Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Don't Phone and Drive
This is a purely public service announcement I make today: if you’d like to dramatically reduce your odds of finding yourself in an accident, don’t talk on a cell phone while driving regardless of whether you’re holding it or using a hands-free system.The solution? Glenn writes:
When cell operators finally switch to unlimited monthly plans, they’ll want people to talk less, just as AOL did when they switched from hourly billing to unmetered monthly service. When that switch happens, you can bet we’ll see a 100-percent full-court press on restricting talking at all while driving.But as long as the cellular industry bills by the minute, fuggedaboudit. Glenn cites a WSJ article, paid subscription required, that says,
A sizable body of research concludes that headsets and speaker-phones don't improve safety because it's the mental distraction of talking on the phone, not holding it, that causes the danger while driving.A letter from the NHTSA to all 50 state governors was drafted a year ago (but never sent -- industry pressure?) that said that hands-free laws, "will not address the problem" and "may erroneously imply that hands-free phones are safe to use while driving" according to the WSJ article.
According to the WSJ
"In one study . . . cellphone users were twice as likely to miss [a] red light [on a console] as nonusers, with no difference between hand-held and hands-free use."
Citing another study the WSJ says that
. . . drivers talking on the phone with headsets missed four times as many exits as drivers talking to another passenger. The study notes that a fellow passenger "collaborates in the task of driving safely by referring to traffic and conversing about it ... something that a person on the other end of a cellphone cannot do."Auto accidents are climbing for the first time in decades -- are cell phones part of the problem? They are? So let's preemptively invade Iran . . . or something.
P.S. Wait until texting takes off in the U.S. . . . drv n txt = crsh!