Archive for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

KU expert on distracted driving supports National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation to ban cellphone use

December 14, 2011


The federal National Transportation Safety Board recommended this week that cellphones be banned for drivers. It's a move praised by Paul Atchley, an associate professor of psychology at Kansas University. Kansas is one of 35 states to have banned texting and driving, but does not have laws regulating cellphone use while driving.

The federal National Transportation Safety Board recommended this week that cellphones be banned for drivers. It's a move praised by Paul Atchley, an associate professor of psychology at Kansas University. Kansas is one of 35 states to have banned texting and driving, but does not have laws regulating cellphone use while driving.

A Kansas University professor who has studied distracted driving praised the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation this week to ban cellphone use while driving.

The recommendation, which includes a ban on hands-free devices, is well-supported by research in the field, said Paul Atchley, a KU associate professor of psychology.

Atchley said many media reports focused on a double-fatality crash: an Aug. 5, 2010, accident near Gray Summit, Mo., involving a pickup truck, a tractor truck and two school buses. Besides the fatalities, including a 15-year-old, 38 were injured in the crash.

The 19-year-old pickup truck driver, who also died in the crash, sent and received 11 texts in the 11 minutes before the crash.

“Driving was not his only priority,” said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairman. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”

Kansas is one of 35 states with a ban on texting and driving, Atchley said, but doesn’t have any laws regulating cellphone use while driving. Nine states have such laws, he said, none of which bans hands-free devices. The United States as a whole lags behind countries with more restrictions on cellphones and other devices while driving.

Enforcement remains an issue, Atchley said, particularly through the courts.

Some areas, such as Chicago, have had success in law enforcement working with the courts to effectively enforce texting bans, but such cases are still rare, he said.

The statistics are well-documented, Atchley said. Researchers have found any type of phone use, including hands-free devices, increases the likelihood of a crash by four to four and a half times, a similar rate to drunken driving. Texting and driving increases the likelihood of a crash by six to eight times.

“Put it in the trunk,” Atchley said. “That’s what I tell my students to do.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Gandalf 2 years, 4 months ago

Only a total idiot would even consider banning hands free phoning. Talk about 1st amendment rights violation. Heck even people who were texting could make a good case if they received a ticket without a moving violation. Dumb as that may sound.


friendlyjhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Hotdamn! A KU expert says the National Transportation Safety Board made a good recommendation. That sure will make me feel better about it.


voevoda 2 years, 4 months ago

It makes sense to ban devices that require drivers to remove a hand (or both hands) from the operational components (wheel, shift, etc.) of the automobile. Hands-free devices may not be less distracting, but at least drivers don't literally have to drop what they're doing in order to respond to a situation on the road. So I'd allow hands-free devices, but encourage insurance companies to charge significantly higher rates for drivers who use them while driving. And any driver who is involved in an accident while talking on the phone (or texting, etc.)--something simple to determine from phone records--should lose both his license and his cellphone. Doesn't matter whose fault it is, technically speaking: talk on the phone while driving--have an accident--lose your license and your phone. That would cut down on this bane on the human race.


Darwin 2 years, 4 months ago

Banning cell phone use while driving is a very good concept...however enforcement will be a major issue as the laws always seem to change which hinder the Police in their ability to do their jobs. Or is the lawyers. The Police will likely have to have someone on video which is BS. Oh no...we can't take the Officer's word on this, we need to see the tangible proof. With the numerous other duties/responses they have to deal with, this will almost have to be a "selective enforcement". change the subject...I wish they would crack done big time on people that can't seem to use their turn signals. Seems to be an epidemic these days.


gphawk89 2 years, 4 months ago

Ban 'em. Everywhere. Driving or not. I'm tired of loud annoying ringtones that people purposefully don't answer right away so everyone can hear their ringtone. I'm tired of people yakking loudly on cellphones. I'm tired of cellphone-yakking pedestrians either not watching where their going or standing motionless blocking other pedestrians' way (although it is funny when they walk into each other, walk into a pole, fall off a curb, etc.).


Gandalf 2 years, 4 months ago

Much as I hate to agree some of the above poster's. Banning handfree usage is almost beyond belief. Might a well as try to ban mouths!


kawrivercrow 2 years, 4 months ago

I foresee the unintended consequences of this being worse than the original problem. If only a small fraction of all averted phone callers makes a furtive (or not so furtive) move to pull over to the road side, parking lot, etc. to use the phone, the odds of a wreck via other mechanisms is now amplified.

