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back to article Can you talk and drive?

The UK's Department of Transport has launched a free game that demonstrates how hard it is to listen while driving, addressing the fact that 30 per cent of young drivers admit sending text messages from behind the wheel. The game, and statistics, come as part of the DoT's THINK! campaign, which is particularly aimed at young …

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Ben
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Passengers

I'm not trying to say using your mobile is right while driving however, does that mean that having a passenger talking to you is also socially unacceptable? I fail to see how a correctly fitted handsfree is different from having someone else in the car (other than perhaps a passenger is more appreciative of things like arriving at a junction).

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Well done DoT

Doubt it will stop many people from feeling that anything should interfere with their right to drive in any condition doing what ever they want and if the pedistrian DoT

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You get off cheap in the UK

50 quid? That is a pretty cheap citation here in sunny (well, it did rain yesterday) California. Minimum fines for anything involving a moving vehicle will set you back over $200 before you can say "traffic school". If you don't, the price goes up.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending) the enforcement isn't that good, and yes people keep blabbing away!

The only thing that is that cheap is a parking ticket, which varies quite a bit, but usually less than $100.

At current exchange rate of $1.50 to the pound (or so).

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Nanny State

I agree that texting and using hand held phones whilst driving is very wrong, but and idea can be taken too far.

If they decide that having a conversation on the phone (hand-held or otherwise) whilst driving is too much, what will stop the safety lobby from dreciding that all conversation whilst driving is unsafe.

Are not passengers in the car not as distracting? Kids in the fighting in the back seat causing mummy dear to turn round to remonstrate and then crash the car used to be a staple scenario for casualty (along with the old dear up a ladder just fixing somethig before tea).

Would the next logical step from banning phone conversations be to ban all conversations with the driver, legislating that all multi-occupancy vehicles have a special cockpits for the driver that separate them from everyone else?

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Silver badge

Yes, I can talk and drive.

But me talking & driving has nothing to do with this comment from the article:

"addressing the fact that 30 per cent of young drivers admit sending text messages from behind the wheel."

Who the fuck uses a 'phone to send text messages?

Serious question ... Aren't most such messages sent 'phone to 'phone? Why not simply call the party you are (supposedly) trying to communicate with? You DO want to talk to them, right? So why not TALK to them? That's what a telephone is FOR, right? Talking with people?

Maybe I'm missing something ... I am an old fart, after all ...

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JMB

Talk and drive

If it is so dangerous then why do the police allow single-crewed police vehicles use their radios (often almost identical to mobile phones) and use a host of electronic gadgets whilst driving?

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Usual Govt Bollocks

"demonstrates how hard it is to listen while driving, addressing the fact that 30 per cent of young drivers admit sending text messages from behind the wheel."

Not addressing that at all, in fact, since sending a text message has a 0% listening component.

"The game isn't focused on text messages, but instead challenges the player to listen to a woman's voice and press the space-bar whenever a question is asked, while keeping an eye on pedestrians wearing colour-coded T-Shirts."

And they've designed a game which is almost, but not entirely, completely unrelated to driving a car.

This obviously proves whatever it is they set out to prove.

Meanwhile, it continues to be illegal to text my wife to tell her I'll be late while sitting stationary in an M6 traffic queue, and I will continue to do it anyway.

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Interesting test

Interesting test, have a person doing two tasks, neither of which he (or she) is likely to ever have done before, let alone simultaneously and if the person fails this test, assume that he would automatically fail at doing two different tasks, both of which he does several times every single day and quite often both at the same time.

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Of course I didn't pass...

If someone rings me up and I'm driving then they should realise that they don't have my full attention. So although I only miscounted by two points I missed eight of the rambling and meaningless questions. I also saw rabbitman near the end - he was hardly difficult to miss.

I'm not a good listener when people ramble on, which may irritate my girlfriend but it certainly makes me a lot less likely to run somebody over. I suspect other people prioritise the phone call higher and they're the dangerous ones.

