The cellphone paradox - where are all the accidents?

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:57:15 -0500, Vic Smith

There is no reason to think that because a driver was using a cell phone that the cell phone caused the accident. They accident may well have happened no matter what the driver was doing. Undoubtedly some accidents are the result of distraction with cell phones being one of MANY things that distract drivers. But the mere use of a cell phone is not proof that the cell phone was the cause anymore then the mere presence of a radio turned up loud is proof that the radio caused the accident. What you cited is what you would expect to find by any group that makes their living off "safety". They are going to be looking for ANYTHING that would expand their empire and control over others.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 15:22:34 -0700, Ashton Crusher wrote:

This is exactly what I'd say also.
The more we try to prove that cellphone use while driving is dangerous, the more the cellphone paradox looms to slap us in the face.
Where are the accidents?
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:32:55 -0400, micky wrote:

Do you see that if we actually *believe* the cellphone driving statistics, that only makes the paradox (far) *WORSE* (not better!)?
Let's say we believe that cellphone use is distracting. Let's say we believe distracted driving is dangerous. Let's even say it's as dangerous as driving drunkly.
If that's the case, then there should be MORE accidents, not fewer accidents, year over year, as cellphone ownership rose steadily.
But, we see the exact opposite. Total accident figures (which are reliable numbers) are going down.
So, whether or not we believe that cellphone use while driving causes accidents, the paradox remains.
It's just MORE of a paradox if we believe (as I do) that cellphone use *causes* accidents.
The reason is that the accidents simply don't exist. Hence the paradox.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:32:55 -0400, micky wrote:

I thought the paradox was clear by my Fermi Paradox example.
Do you remember the Fermi Paradox? As I recall, a bunch of rocket scientists were making the assumption before lunch that aliens must exist, when, all of a sudden, Fermi, over lunch, realized belatedly that if they do exist, then there must be some "signal" (or evidence) from them.
That evidence didn't exist. Hence the paradox.
It's the same concept here.
1. We all assume cellphone use while driving is distracting. 2. We then assume that distracted driving causes accidents. 3. But, the belated realization is that there is no evidence supporting this assumption in the total accident statistics (which are reliable).
Even worse, if we believe the studies and the (clearly flawed) statistics on cellphone use while driving, that just makes the paradox WORSE!
If cellphone use is so distractingly dangerous, why isn't it *causing* more accidents?
That's the paradox.
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Very funny.
The Fermi Paradox is about "absence of evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence".
--
Dan Espen

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 20:12:35 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

This "cellphone paradox" is similar in that there seems to be an absence of evidence of actual accident rates going up.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 18:24:42 +0000 (UTC), ceg

Think again. The Fermi Paradox is better stated as: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Much of this has its basis in theology where wrestling over the existence of God is an international sport. A more simplistic version is that you can't prove anything with nothing as evidence.
The corollary also doesn't work where: "Quantity of evidence is not evidence of quantity". In other words, just because you have a large pile of numbers, doesn't mean you can prove a large number of things.
The problem is that the "Fermi Paradox" is the logic sucks.
"The great Enrico Fermi proposed the following paradox. Given the size of the universe and evidence of intelligent life on Earth making it non-zero probability for intelligent life elsewhere, how come have we not been visited by aliens? Where is everybody?, he asked."
No matter how minute the probability of such life, the size should bring the probability to 1. (In fact we should have been visited a high number of times: see the Kolmogorov and Borel zero-one laws.)
So, what's missing? Well, it's time or rather how many solar revolutions a civilization can exist without destroying itself or having some cosmic catastrophe do it for them. The details are worked out in the Drake Equation: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation which computes the probability of two civilizations coming into contact. If you happen to be a pessimist, and use pessimistic probabilities, the probability might as well be zero. Inflating the statistical population to astronomical proportions does nothing to change the probabilities and certainly will not result in a 100% chance of an alien encounter.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sun, 16 Aug 2015 17:52:04 -0700, Jeff

The thing is that probabilty on a yes or no question is only valuable for betting parlors and insurance brokers, which are really the same thing. One may thing the probability is very high, because there are so many places life could be, but if there is no life beyond the earth, it doesn't matter what the probability WAS.
It is partly tied up with theology, iiuc, in that some believers in God want to believe that this earth is his only creation. I don't know why they would think that either.
Another problem, IMO, is that scientists, as reported by the news, seem to think life could only be water based, and seem to discount places without water. . I know water has advantages, but it's not the only possibility.
Still, I wouldn't be surprised if there were no life anywhere else. There are cerrtainly lots of places beyond earth with no life, so why not more.
OTOH, if there is life, I see no special reason they would have a radio transmitter. Until I got a cell phone, I didn't have one.

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 17:52:04 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

I don't disagree.
The absence of evidence of cellphone use causing accidents is not evidence of absence.
I don't disagree.
Yet, it's still a paradox because common wisdom would dictate that accidents *must* be going up (but they're not).
Hence the paradox.
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sun, 16 Aug 2015 18:24:42 +0000 (UTC), ceg

No, I don't.

