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Archive for Saturday, April 29, 2006

Proposal would prohibit teens from using phones while driving

Plan also would stiffen fines; some commissioners want ban for all ages

April 29, 2006

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Paul Atchley is trying to be scientifically correct - not politically incorrect - when he says using a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving while drunk.

"Someday society will understand that people are dying because of cell phone use by drivers, and then the laws will change," said Atchley, an associate professor of psychology at Kansas University who has done research on causes of inattentive driving.

The days of a law change may be coming sooner rather than later in Lawrence. Members of the city's Traffic Safety Commission are set to debate two proposals on Monday that would ban cell phone use by motorists younger than 18 and create stiffer fines for all cell phone users involved in accidents.

On Friday, several traffic safety commissioners said they were willing to go a step further and consider an outright ban of wireless phones - both hands-free and hand-held devices - by all drivers in the city limits.

"If you're going to ban it, you should ban it across the board," said Richard Heckler, a traffic safety member. "I know teenagers carry part of the burden, but they certainly aren't the only reckless people in town."

Any decision by the Traffic Safety Commission - which will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall - would have to receive final approval from city commissioners.

The issue likely will be watched by many. Members of the wireless telephone industry said Friday that they particularly did not like that the ban would include hands-free devices.

Like many cell phone owners, Nena Grattan, KU freshman, St. Louis, sometimes uses her cell phone while driving. The city is considering a new fine for motorists who are guilty of inattentive driving while using a cell phone. "That would be so hard to enforce," said Grattan, Friday.

Like many cell phone owners, Nena Grattan, KU freshman, St. Louis, sometimes uses her cell phone while driving. The city is considering a new fine for motorists who are guilty of inattentive driving while using a cell phone. "That would be so hard to enforce," said Grattan, Friday.

"We would certainly oppose a complete ban," said Jamie Hastings, director of government affairs for T-Mobile USA, who said her company generally didn't oppose laws that only ban hand-held devices. "We think there are distractions just as great. I suppose if you also want to ban McDonald's coffee and kids in the back seat, then we wouldn't oppose it."

Others also said they had questions about the ban, though many agreed it likely would improve safety.

"It seems like a little too much government regulation," said Eudora resident Jennifer Lawler, who was in downtown Lawrence on Friday.

But several traffic safety commissioners said they thought there was growing evidence that using a cell phone while driving was exceedingly dangerous.

"The data is hard to ignore," said Bob Hagen, a traffic safety member.

Atchley provided information to the Traffic Safety Commission last fall when the idea of a Lawrence ban emerged. He said studies by both the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal found that drivers using a cell phone increased their chances for having an accident more than 400 percent, which is the same risk factor for drunken drivers.

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But Hastings, the T-Mobile spokeswoman, said Lawrence leaders should be cautious about relying on such limited data because "there's science on both sides of the aisle."

Although Monday's discussion may evolve into one about a complete ban on cell phone usage by motorists, the Traffic Safety Commission technically has just two proposed ordinances in front of it.

The first would impose a $120 fine - twice the normal fine for inattentive driving - for any driver using a cell phone while involved in a vehicle accident.

The second ordinance would prohibit use of wireless communication devices - everything from phones to computers - by motorists younger than 18 years old. The fine for violations would be $100.

On Friday that ordinance drew the ire of some Lawrence High School students, who said the law wouldn't recognize that many members of their generation had been using the devices most of their lives.

"I think it is probably older people who aren't used to talking on the phones who are more dangerous than the younger users," said Wade Billings, a 16-year-old student who said he used his cell phone about every other time he's in his car. "For some people it might be a distraction, but it doesn't distract me."

Comments

Lonestar1 7 years, 11 months ago

Ban Cell Phones, Hair Brushes, Makeup and Fastfood in cars. Like the ad said, "Drivers wanted", do the rest when your parked.

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strateup 7 years, 11 months ago

First it was cigarettes now it's cell phones. Is Lawrence still in the united Staes?

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Pilgrim 7 years, 11 months ago

Posted by insiderinfo (anonymous) on April 29, 2006 at 2:19 p.m.

Maybe the city would be considering getting a new police chief, its clear the police do not have leadership, just look at all of the man hr. put into the yellow house investigation, 6 mon. No charges.They can't find anything stolen in all the stuff they took(or they would have filed charges) and now people are saying they have been detained and questioned against their will by the FBI, when in fact it was the police.


And yada yada yada. This all has what to do with 16-year-olds and cell phones?

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quitbitchin 7 years, 11 months ago

ban or no ban, i'll still use mine. there's no way to enforce it so who cares.

