The cellphone paradox - where are all the accidents?

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The cellphone paradox - where are all the accidents?
The Fermi Paradox is essentially a situation where we "assume" something that "seems obvious"; but, if that assumption is true, then something else "should" be happening. But it's not.
Hence, the paradox.
Same thing with the cellphone (distracted-driving) paradox.
Where are all the accidents?
They don't seem to exist. At least not in the United States. Not by the federal government's own accident figures.
1. Current Census, Transportation: Motor Vehicle Accidents and Fatalities http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/transportation/motor_vehicle_accidents_and_fatalities.html
2. Motor Vehicle Accidents—Number and Deaths: 1990 to 2009 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf
3. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2009 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a2.htm
If you have more complete government tables for "accidents" (not deaths, but "ACCIDENTS"), please post them since the accidents don't seem to exist but, if cellphone distracted driving is hazardous (which I would think it is), then they must be there, somewhere, hidden in the data.
Such is the cellphone paradox.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 06:10:23 +0000 (UTC), ceg
<http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/research.html <https://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cause-of-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html "1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving."
etc...
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Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:23:48 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

cell-phone-statistics.html>

Jeff, we know each other for years over the net, and I know you to be a very data-based person.
Here's the paradox.
1. You and I believe that distracted driving can easily cause accidents. 2. Cellphone ownership has gone explosively up in the USA. 3. But, accidents have not.
That's the paradox.
A. We can *assume* that driving while using cellphones has gone up. B. We can also *assume* that distracted driving is dangerous. C. Unfortunately, distracted driving statistics are atrociously inaccurate.
Yet, the paradox remains because actual accident statistics are *extremely reliable*.
So, we really have two extremely reliable components of the paradox. a. Cellphone ownership has been going explosively up in the USA, b. All the while *accidents* have been going down.
Hence, the paradox. Where are all the accidents?
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:59:25 +0000 (UTC), ceg

Not if the vast majority of cell phoen users have sense enough not to text and drive. Then the remainder will have accidents some of the time while texting and accident rates will go up a little because of that. But the difference between this and dui accidents versus other accidents is that many accidents are just accidents and harder to prevent. But people can decide in advance not to drink and drive, or text and drive, or talk on the phone and drive, so those acts merit extra attention, extra prevention, and extra punishment, whether they cause an accident or not. .

How do you know C? And what difference does it make. Sometimes we must act based on assumptions.

Why is that a paradox?

I'm not sure that's true. Deaths were about 50,000 a year for a long time, but the institution of seat belts, padded dash, dual brakes, crumple zones, shoulder harnesses, airbags, lower speed limit** and some things I forget lowered the number to 35,000 a year even as the number of people driving increased with the increase in population and the number of miles increased at least that much.
What are the fatalities now? You're concerned about accidents, but accidents increase and decrrease as fatalities do, even if the correlation is not 1. And fatalities are more important than accidents, especially 100 dolllar dents,
**which I'm pretty much opposed to, especially since it was done by the feds, the reason was the oil crisis, and the shortage of oil is over.

See my first paragraph above.
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On Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 11:32:59 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

There have been studies that show just talking on a cell phone is almost as bad as texting, which is why it's illegal here now. I know when I'm on the cell phone I'm partially distracted and can sense it.
But the difference between this and dui accidents versus other

We know C because there are plenty of accidents, probably the majority, where the person is not going to admit to being distracted, what they were really doing, for obvious reasons.

Actually highway deaths have been on the decline going back to the 50s.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:00:28 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

Do you see that this argument only makes the paradox even worse?
Doesn't anyone see that?
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:00:28 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

Don't you see that the argument you make (which I fully believe) only makes the paradox worse?
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:00:28 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

First off, we're not talking fatalities.
We're talking accidents.
And, while I agree that accidents have been going down for a long time (due to a host of unrelated factors) fatalities are affected by an even larger host of unrelated factors. (In fact, cellphone use can make fatalities fewer in quite a few ways but I don't want to go there.)
It's complex enough just to stick with accidents, which are going down, let alone fatalities (which are also going down).
The simple fact is: 1. We believe cellphone use is distracting, and, 2. We believe distractions cause accidents, yet, 3. We can't find those accidents anywhere.
That's the paradox. Where are they?
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 18:35:54 +0000 (UTC), ceg