Enrico Fermi said that? Because it's not true. Until humans on earth invented radio, less than 200 years ago, there were no signals from us.
And none of our radio waves have reached places 200 light years away or more even now.
Plus there are animals living in the woods and rivers and oceans and on mountains and underground that people who never go to those places never see and only know about because others have told them. If others didn't tell them, they wouldn't know. If the animals there are sending out signals, they are short distance signals and they don't reach me.

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:32:55 -0400, micky wrote:

There is no need to add second-order issues such as injuries or fatalities to the equation because the *accident* is what matters.
We all know that nothing is simple, but, accident statistics in the USA are reliable, and pretty simple to compile (most states have a reporting requirement, for example).
Injuries and fatalities add a second (third and forth) order of confusion to the mix, and yet, they add no value whatsoever because the paradox is looking for *accidents*, not fatalities.
If people want to look at fatalities, and to ignore accidents, then we can conclude that cellphones actually *save* lives because they get help quickly, and they allow GPS routing to the hospital, and they allow Google Traffic to route traffic away from the accident, etc.
So, why would you want to confuse a simple issue with fatalities and injuries when the only result would be confusion and the lack of any clarity if we did?
Keeping it simple and reliable: 1. We all believe cellphone use is distracting, and, 2. We all believe that distracted driving can cause accidents, and, 3. We all know cellphone ownership has shot off the charts in the past few year, so,
The paradox is: Q: Where are the accidents?
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wrote:

Then radios in cars should be illegal and the drivers compartment should be enclosed and soundproof so they can't interact with passengers.
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Presumably things like modern safety features in vehicles and the massive push against drunk driving (which 40 years ago was considered acceptable behaviour around here) have dramatically reduced the number of accidents, at the same time that cellphone use has increased it.
It's hard to get good data, though, when there are just so many different inputs into the system. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:49:26 -0400, Scott Dorsey wrote:

This is the *only* logical argument to date that satisfies the paradox.
The question is whether or not it's true, since the *rates* of accident decline appear to be unaffected by the rates of cellphone ownership.
So, what is the corresponding "safety feature" that *exactly* matched the skyrocketing cellphone ownership numbers in the USA?
NOTE: This is why rec.autos.tech was initially added.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:49:26 -0400, Scott Dorsey wrote:

The accident data for the USA is as reliable as any data you'll ever get, particularly because the police report it, the insurance companies report it, and in many states (such as mine), both individuals involved in even a minor accident are required to report it.
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Reliable but not very complete. How many accidents were caused by distracted driving? How many were not caused by distracted driving? How many accidents would have happened if cars didn't have ABS? How many additional accidents happened only because cars had ABS? How many accidents would have been avoided if drivers had been able to see past the enlarged rear pillars on newer cars?
All we have data on are accidents..... we have no data at all on accidents that didn't happen but would have under other circumstances. And the data we do have aren't enough to tell us about what caused all the accidents there were. This is what I mean by there being so many different inputs. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 16:20:57 -0400, Scott Dorsey wrote:

Yes. All we have that is reliable is the data on *all* accidents, state by state, and those are going down, year after year.
There isn't even a blip for the years that cellphones were starting to be used. It's the same declining accident rate (give or take a few) with no visible effect from cellphone use.
Hence the paradox.
I believe that if a huge number (essentially 100% of the drivers in the USA) *own* a cellphone, then a certain percentage of those people will be *using* that cellphone while driving, and a certain percentage of those users will be *distracted* enough to cause accidents.
Since the numbers are so huge, and the numbers of accidents are so constant, you'd expect a huge increase in the number of accidents, or, if not huge, at least discernible.
But there is no increase. Accidents are steadily going down.
Hence the paradox. Where are the accidents?
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If Jeff is data based, and you still disagree, what are you? Sounds like by calling Jeff data based, you are defending your approach which seems to be conjecture based.

That's not a paradox. A paradox would be "observed". Since we _measured_ the impact of using a cell phone while driving, we passed laws banning the practice and have embarked on an education campaign to limit the use of cell phones while driving.
I know that anecdotes are not data, but I remember seeing lots of drivers yakking away while driving. In the last few years, not so much.
--
Dan Espen

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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 12:06:34 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

The paradox is that cellphone ownership skyrocketed in the past few years in the USA, while accidents continued on the *same steady decline* that they had been on for decades.
If cellphone use causes accidents, there are only these ways this could happen.
1. Something else skyrocketed in the opposite direction exactly canceling out the cellphone-use-related accidents (starting and finishing at the exact same time periods), or,
2. Total accident figures in the USA suddenly became flawed only during the exact period of skyrocketing cellphone ownership increases, or,
3. Nobody is *using* the cellphone while driving in the USA, or,
4. Cellphone use has no appreciable effect on accident rates in the USA.
Any one of those four would solve the paradox. But, which of the four is it?
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Here's a hint:
cell phone ownership IS NOT EQUAL TO cell phone usage while driving
--
Dan Espen

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