Mobility

OMG IF U CN RD THS U R BSTD


DWTWashington's governor has signed the first state explicit ban on using SMS while driving, and other states are not far behind in banning DWT (Driving While Texting/Talking).

A legislator proposed the bill after a BlackBerry user caused a five-car pileup on a state highway. Washington State Patrol officers cited cell phones in cars as an increasing problem. DWT is now a traffic offense, which normally carries a $111 fine.

Neighboring Oregon ponders ban teen texting with a $360 fine for under-18 DWT motorists. A Maryland lawmaker is promoting an end to DWT, while other states, D. C. and one Canadian province have bans in place or are considering them. Remember, we've noted here before, handsfree phoning is like driving drunk.

Ironically, after voting for California's ban, a Golden State senator drove her state SUV into another vehicle, while... you guessed it, talking on her cellphone. While Sacramento bans DWT, another state agency plans to use mobile messaging for emergency alerts.

Solution? Add to cell system intelligence. Automate speech to text, and text to speech, while blocking use if GPS shows the car's moving. It needn't be in the phone itself; maybe we can get Claire to do it for us.

How can we reach out and touch someone, without crashing? Fess up, though.. do you DWT? Send us some good DWT stories. Join the discussion.

48 comments
btljooz
btljooz

Oh my God if you can rd this you are so busted! Yes, I can read this! It was called "ABC Stenoscript" back when I first learned it in college in [b]1979!!![/b] I still have the handbook to this day! ;) :D Today, it's come back as "Texting" :| or "Easyscript" as I found out when I did a search using the term 'ABC Stenoscript". [b][u]NO![/u][/b] I do not 'text' while driving!!! I do [u]NOT[/u] 'text' on my phone [b][u]AT ALL!!!!![/b][/u] After all, it IS a telePHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not a computer :| And, no, I do not use my phone while driving unless absolutely necessary and even then, I tell the person I'm driving and that I'll call back when I'm at a place where I can stop and do so...that is if the call is important enough to answer in the FIRST place!!! There is nothing worse than trying to play dodge-em cauliflower eared drivers while trying to GET somewhere!!!!!!!!!

Tig2
Tig2

I live in a state that has 6 months of winter- snow, ice, and all the joy that comes with commuting in that weather. Add talking/texting, putting on make-up, shaving, reading the paper (no kidding!), etc and you have all the required ingredients for a potentially bad situation. The killer is that I do none of those things- I put my make-up on at home, listen to radio news... ish, and my cell came with this incredibly cool invention- voice mail. I don't have to actually answer the silly thing, it will take a message for me. And I can return the call any time I want to. If I am expecting an important call, I just don't put the key in the ignition or pull off the road to take the call. Regardless of my choice to drive- and ONLY drive when behind the wheel, another person's decision to divide their attention could end up costing me. Too bad that the clue bat only works at close range...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

DWT? Why not call it what it is - SWD. Stupid while driving. The problem is, there's a good chance that if you are truly stupid while driving, you will take some poor innocent with you. That said, anybody not smart enough to realize they can kill themselves by multi-tasking behind the wheel of a moving vehicle deserves the consequences.

K7AAY
K7AAY

What's your best DWT solution, or worst DWT story?

minda
minda

Bill and I were on a cross country trip last summer, driving along a straight and admittedly boring road somewhere in Indiana, when Bill pointed out a van that was up ahead of us with with some sort of device open and resting on top of the dash in front of the driver. "What is that?" Bill asked. "Laptop, I think," I said. "No," said Bill, who repairs laptops, and knows one when he sees one. "I think that's a DVD player!" Sure enough, the guy got past us, we came up behind him, and through his rear windshield could indeed see that it was a DVD player, with some movie star or other filling up the screen. If we'd followed him a bit longer we might have been able to identify the movie. Minda Zetlin The Geek Gap www.geekgap.com

