Friday, July 17, 2009

Today's gripe

I have become wary of every oncoming vehicle on the road these days, and for good reason. It seems as if most of the drivers I see passing me in the opposite direction are talking on their phones – or worse.

Last evening on my way home, an oncoming car began drifting toward the center of the road in what has become an all-to-familiar fashion. As I steered toward the right berm, the car passed me, the driver oblivious of my presence, he cell phone propped on the top of her steering wheel, her thumbs busily texting away.

18 comments:

Brant said...

I recognize that it's mean to say this, but when I encounter a driver such as the woman who passed you, I sincerely hope to glance in my rear-view mirror after the hazard has passed and see that person's car leaving the road and rolling down a large hill.

Ellipses said...

It's ok if you have the car in cruise control.

The message sent from my iPhone

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Brant. Earlier this week a vehicle pulled in front of me at the Mall as I was driving on the Ring Road. The man driving the car was talking on his cell phone, but holding it in his right hand and steering only with his left. He didn't see me at all----his right arm blocked his vision.
I laid on the horn, but the only reaction I got was the middle finger of the left hand, which meant he was not steering at all.

Anonymous said...

On the above post, I omitted to say that the driver had the cell phone in his right hand, but had it up to his left ear. The "nice man" made a left turn in front of me. His right foreare blocked his vision.

Brant said...

And the crazy thing is, the idiot gave YOU the one-fingered salute for beeping the horn after he damn near killed you.

Anonymous said...

I wish that I could take some of those folks to ride with me at work. I'm with a rural fire department in the Idaho panhandle. Sometimes I run on the extrication unit. As important as that phone call may have been at the time....I've never cut anyone out of a car that was the least bit concerned about where their cell phone landed after the accident. Don't get me wrong...I take my cell everywhere. I have a special needs son and elderly parent. When the phone rings....I let it ring! When I find a safe spot to park...I call back. It isn't exactly rocket science....or maybe it is.

Brant said...

It's apparently too much for some people to handle to wait to make a call or text someone. This people are azzhats, to use a phrase I saw earlier today. People like to blame kids, but I actually see more adults doing the phone calling while driving. And, it's mostly women. Fact.

Anonymous said...

Just like what happened the other day. A truck came across the center line on Rt 519 in N.Strabane, killing a man and who knows how the wife is. This guy obviously wasnt doing his due dilligence. Just wondering if it was a cell phone or old age. That is another issue I have....After age 70, there should be more strict testing for seniors, at least yearly testing to make sure the roads are safe.

Anonymous said...

Bad drivers are always available and according to most data of the past ten years, the amount of accidents overall have not changed in any significant way.
Overall, the amount in which a cell phone was being used has increased, but since the overall has had no real increase (it changes by 2-5% almost annually) it likely means that the driver that was distracted by the radio in 1960-90's is now distracted by his cell phone. What it does not mean is that there is a need for another law.
And Brant, it was mean to say what you stated. To wish an accident on anyone is a sign of inner hostility.

Brant said...

There's a big difference between pushing a button on a radio and carrying on a conversation with a hand-held, or even a hands-free, cell phone. Their use by a driver of a motor vehicle should absolutely be against the law. Studies also have shown a major difference in safety between a person carrying on a cell-phone conversation and a driver talking to a person in the car with them. I just had another incident over the weekend of a car drifting from its land and toward me. What a surprise. A woman on a cell phone. Finally, I have a lot of hostility, outward hostility, toward someone who puts my life and the lives of others at risk because they find it so important to talk on a cell phone - or worse, text message, while they drive. If something bad happens to them, maybe it saves another person's life. That's OK with me.

Anonymous said...

Your arguments are not supported by the car accident data. People have been talking to people in cars for as long as cars exist. Now they are talking to someone else.
If you were correct, overall acccidents should have skyrocketed. They didn't. Instead, those that are bad drivers found a different way to be bad. Many people use phones while driving and are aware of the road, as they are when someone is sitting beside them and talking.
The argument that if something bad happens is part of your inner hostility. Wishing they would change is one thing, wishing death or harm on another for this perceived offense is another.
Consider would you support torture or murdering another for using their cell phone while driving? I doubt it, but you advocate their harm in an accident.
You need to seriously look at the problem that arises internally for you with the need to see others harmed. You have advocated other such positions in the past regarding criminals of a young age. It is quite distrubing.