It's not a "paradox." And why do you say that accidents caused by cell phone use can't be found? The are plenty in the news. Besides, unsurprisingly, they are under reported. http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/priorities-cell-phone-crash-data.aspx
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:57:15 -0500, Vic Smith wrote:

crash-data.aspx
You're a smart guy.
Think about what you just said.
Then, compare what you said to the reliable accident-rate figures in the USA, compiled for decades.
What you just said was that you agree that somehow, magically, all the accidents that are caused by cellphone use aren't reported in the total statistics, all teh while being reporting in your specific statistics.
In fact, you state, they're underreported, in the individual statistics, all the while being wholly absent in the total statistics.
So, what you said, just reaffirms the paradox. You just don't realize it yet.
REQUEST: Someone please explain the paradox to Vic Smith, whom I know to be a good thinker, as he just reaffirmed the paradox without even knowing that he did so.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 19:10:27 +0000 (UTC), ceg

I just said it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Put even more simply, accident "statistics" are far from perfect. Hardly a "paradox."
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 14:25:35 -0500, Vic Smith wrote:

Overall accident statistics for the USA are very reliable, since they are reported by police, insurance companies, and by individuals.
The numbers are high enough, and consistent enough, to make the error only a very small percentage.
You won't get *better* data that the census bureau data on accidents in the USA by state - and none are showing what we'd expect.
Hence the paradox. Where are the accidents?
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:49:38 +0000 (UTC), ceg

Most people lie on accident reports to avoid potential complications with insurance payments. For example, few will admit that it was their fault when the traffic policeman is standing there just waiting for a confession and to deliver an expensive ticket.
Anecdote time. While going to medical skool, a doctor friend worked in the coroners office of a large city. Like all large cities, the coroners office had a steady stream of deadbeats, bums, winos, and homeless that arrived without the benefit of medical attention and records. Not wanting to spend the money on an autopsy and a medical examiner, they quietly guessed at the cause of death with fairly good accuracy. However, after a few embarrassing mistakes, that was deemed unacceptable. Causes unknown were also not a viable option. So, they inscribed "heart failure" on all such cases, which was certainly true, but not necessarily the cause of death. That actually worked well for a few years, until someone ran statistics on what appeared to be a heart disease epidemic centered in this large city. The city now requires either an attending physician report or a mandatory autopsy.
While I'm not in a position to prove or demonstrate this, I think you'll find that such "accident" reports are highly opinionated, are skewed in the direction of smallest settlements, and are rarely corrected.

Right. Big numbers are more accurate.
The theory is that given a sufficiently large number of independent studies, the errors will be equally distributed on both sides of a desired result, and therefore cancel. That has worked well for global warming predictions. Unfortunately, the studies have to be independent to qualify and does not work at reducing the distribution in a single study.

OMG! Do you really trust the government to do anything correctly? I wish I had your confidence and less personal experience. I'll spare you another anecdote illustrating the problem at the city level.

Ok, think about it. You've just crashed your car into an immovable object while texting. You're still conscious and on an adrenalin high. The police are on their way and the last thing you need is for them to find your smartphone on the floor of the vehicle. So, you make a phone call to your wife telling her you'll be late for dinner and by the way, you've decided to buy her a new car. The police walk up, ask you a few questions, and notice you talking on the cell phone. If you're cooperative, nothing happens. If you're a total jerk, the mention the cell phone in their report, and you get nailed for possibly talking/texting while driving. You're screwed if they confiscate the phone for forensic analysis or request a call record from you provider.
In short, the statisics are where they want them. If there's a political or financial benefit to showing huge numbers of talk/text driving accidents, they will magically appear. If they thing that nobody really cares about the numbers, you will have a difficult time finding them. If the numbers accumulate some academic interest, you will see the same wrong information repeated endlessly in statistical surveys and college dissertations. Everyone lies, but that's ok because nobody listens. Incidentally, 87.3% of all statistics are fabricated for the occasion.
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150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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wrote:

You've missed the point. All those things you raise may well be true but they were just as true before there were cell phones. The mix of truth and lies in accident reports goes on but one key thing continues and that is that virtually ALL significant accidents, certainly those society might want to concern itself with, are REPORTED and go into the statistics of HOW MANY accidents. Yeah, the listed causes might be lies or honest mistakes but the NUMBERS are reported consistently year after year after year. And its the NUMBERS of accidents ceg is talking about as the data set, not the CAUSE that's listed. So we know that the NUMBER of accidents, rate actually, the normalized number, has steadily been going down down down.
Yet there are people claiming that a NEW and HORRIBLY DANGEROUS CAUSE of accidents has been unleashed into the driving world, the Cell Phone. We can't argue with the fact that over the past two decades MILIIONS AND MILLLIONS of cell phones wound up in the hands of and used by drivers, that's just a fact. But if all those cell phones are REALLY this horribly DANGERIOUS ACCIDENT CAUSING instrument, WHERE ARE THE ACCIDENTS????
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wrote:

