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back to article Take away bad drivers' mobile phones, they still crash their cars

Chinese researchers reckon its bad drivers who cause accidents, not the phones they're using at the time, and that banning in-car use doesn't reduce accident figures significantly. The state-sponsored study was triggered by disappointing results from bans on mobile usage, which haven't reduced accidents as much as had been hoped …

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Pint

Better interpretation

People who use handheld phones or text while driving are utter idiots. They remain utter idiots even when not using such devices, but are merely driving a car.

Simples!

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Thumb Up

Re: Better interpretation

Exactamundo!

That'd be why I see so many Italians (i.e. pretty much all of them, here in Rome) with mobiles clamped to their ears whilst driving. A*holes the lot of 'em!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: selfish cunts

Isn't English a strange language. I prefer any cunts I'm involved with to be selfish, it's usually a good sign. The ones that are open and welcoming to everyone have other unpleasant problems.

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Re: Better interpretation

I think you have that backwards. Or are just wrong.

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Re: Better interpretation

being selfish can be mended/altered/treated to some degree,. Idiocy, however, is beyond help of the medicine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: selfish cunts @ AC 13:41

So you would prefer your c***s to be selfish? Strange reasoning there as surely that means you do not get any dibs either as they are keeping entirely to themselves?

I prefer mine to be selectively open.

Or maybe you own yours? Can't tell gender on forums sorry!

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Anonymous Coward

Mobile phone use

Does cause accidents as I witnessed yesterday.

At traffic lights car (Corsa) runs into the back of the car in front. Having been in the next lane I saw the young airheaded lady, blonde and not unattractive texting on her phone. The traffic came to a standstill, the driver she hit got out and looked at his cracked bumper.

The young lady in question got out of her car still texting!

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Re: Mobile phone use

And the cause of this is the texting?

If they didn't have the phone they would otherwise have been concentrating on the traffic with test-pilot like focus?

Or would they have been doing their makeup, playing with the radio, looking in the glove box for sweets, reading a magazine, chatting to a friend in the car, turning round to slap the kids

Since there isn't a specific act to ban any of those then they can't pose any sort of serious hazard to driving

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Windows

Re: Better interpretation

It's all of the above.. Utterly idiotic selfish cunts. All baes covered.

Good drivers that don't get distracted, don't use hand held devices of any type (including makeup), or try to type anything on a keypad, while the vehicle is in motion (if I'm stopped at lights, I will admit to using the dash keypad to dial a number for the built in handsfree).

But the dickheads that crash, are generaly distacted by a cloud that looks like a penis, or a car that's slightly better than theirs, or the legs on that blonde over there and by generaly anything other than what they should be looking at.

I'd drive on average 800 miles a week, and have done for 15 years.. I've been T-boned at junctions, rear ended 3 times (insert Kenneth Williams joke here), and still only managed one accident that I have to admit was my fault, because I locked up on a motor way (twice), trying to not hit a van that had stuck 2 wheels on the outside verge, so it wouldn't hit a car infront, that had another car infront of it pull out blindly from the inside lane.

Happily, under greasy conditions, and despite locking up a few times, I ended up with a cracked bumper, and the van infront had to geta new rear cluster.. not bad from 70mph on the outside lane, just after localised rain, and no ABS on a connect..

BUT ,I digress; legislating no phone use for drivers is pointless, because the good drivers wouldn't do it in the first place, and the bad drivers will be distracted by something else, or continue to use their phones anyway, no matter what the law says..

The good point of the law, is that it's a very easy way for traffic cops to visualy spot, fine and point those bad drivers, to the point that they don't have a licence anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better interpretation London at least

I've seen police pass the chatting on phone drivers with no second glance, makes for having to do paperwork you see, all a bit of a pain when they could just ignore it all and have a paper free day, just like pavement cycling, drugs being smoked by people walking along etc.

Maybe after an accident they will look at it, but then that is guaranteed overtime for them.

Also, since banning it, I see more people driving keep looking at their laps to read / send txt's whilst moving therefore taking their eyes off the road for longer

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Re: Mobile phone use

"Or would they have been doing their makeup, playing with the radio, looking in the glove box for sweets, reading a magazine, chatting to a friend in the car, turning round to slap the kids

Since there isn't a specific act to ban any of those then they can't pose any sort of serious hazard to driving"

There is an act to ban all of those, and any others. It's called driving without due care and attention.

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Mushroom

I don't know about China, but here ...

the problem isn't the law prohibiting people from talking/texting while driving. It's that it's not enforced. Just driving to the supermarket I will be lucky if I don't cross 2 or 3 drivers talking on the cell, even when it's perfectly illegal. See a cop along the way? They are more likely to bust you for a tal light then cellphone.

