidd
2006-Sep-19, 01:47 AM
Horror story time? This one makes cellphones look safe.

My wife and I went to Daytona Beach with her parents and sister's family. 12 people so we caravaned down (2 cars can caravan right?). We're in the slow traffic lane and this vehicle starts to pass. Well it weaves a bit and takes minutes to finally make it around the last car. It finally gets to us in the lead and I do a double take.

The driver is sitting with her seat all the way back, a big pillow in her lap, and a portable DVD player sitting on it. She's staring down at it I guess using her upper peripheral vision or something. She finally passed up, thanks to me deciding to drop back on the cruise control for a bit.

We then tailed her for about 15 minutes watching her hit the inside rumble strips, overcorrect, swerve half a lane too far, weave a bit, drive 1-2 miles more or less straight and the repeat.

We were seriously thinking of digging up the Florida State Police's number and dropping them a hint. But some luggage on the roof rack decided to attempt a break for freedom and we had to stop to secure it.

Additionally I've seen makeup being put on, novels, newspapers (the New York Times spread over a steering wheel is quite a sight), and eating rather non-driver friendly food items, etc.

Dragon Star
2006-Sep-19, 01:57 AM
I was on a trip to Mississippi to visit family, and we were going down the interstate and this guy passes us, driving with is foot, talking on the cellphone while eating what appeared to be some sort of Deli sandwich, he passes us and seemed to be doing good for driving with his foot.

Fifteen minutes later we pass him smashed into the side of a police car that was sitting on a gravel U-Turn lane clocking drivers on the other side of the highway. I really wanted to kick that guys *** but I was only 10 and he was already injured pretty bad. Serves him right.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Sep-19, 02:23 AM
I ride a motorbike mostly and I spot the texting-while-driving individuals regularly. They weave. It is extremely dangerous to me if car drivers thumb text messages while driving.

People driving while on the phone:
a) Have only one hand on the wheel;
b) Are not driving with their full concentration.
It becomes obvious when I engage them eyeball to eyeball on the road and gesture, it takes them a moment to realise what I am doing, because they are really busy conversing. Accidents happen in moments ... ... not minutes.

I believe that driving tests should include one handed phone conversations as part of the exam, or law makers should get serious about curbing the phenomenon.

Cars kill more people than aeroplane crashes do. If people talk on the phone while driving, I hope their next aeroplane flight does not see their pilot on the phone while coming in to land, it is as dangerous for them on a 'plane, as car drivers are to a motorbike rider.

The most interesting one I saw recently was a bloke driving with TWO phones, one in each hand. Admittedly, he did have both hands on the steering wheel at the time...

soylentgreen
2006-Sep-19, 02:57 AM
After the "cell phone use in the car" legislation is sorted out...let's focus on another problem area...Post Faculty-Loss Drivers!

Two Old Women Trapped In Car!?! (http://cfn13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=18686)

...and the hideous assumption can be made that at least one of them drives! :eek:

One driver test per lifetime is just not acceptable anymore.

Dragon Star
2006-Sep-19, 02:59 AM
I totally agree.

Big Brother Dunk
2006-Sep-19, 06:18 PM
After the "cell phone use in the car" legislation is sorted out...let's focus on another problem area...Post Faculty-Loss Drivers!

Two Old Women Trapped In Car!?! (http://cfn13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=18686)

...and the hideous assumption can be made that at least one of them drives! :eek:

One driver test per lifetime is just not acceptable anymore.
Wow. Frightening thought.

Doodler
2006-Sep-19, 08:18 PM
After the "cell phone use in the car" legislation is sorted out...let's focus on another problem area...Post Faculty-Loss Drivers!

Two Old Women Trapped In Car!?! (http://cfn13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=18686)

...and the hideous assumption can be made that at least one of them drives! :eek:

One driver test per lifetime is just not acceptable anymore.

You'll forgive me that I'm giggling hysterically having read that. Honestly, that's nothing to do with driving skill as it does with knowing the vehicle you're using. If you're too ignorant to know how to work the manual locks on a car because you're spoiled by the power locks...really, the driver's side doors on most cars will work from the inside whether its locked or not, but to utterly miss the tab. Oh man, stupidity doesn't even begin to cover it.

Big Brother Dunk
2006-Sep-20, 12:21 AM
Here's an interesting cell phone anecdote.

I know a person who lives in a state where the use of cell phones while driving is prohibited and he told me the following story.

He was driving on the freeway and was nearly hit by a cop who was talking on a cell phone. The cop didn't even see what had just happened. So this fellow pulls up along side the cop, takes out his cell phone and mimics using it in order to draw attention to the fact that the cop shouldn't be talking on his phone. The cop snaps his phone shut, then proceeds to pull my friend over.

When he asks why he's being stopped, the cop says he's going to write a ticket for using a cell phone while driving. My friend, exasperated, explains that he wasn't using his phone. The cop, continuing to write up the ticket, asks what he was doing. My friend says he was taking a picture of the cop using his cell phone.

The cop said, "have a nice day", got back in his car and drove off.

Dragon Star
2006-Sep-20, 12:27 AM
rofl!

Swift
2006-Sep-20, 03:15 AM
I will admit that I occassionally answer my phone while driving, though the conversations are almost always with my wife and consist of something like "yep, I'm getting the milk" - click. Is that the safest thing to do, probably not. Would a headset make a difference - no, we all seem to agree to that (making the proposed headset laws a move by lawmakers to look like they are doing something, without hurting their own ability to talk on the phone). But if we are going to ban all driver distractions, you better add the CDs, the radio, other passengers, looking for the sunglasses when the sun suddenly comes out, etc.

Though I've seen plenty of stupid things done by drivers (phones, food, make-up, shaving, etc.), I personally don't feel those are the biggest threats to my safety while driving. I would nominate drivers doing well in excess of the speed limit (15 or 20 mph above or more), tailgating (particular in bad weather), and not using turn signals, all of which I see a lot more frequently on Ohio roads than phone use (and phones are common). If the cops need to make money, I would like to see more tickets issued for all of those.

P.S. That was my 6000 posting! Don't tell my boss. :shhh:

Dragon Star
2006-Sep-20, 07:17 PM
Well, after living here for a while now, I can say that cops here are quite harsh. So don't blame the cops necessarily.:)

JohnD
2006-Sep-20, 08:47 PM
Isn't this hilarious?
You are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving, but carrying a red-hot-ended stick in your hand, that emits smoke to irritate your eyes, so that you can't see, and your lungs so that you have to cough, or your nose so that you sneeze - try sneezing without closing your eyes, and don't forget this is a car driver - is not only allowed, but the car manufacturers provide rubbish bins for the ashes and red-hot-stick starters to encourage you to do so.

My wife was nearly killed by a driver whose red-hot-stick end dropped off. Grovelling on the floor to pick it up (pick up a red-hot-stick end - are they mad?) the driver went straight into the back of her car, in which she was waiting at traffic lights.

Smoking IS a capital offence. It's a pity the sentence takes so long to execute.

John