Looks to me like a campaign is starting that will inevitably attempt to ban the use of telephones in a car and those of us who are cable of communicating safely whilst driving will have to resort to PTT systems which can't really be made illegal due to their use by police officers, ambulance drivers and so on.

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@JMB

and why are the Police exempt, in the UK, from this law? If driving and using a mobile is so bad then there should be no exemptions.

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Boffin

@JMB

Exactly my fathers point every time he walks past a police car. They have personal radios. Mobile phones. And they use the, all while driving. Even that weird novelty phone they have on the dashboard.

What is with that test. About 10 tshirts walk past you. It does not prove anything but. Who counts tshirts while driving..... 19% of people aparently

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Coat

RE: Who the fuck uses a 'phone to send text messages?

Well the royal mail simply refuses to deliver mail to moving vehicles and until such a service becomes available people will continue to use SMS to communicate whilst on the move.

Mines is the coat with the letterbox strapped to the back....

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Paris Hilton

@JMB

Ahh, the police are allowed to do that because they have 'special training' according to a family member who joined that particular club.

What you should be really worried about is the horde of socially inadequate, fat, scruffy, smelly, pipe smoking old gits commonly known as 'radio hams', or, to really piss them off, posh CBers.

They are also allowed to use two way radio whilst on the move, the only reason given seems to be that the authorities got sick of them moaning about it/the smell of unwashed cardigans and pipe smoke.

Paris, two way, three way, all good.

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Anonymous Coward

no title needed

Yes, anyting a driver can do whilst driving makes them a dangerous person on the road, listening to the radio, nagging wife in the passenger seat, looking at a billboard and even reading a sign that says if you feel sleepy whilst driving then take a rest.

I for one will only be happy when driving is regulated to the point that if you are driving in a vehicle then all un-necessary sensory input is suppressed via fines and points on your licence if you get caught willfully accepting un-necessary sensory input.

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Coat

Biased test

So they asked men to look at passing women's chests while trying to listen to the woman in the passenger seat talking. And we are surprised at the result?

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@Ben

You're absolutely right, there's no difference. It's all to do with distraction - but essentially if the Gov can get away with charging £60 every time someone's caught on a phone while driving (easy to prove due to mobile phone records) then don't you think they will!?

Also, I just took the test and passed - but didn't notice the 'surprise'. Does that make me a bad driver? I don't think so. I still SAW all the pedestrians crossing the road, which is the important thing - surely it doesn't matter what the hell they were wearing!!

*Steps off soapbox*

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Jobs Horns

If talking is to be banned when will...

The use of radio and music players also be banned. There are few things more distracting and annoying than that Moyles chap if I happen to turn the radio on after my youfs have been in the car. Those grotesque parodies of news and current affairs cause enough rants to distract all but the most sainted of Angels.

I understand the logic behind banning of the use of distractive devices.Their are risk levels but (that uncommon thing) common sense and judgment needs to be applied in both use and enforcement.

The iPod is a damned nuisance!

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Talking and driving

I agree with the general push for this. I am not the best or the worst driver around, but I do find that when a driving situation gets more complex - I stop talking to anyone else in the car and ignore them as I need to concentrate harder.

@Jake

I am no fan of mobile phones - I hardly use mine - far too old and far too few friends, but I do see the point of texting - you can send a message without having to have the 'whole conversation' - in fact I wish I knew how to send a verbal message direct to someone's voicemail (apparently possible) There are times when I just want to say something without having a 2 way conversation.

Anon - want to keep the few friends left.....

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Sack of crap, Flash-infested bollockry

Good idea, implemented in a piss-poor stylee; it's all in the timing of pressing the key/latency of the connection, etc. rather than whether you heard the question or not. I got the t-shirt count 99% right on the first gohaving expected to fail to some degree or another but not because the technology is flawed...

As for the giant fuck-off rabbit (although I didn't think "bunny", I thought "berk in a fur suit"), of course I fucking saw it, you could hardly miss it.

Pathetic.

R.

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I dont count Tshirts when I drive!

Ok, so this test is hard. But since when do I try to "count" points from people with different colour t-shirts! NEVER! Try this test without counting, i.e. if you were actually driving and monitoring people and not trying to count them, and its very easy.