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Pilgrim 7 years, 11 months ago

Posted by Ragingbear (anonymous) on April 29, 2006 at 8:11 a.m.

Ban cell phones while driving period. No hands free, no headset, no mental uplink to the internet. Ban them, or get the drivers that use them off the road. They are worse than those who had a few beers with lunch, and we should not tolerate such dangers on the streets at all.


Then they'd better not ever catch you carrying on a conversation with a passenger in your car, and you'd better not ever say a word to the driver of a car in which you are a passenger. A conversation is a conversation is a conversation.

But if ever there is a chance to get the ban you're looking for, this is it. Better get the three stooges to pass this one before they get voted out next spring.

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egypt 7 years, 11 months ago

JPT, My drivers ed course (4 years ago) said to pull over to take or make a call on your cell phone, Driving in Lawrence and Kansas city, there have been multipul times where Ive been cut off, or almost hit by a cell phone driver, I had one person try to change lanes while I was beside them, swerve and almost hit me, then they gave me the finger. Another time I had someone beside me stearing with there wrists, while holding the phone infront of them trying to dial a number and drive, I dont think the ban should just be on teenages, Ive been almost hit by plenty of business men and woman and adults, If the phone call is that much of an emergancy you can pull over and take the call.

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none2 7 years, 11 months ago

We need to understand that the government needs more revenue. They can either raise taxes and piss everybody off, or they can find something to villify and tax. If they do it for those under 18, then they only piss off people who cannot vote. As more and more young people choose being wireless only, they also loose wireline taxes from them.

This evil that they are making out of cell phone talking is just silly. If someone isn't paying attention to their driving, it is called inattentive driving. People can get tickets for that. For years people have been communicating on CB radios, etc and no one complained. The growth in wireless phones has been exponential over the last few years, yet we see no similar increase in traffic fatalities. When I was in high school we had four kids die in alcohol related driving accidents (two different accidents). I have yet to hear of any similar situations with cell phones. Is there a conspiracy by the media and phone companies to not mention that the deceased was found clutching their wireless phone or that a wirless device was thrown from the car or that the first person to know about the accident was someone they were talking to?

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insiderinfo 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe the city would be considering getting a new police chief, its clear the police do not have leadership, just look at all of the man hr. put into the yellow house investigation, 6 mon. No charges.They can't find anything stolen in all the stuff they took(or they would have filed charges) and now people are saying they have been detained and questioned against their will by the FBI, when in fact it was the police. You would think if the police could not prove wrong doing they would say so and take the lumps, no way, they are seizing the business banking records and conspiring to keep the owners off ebay.I wonder if ebay was told the same thing these poor customers have been told the police was the FBI ? Why would they conspire to keep the yellow house off ebay by reporting any new bank accounts to ebay , if they could not prove the owners were doing anything wrong. I think the reason they are doing what they are doing to this small business in question is they are trying to run the yellow house out of business, why else would they make such comments in the beginning about the largest fencing operation before they checked to see what was stolen and what was not.Most of the time the police reply is its a on going investigation no comment, what is different here?.The police are still harassing yellow house customers, one customers was picked up on the 4-27-06 and taken down to the police station for questioning against his will and told to return the next day at 3:00, and when the customers attorney call the police about the her client being harassed the police denied it ever happened, all the neighbors saw the police taking the guy.No leadership where else can you work on the Drug force after rehab

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Silence_Dogood 7 years, 11 months ago

OTTR, Why do you hate America so much, hater?

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JPT 7 years, 11 months ago

When I was 16 and took a course in driver's education it was said that one thing you needed to do in order to be a safe(r) driver was to drive with both hands on the steering wheel in the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position.

If you are talking on your cellphone while driving and that cellphone does not have a headset.....then obviously you cannot drive with both hands on the steering wheel.

It's been sooo long since I took driver's education (way before cellphones came about) that I am just wondering what a typical/current driver's education course has to say about cellphone usage while driving?

Does anyone here know?

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The_Voice_of_Reason 7 years, 11 months ago

Lets ban police sirens and their distracting flashing lights! I bet those have caused just as many wreaks from rubber necking folks! I can understand the hand held argument but baning hands free talking is STUPID!!! Yet another stupid ban from our "great" city commission...

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jwmound 7 years, 11 months ago

I will love it when they ban them and all the city commissioners will get a call from their wife/husband on the way to the grocery store to remind them to pick up some milk, and they get pulled over and ticketed. Don't these commissioners have anything better to discuss and debate? More important that is.. How bout , discussing how to fix all the pot holes in town,.. do somthing that will help us all out and our cars.

