to say it with the bible; thee who sees the splint in the eye of the others...
So many levels of oy! Before they made laws against it, my sister used to sms while driving. I HATED it. It scared me out of my mind.
Wed Jun 13 2012 07:32:19 EDT from IGnatius T FoobarI don't know whether this is ironic or pathetic: my sister seems to think that it's perfectly reasonable to drive on the interstate with a smartphone in her hand, tweeting about how bad the *other* drivers are.
Wed Jun 13 2012 10:24:31 AM EDT from triLcat
So many levels of oy! Before they made laws against it, my sister used to sms while driving. I HATED it. It scared me out of my mind.Wed Jun 13 2012 07:32:19 EDT from IGnatius T FoobarI don't know whether this is ironic or pathetic: my sister seems to think that it's perfectly reasonable to drive on the interstate with a smartphone in her hand, tweeting about how bad the *other* drivers are.
Frankly using any device that removes attention from the road, while driving is madness. I have seen first hand the results. Please don't let the people you care about do it.
I know that no one here wants to go to the morgue to review the results for their self.
But she could have killed someone else.
Hmm, was that that one time in that town there?
On the serious side, I admit to sometimes being guilty of the periodic short text while driving. That said, as Aahz and Bella pointed out, there's a bigger picture to consider. Personally, while I generally lean against legislating people's personal choices; in this case, the ability to eat, drink large (non-alch) drinks, use phones, listen to radios, etc. in the car - I do think that there should be stiffer penalties for those who harm others (or their property) while distracted or impaired. Especially when the impact has the potential to be life/death/vegetable-producing. It's that pesky right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness thing...cause it can really get in the way of doing stuff, you know?
Sadly, that's the sinister part about driving, period. Meaning, it's not just texting. It's flipping through radio stations or ipods, dialing the phone, eating/drinking, fighting with the kid in the backseat/person in the side seat, etc. Unfortunately, vehicles just move so much more quickly than humans can switch focus.
Also, suspect that many do not stop after a near miss (judging from people I know), since the near miss just reinforces that nothing actually will happen.
Not to mention the fact that sometimes, there's actually too much happening on the road for the brain to process and react correctly.
Driving is too simple, that is the whole problem. I am working at a university department for traffic psychology and according to a recent study, only 4% of all drivers did not admit to have been doing something distracting the last time they drove a car. So 96% of all drivers do something distracting and know that they were doing so and admit it. (Normally, people do not really admit freely to do things with negative connotation.)
And why are they doing all this stuff? Because driving is so overlearned that you are pretty sure that you can do other stuff at the same time. Look at little kids, for them it is totally difficult to balance a glass of milk without spilling it when they climb a stair. Most adults could do this while being drunk and talking to someone downstairs.
I continue using my phone while driving for the same reason: I know that nothing happened until now. Quite contrary, I have been avoiding accidents that other people tried to inflict on my car while I was using my phone for more than 10 times now. This is poor man's statistics, I know...
I'll admit to talking on the phone occasionally while driving, but I'm almost always using a Bluetooth over-the-ear headset to do so. Mainly because I drive a car with a manual transmission, so I need both hands free to steer and shift gears. The few times I've forgotten my headset and had to use the phone while driving were definitely unnerving to me.
Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I own some little pay as you go phone in case I go on a long trip somewhere on the bike, but that's as far as it goes for me.
IG: And indeed talking to your passengers is a distraction. Or, to avoid negative connotations, lets use "perturbation" in the sense Maturana uses it. If this perturbation takes in too much of your limited rescources, it becomes dangerous. Think about discussing political issues, rant about stupid coworkers, explaining to your wife why you are taking this street, not the one she suggested...
Even listening to the radio can be perturbating enough.
Show the table on page 89 to someone who is capable to dig through psychological statistics and understands german. Or try to translate the text on page 90, which states
Ein weiteres Ergebnis der Metaanalyse zeigt, dass keine Unterschiede
bezüglich des Telefontyps (Mobiltelefon vs. Freisprechanlage) gefunden werden konnten.
Das impliziert, dass der Großteil der Ablenkung durch Telefonieren am Steuer durch das
Gespräch selbst und weniger durch die manuelle Handhabe des Geräts zustande kommt.
Weiterhin zeigen sich größere Einbußen auf die Reaktionszeit, wenn der Fahrer sich normal
unterhält, im Vergleich zu einer verbalen Informationsverarbeitungsaufgabe. Die Autoren
erklären sich diesen Befund mit einer unterschiedlichen Involviertheit in das Gespräch. Bei
natürlichen Gesprächen könnte es vorkommen, dass diese emotional beanspruchender sind
und so einen größeren Effekt auf das Fahrverhalten ausüben [...]
Translation (by myself):
Another result of the meta analysis shows that no differences with regard to the type of telephone (mobile or handsfree) could be found. This implies that the main part of distraction caused by using telephones while driving happens because of the chat itself and less by the manual use of the device. Furthermore penalties on the reactiontime show up when the driver is conversing normally, compared to a verbal information computation task (Translators note: For example "Name four chracters from the Mickey Mouse universe"). The authors explain this outcome with a distinct involvement during a conversation. With natural conversation it could happen that they are more emotionally demandin and thus have a bigger effect on the driving behaviour.
There are also some english articles by the author, listed in the beginning of this doctors thesis.
PS: I helped realizing the physical test design used in the paper, it involved some clever Y-plugs in order to record the voices of two people simultaniously wearing headsets (with stereo mics) to talk to each other while being in two different rooms. And they didn't even mention my name in the paper :(
Back then, mobile phones were quite rare, of course.
Unfortunately for activist legislators, there's no way they can outlaw having a conversation with your passengers. So instead they make themselves appear useful by outlawing handheld phones.