Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Better tracking of cell phone use sought on accident reports

KU's Transportation Research Institute says that driving while talking on a cell phone is as bad as driving drunk.

January 12, 2009


Driving + Texting = Death.

That’s the answer Bob Honea keeps coming up with, even if he doesn’t have all the numbers yet to fill out the equation.

“Intuitively, we all know it,” said Honea, director of the Transportation Research Institute at Kansas University.

Driver distraction — including the sending and receiving text messages while operating a motor vehicle — ranks among the nine major issues facing transportation these days, according to a new report from the institute.

Honea and other representatives will discuss details of their report Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where they will be attending the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board.

Honea acknowledges that nobody should be surprised that texting while driving isn’t all that bright of an idea — “It’s a no-brainer,” he said — but institute officials are hoping to help lay the groundwork for doing something about it.

The first step, Honea said, is to gather more data about the problem. That means being sure that law-enforcement personnel make a concerted effort to investigate — or at least keep track of — instances when cell phones and other wireless devices are in use during accidents.

Determining whether a particular call or text message “caused” an accident isn’t as important, he said, as simply documenting when such communications are involved.

Connecting cause and effect can come later through number-crunching and related analyses.

“It’s like smoking and cancer,” Honea said. “You infer it. Statistics show something is happening, but you have to have the statistics to do that.”

The institute says that use of cell phones and other wireless devices while driving officially leads to 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries annually in the United States. Honea and others maintain that those numbers are severely underreported or recorded, something that establishing a uniform system for collecting data could help correct.


Ragingbear 9 years, 4 months ago

How about we hook up a velocity indicator to cell phones? That way, if they are being talked on while going more than 55mph, they explode....Sounds like some sort of bad Samuel L. Jackson movie.

trinity 9 years, 4 months ago

one thing could be added to your list, pywacket...there was a scene in that steve martin movie, parenthood, in which steve's character's wife was doing some, umm, how we say-"stress relief technique" while he was driving-and he ran the vehicle in to a pole! ;)every time i see someone with a map or book or newspaper propped on the steering wheel-and i've seen this frequently from my seat on my motorcycle-i just cannot believe the stupidity of folks.

igby 9 years, 4 months ago

Radios in auto were the subject of concern in the 1950's. Rock and Roll was so popular that the critics quickly shut up in spite of all the wrecks at high speed that the distracting music may have caused. Cell phones are popular as well and basic needs over step any saftey concerns the critics can muster from questionable data that is over sold as facts. Cell phone companies have made cell phones harder to use with the touch screens so that a person cannot feel the key pad and must look at the phone on correct lighting so that the keys may be used. They has made these phones so delicate to touch that the pressure must be exactly at the correct location on the phone that the touch pad even fails regularly when 100% of your attention and touch control is applied. I really hate these touch screen phones because if you press to hard the phone will lock up and freeze. In case you are attacked of have to call 911 in a desperate situation the damm phone freezes up and locks the screen for a while. All these measures were built into these phones to help stop people from using them while driving or for any other time that 100% light touch screen control is not being used used. In other words, there junk and useless when you need then in a desperate time or while driving. This makes using them while driving a clear distraction. If they're smart they will get rid of the touch screen phones. They are a piece of junk!

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