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back to article Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Recent legislation banning the use of handheld phones by drivers had basically no effect on the number of road accidents, according to a new study. “If it’s really that dangerous, and if even just a fraction of people stop using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents,” says professor Daniel Kaffine, who …

Anonymous Coward

I am not smart enough to find the original link, so I apolgise for the facebook link.

This is the "logic" behind the ban.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152524626537884&fref=nf

I personally think texting while driving is the most bizarre and dangerous cell phone usage.

The "logic" could be applied to any activity which distracts the driver. Radios (which if invented today would be illegal to operate), SatNavs, (which probably ought to be illegal to operate while moving), opstreperous knee-biters in the back seat and so on.

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Headmaster

@AC 10.50 GMT 21/07 Re: "I personally think that texting while driving......."

As far as texting while driving is concerned I entirely agree - utterly insane. It is simply not possible to both drive a car safely and at the same write text messages, an activity that also requires concentration. If one has to answer a text then pull over as soon as you can and then do it. As far as this study is concerned on the subject of talking on the phone I remain agnostic.

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Talking and Walking

People can't even walk safely whilst talking on the phone. Try negotiating a double fire door at work with someone in the phone! It could be that maybe driving needs less attention than walking.

I've found that if I'm taking to someone sitting next to me, then they can see the reasons why I sometimes don't respond immediately. Maybe I'm overtaking or there's a roadblock ahead.

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But you don't operate a radio while driving. You turn it on when you get into the car and turn if off when you get out.

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"But you don't operate a radio while driving. You turn it on when you get into the car and turn if off when you get out."

Sadly, while that should be the way things are (and it certainly works for me), the reality is probably that people don't like this song, so tune to another radio station, or don't want to listen to this CD again, so fumble around ejecting that one and finding another - all while driving.

(Yes, a CD player is not a radio, but Mr Average Joe may very well call that thing in his car a radio even if he doesn't use the radio function - although stereo is more likely).

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"But you don't operate a radio while driving. You turn it on when you get into the car and turn if off when you get out."

Actually I change stations sometimes.... That is why I have controls on my steering wheel....

But usually I choose a playlist before I leave, then if I need to change it, I pull over...

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Pint

Yes, excelent demonstration, saw the video last week, even forwarded the link to friends. I hope it saves lives!

Have a pint, but not on the road!

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"Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on handheld phone use by drivers"

There we go, fixed it for you.

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I cycle a lot and the drivers who concern me most aren't always on the phone but there is a lot of dangerous driving done by drivers on the phone. Though maybe they are just careless in general. That's why these kind of studies are so difficult. But still, it's against the law but I still see a lot of people doing it.

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@Chris Wareham -- "Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on handheld phone use by drivers"

This this this SO MUCH THIS. The problem is enforceability. There is a massively decreased police presence on the roads, and an actual traffic stop is the only way to catch someone doing this.

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Anonymous Coward

"But still, it's against the law but I still see a lot of people doing it."

So report it then! I am so tired of people saying "I see it all the time" but they never report the drivers or attempt to collect evidence!

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WTF?

Do tell...

"So report it then! I am so tired of people saying "I see it all the time" but they never report the drivers or attempt to collect evidence!"

So we report it and then what?

Oh I see I'm supposed to whip out a camera, focus, get a photo of the driver, then one of the car along with the reg plate..all in about 5 seconds flat!

Genius.

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"So report it then! I am so tired of people saying "I see it all the time" but they never report the drivers or attempt to collect evidence!"

Yeah, don't do this.

AC - Try reporting everyone you see using a phone behind the wheel. I'll bet you don't make it to August 1st before your local police send someone round for a chat about police time/resources etc.

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"Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on handheld phone use by drivers"

Exactly right. Maybe I'm an exception, but I did actually stop using a phone other than with a headset, and even then I sometimes just kill the call if I'm in a dangerous spot. I had the aha moment a lot earlier than when the ban came in, mainly because I have been using mobiles for a *long* time (my first phone was a NEC P3 :) ).

So, from simply personal experience, the outcome of the study only makes sense with your re-interpretation :)

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Anonymous Coward

Reply Icon

"But still, it's against the law but I still see a lot of people doing it."

So report it then! I am so tired of people saying "I see it all the time" but they never report the drivers or attempt to collect evidence!

And exactly how are *you* reporting them? By phone?

:)

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re : James 51

Cycling through a red traffic light is against the law but I see a majority of cyclists doing it. For some reason they think the highway code does not apply to them.

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I don't have a camera on my helmet (whiich I suppose I could rectify) and licence plates can be dirty (little more difficult). I have enough problems with the ocassional ejit trying to spook me by blasting a horn and shouting at me or waving their arm out of the window as they speed past without putting a big target on my back. Plus I've had things like oil being stolen from the tank in my garden and the police didn't even call out when I reported it. Just because you hand the police a conviction on a plate doesn't mean they'll do anything about it.