JamesRL
JamesRL

Some of the worst offenders are women who put on makeup while driving, looking in the vanity mirror while moving at the speed limit. More than once I've seen some close calls. James

Steffi28
Steffi28

With that totally "anybody not smart enough to realize they can kill themselves by multi-tasking behind the wheel of a moving vehicle deserves the consequences." but most of the time its not just the person behind the wheel who has to suffer the consequences. And unfortunatly there are a lot of drivers out there who think there invincible once behind the wheel

RealGem
RealGem

About a year ago I passed a lady who was driving erratically - weaving, off-speed, and such. I passed her, but she ended up pulling up behind me. I could see her doing something with her hands on the wheel, I turned around, and saw that she was KNITTING! Driving that badly, it's a wonder she didn't hit someone. But if she had, imagine the air bag going off. Those needles would have been embedded someplace...

JBWgunlake
JBWgunlake

A lot of people have a hard enough time driving a car properly and should not try to mutitask anything else.

Steffi28
Steffi28

It really annoys me while im in the car with my dad, he seems to think its perfectly ok to even go as far as steering the car with his knees while hes texting/smoking/whatever else he decides cant wait. He has been driving 30 years and never had an accident but it doesnt stop me shouting at him if I'm in the car with him and he takes his hands off the wheel to do something. I think drivers need to realise that once they get behind the wheel of a car, they are responsible not just for the lives of their passengers but for every pedestrian and car they drive past.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

An aquaintance of mine recently had a TFT screen installed in the front of his Holden Jackaroo. He had to go to four different car audio/video installers before he found one that would take cash and install it for him (almost all reputable car audio/video installers in Australia will refuse installation jobs that require fitting TFTs in the front half of the cabin, and I'm not entirely sure it's even legal for them to do it). Eight hours after the installation was complete, he was watching movie on his way home and he plowed head on into a tree, writing off his pride and joy. He came out relatively unscathed (a broken femur, and multiple abrasions). It was just foretunate it was a single vehicle accident, and I was incredibly surprised it didn't make national news. He refused to discuss the legal ramifications he's facing regarding the accident, I think he's incredibly embarrased at how stupid he was, and possibly the irony of the movie he was watching. It was "Unbreakable" with Bruce Willis.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

his insurance carrier when he ran off the road!

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

When you see someone applying makeup, apply the brakes hard enuff to skid. You got to be able to control it, but the results are funny when you see the makeup brush jUmP!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

It's well known that people have varying abilities, including abilities to do more than one thing at a time. I can certainly make or take a short phone call while driving in most situations I drive in. I can't drink coffee, eat a hot dog, smoke a cigarette, talk on the phone, and drive all at the same time, so I don't! If something is happening on the road that needs more attention, I tell the person I'll call them back! It's not that hard! This penchant toward regulating to the least common denominator is driving me nuts. Why can't we simply let people use their common sense? If it is shown that one person can't, regulate [b]that one person[/b] not everybody!

maecuff
maecuff

Most importantly, it's hazardous to other driver. What I don't understand, is how they can poke a little stick near their eyes while driving. I don't have many mascara mishaps, but that's probably because I put it on at home, not while operating a vehicle. I once saw a man reading a novel while driving.