Ok, you're assuming a constant RATE of distracted driving accidents as in some number of accidents for some number of cell phone users. I can accept that because there has been no significant technical or behavior modifications to the instrument that might reduce this rate. In theory, hands free driving should reduce accidents, but the few numbers I've seen don't show any change.
I ran into the cell phone as the demonic root of all evil when giving talks on the connection between cell phone use and cancers of the brain and CNS. I produced a long term graph of new cases of brain and CNS cancers versus time: <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/crud/brain-CNS-cancer.jpg
Between 1975 and 2011, cell phone use went up dramatically. If there were a connection, there should have been a corresponding increase in brain/CNS cancer incidence. There isn't. Actually, there's a downward trend caused by the introduction of PET (positron emission tomography) diagnostics, which provided much earlier diagnosis of new tumors. That shows up in the peak, where more tumors were found earlier, and a subsequent drop to normal levels, after the early diagnosis cases became the norm.
What "ceg" seems to want is a similar graph of automobile accidents and distracted driving accidents, that can be analyzed in a similar manner. I've offered several reasons why this data will probably be inaccurate and possible biased by those doing the collecting. I know that I can produce such data and graphs, but I'm lazy, it's too much work, and it's too hot.
Well, maybe a few: <
http://undistracteddrivingadvocacy.net/linked/f2_fatalities.png
Kinda looks like there's a connection between the number of texts and the number of fatalities resulting from distracted driving. However, I couldn't find the source of the chart or the data, so I'm very suspicious.
Here's one that shows a drop in the fatality rate per mile and cell phone use. I read the text and I'm not sure what this is suppose to demonstrate: <
http://www.bhspi.org/photos/BHPSI_NHTSA_fars1961-081b.gif

Here's an interesting article on juggling the traffic statistics: <http://www.caranddriver.com/features/safety-in-numbers-charting-traffic-safety-and-fatality-data Again, the number of fatalities per mile are dropping but since there's no proven cause, it could as well be from improved medical response than from improved vehicle safety technology.
And so on. Most of what I'm finding is little better than the above garbage.
Also, there's another problem. Distracted driving tends to come from a self-selected statistical population. The only drivers that are being asked if they were texting are those involved in an accident. Unless the accident investigator likes to guess, the driver will probably be interviewed at the hospital and asked if they were using a cell phone while driving. The answer is predictably no. It's much the same with statistics involving bicycle helmets and bicycle accidents. Those choosing to answer have a vested interest in the result and will therefore tend to answer that of course they were wearing a helmet and it must have been lost or stolen at the scene.
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wrote:

I found the source: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951952/ "Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities yearly in the United States."
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wrote:

Well Jeff, you've provided the answer to the question, WHERE ARE THE ACCIDENTS? Now convince them it's not a "paradox."
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wrote:

I agree with pretty much all you wrote just before this. We simply don't have the data to sort out the truth. And as a result we have the paradox. It seems to me too things are true but this is just my opinion... 1) Cell phone use can be distracting and distractions can cause accidents. 2) The hysteria of cell phone use is unwarranted. Whatever level of distraction and accidents result is very little different, in the totality of actual distractions for all causes, then things were before cell phones. So more or less, for every cell phone caused accident there is on less CD changing caused accident. I'm sure it's not really a 1:1 ratio but it's close enough that the hysteria is unwarranted.
Beyond that though I think there is a real difference between "using a cell phone" as in placing or receiving a call and talking AND texting. Texting simply takes too much mental processing for too long a time to be safe. And I think some studies point to that difference. I used to inspect roads and trying to write down on paper, which was similar to texting, the info I was gathering as I drove down the road was just way too distracting to be safe. But dictating it into a small micro-recorder worked just fine and I could keep my eyes on the road and immediately react if anything popped up. I'd play it back at the office and make the notes.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:32:00 -0700, Ashton Crusher wrote:

In keeping with Occam's Razer (otherwise known as KISS); this is the simplest of the six solutions proposed to date that satisfy the solution to the paradox.
That simples solution to the paradox is simply that the accident rate is wholly unaffected by cellphone usage.
But everyone wants a more complicated solution, such as the whacko who proposes (seriously, I think) that the minor errors in the accident statistics exactly cancel out the stupifyingly huge cellphone ownership numbers, or the proponents who seriously suggested that drunk driving enforcement exactly cancelled out the same, for the exact same result.
These solutions, while possible, are so highly improbably compared to the Occam's Razer solution, that four or five of the six solutions proposed can pretty much be considered frivolous right off the bat.
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On 08/19/2015 05:14 AM, ceg wrote:

I think you are just a troll but... if you really want the truth, follow the money.
Do you think the phone companies might have a dog in this race?
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