This test is better at representing a situation where there's loads of adverts and signs everywhere along a road that distract you. Trying to concentrate on all those whilst paying attention to drivers and listening to someone is dangerous. I haven't seen anyone complain about too many road signs and adverts on our roads.

So this test is pointless.

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Go

Transference of intuition

You blunder about the pavement. too, while talking/texting on your mobile (but you're not so dangerous out of the car). My hypothesis is that you 'empathise' with the caller at the other end, and that your intuitive faculties go 'over there' instead of out to the fool driver in front. Chatting to a passenger is *nothing* like this - both of you have a survival interest in what is ahead, so it's closer to teamwork (with passengers like mine, anyway).

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Paris Hilton

phone conversations vs passenger conversations

There is a difference between the two.

An in-car passenger can see what you're doing and what the road conditions are. They can tell if you need to turn a blind corner or drive through an area with pedestrians on the road. Since they know all this, it removes the pressure on the driver to respond instantly and allows them to switch focus between the road and the conversation as conditions permit.

With a telephone call there is no such background information being acquired by the other person which increases the pressure on the driver to compensate for this by focusing on the conversation when they should really be focusing on the road.

Another issue is the type of conversations being had. Conversations with passenger are usually with people you know well and are often of a personal and "light" nature. If the call is business oriented, there is probably a much greater imperative to be absolutely correct in your responses which may involve information which is not an area you know well. That places a greater burden on the driver to focus on the conversation or recalling other events or data rather than the traffic.

As for the police, I'm not sure but I hope that their driver-training is more rigorous than the general public's. I also hope that the conversations are to do with their travel (where they are going, what's on the road etc) rather than some paperwork which may be back at the office.

In other words, it isn't so much the use of a phone in a car which is bad (except texting of course!) it isn't even having a conversation or not, its the nature of the conversation which determines the danger. Sadly, the law is a blunt instrument and cannot detect the difference between an safe conversation and a dangerous one. Personally, I don't answer business calls in the car and wouldn't answer personal ones without a hands-free kit.

Opinion: People need to stop using the law as the measure of what is good and bad. Just because the law says you can use a hands-free kit to talk on the phone doesn't mean that you should. If you can't concentrate on the traffic and conversation, tell the other person and call them back later.

lolcatParis - "Invisible mobile phone!"

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IT Angle

if only it was a level playing field

How is it ok for police drivers to use handheld mics while driving?

That's a tad hypocritical isn't it?

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re: Talk and drive

I would guess its probably the same reason they are allowed to travel faster than anyone else when responding to emergencies. The reason being, they are trained to do it.

I do think sending texts when driving is just stupid but if someone is incapable of holding a conversation and driving safely at the same time then they really shouldn't be driving at all.

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Joke

The old ones are the best

Killed whilst texting? No, I would rather die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather; unlike his passengers who were all screaming......

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Radio

@JMB

I asked a friend who teaches amateur radio license courses about this. Apparently studies have shown that half-duplex conversation does not impair driving but full-duplex does. I take it being unable to speak while the other party is transmitting means one actually looks at the road ahead rather than the mental image one has of the other speaker in full-duplex. For myself I know that I tend to focus inwards a bit if using the dog and bone. Over.

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Balance and personal responsibility

Lets have some balance here. Looking down at your phone constantly to text is distracting obviously, holding a phone to your head does distract and only gives you one hand to do the turning and gears, indicators etc, so both these things are unacceptable. However I don't see a problem with short well controlled hands free conversations using a proper well fitted car kit. Some of these nanny state promoters and the blind over zealous DOT need to step back from labelling everyone not glued to the wheel with both hands a child murderer. Just as a driver I am seen as some kind of evil person already.

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Stop

Ridiculous test

It is interesting how they have picked a ridiculous test to try and show their viewpoint. Counting things as they happen is a notoriously difficult thing to multi-task. Ask anyone who has shot a rifle about counting the rounds. As soon as you concentrate on targeting (or a combat situation) you lose count. It's why most troops load tracer as the last few rounds in a magazine. Interestingly, driving almost never requires you to be able to count above 2; so this is asinine game produced by an asinine department.