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geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

BUENOS KNOCKERS???!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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billyflay 7 years, 11 months ago

buenos knockers paladin!

Anda a lavarte la raja, maricon culiao!

no?

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classclown 7 years, 11 months ago

The other evening I was at my granddaughter's school for some music program she was in. Seated a bit behind me and to the left was a parent yacking away on her cell phone. Nice to know what our priorities are.

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classclown 7 years, 11 months ago

Paladin push 1 for English. :P

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YourItalianPrincess 7 years, 11 months ago

You simply can't ban cell phones from only teenagers. Going west on 6th St. the other morning was a prime reason why.

Here I am going 35 down 6th St. when a lady in a truck pulls out in front of me leaving the parking lot at Dillons. I noticed she had one hand on the wheel, and the other holding her cell chatting away. When I pulled up next to her I then noticed her two kids in the back seat. Don't think I didn't yell at her, because I did.

How could anyone take a chance like this. You don't pull out in front of someone going 35, chatting on your phone, and taking a chance of hurting others. What a digbat for having no regard to me, her kids and herself.

When my phone rings and I'm driving I don't answer it. If its truely important they will call back again. Then you pull into a parking lot and answer it.

Apparently this lady was to intertested in her phone call to understand that she could have caused harm to others.

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

No hago las drogas y nunca no las tengo. Ni, lo tolero de mis niños o apruebo de el en sociedad en general. Deje el estado del expediente tan.

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rightthinker 7 years, 11 months ago

by offtotheright:

'paladin, GO HOME!'

Yeah, Mexico just made it legal to possess small amts. of cocaine and heroine!!

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dhill00 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey raging bear- .50 is past the point of death, so regardless I think its safe to say that talking on the phone is much much safer than driving while dead.

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dhill00 7 years, 11 months ago

Alright we should also ban old people, middle aged people that are getting old, and ban the old people one more time. Normally its not the old folks that end up being in the accidents they normally only cause them by their terrible driving. This new cell phone rule wont stop me from playing my psp while driving

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crono 7 years, 11 months ago

So, here in Lawrence, we don't believe teenagers are capable of choosing what they should eat for lunch. Now we also want to make it so they can't judge whether they are capable of talking on a phone and driving at the same time.

They have to grow up sometime... when?

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offtotheright 7 years, 11 months ago

Ban 16 year olds who think they know every thing!

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Ragingbear 7 years, 11 months ago

Did anybody see that episode of Mythbusters where they tested whether it was safer to drive with a .50 alchohol limit than to drive while talking on a cell phone?

Every day, more fender benders, close calls, accidents, and people getting ran off the road are caused by cell-phone talkers than any other demographic.

In the last month, I have been nearly hit twice by somebody chatting on a cell phone and not paying attention.

Ban cell phones while driving period. No hands free, no headset, no mental uplink to the internet. Ban them, or get the drivers that use them off the road. They are worse than those who had a few beers with lunch, and we should not tolerate such dangers on the streets at all.

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awoc 7 years, 11 months ago

Paladin, I think that's what they call multi-tasking?

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

Conozco a una mujer que sideswiped una vez tres coches mientras que comÃ-a una ensalada, busca un Cd, y poniendo en su maquillaje, todo en el mismo tiempo. Ella consiguió un boleto para conducir desatento, entre otras cosas. Sus ya ilegales dejaron cualquier actividad interfiere con conducir. Pero, es imposible hacer cumplir a menos que el algo más demuestre que ha ocurrido. Apenas ver a alguien el hablar en un telefono de la celula, serÃ-a una pesadilla a juzgar.

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formerfarmer 7 years, 11 months ago

Lets ban radios, cds, tapes, or anything else that would cause you to look away for an instant. We could make you drive alone so you wouldn't talk to a passenger and be distracted. Reading while driving has been banned for years, but just drive to KC on K10 and see how often you see someone eating, reading, putting on makeup, ect.

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Jackie Jackasserson 7 years, 11 months ago

No one has adequatley compared talking in the car to the person next to you to talking on the hands-free cell phone. Let's ban talking in cars. hehe.

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awoc 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, almost everybody thinks they're a good driver the same way almost everyone thinks they're a good parent. Most are wrong.

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classclown 7 years, 11 months ago

Ban cell phones period.

"I think it is probably older people who aren't used to talking on the phones who are more dangerous than the younger users," said Wade Billings, a 16-year-old student who said he used his cell phone about every other time he's in his car. "For some people it might be a distraction, but it doesn't distract me."

And almost every person caught driving drunk considered themselves to be sober enough and in complete control of their faculties to be able to drive.

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