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Cell Phones Make Drivers as Bad as Drunks

A study in which both the participants and the scientists got sloshed has shown that motorists who talk on cell phones while driving are as impaired as drunk drivers.

"We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit," said Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

Previous studies have suggested as many as 2,600 people are killed each year in accidents involving drivers on cell phones. About 10 percent of drivers say they sometimes talk on cell phones while driving, and that figure is growing.

A recent poll revealed that two-thirds of Americans would support a ban on using cell phones while driving. A separate poll found 28 percent of cell phone users say they sometimes don't drive as safely as they should while talking.

Drew and study leader David Strayer advocate for new laws to deal with a deadly problem they say society is slow to recognize.

"Just like you put yourself and other people at risk when you drive drunk, you put yourself and others at risk when you use a cell phone and drive," Strayer said. "The level of impairment is very similar."

For Drew, the issue recently hit very close to home.

In five years studying this topic, Drew said he'd never had an incident with a chatty driver.

"Last week I almost got killed by a driver who was conversing on a cell phone," Drew said today (in a telephone interview from his office).

He was doing about 65 mph on a highway, and the vehicle next to him drifted into his lane, forcing Drew to the shoulder.

"We got off at the next exit. The light was red. I was so upset. I felt really threatened. I got out of my car and knocked on his window. He was still on his cell phone."

After the driver hung up, Drew lectured him on the close call, and he said the driver "said he had no clue" about the situation he had caused.

Drew thinks that's part of the problem. Motorists on the phone don't realize what's going on around them. Previous research, Drew said, has shown that up to 50 percent of the visual cues spotted by attentive drivers are missed by the talkers.

But, as with drinking and driving, people tend to think they can handle it. "Eighty percent of drivers think they are above average," Drew says, pointing out a statistical impossibility.
 

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Unrepentant Cowboy SOB
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They should have conducted the study in Phoenix AZ where 98% of the drivers are worse than average. Cell phone or not.

Worse even than those folks back in New Yawk and that's something.....used to pay $130 every six months for insurance, now it's $271 cause of these idiots down here.
Always glass and crap all over the street outside the house. I can't sweat in my sauna outside without hearing a few wrecks every day. Roommate's car was smashed into the house from some idiots somehow mistaking our driveway as the main drag.

And then the fine city slicker guvmint in Tempe tried t fine our glutes cause we had a disabled car in the drive. Joseph Heller revisited.
 

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OK, so....

How impaired are drivers when they are drunk AND talking on their cell phones? Now that might be an interesting study.....

Actually, the number of people driving and talking on the phone MUST be higher than 10%. It has to be, given how many people drive and talk in the Denver area. I'm guessing more like 40-60% minimum (not an exact science on my part).

I recently witnessed a middle-aged female realtor (sign on side of car) weaving all over the road (like a bad drunk). I stayed behind her until I could actually get in front of her in an adjacent lane at a traffic light. She had her cell tucked between her shoulder and her ear, and was simultaneously writing on a pad of paper (using both hands). Distracted? Maybe just a little....
 

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lidarman said:
There is a small chance a cell phone user, impaired, could drive off the road and hit a moutain biker.
A driver was arrested today for mowing down a group of mountain bikers. The incident occurred near Kenosha Pass in CO. The driver alleges that he had the right of way since he was driving uphill and the riders were on their way down. Officials however were skeptical of this excuse and arrested him for cell phone impaired driving. They are still unsure of how much further up the CO Trail the driver would have gotten while driving his Cadillac. When asked what he was doing on the trail the driver responded "Trail?".

The mountain bikers are all expected to recover as they were riding downhill style bikes and were wearing full armor. They were heard to exclaim that they now had plans to shuttle the CO Trail in a Cadillac.


Kidding of course. I'm on the road sometimes (as little as possible) with my mountain bike and I've seen cell phone using drivers swerve, drift, correct, speed up, slow down and make all kinds of nonsensical moves. It's scary. But of course this is a timeworn issue and people still yak ( me included w/ a headset ) and I agree its impaired driving.

10% !!! Cut me a break. It's at least 50%.
 

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edemtbs said:
A driver was arrested today for mowing down a group of mountain bikers. The incident occurred near Kenosha Pass in CO. The driver alleges that he had the right of way since he was driving uphill and the riders were on their way down. Officials however were skeptical of this excuse and arrested him for cell phone impaired driving. They are still unsure of how much further up the CO Trail the driver would have gotten while driving his Cadillac. When asked what he was doing on the trail the driver responded "Trail?".