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Re: re : James 51

As do I occasionally but the police don't seem to be doing much about that either. I doubt it is the majority of cyclists doing it though, only the majority of cyclists you notice (or at least you don't notice them till they are going through a red light). I see far more car drivers do it but then there are far few cyclists in the road, you can start on the percentage of the total who do such things etc etc. Lot of kilometrage in that argument.

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Re: re : James 51

"Cycling through a red traffic light is against the law but I see a majority of cyclists doing it. For some reason they think the highway code does not apply to them."

As both a cyclist and a motorist I mostly agree with you.. (I don't know if its the majority that jump red lights)... when cyclists jump red lights (even if it is 'safe' to do so) it creates the idea that they don't follow traffic rules and are somehow different to the other parts of the traffic. As a cyclist I disslike it when they do as it just re-inforces the idea that if you are on a bike you don't really follow the traffic rules and it generates animosity between cyclists and other members of traffic. When I'm driving I disslike it as I don't know what they are going to do next.. sverve into another lane without indicating? I'm afraid I could hit and hurt someone :(

I don't jump red lights on my bike (or in my car), and usually if I am standing at a junction (with my bike) other cyclicts won't jump either if I get there first.. but every so often I will see someone standing at the front, waiting; not for the lights to change, but for the road to empty so they can pedal across while it is still red. I don't think its the majority, BUT.. I cycle on a fairly busy road, so less chance of 'safe' jumps and I probably don't see as many as I would if I was on 'empty' roads.. but it certainly is enough to be a 'thing'.

Long way of saying that there are cyclists that don't like cyclists that jump red lights either :(

The solution is very simple: red means stop, yellow means get ready (at least on driving tests), green means go :)

edit: forgot to quote post.

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Yeah, nothing could go wrong...

As a cyclist, who regularly sees this behaviour in the UK (similar laws apply), I canniot recommend attempting to photograph the driver - many drivers get irate when you do such things, and you're pretty vulnerable on a bike.

Personally, I've had drivers swerve to try and hit, or at least scare me, while cycling for such small things as giving them the finger (after they'd nearly killed me), so attempting to photograph them could lead to a drastically decreased life expectancy for the cyclist.

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Re: re : James 51

A majority? Really. Empirical evidence please, or is it just that they're the only one's you notice.

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Re: re : James 51

Virtually all pedestrians will cross the road if the red man is showing and it is safe to do so. For some reason they (i.e. everybody) think the highway code does not apply to them. What is the difference between a cyclist passing through a red light when it is safe and a pedestrian (i.e. you) doing the same?

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"maybe they are just careless in general"

I suspect this is it. People I know of who make handheld phone calls in the car also are involved in other risky behaviour. My guess is that the unsafe drivers are just as unsafe whatever laws you pass. The people who stopped making phone calls in the car were the ones who were careful about doing it anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

@James

You shouldn't point fingers, he who drives while zipped up in a sleeping bag.

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Re: Do tell...

I ride to work with a helmet cam for this reason. You can see the phone users a mile off as they shimmy about and border the lane. That and they don't see fit to get out of the outside lane despite dawdling along and nothing in the inside lane. I have quite a few reg plates and face on camera :)

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Re: re : James 51

Green means you may go if the way forward is clear.

Just saying.

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Re: re : James 51

One is illegal, the other isn't. Pedestrians have priority on any road, other than a motorway and are not controlled by traffic (key is in the word) lights or signs.

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@Neil B "There is a massively decreased police presence on the roads, and an actual traffic stop is the only way to catch someone doing this."

Some areas there aren't any traffic officers even before the cutbacks, Devon & Cornwall Police for instance have just 7 traffic cars across the entire region, the biggest single police force area in England, and the regular patrol cars couldn't care less about motoring offences. I've seen police cars going round without headlights well into dusk, and they ignore drivers who have a brake light or headlight out - this being a rural area the roads are unlit as soon as you get outside the towns.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do tell...

> I have quite a few reg plates and face on camera :)

So you're operating a surveillance camera? Is that legal?

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Re: re : James 51

"The solution is very simple: red means stop, yellow means get ready (at least on driving tests), green means go :)"

Er, no. Amber means stop, along with red and red/amber, especially on your driving test!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re : James 51

What is the difference between a cyclist passing through a red light when it is safe and a pedestrian (i.e. you) doing the same?

Agility. Pedestrians have a much greater range of senses to detect if they are about to get themselves killed, and can change direction pretty much at will. Cyclists move at higher speeds, look generally only ahead (their range of vision is in the 150° range forward) and need to brake/swerve to change their position.

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Re: re : James 51

In the UK 'Highway Code', only those rules expressed as MUST or MUST NOT actually have the force of law; all the others are advisory (although they may be taken into account if an accident leads to legal action).

Pedestrians:

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At all crossings. When using any type of crossing you should

always check that the traffic has stopped before you start to cross or push a pram onto a crossing

always cross between the studs or over the zebra markings. Do not cross at the side of the crossing or on the zig-zag lines, as it can be dangerous.