As for texting ... words just fail me, so I'll settle for a nuclear explosion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't know about China, but here ...

Traffic laws are rarely enforced at all and driving is getting worse.

A couple of weeks ago some idiot drove past me doing about thirty miles an hour on the pavement that I was walking down.

Yesterday, on two separate occasions, I saw cars approaching traffic lights that were turning red so they pulled out onto the wrong side of the road, overtook the cars that were stopping at the lights (five cars in one case!), jumped the red light on the wrong side of the road and nipped back into the correct lane.

With this dangerous nonsense going on I could give more of a toss about mobile phone use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't know about China, but here ...

The problem with this study is that they're looking at Chinese drivers. In China everyone drives with their heads up their asses.

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Joke

Pretty obvious...

Of course those drivers will continue to cause accidents when you take away their phone. Instead of phoning or texting they are now busy searching (for their phone) so they still have little attention for traffic.

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Silver badge

Or maybe the good drivers *know* that using a phone will distract them, so they don't do it, and hence don't have accidents?

You'd need to do a full study, with control groups of good drivers with phones, and bad drivers without, to get meaningful results.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget hands free please.

I know it's a lot easier to lump everyone together into just two groups - i.e. the "[good guys who never touch the stuff]" and the "[selfish idiot cunt rags texting while driving]" - but that *might* be oversimplifying the situation just a little bit... maybe?

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Hands free

There can be a tendency to 'zone out' during some calls -like having to think about why your monthly figures are crap and what's your excuse.

Maybe a mobe section of the driving test? ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elmer Phud

There can be a tendency to 'zone out' with kids in the car, or your nagging wife, or being familiar with the route you're driving along, thinking about the lyrics to that song you're listening to a little too deeply, or <gasp> just letting your mind wander when there is absolutely nothing tangible to be distracted by.

That's what kills me about this conversation... if the standard they want to apply to cell phones - arguing that hands free is inadequate - were to be applied to every other potential distraction we'd need the driver in an isolation bubble, only being able to see their mirrors controls and windshield, with no nourishment music or potential distraction allowed, and we might as well give them a quick shot of meth before they get behind the wheel so they can't 'zone out'. Imagine how safe we would be!

Where is the evidence that handsfree is any more dangerous or distracting than a normal conversation with someone next to you in the car? If there is none, then why would a reasonable person argue that it should be banned?

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Re: Elmer Phud

Well if I'm talking while driving, whether on a hands-free, or to someone in the car next to me; if I get to a difficult stretch of road, I stop talking and concentrate on the driving.

The person next to me understands that and waits for me to navigate out of the difficult stretch. The person on the phone starts saying "hello, hello, are you there, can you hear me".

That, I think is the difference between the two.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elmer Phud

"That, I think is the difference between the two." It's a hypothetical situation that you made up to support your case. It could happen sure... but I could, and will now, just as easily come up with a contrary hypothetical:

Your girlfriend is riding next to you and has accused you of cheating on her... there will be no shutting her up under any circumstance save pulling over and physically removing her from the vehicle. If the conversation were over a hands free it would take one click to end the conversation, or less well, you could reduce the volume and ignore when that dangerous stretch of road approaches. At the very least the person on the other end of the phone cannot reasonably demand eye contact... which cannot be said for a passenger.

Hypotheticals are fun and all, but if a hands free conversation truly is more distracting than a conversation with a passenger there should be solid, trustworthy research to back it up. Is there?

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Re: Elmer Phud

But only one of those has a high probability of occurring...

Also, in your example a responsible driver would either tell her to shut up, or pull over so that you can have the conversation safely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elmer Phud

"only one of those has a high probability of occurring..."

Really... when talking on the phone via hands free you can't say to someone "hang on for a second" or "shut up", hang up on them if they're screaming in your ear and won't stop, or for that matter pull over so that you can have the conversation safely?

In fact, I can't think of a single situation where a responsible driver would be any less capable of handling a conversation via hands-free than they would a passenger.

It's not like there is some sort of magic in a hands free device that makes a responsible driver irresponsible, so what would prevent said driver from telling the person on the end of the phone line to, for example, "shut up" any less than they would a passenger?

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Re: Elmer Phud

> The person next to me understands that and waits for me to navigate out of the difficult stretch. The person on the phone starts saying "hello, hello, are you there, can you hear me".

You assume the person sitting next to you has any road sense at all.

My ex-wife would continue to talk and then get offended when after asking her to be quiet a few times, she'd get told in no uncertain terms to shut up and let me concentrate on the driving.

Kids are even worse.

I want my isolation bubble!

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Re: Elmer Phud

@AC

The hypothetical passenger can see out of the car and can probably see you concentrating. The person on the end of the phone only has 'shut up' to go on. Although its not likely to happen often, circumstances could arise where its not wise/safe to take the time to end the call. If Im the last car sat in a queue after a blind bend, I won't exactly be sympathetic if I can still hear someone talking on your phone after you've rear ended me.