Furthermore, I have to wonder about the statistical methods used to conclude that it "increases the likelihood of a crash by four to four and a half times, a similar rate to drunken driving". If this is true, then is there any corroborative evidence showing a rise in non-alcohol accidents that corresponds with the precipitous increase in cell-phone usage over the last 10 years? It would be easy to cherry-pick the studies that show the desired outcome while ignoring the studies that don't support a researcher's goal.


juma 2 years, 4 months ago

What about dogs on your lap. I can't believe how many drivers have some dog on their lap. A few years ago a motorcyclists was killed on the turnpike and the driver of the car said ' his dog distracted him'. Why is this allowed??!?!?!?!!?


3up3down 2 years, 4 months ago

Bottom line folks. You can complain all you want about we should pass this or not. It won't make a difference when the federal government tells the states, "you ban cell phones or we cut your highway budget." People you have zero say in this. Get over it.


jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

Should have been hands free only a long time ago.


Elrond 2 years, 4 months ago

How does the NTSB address Insurance Industry that found that in states with cell phone bans, the number of drivers using phone did in fact go down? However, there was no corresponding reduction in the number of accidents.


beaujackson 2 years, 4 months ago

My ultimate hope: Two drivers texting kill each other.


Food_for_Thought 2 years, 4 months ago

I have no problems with a cell phone ban, that EXCLUDED "hands free" calling. I'd like to see the supported statistics of accidents that are caused by "hands free" calling.


Brock Masters 2 years, 4 months ago

Is hands free talking on a cell phone really any different than talking to passengers? Passengers are probably as distracting if not more than hands free talking on the cell. How about kids in the back seat?


grammaddy 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope they start building cars with some kind of system that scrambles the signal as long as the engins is running.I've seen too many "almost accidents" because some idiot was on his phone. And kids are the worst. They are just learning to drive and need to concentrate on that.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 4 months ago

The "Expert" should have also told us this.

You'd better do what Big Daddy says. Do not use your comunicator while driving otherwise you'll be considered a "belligerent"

He may even drone attack you.

Gov't horror: Obama set to sign terrible "indefinite detention" bill into law Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From Economic Policy Journal:

It appears that the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2013 will be signed by President Obama despite some earlier indications from the White House that the President would veto the bill.

RT reports:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin revealed recently that the bill in its current wording was drafted after the current administration asked for changes.

Already making its way through the House and Senate, the Act in its current wording will allow for Americans suspected of any "belligerent" act to be detained in Guantanamo Bay-style military prisons indefinitely for any alleged crimes without trial. With it now being revealed that the president put forth suggestions to draft the latest version of the legislation, Levin told the press Monday night, "I just can't imagine that the president would veto this bill."

"I very strongly believe this should satisfy the administration...

(from a source)


cato_the_elder 2 years, 4 months ago

To my way of thinking, simply making a cell phone call while driving, especially using speed dial, is less distracting than, for example, changing a CD or, in the old days, a cassette tape. However, texting or e-mailing while driving is ridiculous.

The broader question in my mind is how addicted many people are to having to check their electronic messages constantly no matter where they are, as the result of which it's not at all surprising that they do so while driving. That doesn't change that fact that's it's absurdly stupid for them to do it.


yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

Invariably, some driver driving terribly and stupidly is on a cell phone.

Electronic cell phone checkpoints are in order, just like drunk driving checkpoints.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 4 months ago

You ar not allowed to drive under the influance of alcohol oe drugs. You arn not allowed to drive unless you have a driver's license. And for you Obama haters, you are not allowed to drive without liability insurance.

We have had autos for about 80 years now and until recently, everyone sems to have gotten what they need to do done without blathering on a plastic toy phone or playing games with their niftly little texter.

This is a reasonable and needed law. One only need to drive around the city for a while dodging idiots blathiering on a phone, fiddling with a texter, or other distractions. In the interest of public safety, this should become law and be inforced as strictly as drunk driving and suspended license offenders.


Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Ummm, no. If I need to call someone on the cell when I'm driving, I will. Keep it up and our citizens will regard our laws as bigger jokes than they already are.

I get distracted by pretty girls. Should we require pretty girls to wear burkas in cars too?

Mr Expert, if I want your opinion, I'll ask for it. Until then, nose out and try to buy a degree in common sense.


Jan Rolls 2 years, 4 months ago

No munching on fries, no sipping drinks, no changing CD's, no changing radio stations, no adjusting seats. Let's see what else can distract us while driving.


thirdplanet 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey i thought this was america


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