You MUST NOT loiter on any type of crossing.

Laws ZPPPCRGD reg 19 & RTRA sect 25(5)

Cyclists:

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You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & R(S)A 1984, sect 129

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You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.

Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD reg 10(1)

<https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/highway-code>

So the little green and red men are advisory only for pedestrians crossing the road, but the big red amber and green traffic lights at road junctions are obligatory for cyclists just as they are for motor vehicles.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do tell...

So you're operating a surveillance camera? Is that legal?

For private use, yes - that's equivalent to taking pictures on the public road. It gets different if its use is commercial, so if he seeks to make money of what he has filmed he might find himself in trouble soon (use to shore up insurance claims after an accident is not deemed commercial, so that's quite OK).

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Re: Do tell...

Yes it's legal because those people are needlessly endangering my life. When there is an incident, the first thing the guilty party does is blame you. So next time you see a cyclist/motorcyclist there is a good chance you're being filmed because the majority of car drivers are too busy mucking about and not paying attention whether it's texting or zoned out because they have't had their morning coffee :)

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...and an actual traffic stop is the only way to catch someone doing this.

I dunno. Don't forget, every aspect of our lives is now committed to MPEG. Including your commute, your stop at the petrol station, your buying sweets,... basically any urban road or motorway, you are a film star. They probably even see which number you dialed.

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Re: re : James 51

It is legal for them to use their judgement and cross when the light is red for them. It is illegal for any road user to do the same (not sure how that would work out if you had a problem with a horse, particular if something spooked it).

I know is the US they'd be charged with jaywalking. I was going to make a flippant comment about crazy laws but I am sure we have a few of those too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re : James 51

... here (in an un-named european country) relative to a motorist, the cyclist and pedestrian are the same. They are both "weak" (as opposed to strong) and as such the "strong" actors (cars and trucks) have an absolute responsibility not to run over them. This is a sub-optimal way of looking at things, as it promotes an "I am always in the right" attitude from the cyclists and pedestrians.

The most egregious act I see regularly, and which was responsible for 2 accidents in which I was present, involved cyclists riding the wrong way around roundabouts causing all sorts of havoc as the motorists are all looking the other way. It is pretty horrible watch a car flatten a cyclist and have to make evasive maneuvers, afterwards to call ambulance, cops etc. and then explain to the plod that it was the cyclist's fault.

The number of cyclists with a very apparent death wish is astonishing.

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Re: re : James 51

As do I occasionally but the police don't seem to be doing much about that either.

Ah, that makes alright then?

It's still against the highway code.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do tell...

> For private use, yes - that's equivalent to taking pictures on the public road.

Not the same thing at all. Photography in a public place is OK if used for private and domestic purposes. You are pre-emptively monitoring individuals and collecting personal information about them to be used in the event of a road traffic incident. This is surveillance and is subject to a different set of rules.

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Re: re : James 51

Ah, that makes alright then?

No, my point is that both cyclists and motorists jump red lights and it is wrong to condemn the entirety of either group for the actions of (hopefully) a few. The police have a duty to stop anyone from doing so but I have never seen that traffic rule enforced on either a cyclist or a motorist the spot.

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Go

Re: re : James 51

Really? In Massachusetts, green means go and red means go...

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Re: Pedestrians ... are not controlled by traffic (key is in the word) lights or signs.

That's correct in the UK. I understand it's not correct in the USA and so might not be elsewhere too.

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The real contribution to road safety would be to ban cyclists.

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Joke

Re: Do tell...

Yes, because holding a phone or other camera steady long enough to get a clear picture of one moving car from another moving while driving is much safer than holding the phone to one's ear.

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Re: Do tell...

"I ride to work with a helmet cam for this reason."

Car drivers can get dashboard cameras, too. I think this will become increasingly common. A relative was involved in an accident recently and pleasantly surprised to discover that one of the cars coming the other way was a driving instructor with a dash-cam and so there was HD video footage of the whole thing. Made the insurance paperwork *much* easier.

I can see a time coming when you get a reduction in your premium if you have cameras on your car. This is not because it lets your insurance company screw you when it was your fault, but rather because it makes it so much harder for the other guy's insurance company to argue when it was his fault.

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Joke

Re: The real contribution to road safety would be to ban cyclists.

Keep death off the roads: drive on the pavement.

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I was wondering...

The article didn't mention it, and in the UK we have had 'hands free only' legislation for a while, yet people with shit cars with no bluetooth continue to call... and by extension continue to crash and die too.

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Re: re : James 51

so you are the type of cyclist that ignores red lights then....

and when you are killed doing it, it will be the drivers fault.

and not 'all' people cross against a red. In fact this very weekend me and 10 or so of my mates were out on the piss, and traversing town from pub to pub on 2 occasions we waited at red lights even though there was no traffic coming. (and to be fair taking the piss out of ourselves as we did it!)

apparently it's more common in germany

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Amber means stop, along with red and red/amber, especially on your driving test

explains him being a cyclist then dont it

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