Im all for people pulling over to have that conversation safely, whether on the phone or in person. That's the sign of a responsible driver, one who recognises they are becoming distracted and takes steps to mitigate it.

My point was that a situation where the misses is yelling the odds is less likely to occur than someone on the end of the phone asking if you're still there when you're trying to concentrate.

Im of the view that 99% of calls can wait if Im driving. Ill pick up on the handsfree, find out what its about and then end the call unless its important enough. Even then its kept short or I pull over.

To be fair though, I really enjoy driving so its as much a case of not wanting to have time I enjoy ruined by trivial calls.

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Re: Hands free

That used to be me. When I first started work, it was easier for me to visualize what the person on the other end of the phone was looking at if I closed my eyes. After getting a cell phone, so I could be on-call (ugh), I discovered that closing my eyes to more easily visualize their problem was not a good thing to do at 70mph in traffic...

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wim

Re: Elmer Phud

don't you mean the cone of silence ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elmer Phud

If I'm on hands free, I always tell the caller that I am driving, so they are aware if I go quiet there is a reason. Often I will say "hold on" whilst I negotiate a junction or similar which requires more concentration, or if I didn't have time, I will ask the caller to repeat the last sentence they said. Seems quite straightforward communication skills to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elmer Phud

Rolling a cigarette, smoking a cigarette (one hand on wheel) eating, hell I saw a 73 Bus driver drinking his coffee whilst going along Essex Road last week and another with his newspaper open across the steering wheel along Upper Street, how is one handed mobile use in a car any worse?

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Re: Elmer Phud

Even a pedestrian on a mobile will blunder into you. Simple reason is his 'mind is elsewhere'. As for why they need to 'walk up and down' while ranting - well, don't try that when driving either.

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Silver badge
Flame

Don't take their phone away - take their car.

If I could issue tickets for people using their phone when driving, I could solve the deficit in a week.

I don't know why this particular action manages to infuriate me so much. But there is something galling about seeing someone in a £40,000 car who didn't have the brains to buy a bluetooth - or get one bundled with their phone (like wot I did). Everyone knows the ban was for safetys sake - so these selfish cunts (thanks AC@13:21) are basically saying to the world "I couldn't give a toss about anyone elses safety."

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Re: Don't take their phone away - take their car.

I don't know why this particular action manages to infuriate me so much.

For me at least, the answer is here

Everyone knows the ban was for safetys sake - so these selfish cunts (thanks AC@13:21) are basically saying to the world "I couldn't give a toss about anyone elses safety."

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Silver badge

Re: Don't take their phone away - take their car.

Because all the studies (including this one) show that using the bluetooth hands free is just as dangerous.

It's about as effective as saying you should impound all the cars that don't have a St Christopher hanging from the mirror - they choose to buy a £40,000 car and don't bother to invest in the protection of an omnipotent deity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: YAAC

Because all the studies (including this one) show that using the bluetooth hands free is just as dangerous.

Citation needed. In the meantime I call bullshit.

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despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already

^ This.

The solution to any given problem is rarely passing a new law. But we act like it always is, because that allows politicians to be seen to be "doing something". The new law usually turns out to be ineffective, or worse, but by then we're wetting our pants over the next manufactured "crisis" and don't care.

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Megaphone

Re: despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already

They absolutely need to pass a new law - one that gives the police the power to not only seize the phone but take the B&Q hammer they keep in their boot to it in front of the driver.

Repeating:

You are a twat

<crash>

You are a twat

<crash>

You are a twat

<crash>

Then fining the bastard for clean up costs and disposal. Only THEN will these braindead fuckwits learn. Plus it will make Motorway Cops so much more entertaining.

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Re: despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already

So after a minor run-in with a speed camera recently, I attended a "Speed Awareness Course" which was actually a few hours of defensive driving. During this they said that there is no law against using your phone while driving in the UK and never has been. As you said, it's already been covered by due care and reckless driving. The recent "ban" was just pointing out that it's already illegal.

If you're involved in an accident, your phone records are checked by the police to make sure you weren't on the phone near/at the time. There hasn't been a single case of a fatal or serious accident where the driver on their phone hasn't ended up in prison (presumably when they weren't the fatality). Which makes exactly no difference to the person they've killed or maimed, but hey.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already

Then fining the bastard for clean up costs and disposal

I used to know someone who had something similar happen, just not with a phone. He was caught with a piece of equipment comprised of a glass receptacle and a downpipe leading to water (sure you can figure this one out). Car wasn't moving, but car smelt a bit.