Incidentally, sending text messages whilst driving or talking on the phone whilst driving can be pretty dumb. If you do it during a busy urban cycle you are pretty much asking for trouble. On the other hand if you do either of those things whilst on a clear road you are likely to be safe. It is little different from changing the CD in the stereo, or looking at the satnav, or one of a million other things peoples do in the car (eg smoking or eating). The thing that is most annoying about all this is that the police already have a system available for prosecution if they think that what you are doing in a car is preventing you from driving safely. It's called careless driving. They used to prosecute people for careless driving when using mobiles before the fixed penalty ticket idea, now they don't seem to any more. It's like so much in driving offences. By switching the bulk of the offences to fixed penalty, black and white offences, they stop police doing what they should be doing and dealing with genuinely bad driving. It would help accident statistics far more if the police dealt with things like tailgating, or general bad driving, rather than just issuing fixed penalty notices, more often than not using robots.

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Anonymous Coward

There is a big difference

between trying to identifying shirts of different colours and doing addition based on this, while listening to someone talk, and just talking to someone while you drive (otherwise talking to passengers would be just as dangerous).

The test in the game, uses the identifying of different colour shirts to simulate the visual aspect of driving, but the listening on the phone and adding up numbers means the language center is being shared. This is a bigger load than just driving and talking. Driving uses the visual and fine motor centers, and in my experience it is possible to ensure these areas are not impeded by the language centers (ask your caller to hang on for a second when you're about to navigate a busy intersection - it's not rocket science).

Of course texting while driving is a really bad idea, as both require the visual and fine motor centers, with texting also involving the language center.

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Stop

Oh crap!

Herds of people crossing while counting & keeping track of points... seriously, is that a skill I should need when driving?

Why not hit space when a question is asked and up arrow to drive, down arrow to stop when reaching a red light or when a pedestrian steps into the road? Isn't the issue whether you can keep track of driving conditions while listening to someone? I don't think doing math while having a conversation is quite the same.

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Stop

£60? Nice little earner, not in the least a deterrent

"Certainly the penalties for pressing a phone against one's ear (60 quid and three points) don't seem to be discouraging anyone.. Only by making it socially unacceptable can people be convinced to get off the phone when driving, and even then it won't be easy."

Making it socially unacceptable, or simply making the penalty much higher? - if you were fined, say £1000 and 6 points then even if the enforcement is weak the risk is sufficiently higher to provide a real deterrent. At £60 a pop however, people are likely to re-offend - representing a nice little revenue stream..

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@ Ben

Yes, somebody jabbering from outside the car is more dangerous than a passenger talking to the driver: most passengers can see a situation developing and will shut up.

As a pilot, I'd add another thought: we're taught that the priorities are aviate, navigate, communicate in that order. This also means that ATC or another pilot communicating with an aircraft will not be surprised or annoyed if, instead of a reply, they get a silence while a higher priority event gets dealt with followed by 'say again'.

Most people get annoyed and more insistent if they think they are being ignored no matter what the reason might be. Getting shouted at for not listening is exactly what you don't need during a traffic situation.

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Anonymous Coward

total crock

This "test" is a total crock in that it makes many false assumptions and leading statements.

First, it assumes the person on the other end of the phone conversation requires your undivided attention. If I am driving, the person on the phone needs to wait *especially* if I am near an intersection filled with pedestrians (or waving rabbits).

Second, it assumes that I care how many pedestrians are present and what they wear. The important thing to a driver is, "what am I about to hit?" When I approach an intersection, whether on the phone or not, I am concerned about the safety of me and those around me.

Finally, it equates counting pedestrian-chocked intersections with texting and phone conversations.

Do I use my phone while driving? Yes. Do people on the phone get annoyed with me and ask "are you listening to me?" Yes, because I am focusing on my driving.

That said, do I believe people should be texting while driving? No, because (my assumption here) it requires you to take your eyes off the road. I don't text, but I have to believe that the majority of people who do need to look at the phone while doing so. That, coupled with the convoluted combinations of button-presses required to enter a simple message make a more mentally taxing function than typing on a keyboard. Again, my opinion.