Freebird54
Freebird54

I have to take issue with one part of your post, Steffi28. You cannot equate smoking and texting in terms of driving! Even talking on the cell phone is in a risk class completely different from having a smoke. All the people I know who smoke and drive are fully capable of finding the pack, extracting a smoke, and lighting it - the enjoying it - WITHOUT EVER LOOKING AT IT! If anything happens to take their attention (car slowing ahead, intersection coming, wobbling bicycle) the smoking related activity ceases completely until the item is dealt with. No safety risk there! However, despite the fact that I have driven professionally (including over 1 miillion miles on 18 wheels or more) without ever having any kind of accident - I do NOT think that I can talk on a cell phone safely in an environment with hazards around. This means on a freeway with traffic, on a downtown street - or even 3 blocks from home. Because of this I either limit calls to 30 seconds, or pull over and park for the duration of the call. The distraction level is completely different from holding a conversation in the car - as the people in the car with you understand if you suddenly stop paying attention to the conversation because of 'happenings' on the road (they often see them too) and for some reason it takes far less attention to the conversation to be sure you heard it. I found it hard to believe the difference - but it *IS* real - and could be fatal! Even hands-free is not enough - unless you traion yourself to say 'hold' whenever you need to pay attention elsewhere, and have someone on the other end ready and willing to hold without comment if necessary. Of course, on an empty highway the problems doon't come up much - I wouldn't hesitate to call while driving between Moose Jaw and Swift Current most times (4 lane highway, flow as low as 50 cars an hour - BOTH ways!) I guess people DO need laws for this, as it is obvious that they don't figure it out for themselves. Normally driving around the city I can pick out the people on cells from a block away - just from the way they drive. I am sure that the police can do the same (any pro driver can, in fact)

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

is 'Auto-Pilot'. Dual stereo video cameras mounted up by the mirror feed into a computer that parses the signal, stays in one lane, observes traffic signals and speed limits, and takes feeds from GPS navigators to get you where you want to go (which you selected on the GPS navigator screen). People would only be required as backup driver, in case the unit struck by lightening, etc. If no one took over in time the car would attempt to pull over to side of road and turn off car. Earl Scheib will refit your car for only $69,995, and eventually all new cars over a price point that would have cruise control will be built with them. Numerous safeguards plust the ability to pass a driving test with verbal inputs from the instructor should allay any fears. Interlocks could be added to prevent use in unmanned suicide car attacks. BTW there was an excellant show on this about the series of DoD sponsored autonomous vehicle races in the western deserts.

DadsPad
DadsPad

I was in morning traffice and noticed there was a woman in front of me doing something that had me curious. She had a cigarette in one hand (up in the air or at her mouth). The other hand was fixing her hair. One foot (left) was out the window. Yet, her driving was excellent. No weaving and made a left hand turn (was city streets) with no problem. What was she driving with? LOL I have my opinion but not sure if will pass the censorship here. :^0 Dad

gario
gario

He's driving on the wrong side of the road too!!!

btljooz
btljooz

DVD players, GPS systems, etc., being used by the driver WHILE 'driving?' all fall under the sub-catagory: "Deliberate Stupidity"

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Haven't done that in years. I was riding a bike at the time no less. Fun? Maybe. Smart? No way! Am I getting more mature? Nope, I just don't bounce back so well anymore. LOL

maecuff
maecuff

to not cause accidents or blindness. Still, applying makeup while driving isn't the most intelligent thing to do.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Another idea would be special lanes/roads.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Since discrimination of any kind, even on the basis of ability, is no longer politically correct in the United States, longevity would be the only acceptable discriminating factor. The situation wouldn't be any different than it is now. Personally, I'd like to see your vehicle assigned based on your driving ability. Just think. No more wasted sports cars...

Freebird54
Freebird54

if that were possible - if I were the testing authority there would be about 20 a day off the road - just in my samll area of town. Unfortunately, driving has become a 'right' rather than a priviledge for the majority - and doing it well has become an afterthought rather than a goal for most. We need a graduated licence system, so that there is some incentive for learning more than 'this pedal speeds up, and that one should slow you down' - because even steering into the proper lane and staying there seems to be a proposition lost on a lot of people! How about a license with a mag stripe showing the class of driver. Once swiped, and the car knowing the result, LED notice board front and rear display this information. The performance available to the car is coded appropriately (similar to the way that some cars have a 'power lock out' for valet use, or the way a BMW M6 lets you program the available power). This would a) let competent drivers get on with it. b) let us know that learners are just learning c) give people an incentive to reach to highest class d) let the police know what they are dealing with when they see something unusual e) embarass the hell out of people who can't get a higher class of licence! Sounds good to me! (edited for typos)

