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What would you guess to be the No. 1 cause of traffic accidents?

Asked at Checkers, 2300 La. on May 1, 2006

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Photo of John Malovich

“Cell phones. It’s got to be cell phones. Talking on a cell phone is not something you can do and maintain the same level of alertness.”

Photo of Jodi Davis

“Inattentive driving, because we’re always trying to do a million things at once.”

Photo of Jason Boney

“I would say people who are in a hurry and trying to get where they need to go. They just don’t pay enough attention.”

Photo of Theresa Bateson

“Cell phones. They’re becoming so popular and we use them all the time. Everyone always has a phone in their ear, especially while driving.”

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trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

first! (1st time for me...)

inattentiveness due to a plethora of factors.

trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

yeah classclown-sandwich artist?? i'd like a last supper picture on a kaiser roll, wonder if that's doable...

Linda Aikins 11 years, 10 months ago

Yep Trinity. I agree with your post, and just have to give you kudos for using the word plethora.

Hi Theresa B! Hope you are well!

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 10 months ago

People who have a poor grasp of the laws of physics.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

Too many cars and not enough space. I always thought I was a sandwich artist, but there's very little evidence of it.

MomMeg 11 years, 10 months ago

Welcome trinity!

No. 1 cause of accidents --- people!!

At least my car doesn't drive itself -- how bout you all??

Have a good day!

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: Anyone under the age of 18 should not be allowed behind the wheel, cell phone or not!

Also people over 55.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

I think the term "Sandwich artist" is courtesy of Subway. I'm sure they have a good reason for it. All I know is that Quizno's still makes better subs than Subway.

Humorous Subway note: I have a friend who has been in China since last August. She had not gotten sick from any food there until just recently ... when a Subway sandwich made her sick.

Anyway, I seem to recall seeing a recent headline on this topic. As I recall, distraction is the major cause of accudents. They had it broken down into which distractions were worst, but I don't remember those specifics.

Having been in a number of accidents (I don't remember the exact number, but I think 6-8), I would concur with that result. Most of my accidents involved my being distracted. The last (and by far the most serious) accident was caused by incredibly icy roads, but most of the rest of mine were caused by distraction on my part. I have since made a serious effort to pay much better attention. (It's worked -- it's been a couple years since my last distracted accident.)

By the way, I do recall one specific from the article. It noted that cell phones increase the likelihood for an accident only when you're dialing -- just talking on the phone was not a really significant factor. Oddly enough, my accidents have all been at times that I have not been on the phone. I think being on the phone helps me pay better attention to the road. Can that be true?

blessed3x 11 years, 10 months ago

Salamanders from the swamp.

Those little buggers are hard to hit while driving at 50mph!!

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

Trying to eat foot-long chili dogs while having to drive. I think I saw one of Jodi's creations once featuring a chili dog. It was entitled, "After the Wreck". I wonder if, working in the sandwich media, she focuses on one subject or a plethora of them.

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 10 months ago

Have you ever noticed how people always think that it's the other person that cannot drive while talking on a cell phone, but their driving is not affected by it? I find it ironic. If it's always "the other guy", there wouldn't be any idiots driving while talking on the cell phone.

trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

thanks, gootsie! :)

oh mom, i'm afraid i may have been a little undercaffienated when i posted; not my first time on the board, rather my first time being FIRST to post! :) a coup, much...

now i'm overcaffienated; i think i'll go try to recreate the mona lisa on a blt! :D

just joshin'...i've seen the scrubway commercials with the "sandwich artist" thingie; i'm glad they've trashed jerod for now&have john lovitz as a spokesman, i laugh just seeing that guy!

tyger_lily 11 years, 10 months ago

How about the drivers who turn into the wrong lane when making a left or right turn? I would say about 60% of the drivers making turns on 4 lane streets turn into the wrong lane even though it is against the law. The cops around here just don't do anything about it and do it themselves. Even Salina made the law offical and has been enforcing it, you would think Lawrence would be as current with the times as Salina is.

ms_canada 11 years, 10 months ago

Now then jonas, I agree with you on the under 18 drivers but take exception at your age 55 restriction. I am a very good driver and well past 55. I think accidents are caused by distractions of many kinds and taking chances by drivers of all ages.

gccs14r 11 years, 10 months ago

Mass stupidity and everyone trying to be first. Last night I saw a Cavalier with a MO plate lane-split on Massachusetts.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't know, trinity -- the Jared commercials needed to leave a long time ago, but the Lovitz commercials are quickly wearing out their welcome. Some commercials have long appeal, but I'm not seeing that quality in those.

