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back to article OMG US states to ban txting + driving

The US government wants to crack down on teens texting their BFF Jill from behind the wheel through federal action and public education. The Department of Transportation today convened a two-day "Distracted Driving Summit," gathering lawmakers, experts, advocates, and automakers to mull plans and recommendations on the dangers …

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Stop

The last texted words were "oh shi.............."

I have nothing to say it is all too incredulous. We worry about combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan but these numbers are huge. 37000 crash fatalies a year 5700 ish from texting. Add on the 17000 odd gun homocides and you have to say we need to take guns and cars away from US citizens for their own good.

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WTF?

Driving without due care and attention

How do US states not already have a law like this?

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WTF?

sooo...

if 16% of fatal crashes were caused by distracted drivers

how can they say that under 20's are the higest proportion of fatalities due to distracted driving with - wait for it - 16%?

it doesnt add up

to 20+ segment would also have to have a 16% distraction/fatality rate or the total would not equal 16%

theyre pulling numbers out their ass again

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WTF?

I'll give up my crackberry

When they prise if from my cold dead hands...

Seriously WTF?

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Bronze badge

@Thomas Bottrill

"How do US states not already have a law like this?"

Um a law like that is done at the sate level.

They charge in the most states would be reckless driving. The charge becomes more serious if some is injured. In some states it becomes a felony if some is hurt.

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Coat

damn socialists

damn commies trying to tell me what I can and can't do at the wheel of *my* car

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Unhappy

re Thomas Bottrill

How do US states not already have a law like this?

You are not thinking like a politico.

It makes no difference whether or not you already have laws in place, at least here in the uk. Thinking up stupid new laws is a good way to show the population just how brillant you are and how you are doing you best to protect them. And hence why you need a payrise, moat and £3million office refurbishment.

We have a driving without due care and attention law, but they still banned the mobile phone.

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Alert

(untitled)

Did he say: "You can't legislate behavior,"

So, what's the point of a law?

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Joke

Dum law

Just like talking on a mobile, it is perfectly safe to text whilst dr

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Stop

@Crazy Goat Man AI

The problem with the due care and attention thing, was that the cop had to prove you were driving without due care an attention. Easy enough if your weaving all over the road, but harder to do if you are going in a straight line whilst yapping on your mobile. Of course, yapping on your mobile is still bloody dangerous whilst driving no matter how "in control" you appear to be; so the new law was brought in to make it easier for the police to crack down on it.

The only shame is that said law did not go far enough and ban the use of hands-free devices as well. Whatever means you use with a mobile, using it is still bloody dangerous when driving (as much, if not more so, than drink driving).

If it is THAT important the person will call back, or you can pull over somewhere safe and return the call. What will it cost you, 5 minutes max? Is that worth a life?

I guess they could have just defined using a mobile as driving with under care and attention and not needed to add a new law, but I am not sure if that would have opened them up to a legal challenge from the likes of BMW-tards who think they have a right to do what they want (and it is almost always a BMW driver. Is a lobotomy required for purchase?)

Either way - leave the mobile alone whilst driving.

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not necessarily a redundant law

"We have a driving without due care and attention law, but they still banned the mobile phone."

Is DWDCAA usually applied after a crash, or to prevent a crash? Unenforced laws that apportion blame after a crash are useful for settling accounts, but not so useful for preventing crashes. An objectively broken/not-broken law is easier to enforce and prosecute, without any arguments in court about whether This Driver can chew gum and walk simultaneously.

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Anonymous Coward

@ james 68

Go look at the data first or read the article carefully.

The sub 20 group is 16% , and so yes all those over 20 is also 16%.

But the over 20s is split into several age groups. The sub20 is the largest of these age groups.

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Why a law is not a bad thing

If you get pulled over and ticketed in the US, you can contest it in court. If the charge is just driving "without due care and attention" it is up to each and every individual judge to determine if texting while driving qualifies for that, and then also to determine fitting punishment. A clear-cut law helps eliminate any such ambiguity.

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Hmmm

I couldn't help noticing that twice as many people died of this cause last year as were killed on 9/11. Not to mention the half million injuries.