Freebird54
Freebird54

you definitely in the minority. Just not hitting anything yet is not proof either. The only circumstance it can be ' no problem is an empty freeway (if you have any). OR - while stopped at a light. Something about the fact that other person is not sharing the driving experience with you makes you pay more (too much) attention to the phone call. I'll match my ability to multi-task while driving with anybody, and I'll match up my driving record too (1.8 Million miles - 0 accidents) -but I CAN'T safely talk for more than a few seconds - whether it shows to anyone else or not. "Just a sec, Ill pull over" is a very reasonable response - or "I'll call back in 5" if nowhere to stop right now. Please do it! (BTW - used to race too - but I wouldn't call any of those happening 'accidents' :) )

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

instead of "more attention", I should have said "fewer distractions", although I don't know if that's any better. My point is that we shouldn't penalize those who CAN chew gum and walk at the same time to accommodate those who can't. Those who can't should simply be removed from the driver's seat. The testing should be much harder than it is.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

In fact, you're the first in this thread... :0 Afterthought: My problem is that a driver's license is essentially forever and it's so easy to get one. Europeans (Germans in particular) laugh when they discover how ridiculously easy it is to get a driver's license in America; they pay up to $2000 and have to pass extensive written and road tests to get a license. In America, you show up, you pass the eye test, you take a 10- or 20- question written test, and you take a "road test." (In SC and GA it essentially consists of driving around the block without hitting anything, then parallel parking in a space the size of a large motor home.) You pays your money and you gets your license. Then after x number of years, you show up again, pass the eye test, pays your money and gets another. Nobody's perfect, least of all myself, but certain things should be [b]required[/b] for all drivers to keep their licenses: keep right except to pass, always use turn signals, don't drive while impaired by [u]anything[/u], and maintain your vehicle to safe operating specs. Anything less demonstrates a lack of good sense that should result in immediate revocation of the driver's license.

PSer
PSer

Tony, If you wanna pick apart my $0.02 post over semantics ... you win. By definition, I don't suppose one can expect everyone to pay "total attention" while driving. By definition total=complete (I'll spare everyone from the total definition of total:) So, yes it could be argued that just the mere fact you are conversing, or singing along with the radio, tuning the radio, etc. would be defined as "Partial attention". But I have to ask, did you really not get the "meat of my message"? Are you really Pro-DWS? You're not gonna argue the point of "where does my right to text while driving and your (my) right not to be killed by you DWTing end and begin" ... are you? If so, count me out! Otherwise ... I never said anything about wanting to sue you or that you were being unreasonable but I will be more specific and address your exact statement. "If something is happening on the road that needs more attention"--- My point is, while driving/riding, it is not a matter of IF something is happening on the road that needs more attention. It's a matter of anytime you pull your car/truck/bike/etc. out of your driveway MORE attention is required than less. It can take less than a mere fraction of a second for anyone in control of a motor vehicle of any kind to make a mistake that could end his/her or someone else's lives. (I can't believe I am even having to type these words, they should be ingrained in all of us who drive) So, anything as superfluous as texting, fumbling for a cell phone, watching a DVD or even knitting apparently (jeesh!) while operating a motor vehicle should be ... how u say ... "Taser worthy offences". ;) To answer your questions: "So who was paying more attention? Obviously you were paying ENOUGH attention ... thank goodness! Was my "partial attention" more than the other guy's "full attention"? This one is a little tougher. Since we have negated the use of definitive words for this subject matter neither one of us can gauge the attention level of the other driver. And as you said yourself "Different people have different abilities". As well, I have to think from the outcome "He knocked her over" with little more than a "couple of cuts and bruises" ... he must have been at least as aware as yourself ... if not more. Had he been DWS she most likely would have been killed. Anyway, Have a great weekend and most of all .... Drive as though someone's life depends on it, because it does! Edit for: (my)

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

In fact every state already has a law on the books to cover this situation. It's called "Inattentive driving". But I guess it's no longer in vogue to hold a specific person responsible for that person's actions. To be politically correct, you now have to blame everything on an inanimate object so we don't hurt someone's wittle feelwings by hanging on them the stigma of being an [b]idiot[/b]!

