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cellphone-in-car -- rom a column he wrote seven years ago..
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 07:56:08 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: "Dave Wilson" <dave () wilson net>
Date: August 18, 2008 7:32:34 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] SHow the $20 first-time cellphone-in-car penalty will cost you I SECOND THIS djf

Not a new problem, unfortunately. This from a column I wrote seven years ago...

"There was a time, not so long ago, when the standard response to any
local calamity was accusing the village eccentric of witchcraft and
doing him or her in. Today, we live in an age of reason, a time when
we don't force changes down people's throats without making some
serious efforts at theorizing, data collection and analysis. [ NOT ANYMORE djf]

Then there is New York, which will soon become the first state to ban
the use of hand-held cellular phones while driving. Hands-free phones
are fine, but anybody driving with a phone up to an ear is breaking
the law. This move comes despite the fact that the best data on the
subject is ambiguous. There's no solid statistical evidence linking
accidents to cell phones.

Sure, there's lots of anecdotal evidence that using a cell phone in
the car can distract drivers. But current data suggest that other
distractions are much more hazardous."

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jul/05/news/tt-18800

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 5:32 AM, David Farber <dave () farber net> wrote:


Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: August 18, 2008 12:23:11 AM EDT
To: Frode Hegland <frode () hegland com>
Cc: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>, lauren () vortex com
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: How the $20 first-time cellphone-in-car penalty will
cost you $97

The studies are clear.  Hand-held is no safer than handsfree.
The author of the Calif. bill now admits this, but says it
couldn't hurt to have people driving with both hands on the wheel.
But the law doesn't require people to drive with both hands on the
wheel.  In fact, few experienced drivers keep both hands on the
wheel all the time, regardless of whether they're on a phone or not.
I drive a stick.  I *can't* keep both hands on the wheel much of the
time even if I wanted to.

But play it safe? It can be argued that the law does just the opposite.
First, we're already seeing that people are fumbling around to put
on earpieces and such when they get calls or want to make calls.  This
is actually far more distracting than just grabbing the phone off
your belt and putting it to your ear.  Dialing calls, looking at
phone displays, etc. are more distractions that are permitted by the
law.

However, the biggest problem, as researchers are now realizing, is
that the law gives people the false expectation that having a
handsfree phone is safer, and there's evidence that people on
handsfree phones talk longer and may actually be taking more risks.
And we know they aren't safer.  They may actually be less safe.
Bad science begets bad outcomes.

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com or lauren () pfir org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
http://www.pfir.org/lauren
Co-Founder, PFIR
- People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
- Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

- - -

I don't get it.

When you overhear a conversation someone is holding on a mobile phone
they often sound too loud right?

Louder than if they were talking to someone right in front of them.

Why?

It's because there is no visual response or other response, the
conversation happens, quite literally, inside the persons head.

When you are on the phone you have to, to some extent, leave where you
are (mentally) to pay attention to the call.

This is why phone calls don't usually have long pauses as well. You
won't know if the other person is 'on the line' so pauses are usually
avoided.

Holding the handset to your head takes extra effort, and one less hand
on the steering wheel.

Talking on the phone in other words, takes effort. Effort probably
best invested in spending looking at the road.

Should other distractions be dealt with? Absolutely, but as you point
out Lauren, they can't all be regulated as they can't all be caught.

But with one - to me anyway - obvious factor reducing the drivers
attention and road awareness being the issue. Why not deal with it?
Not doing so would be akin to, for example, not dealing with trans fat 'since so much other food is bad for your health and you can't make it
all illegal'.

Do you, yourself, feel that holding a device up to your ear and
concentrating on what someone is trying to convey to you from miles
away keeps you alert for that one second when an accident might happen?

Anyway, I do agree that more science is needed, as you say, but while
it's being studied, why not just play it safe?   :-)



On 16 Aug 2008, at 19:22, David Farber wrote:



Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: August 16, 2008 1:47:20 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Cc: lauren () vortex com
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: How the $20 first-time cellphone-in-car
penalty will cost you $97


Dave,

The "no handheld phones while driving" laws are based on "feel
good" politics, not science.  Even the main proponent of the law
here in California has admitted that the science isn't there.

If you really want to cut down on distraction accidents, you need
to ban all outside distractions and the children in the back seat,
as a start.

The trick is that you can easily *see* someone holding a cell phone,
but you can't easily see many of the even more serious distractions
from another vehicle.  And the science says over and over again that
the distraction level is the same from handheld or hands-free phones,
but politicians don't have the guts to ban *all* cell phone usage
while driving in this country.

On this topic:

http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000190.html

http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000189.html

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com or lauren () pfir org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
http://www.pfir.org/lauren
Co-Founder, PFIR
- People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
- Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

- - -

I don'y ya;l while driving. I have a speaker attachment and I may
answer BUT it is just to see if it is a panic or not and then tell
them I will call back latter or when I can pull off the road. BUT
there are a lot of distractions in a car -- talk radio, yelling
kids ,
nagging wives (not mine). Do we out;law all of these things? How
about
brightly lit signboards at night? Where do we stop?

Dave


Begin forwarded message:

From: Steve Lamont <spl () ncmir ucsd edu>
Date: August 16, 2008 11:27:49 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] How the $20 first-time cellphone-in-car penalty
will
cost you $97

From: janosG <janosg () gmail com>
Date: August 15, 2008 9:48:05 AM PDT
Subject: How the $20 first-time cellphone-in-car penalty will cost
you $97

[A stupid law, with outrageously inflated penalty - and I say that
without having been caught yet!...:)]

<http://www.mercurynews.com/mrroadshow/ci_10212334? nclick_check=1>

<<Here is the breakdown for a cell phone citation based on fees in Santa Clara County and in San Jose. Fees vary slightly from county
to county.

As someone who was nearly run down by oblivious cell phone yakkers
twice in as many days as I was legally and otherwise safely crossing
the street in a crosswalk at a traffic light, I might suggest that
the
penalty is not harsh enough.

It should be treated on the same level of offense as a DUI, since
it's
been shown that hand held *or* hands free driving while using a cell
phone is as dangerous as being drunk.

      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=570222

License suspension on the first offense, *permanent* revocation on
the
second would be fine with me.

What's stupid (monumentally, I might add) is the notion that one is
so
darned important that one must be in constant communication, even at
the risk of killing or maiming others.

Hang up and drive.

                                                      spl





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