Brant said...

You totally ignore the fact that studies have shown a much higher level of driver distraction when talking on a phone than when talking with someone actually in the car. You also ignore the fact that, if your claim that the number of accidents is relatively static, there is a possibility that some people are driving safer, which conceivably would reduce the number of wrecks, but the people using cell phones are causing the number to remain at its previous level. The undeniable fact is that people using cell phones while driving causes or contributes to accidents, sometimes deadly accidents. And I don't have a "need" to see others harmed. I just don't shed many tears when people's stupid, irresponsible actions cause them to suffer the consequences. And finally, here's a little food for thought:

Cell phone driving statistics
Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands free) extends a driver's reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08%. (University of Utah)
The No.1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia Tech /NHTSA)
Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
10% of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time.
Driving while distracted is a factor in 25% of police reported crashes.
Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

Anonymous said...

I think all cell phones should be banned from usage in public.
While not nearly as dangerous, the people who can't go shopping without having the phone at their ear is also skyrocketed.
If you were that damn important, you wouldn't be shopping at Wal Mart in the middle of the day.

Anonymous said...

Brant, we have an increasing number of young people which have more accidents
The number of accidents per mile driven has not increased a significant number nor has the amount of overall accidents.
It should as the increased safety of drivers is always matched by new inexperienced drivers. In fact, new drivers in large numbers being younger as we have the afterboom, Generation Y and such should be increasing the numbers, but it does not happen.

As the past anon writer proved, the real issue is generally not cell phones, but a wave of anti tech people that hate the changes that are happening around them. They don't own a cell phone (as I believe you stated you don't). They rebel against the change and see it as counter productive. They hate that people use the phones in public places and so on and so on.
They hate the phones and the technology that goes along with it.

Brant said...

I do not want a cell phone, personally, but I have no gripe with people who like them. If they want to wander through the mall talking to someone, more power to them. I love my home computer, my satellite television, my DVR system, etc., but I don't work on a laptop or watch TV while I drive. The real issue here is that people should not be gabbing on cell phones, especially hand-held phones, while they drive. Are you in favor of cell-phone use while driving? If you are, you're in favor of accidents resulting from said use. And I really don't see this so-called "wave" of anti-tech people. I'm pretty much the only one I know who doesn't have a cell phone. In fact, many of my friends have a cell phone as their only phone. So why don't you quit trying to ascribe prejudices to me that I don't have, quit raising all these red-herring side arguments about total number of accidents and address the central issue: It is unsafe for people to use cell phones while driving.

Park Burroughs said...

Now, wait a minute. I do own a cell phone and am highly appreciative of the technology that makes such communication possible. Those of us in the older generation who recall being unable to find or reach a pay phone in an emergency know how valuable this technology is. Even though I own a cell phone, fortunately I don't feel compelled to be in constant communication with everyone I know every waking moment of the day. And I know my limitations as a driver. I rarely listen to my CD player when alone in the car because I know I can't safely manage to find and put CDs in the player and drive at the same time.

Ellipses said...

I would say that the whole "Talking on the Phone to other people" feature is easily the LEAST used feature of my last 4 cell phones.

If not for being married and having a job, I could probably go a good couple of months or more without speaking to another human being...

Brant said...

This just in. Do you think maybe members of Congress get some contributions from mobile communications companies? Hmmm?

NEW YORK - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gathered hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the hazards of drivers using cell phones but withheld the information from the public in part out of fear of angering Congress, a newspaper reported Monday.
The former head of the traffic safety agency, D. Jeffrey Runge, told The New York Times that he was urged to withhold the findings to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who warned the agency against lobbying states. Runge said transit officials told him he could jeopardize billions of dollars of its financing if Congress thought the agency had crossed the line into lobbying, the Times said.
Critics say that the failure of the Transportation Department to pursue the role of driving distractions in car crashes has resulted in traffic deaths and allowed multitasking while driving to grow.