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Oy, the things I have heard people talk about where everyone with ears can hear them! Is there no shame? :)

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

But "excessively regulating the behavior of millions of perfectly competent drivers to compensate for the thousands who aren't" is.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

How is requiring people to know how to drive before they get a license an example of trying to "fix a watch with a sledge hammer?

DadsPad
DadsPad

Cell phone usage should be no more problem than talking to a passenger. Except some people seem to feel that cell phone converstation is more important that driving. In fact, I will go one further: that person driving badly talking on a cell phone, take away the cell phone and he is still a bad driver. Even though police surveys say that cell phones are not the number one issue in accidents, not far off though, it is still the number one issue people talk about. How about the person I call a jack rabbit, who hops from lane to lane cutting everybody off. Or the one that turns in front of you and slows down, making you slam on your brakes. I believe they cause more accidents. Have you ever noticed that a person on a cell phone does not recognize it is not private? You find people having the amazingly private conversations in public! Oh well Dadspad

Tig2
Tig2

And I get it. Lost too many good Harley cop friends, too many other friends the same d@mned way. As a "cage" driver, I have always been honoured to ride with them. As a back seater, I have always understood why they ride. As a leather crafter, I have always tried to give them gear to help keep them safe. My fiance drives a great big Ford truck. I generally feel pretty safe in it. I drive a miniature Saturn. I generally am on my toes at all times in it. I get it, in so very many ways.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

of trying to fix a watch with a sledgehammer. If people can't drive, they shouldn't be on the road, with or without a cellphone. Fix the real problem!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

"total attention". No talking? No kids? No radio? what? Recently my wife and I were on our way home from a relative's and we were talking and laughing about the evening's events. It was in the outskirts, not many streetlights, just starting to rain, and I noticed a car sitting at a T intersection on the right side waiting for me to pass and a delivery-type truck oncoming about 1000 feet ahead. As I neared the intersection, an electric wheelchair appeared from beside the other side of the car. No lights, no reflectors, just a black wheelchair with a slumped over woman in it (apparently she was either intoxicated or had fallen asleep). Had I been in the Minivan, I wouldn't have been able to miss her but I was in the Escort, and I swerved hard to the left and was able to avoid her and get back in my lane before the truck reached the intersection. Apparently the driver of the truck didn't see the woman, because he never even slowed down. The car behind me wasn't so lucky. He was about 4 or 5 seconds behind me and before I could get turned around to try to warn him, he slammed on his brakes but it was too late. He knocked her over. Fortunately she just had a couple of cuts and bruises. I was talking and laughing with my wife, yet was able to keep my eyes on the road and saw he lady dart from beside the car, and calculate that I could probably steer around her without getting hit by an oncoming truck. The guy behind me was alone, no radio, no cellphone, and had the advantage of seeing me swerve for "something"! So who was paying more attention? Was my "partial attention" more than the other guy's "full attention"? Different people have different abilities, is all I was saying. I live in deer country, so I know what can happen in the blink of an eye, but for some reason I've been able to avoid things and wonder how I possibly could have. I do pay constant visual attention when driving. I do not turn to face the person I am talking to, and when the situation demands it (heavy traffic, resedential area, etc.) I can and do ask the others in my car to be quiet, turn off the radio, etc. so that I can give "more" attention to the task at hand. But when I'm on a lonely two lane road with no intersectins for miles and a passing car once every 15 minutes or so, I've been known to ease my grip on the wheel just a bit. Maybe someone wants to sue me for that, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I will agree with you for the minimal multi-tasking. I can be found sipping coffee or smoking while driving (but not both), but not usually anything else. As much as I b*tch about cell phone drivers, I have even been known to take a call. The single major problem, Tony, is that as car-crazy as American society is, most of us are never taught to [b]drive[/b]. We simply learn to "point and shoot."