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Lee

@ Talk and Drive

Because unlike us the Police do have to do some training - before the flames start, i'm not saying that makes them better, safer etc but can anyone else say they had training to use there mobile whilst driving?

However i do think that if you are imbecilic enough to try texting whilst driving (unless you can now text without looking at the screen???)

well if you die in a nasty accident - well it's one less in the 'stupid' gene pool

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Coat

Back-seat driver test

"...challenges the player to listen to a woman's voice and press the space-bar whenever a question is asked, while keeping an eye on pedestrians wearing colour-coded T-Shirts."

Sounds like more like a test involving a typical woman back-seat driver nagging all the time, while at the same time trying to avoid the Chavs in the street...

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The Problem

The thing that the gov totally ignores is that once you learn to drive, there is little conscious thought involved. It's like walking - once you learn how to walk you no longer have to consciously think 'lift up leg... move forward... place down' - it just happens when you think where you want to go with muscle memory and what are effectively body movement macros.

All theses so called 'tests' present you with a totally new situations that require your complete conscious concentration. You might as well take someone who has never driven, put them in a car and demand they pass a driving test flawlessly the instant they get behind the wheel; then, when they fail, claim it was because they were listening to the instructor. Never mind the fact they had never driven a car before.

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Anonymous Coward

Just another way to ...

take away the fun in everything.

From here its safe to say talking of _any_ kind in a vehicle (even talking to yourself) will become illegal. Followed, of course, by having a radio or music of any kind (too distracting) and making it more and more a grotesque Kafkaesque pantomime to try and get a driving licence (it already is compared to when I got mine).

All its for is to keep people who would otherwise be on the dole in work pushing meaningless bits of paper around. Oh -- and to keep legislation flowing from the minds of nitwits.

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@Herby, @Jake

@Herby - According to CA DOT's website, the fine is $20 for the first offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses, no points (after "penalty assessments" it is 3x that, but they've not specified the conditions). So no, Blighty is not a lot cheaper than in California.

@Jake - I do. A lot. So does my mom (and she's almost 60 - definitely an "old fart" :). It's an excellent way to get a non-urgent message across without interrupting what the other person is doing. Maybe she wants to tell me something when it's 3am for me. Maybe I want to do the reverse. Or text from the airport saying "got flight, on time, see you at 2230". Just because YOU don't see the utility doesn't mean there isn't one. I'd never have expected Twitter to be so popular, and I'm not yet 30. </rant>

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Too little too late

Anyone who devotes insufficient attention to driving is a dick. It doesn't matter what they divert their attention to.

A dick with a phone is still a dick when you take away their (hand held) phone. You can't legislate common sense into people, the legislation was stupid.

All you can do is try to educate. I don't think the game was very good but at least it is the right approach.

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Anonymous Coward

Does sound like gov BS

As someone said the police talk and drive while in "hot pursuit". F1 drivers talk and race, I've conducted tests and it doesn't make a lot of difference.

Having said which sending an SMS while driving (if you use the buttons) has got to be madness!

You see this reported on the BBC and they'll say X thousand deaths a year caused by sending SMSs while driving, Y caused by rail crossing, Z caused by drinking, A caused by speeding, B caused by falling asleep at the wheel. However, if you add them all up they come to ten times more than the actual number of deaths!!!!

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Silver badge
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A modest explantion...

"If it is so dangerous then why do the police allow single-crewed police vehicles use their radios...."

Because it isn't dangerous per se. Just like speeding.

Doing 120 down a deserted motorway at 2 am in the morning is fairly safe. Trying to do 30 down a road near a street market 10 minutes after a nearby school has just emptied is very dangerous. Similarly, talking on a phone on a long straight dual carriageway is safe compared to talking on a phone while trying to navigate a magic roundabout at rush hour.