The copper told him to put the bon^H^H^H equipment down and stamp on it. So he did as he was told, copper then did him for littering and then made him clear the glass up.

To be honest, he learnt more from that than if he'd been done for possession (given they couldn't prove he had, or planned to drive under the influence).

Can imagine something similar would work with phones. You'll complain about a fine and points for a while, but then forget and do it again. You're unlikely to forget the arse who made you smash your phone, did you for littering and then made you clear it all up!

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Bronze badge

Re: despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already

You're reading my mind, man.

About fifteen years or so ago, when there was all this furor about "aggressive driving", there were laws passed against it in cities all over the US. Never mind that we had laws covering reckless driving, speeding, endangerment and such -- by god, we've got to do something about all this "aggressive driving"! Never mind that a perfectly effective information campaign on the hazards of speeding, tailgating, passing on the right, running red lights, etc. could've been mounted without a law -- we need to do something! Well, they did do something, and people are even more stupid than ever behind the wheel -- still tailgating, still crawling in the passing lane, still speeding, still passing on the right, still running red lights, still fondling mobile phones with one hand while steering with the other... but, hell, at least somebody did something.

One of the most important things I've learned is that when busybody pressure groups and politicians start yelling about how somebody needs to do something about something, it's time to look the fuck out.

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Anonymous Coward

To quote Penn and Teller:

"Whenever someone says there ought to be a law there probably oughtn't."

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Nev
Stop

Shite drivers are shite?

Who'da thunk it?

Banning the use of a phone whilst driving is all well and good. But they really should ban everything else (smoking, eating, drinking, breast feeding etc) if they want to be thorough about safety.

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Re: Shite drivers are shite?

They already do. That is what the driving without due care and attention law is about. Most commonly used on people who cause horrendous accidents by drinking (coffee or soft drinks) or eating while driving.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shite drivers are shite?

Oi! Leave breast feeding alone! I love sucking on a tit whilst driving!

Oh..... right

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Big Brother

Same goes for speeding

It's the same problem with all the speed cameras and calls to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

Accidents are caused by inappropriate speed - not just going over the speed limit.

90mph on an empty motorway? Not a problem.

25mph past a school at going-home time? Get the ambulances ready.

People who drive badly do so even when not using a phone and not speeding - and still cause accidents.

Good drivers (probably) don't use the phone in the first place, and get off it, or pull over ASAP. They also drive at speeds appropriate to the road conditions, and within their abilities - even if that means they are above the speed limit.

The problem is, there is no simple way, once the test has been passed, to weed out the morons until after they have caused an accident - so we all have to pay the price with more and more rules that don't actually achieve what they are intended to do.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Same goes for speeding

> Good drivers (probably) don't use the phone in the first place

Moreover, a good driver who *does* use the phone in such a way as not to cause a problem is unlikely to be caught...

> there is no simple way, once the test has been passed, to weed out the morons

Hactually, there is. A police patrol seeing someone driving inappropriately can report the offence, But that sorta presupposes a patrol car being there - and patrol cars are so much more expensive to run than speed cameras...

Vic.

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Re: Same goes for speeding

Extra police patrols could catch people in the act of doing something stupid, but what they can't weed out are the drivers who don't concentrate, or who are just crap but appear to be driving OK (not speeding, overtaking recklesly etc) most of the time. Their poor driving only comes to light when something goes wrong, by which time it is too late.

Hence my comment that there is no easy way of weeding these drives out once they have passed their test - unless we all have to retake our tests every 10 years or so. While that would do a great deal to improve the standards of driving, I can't see it being something that even people who think driving standards are falling would be willing to support in large numbers.

I guess another option would be forward facing cameras and GPS tracking in every car. Now that really is a big brother vision I wouldn't like to contemplate!

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Same goes for speeding

> but what they can't weed out are the drivers who don't concentrate

Yes they can.

Go driving with a P1 some time, and marvel at their observation skills.

That you or I might find it difficult to spot a driver who isn't concentrating does not mean it's impossible to do so - just that we are deficient compared to people trained to do this.

> Hence my comment that there is no easy way of weeding these drives

Yes, I understand why you said that, but it is based on a false premise. There *is* a way to weed out such drivers, but it involves skilled people. The Government would much rather introduce unskilled technology, becuase they can *claim* to be doing something without actually scratching the surface.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah... at last... replace political dogma with action

Whether it's driving whilst using a mobile phone or any of the tens of other things that appear to have to be banned these days what I think the Chinese have discovered is that there's a difference between:

Banning something => Political dogma and being "seen to do something"

Active policing => Work to fix something

Even in the UK we would be better off if the Police regularly stopped bad drivers...

Same is true with guns. Banning the legal ownership of guns did nothing for the 3.5 million or so illegal guns circulating in the UK - all we did was close down gun clubs!

G

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