PSer
PSer

I feel the same frustration and agree with all of you about DW*. But I wanted to touch on this statement. Not an attack ... just a point. ""IF something is happening on the road that needs more attention". Sorry Tony but there is ALWAYS a need for total attention to the "road". I've been riding Motorcycles all of my life, along with my Dad, uncles, brothers and friends. As a matter of fact my Dad was fabricating bikes back in the 70's and I've built two of my own rides. Thing is, we NEVER take driving/riding for granted, most "enthusiasts" don't. I've been to to many funerals, heard to many stories, had to many close calls and seen the affects of distracted drivers in the scared face of my closest friend (he was lucky to have survived!). While these DWS people are talking on the phone, texting, watching DVD's, etc. They will tell you "I can multi-task, I can handle it". BS! What little attention most drivers nowadays pay to other CARS, they pay even less to two/three wheelers. This week is the Republic of Texas Rally in Austin Texas (R.O.T. Rally). The past 3 years alone of the rally, there have been at least a dozen bikers killed from careless "cage" drivers. I will not be riding the ROT this year, instead I intend to take my newest baby (007 FXDWG) on a "back country" tour at my own leisure without the already congested streets and highways full of idiots in cages being pissed off because there are several thousand scooters added to the fray and making it impossible to put on make-up, cell, DVD their way as fast as they can from red light to red light! Because of course their "agendas/errands" are much more important than the lives of countless bikers, as well as anyone else who impedes their progress by even a mere second! I gotta tell ya ... sometimes I really hate people! At least the ones of which we are talking about, which are growing in numbers every day! AARRGGGHHHHH!!! Parting words ... "Be nice, always look twice because there are countless Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, sons, and daughters RIDING on the same roads that we ALL pay taxes for. A life for a phone conversation ... worth it? A life to paint your face in a car at 70 mph ... worth it? A life because of YOUR (Your=the idiots, not you Tony) stupidity behind the wheel ... worth it? Not no but HELL NO! End of Biker Rant! Peace and understanding ...

JamesRL
JamesRL

A man driving an Italian sports car with his knees, looking in th vanity mirror and doing the two handed hair thing - comb with one hand, smooth with the other. This was at 60 mph..... I saw a woman using an eye liner pencil while driving just this morning.....Pretty, and pretty dumb if you ask me. James

DadsPad
DadsPad

with cars being taken over by computers. Many fuctions such as brakes and gas pedals are only inputs to computer controls. Don't forget that OnStar is a GPS system. Also, navigation systems are already being considered for standard equipment in the future. However they need a backup system. Sensors in the roads can be read by the computers on where you are on the road and what traffic conditions are ahead. If sun spots or the Chinese take out necessary GPS satellites, cars would not crash with drivers being unable to take immediate control of the vehicle. Dad

DownRightTired
DownRightTired

it wasnt an amputee signaling a turn? The trick to one knee is to put it at the 6 o'clock position of the wheel, that way you can turn left and right

DadsPad
DadsPad

Never saw the car again, may have been a visitor. Dad

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

from Tennessee. I've seen a lot of that when visiting there. Especially with two women in the car (I thought I was hearing sirens... :) )

DadsPad
DadsPad

I kept watching to see if she changed positions to do any driving, but no hands on steering wheel and foot never moved. I have not seen anyone drive with one knee. Although it might be possible. :D (But that was not how I thought she was driving.) :^0 Dad

DownRightTired
DownRightTired

did she really have a foot out the window? Ill admit to knee driving occasionally(im pretty good!) but at least my attention remains on the road. Txting engages alot of your attention, more so than talking. Im constantly yelling at friends who txt while theyre driving. Usually I just snatch the phone and take dictation.

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