The cellphone paradox - where are all the accidents?

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wrote:

Yeah, now they do it hands free. So now that people can't see it they no longer have that bug up their butt over it. Distracted driving has always been a cause, all that's changed is what it is that's distracting the drivers. And if cell phone use and texting is so horrible, why do we allow the police to drive around all day talking on their radios and typing on their mobile data terminals? Funny how when outlawing teh "distraction" would interfere with the police state suddenly it's not important to outlaw it.
Then there's the "familiarity" issue. ANYTHING that's new is going to be somewhat distracting. When I first started using a two way radio in a moving car it was very distracting - which channel did the call come in on? got to push which button before replying? Need to turn up (or down) the volume... Where's that list of call numbers versus names so I can look up Joe's call sign and on and on. Very distracting at first. Then you learn it and it's second nature. If "things are going on" you simply don't answer the radio or cell phone and if you are on it (radio or phone) you get off it when the outside inputs pick up. Yeah, it's not perfect but we didn't outlaw radios and passengers, we didn't outlaw two way radios, we didn't outlaw CDs, we didn't make eating in a car illegal, but cell phones OH THEY ARE THE DEVIL!!!!! Note, I'm not addressing Texting... that's not a 'distraction', it is literally a separate task from driving and I would expect properly done research would show it's in a whole different class of hazards from talking on a phone. But that's just an expectation.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 15:36:10 -0700, Ashton Crusher wrote:

This, at least, solves the paradox.

That always struck me as interesting also. How come it's safe for them, but not for the rest of us (who they are merely a population of).

As an aside, the government rarely abides by its own rules (but that's OT).
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wrote:

Police and fire do not "type" on their mobile terminals. Most are set to not allow input while moving. They also do not talk all day on the radio. Just listen on a scanner and see how often someone actually talks while moving. It's rare and maybe once per WEEK per officer at most. Only in hot pursuit will they talk while moving. If there are two officers in the car, the passenger will do the talking.
There are also other users of mobile data terminals that are exempted by the Calif Vehicle Code. While the law was written to prevent people from watching TV while driving, it has been expanded to data terminals, GPS, computahs, etc. Section 27602: <https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/vctop/vc/d12/c5/a5/27602
Note that ham radio operators have been exempt. Part of the reason is that there was no evidence of any significant accidents or fatalities to hams resulting from talking while moving when the ordinance was inscribed. There are about 2,000 ham operators in the county. I think I've met about 1/3 of them. In the last 40 years, I don't know of any that have died or been injured while driving, much less while talking on the radio.
So, what's the difference between texting, talking, and ham radio operation? Ham radio is a simplex operation. You can only talk and listen, one at a time, and not simultaneously, such as on the telephone. We seem to be able to handle either the input or output channel quite easily, but not simultaneously. I've done some crude testing to see if that's true. When I use a PTT (push to talk microphone) to make a phone call while moving, there's no problem because my caller and I are operating simplex. The same operation done with a handset, in full duplex mode, it highly distracting and sometimes confusing.
If you want innovation in this area, consider adding a typical mobile radio microphone to a cell phone, add a loudspeaker, set it up for simplex, and maybe the mythical accident rate will fall. If not, I can probably arrange the statistics to demonstrate that it will.
For texting, I had a recent bad experience. I was the passenger in a car where the driver was getting "notifications" continuously roughly twice per minute. The phone would make an obnoxious noise when they arrived. He just couldn't resist the temptation to look at his phone and see what had just arrived. I mentioned it to him, and was ignored. There was no interactive texting or chat session, but plenty of approximately 3 second distractions. That's enough for an accident. Fortunately, there were none, although I was tempted to kiss the ground as I exited the vehicle.

Yep. You got it. The smartphone has an accelerometer and can easily tell when it's moving. Buffer incoming texts and block the keyboard while the phone is moving. End of problem (until it's hacked).
Apps are already available but it really should be built into the phone firmware: <https://play.google.com/store/search?q=no%20text%20while%20driving%20app&c=apps
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Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Around here, it is routine to see two officers in the car. When they are not on their way to a call, one officer is driving while the second officer is typing every license plate he sees into the terminal and running plates as fast as he can in hopes of finding a car with outstanding warrants. There is a very distinct division of tasks. --scott
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On 16 Aug 2015 20:42:19 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

Sounds like New Yuck City. You must live in a technically impoverished area. Even the local fast food restaurants now have license plate readers. The technology is quite common on the left coast: <https://www.google.com/search?q=automatic+license+plate+recognition+system&tbm=isch <http://www.licenseplatesrecognition.com/how-lpr-works.html <http://www.licenseplaterecognition.com <http://elsag.com/licenseplatereader.htm <http://www.theiacp.org/ALPR etc... Even cheap security cameras have a headlight blocking feature: <http://www.cctvcamerapros.com/License-Plate-Capture-Cameras-s/283.htm
Are you sure the second officer is typing in license plates and not updating his Facebook page?
"Don't worry about the radios. We can always use Twitter for dispatch" (Don't ask me who said that).
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Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
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On Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 8:42:23 PM UTC-4, Scott Dorsey wrote:

Around here the police cars have cameras that automatically scan the license plates of cars they pass, doing that function. Also, all cars passing through the bridges and tunnels at NYC are similarly run against a big database in the sky.
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Per Ashton Crusher:

I have heard a local cop remark that he found driving a police cruiser with all it's radios and other distractions to be something of a frightening experience.
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Pete Cresswell

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wrote:

No doubt it is when you are new to the job. Then you learn how to do it safely, or at least as safe as it can be done. I posted at length about this somewhere in this thread.
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Per Ashton Crusher:

Middle-aged cop... definitely not new on the job.
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wrote:

So he never really learned to handle it as second nature?
One thought that occurs to me in this discussion is that many people simply refuse to believe a person can manage to use a phone and still safely drive. Yet pilots do essentially that all the time. I used to fly small planes and entering the pattern, flying it, and landing a small plane at a big airport, esp with crosswinds, can be a bit of a challenge to make sure you don't screw up something. The part that comes into this discussion is that during that process you have to ready the whole time to respond to air traffic control, both to understand and follow their instructions and to talk to them on the radio, you can't just ignore them cuz "I'm busy with the flaps". They need to know you heard them so then can then talk to the guy following you. Pilots do this all the time because they LEARN to do it. There is no reason to treat drivers like children as if they can't be taught to use cell phones safety but instead you have to ban their use.
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On 08/19/2015 07:03 PM, Ashton Crusher wrote:

I would guess that pilots have to be of above average intelligence in order to get a pilot's license. It seems obvious by inspection that half the drivers are subnormal and those are the ones who can't deal with driving and phoning simultaneously.
It wasn't a pilot who ran the red light BEHIND me as I was LEGALLY crossing in a crosswalk on the green light. If I'd been two seconds slower I would have been roadkill. I couldn't actually see that the driver was a woman babbling on her phone, but I'd be willing to be money on it -- she clearly couldn't see that everybody else was stopped either.
My daughter can handle it and does all the time because she's a tour director and is on the phone constantly solving problems; I rarely use the phone and recognize that I'm unable to safely talk and drive at the same time.
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Cheers, Bev
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Per The Real Bev:

Bad guess: I got a pilot's license.... and quit once it dawned on me that my own incompetence could now kill me.
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Per Wes:

In the right lane? I back off on the speed a few mph and they pass. In the hammer lane? Autobahn rules: I need to get back in the right lane ASAP and I should have seen the guy closing in the first place and never have been there when he got to me.
Best anti-tailgating device I have found is my 21' surf ski. It's securely attached to industrial-strength roof racks, but the saddles it sits in are just slightly loose fit so it wiggles a little in the cross gusts..... it's like magic!
--
Pete Cresswell

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On Sat, 22 Aug 2015 00:41:48 -0700 (PDT), Uncle Monster

Pilots and police do those things all the time. You do know that it only takes one hand to turn a steering wheel no matter how fast you are going. And you don't steer a plane with the rudders. When ATC tells you to switch to tower frequency it doesn't change by magic, you have to take your hand off the wheel to switch frequencies, possibly on more then one radio and may also have to change the transponder setting. Might have to reset the altimeter pressure reading too. All sorts of things have to be done.
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On 08/16/2015 6:59 AM, ceg wrote:

Probably the same idiots who regularly have accidents are the same idiots who drive while distracted. Distracted driving can be caused by conversation, something you hear on the radio, a leaf blowing by, or a smudge on the windshield - drivers who are easily distracted may well be the same ones who have accidents whether or not they are using a cell phone.
So, the idiots will kill themselves (and other innocents) off at the same rate regardless of the source of distraction.
I can't wait for driverless cars so the distracted idiots no longer are driving and can do what they like while their car takes them from A to B.
The roads will then be much safer for those of us who actually LIKE driving - motorcyclists, sports car owners, etc. - and our attention is on the road not on the distractions.
John :-#)#
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:16:27 -0700, John Robertson wrote:

This is almost certainly true, but that doesn't change that there are only four possible solutions to the paradox, none of which does anyone like.
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Per John Robertson:

I would not agree.
A cell phone conversation is fundamentally different from a CB conversation (which was not alluded to), talking to a passenger, or listening to the radio.
The difference is that there is no unspoken agreement that driving comes first. i.e. the person on the other end of the conversation has no expectation of anything but the partner's 100% involvement.
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Pete Cresswell

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On Monday, August 17, 2015 at 9:36:22 AM UTC-4, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

That was the tree that I was barking up too. You can't compare being engaged in a phone conversation with listening to the radio, reaching for change for a toll, or even talking to a passenger in the car. We have some learned behavior that you can't just drop a phone call mid sentence. Reaching for the radio, change, etc, you can just stop it, no consequences, no once else involved. With a passenger, you can also stop talking, and also it's very likely the passenger is going to see why you did that, eg someone just pulled out into the road, a kid on a bicycle is wandering on the edge of the road, etc. The passenger will likely stop talking too. And then there is the added factor that looking up a person's #, dialing a cell phone, texting, is way beyond just talking or listening.
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On 8/17/2015 8:55 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Yes, you can compare them because they all have various levels of distraction involved when participating in each task.

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On 8/17/2015 12:59 PM, Muggles wrote:

Some things are more distracting than others. Of course, there are those people who mistakenly believe they can multi task and refuse to understand that it's the conversation, not the phone, that's the problem. Haven't you ever driven behind someone talking on the phone who cannot drive a constant speed?
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