Has anyone else wondered how the US federal government's response will compare with its reaction to 9/11? Will they invade Mongolia or Paraguay, and decimate the local population?

The overriding constraint, of course, must be that American industry is not inconvenienced in its pursuit of vast easy profits by selling meretricious plastic electronic toys.

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RE The BigYin

I totally agree that you shouldnt drive whilst on the phone. The phone call gets the attention not the driving. The point being was that all you should need is some decent scientific studies to show that you concetration is diminished, so where arround akin to drink driving and just use the existing law.

That said this governement and scientific studies is as bad as this government and thinking up new laws. So its hardly win win.

I just personally think less laws are better than more, and lot of politicos think more laws are better.

That said I conceed the point that it a lot less open for interpretation

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Stop

FFS

For completeness, I hope whey also ban word processing while driving.

Lawyer: Your honour, my client was not word processing when the accident occurred; my client was just balancing his/her cheque book with the aid of a spreadsheet.

Judge: Oh! That’s not mentioned in the law, case dismissed.

I’m just waiting for some ‘merkin to sue a car manufacturer because the owners manual doesn’t state that you may crash you car if you drive and text at the same time.

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RW
Welcome

"Make the punishment fit the crime"

Since in-car cellphone usage became a safety issue, I've amused myself by concocting an appropriate punishment for offenders, which I hereby offer to the masses of El Reg readers:

Cop stops offender's car. "Give me that phone."

Cop does war dance on phone on pavement, reducing it to random fragments.

Cop writes ticket.

Judge offers convicted offender a choice, 6 months with no cellphone use or 6 months with no driver's license.

Self-important would-be wheelers and dealers (aka scummy real estate agents, et al) whine and plead, as do horny teens.

Populace dances in streets.

What I'd REALLY like is an in-car cellphone jammer with a radius of, say, 10 meters, so when I'm stopped at an intersection at least the drivers in adjoining lanes would be cut off from their e-umbilicals.

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Grenade

Victimless crime laws should be illegal

Make it illegal to cause an accident and have the penalties be very steep. Remove laws regarding speed limits and other items that don't hurt people but "might" lead to an accident.

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Flame

the simplest solution

No law - at least as pertains to drivers -

New law :

All cellphones and other related texting/phone call capable devices - MUST NOT FUNCTION for incoming or outgoing service - with the exception of the local emergency service(s), if the device is moving more than (name a reasonable slow speed - I use 10 mph) .

This allows walkers, joggers, and grid locked drivers to make and manage phone calls, texting sessions etc. -- However once the phone starts moving faster (ie the user is driving) - existing calls are disconnected, and no new call can be stared or received.

All of these devices already have either GPS or equivalent capabilities so determining the current travel speed is not an issue.

I biggest objection I hear from people I propose this Idea to is : what about passengers?

my answer is: shag them -

(in the US at least) as a passenger you not allowed to drink alcohol (in the vehicle - open bottle laws) even if the driver is not drinking. On public transport - well that just makes an already bad experience just a little bit better without having to listen 95 different idiots on the phone.

Flames - cause I expect to get a few.

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FAIL

@Mad Hacker

Two problems:

1) Once someone has already caused an accident, chances are good that someone else is dead or injured, so penalizing someone after the fact is of no use to the injured party.

2) No one thinks that he/she is the problem, so removing the penalties for dangerous behavior will, in theory, cause an upswing in the behavior, resulting in additional accidents.

Operating a multi-ton vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and dictating safe behavior when doing so actually seems to me like a reasonable use of government power.

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@ RW

Ye but the stupid fucks would then be looking at there phone going "I had full reception a second ago".

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Anonymous Coward

*shrug*

As long as I'm still allowed to watch porn while I'm driving, I don't care.

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@Fred 4

Agreed -- if a call is important, stop and concentrate on it. A phone that you can take with you is still a lot better than a landline.

And if your business can't survive without making calls on the move, I'd rather give my custom to someone better organized than you anyway.

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No cellphones, no need for legislation

"How do US states not already have a law like this?"

Have you had a look at the coverage maps for a great many US states? And the reality is FAR worse than the highly-over-optimistic coverage maps would suggest.

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