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Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Practical matter

Text-messaging while driving is a bad idea, and some KU researchers want to prove it.

January 13, 2009

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When you think of university research having practical applications, think of Kansas University researcher Bob Honea.

Honea and his colleagues at KU’s Transportation Research Institute are gathering data on how often cell phones and other wireless devices are in use when traffic accidents occur. It is their hope that the statistics will provide the basis for new laws regarding cell-phone use by drivers.

As Honea notes, it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that sending and receiving text messages while driving is a bad idea. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said. But when it comes to making laws, officials need more than intuition or anecdotes; they need hard numbers. That’s what the researchers are trying to provide.

The researchers contend that the involvement of cell phones and wireless devices currently is drastically underreported by law-enforcement personnel. Even so, the devices are blamed for 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries a year.

Those numbers are pretty dramatic, but if the researchers can show the actual number of injuries and fatalities is even higher, this issue might finally get the public attention it deserves.

Comments

grimpeur 5 years, 11 months ago

When is the LJW going to come out with a strong call for a law banning these, or at least a strong law enforcement effort under existing inattentive driving laws? The editor wrote: "It is their hope that the statistics will provide the basis for new laws regarding cell-phone use by drivers." What is your hope, editors? Now is the time, editors. It's irresponsible for you and the law enforcement community to continue to ignore this issue. These hazards must be stopped.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

Why doesn't cell phones just fall under inattentive driving? If someone can't speak on a hands free set, then should they be able to speak to a passenger, or answer a question from the back seat? Heck, should they even sing to the radio?I don't think cell phone use should have a separate law, but fall under the current existing laws.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Your tax dollars at work. Someone has to prove that taking (at least) one hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to type into a postage stamp sized keyboard might interfere with your driving.I have got to start applying for grant money - get one of those questions answered like do very tall people bump their heads more, or do double below the knee amputees spend less time tying their shoes...

Chris Ogle 5 years, 11 months ago

Remember the first car phones? They were the size of, you know, real phones. So big, they had to bolt the phone holder to the floor board. (By the way those old phones worked better too) The cell phone I have today is so small, I can't even find it while driving, let alone use the darn thing.

grammaddy 5 years, 11 months ago

Over the past few years I have come close to having a car accident numerous times. In each and every incident, the other driver was too busy with their cell phone to pay attention to their driving. I say ban all cell phone use in motor vehicles. If you really need to take a call, pull over. The city has many parking lots or small strip malls that make this possible.

del888 5 years, 11 months ago

You want proof? Ride around with a truck driver for a week. I have seen MANY examples of people running off the road, over the center line, or driving too slow / fast because they were either: a) text messaging b) doing something on their laptop computer c) drunk d) talking on the cell phone e) putting on makeup in the mirror.

davidsmom 5 years, 11 months ago

Eating in the car does not require the mental attention that talking on a cell phone does. Hands-free talking is no better because the problem is not with your hands but with your brain. When you split your attention, driving becomes dangerous.

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