A sensible traffic policeman, unencumbered by legislation, would be able to make a balanced judgement on these examples. But we have moved imperceptibly into an oppressive society where extreme laws are passed using terrorism and mass murder of babies as justification, and then applied to any passing photographer or pedestrian who doesn't cringe suitably when an Officer of the Law passes...

The other reason is quite simple - there's one traffic law for the police and another for the rest of us. How many policemen actually get fined for speeding?

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Coat

@Jake

Yep, you're displaying advanced symptoms of Farticus Oldissimus ;)

Seriously, the "yoof" of today have entire damned conversations by text:

"Hi"

"Heya"

"Wht r u doin"

"Nothing"

"Coming over"

"Mebbe"

"Wht tim"

"L8r"

...

{note the lack of fully formed words or punctuation}

Generally, these exchanges convey little or sometimes no information whatsoever. I too am an "old fart" and have observed our teenage son doing this sort of thing for hour after hour, often whilst on Messenger at the same time to other "m8s".

Mine's the un-puffy one without the snorkel hood.

R.

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This is nonsense

First of all, that "test" was nonsense. It proves that most people can't add up by assessing crowds of people as values while being forced to listen to a woman talking about something you have no interest in. This is a most shocking result! I'm not even saying people can talk and drive, but if you're going to prove something, at least prove it with relevant tests. The test makes you do things you would NEVER do in a car. An F1 driver has a ridiculous amount of things to do as well as race, but ask them to start adding up t-shirts in a crowd and you may not get too many passing.

Second, I agree with some of the above comments, the test has nothing to do with texting while driving. Performing tactile actions have a different response to performing visual and mental tasks. Most of these young people can text without looking.

And third, don't most people learn to drive while talking to their instructor and listening for instructions? Would it really be that difficult to give people more training in chatting and driving since, if we're realistic, it's not going to stop because you'd have to ban talking to your passengers?

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Stop

anecdotal data point

When I got my first phone in 2003 I used it whilst driving, until a near miss for a nasty prang at a roundabout. I'm not worried about getting nicked and fined, I'm worried about causing an accident and having injuries or deaths of third parties on my conscience.

@Herby - £50 isn't much, it's the three points on your license that's assumed to be the real disincentive. When you reach 12 points you lose your license. (Then again three points is the standard penalty for doing, say, 75mph in a 60mph zone, and I don't see much evidence the disincentive works for speeding, probably because although you've a similarly low chance of getting caught by the fuzz, most drivers think the additional risk of actually hurting themselves or others is relatively low.

@Grant, mattchild and jake, making similar points: I'm reminded of the (urban myth?) of the driver of the first car to kill a pedestrian in London; he told the police "Well, be reasonably, how can I be expected to drive in a straight line when I'm so drunk I can barely walk?"

If you cause an accident because you were distracted by screaming children in the back seat, guess what, you ARE guilty of an offence; the long-established "Driving Without Due Care and Attention". There's nothing new there. Same goes for being distracted by loud music, daydreaming about that hot chick in accounts, or anything else. (And if you have an accident and can't point to the actions of another driver as the primary cause, it's going to be put down as pilot error; ie., you MUST have been DWDCAA, because you crashed your car. QED.

Police drivers are much better trained than civvie drivers, well beyond the level of the Advanced Driving Test, and that includes the safe operation of radios, et cetera (and - single-occupant police cars? I never thought about it before, but I don't remember seeing many police cars without two occupants.) Of course, police drivers screw up and cause accidents too, sometimes, with predictably tragic results: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/england/tyne/8028666.stm .

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Where are the police?

Using a mobile whilst driving is dangerous. Be it text or talk (even hands free). If we had any traffic police left (those munching doughnuts behind a revenue generator (speed camera) do not count) then we might be able to crack down on this.

I'd like to see offender face a year ban (with extended test afterwards) for a first offence.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. It was time drivers in the UK were made to realise that.

@mat and others

"If they decide that having a conversation on the phone (hand-held or otherwise) whilst driving is too much, what will stop the safety lobby from [deciding] that all conversation whilst driving is unsafe."