The mountain bikers are all expected to recover as they were riding downhill style bikes and were wearing full armor. They were heard to exclaim that they now had plans to shuttle the CO Trail in a Cadillac.

Kidding of course. I'm on the road sometimes (as little as possible) with my mountain bike and I've seen cell phone using drivers swerve, drift, correct, speed up, slow down and make all kinds of nonsensical moves. It's scary. But of course this is a timeworn issue and people still yak ( me included w/ a headset ) and I agree its impaired driving.

10% !!! Cut me a break. It's at least 50%.
That top part is funny. But here is the reality:


November 27, 2005
Police: Teen hit, killed man while text messaging

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A 17-year-old likely will face misdemeanor charges after allegedly losing control of his car while text messaging and hitting a bicyclist.
The bicyclist, Jim R. Price, Highlands Ranch, died Friday, two days after the accident.
"We do not believe it was an intentional act, but it was inattentiveness to the roadway," said Lt. Alan Stanton, spokesman for the Douglas County sheriff's office.
"The investigation showed that he was text-messaging on his cell phone" at the time of the accident, said Stanton.
The driver could face a charge of careless driving resulting in death, Stanton said. Under Colorado law, the teen could face up to a year in prison.
Price, an avid cyclist, suffered a broken ankle two years ago when he was hit while riding on a bike path. His wife, Shirley, said he had been especially mindful of cars since then.
"I feel sorry for the teenager," she said. "It was a stupid mistake," she told the Rocky Mountain News.
 

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I'm no expert on doing comparitive studies, but I don't see this study as conclusive.There's no doubt talking on a cell phone while driving can be distracting; we've all seen it.

But is there something about talking on a cell phone, as opposed to talking to a car passenger, that is more distracting to the driver? I'm not talking about dialing, text messaging or any thing else than just the simple act of conversing.
 

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HarryCallahan said:
But is there something about talking on a cell phone, as opposed to talking to a car passenger, that is more distracting to the driver?
Yep.

Say you only have $10 worth of brainpower.

You spend $5 driving.

You spend $3 talking on the cell phone.

You spend $2 holding the cell phone and operating controls in the car while doing this.

You spend another $2 processing the information that the person you are talking to is telling you.

You're $2 into the red, and you've just crashed.

You can stop the conversation with a passenger, and they will most likely stop talking, they will also pick up on things like busy intersections and such. With a cell phone, you have to often times hold it, and operate controls in the car, that takes additional brain power, and you have to be processing the information that they are communicating to you. They aren't going to know that a busy intersection is comming up, and you are going to have to react to anything that happens, whilst still performing all the other functions I've talked about.

I deal with task saturation all the time as a flight instructor, and I have to train people to prioritize specific things and manage an intensive enviroment. Most people driving around in cars have no idea how to do this, and when the amount of tasks gets to be too many, they start to break down, as everyone does eventually.
 

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I think that most drivers that use the cellphone while driving equal about a .22 BAC. I would also have to say that many with a BAC of .22 drive much BETTER than those that are using the cellphone while driving.

Anyone using a cellphone while driving should be arrested immediately, and be forced to serve a minimun mandatory sentence of 5 days in jail.
 

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Its only 1" on the map!
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It is not just cell phones

Cell Phones are just part of the the problem. Drivers are held accountable when they do something stupid, like cause a wreck. Distracted drivers have been killing people long before the advent of cell phones. Cell phones are just the latest distraction device.

How about the fat pig trying to dip his chicken nuggets in the ranch sauce while going 80mph down the freeway.

The soccer mom trying to beat her screaming kids in the backseat while merging onto the freeway.

The valley girl putting on her eye-liner, and driving with her knees.

The suit guy, making entries in his palm-pilot mounted on the windshield.

The mountainbiking addict who is daydreaming about trails in between looking at the above idiots on the road while driving home from work on Friday.

An interesting read.
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=380
 

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:thumbsup:
mtbbill said:
Cell Phones are just part of the the problem. Drivers are held accountable when they do something stupid, like cause a wreck. Distracted drivers have been killing people long before the advent of cell phones. Cell phones are just the latest distraction device.
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Bingo!

I think Jayem makes a good point about prioritizing tasks. And the article mtbbill linked to also alludes to this. Folks who are using a cellphone when they are driving need to use good judgement. Safe driving needs to be the priority. That means watching the road, keeping conversations short, being willing to interupt or cut off a call as needed, or pull over if needed.
 
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