Is not "deciding" it is a proven *FACT* that using a mobile to talk (even hands-free) is more dangerous that drink driving. But the Government caved it to petulant, bleating ninnies like you. Are you seriously telling me that your little call can't wait five minutes for you to find a services/parking spot from which to make the call in safety?

Dear God, what a jumped-up opinion of your pathetic little life you have.

As for passengers - for whatever reason they are not as distracting (although they are still a distraction). This may be because a large amount of communication is non-verbal and enough of that still passes to the driver to allow for semi-decent communication. The other thing is the passenger can see what the driver sees and will know when to shut up and let the driver concentrate.

@Ben

"I fail to see how a correctly fitted [hands-free] is different from having someone else in the car"

The you, sir, fail. This attitude is the exact problem with drivers in the UK "I don't believe it, therefore it is not true". Do some sodding research! It's not hard y'know. Most of it is on the 'net and the rest can be got from the library.

Hands-free is more dangerous than drink driving. 100% proven *FACT*.

Bloody hell people. A car is a lethal weapon and yet you give it such scant regard. When was the last time you read the Highway Code, had a driver lessons, read up on correct driving techniques or even got off your lazy backside and practised them?

Perhaps you idiot are the reason that around 3,000 people die on our roads every year, and that number is rising. Even Spain has safer roads than us! And no, speed cameras are not the answer.

Getting the dangerous and idiotic drivers 9like some of you lot appear to be) off the road is.

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Rabbiting on

To be honest that test was really hard. I realise it was only to prove a point but you would have to be an idiot to use a phone in a situation like that. I am sure I am not the only one to point out to a caller that I am driving and that my concentration may be elsewhere. The woman nattering on starts with the question are you driving and then proceeds to take no account of this fact when you are distracted.

But I am seriously tempted to go along with a ban on phone use in cars. Clearly that demo shows that even with a hands free kit at least some portion of your attention is elsewhere. In Holland even having a phone in your hand is an offense (although somehow cyclists do not seem to realise this).

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@ JMB

Any Two-way radio is legal, not just the Police.You cant be stopped for trundling down the outside lane of the M27 using a CB/HAM/PMR radio.

Which to me seems a bit off. Given that to all intensive perposes TETRA handsets are mobile phones it seems evem more biased.

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Anonymous Coward

Pointless

Fun game, but not an accurate comparison to talking on the phone while driving.

It's not that hard to drive around, avoid hitting anything, and following traffic rules while talking to someone on the phone.

It's a different matter trying to count pedestrians wearing coloured t-shirts. Try doing that while doing anything else and the result will always be the same.

Pointless imho.

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Alert

@ JMB

"orientation, navigation, communication - in that order." as some pilot said once.

A conversation on a 2-way radio is very different from a 'duplex' phone call. I don't know why, it just is. Try it.

For some reason, when one's brain hears a message on a 2-way radio, it queues it up behind all other actions of changing gear, steering, observation, etc. until a suitable moment when you safely transmit your reply. You have control. Also, the subject matter of these conversations are highly likely to relate directly to your journey. (bike courier, police, trucker, etc)

A mobile phone call, OTOH, is a dynamic, real time brain activity that WILL override and interfere with driving technique. You are sharing control with someone who cannot see what you see. The subject matter is unlimited, and your concentration will be split between this activity and the other dynamic, real-time activity ie driving.

A conversation with a passenger is different again. Unlike a phone caller, they should be able to discern safe or unsafe opportunities for communication, and could also be told to shut up if needed. Again, your concentration remains under your control.

I spent 4-5 years surviving on a motorcycle in and around London as a courier. You can see a lot more of other driver's techniques when you can ride (carefully!) through traffic jams from such a relatively high vantage point. Spotting a tw@ on a phone was easy. Initially., your eyes would be drawn to clumsy driving and you would just KNOW that, if it wasn't a Volvo, it was another distracted selfish prick on a phone. They stood out a mile.

Texters are also easy to spot. They are the ones stuck in the car in front.

http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2009/caught-texting-while-driving-p1.php

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CB Radios

Why is it fine for me to drive along using my cb radio. surely thats just as distracting? but perfectly legal.. laws are all messed up

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