Of course, it probably didn't help that they showed the same one three times in five minues on Saturday. In fact, Subway seemed to be a major advertiser on the broadcast (the Pistons game Saturday night).

trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

hah, omb, that was funny-and so true! ;)

i'm sure i'll tire of the lovitz commercials too, sgt...just a matter of time. but i live&breath for the geiko (sp?) commercials, with the gecko (sp, lol?) expounding on how to sell insurance; i LOVE 'em! :)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm also pretty sure being zapped by a taser would cause an accident. It would also probably cause some profanity.

gphawk89 11 years, 10 months ago

...or more specifically, two automobiles trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Seriously, though: cellphones. I respectfully disagree with easy above - personally I notice cellphone calls disctract me much more than eating, drinking, or other passengers, so much so that I will no longer answer a call while driving.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I can't wait 'til Jonas turns 55 and realizes just how !@#$ young that is! I totally agree on the young people thing. I scout the accidents in the paper regularly and it seems as though young people are mentioned all too often as the cause. (I know I was a young stupid driver, once.) Didn't matter that I was also a very smart and responsible just mess up. Now, Jonas, adults mess up, too. But not nearly as often concerning driving. I'll agree with Jonas that there are people who are too old to drive. But 55? C'mon Jonas! Let's go change your diaper, whipe that wetness from behind your ears, and we'll talk about aging. :oP

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 10 months ago

Cell Phones, inattentiveness, reaching for objects, drowiness are all boo-boos to the real problem that causes people to get into accidents. Not enough quality time at home is the real problem. We all are just too busy to focus anymore. We don't get enough sleep because there isn't enough time in the day to do all we need to do anymore. Jobs take up most of our time. I think the work day needs to be cut to 6 hours instead of 8 to allow people more time with their families, to rest, to be human again. It's go go go all the time especially if you have more than one child. Some people even have to work 2 jobs just to keep a roof over their heads. So to ban cell phones, add fines is just a bandaid to the real problem.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

Here's what I mentioned -- the results of an exhaustive study by Virginia Tech:

"Nearly 80 percent of crashes were the result of driver inattention -- like putting on makeup, reading, shaving, eating a sandwich or dialing a cellphone -- far more than previous studies had suggested. About 65 percent of near crashes had driver inattention in the three seconds before the event.

The most common distraction was cellphone use, but that wasn't the most dangerous.

Reaching for a moving object -- a coffee mug rolling around or map in the back seat -- made you 9 times more likely to be in a crash or near-crash. Looking at an external object -- like checking your email or sneaking a glance at the newspaper -- made you 3.7 times more likely. Applying makeup was slightly less dangerous at three times more likely -- about the same as dialing a cell phone.

Simply pushing a radio button or just talking on a cell phone showed no significant increase in risk."

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

And katy, cutting the workday to 6 hours would also simply be a bandaid. The issue you're mentioning is the problem of busyness, and having more time outside work wouldn't make people less busy; it would just give them more time to be busy with things outside work. You're not going to change it by altering outside circumstances.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

katy has a point.

I'd like to see some data on age and sex.

It's been determined women can multi-task better than men. And there's insurance company data on men in higher paying, better educated jobs ie: engineers, architects, lawyers(not doctors or police officers) getting into more accidents. Home makers are the least likely to get into wrecks according to the same insurance company data. Now, they all talk on cell phones, just some are in more of a hurry, and drive faster, take more risks it said.

Just thought I'd throw that in. (Also that the higher educated groups tend to get breaks on their insurance, but cause more accidents, go figure)

Liberty 11 years, 10 months ago

To my knowledge, there has not been an unusual increase in accidents.

Is there an agenda to push a new enforcement fine? I would say absolutely!

(Such as doubling of fines for cell phone usage to bring in more money to the city). This is an attempt to try to get people behind this agenda and support this new form of revenue collection. If a fine is levied, it should not be paid to the city or the court, but to the person that they hit in the accident. The people that were hit suffered the loss. The city did not suffer any loss in an automobile accident. This is why the courts should go back to common law instead of lower statutory laws.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

Has anyone ever looked at the data of who is more likely to get a warning from a police officer (or more likely to not be issued a citation as a result of .... ahem... excessive display of emotion)? I bet there are no data that show that the likelihood of a woman being "let go" is significantly higher than the likelihood of a man being "let go." I can certainly agree that from the outside, this is a completely sexist argument, but think about it. MOST cops are men; if a man were to cry (and I am sure some do) for being stopped what are his odds of being let go; if a woman does it? Even a woman cop is going to have a great story to tell her colleagues about the "crying man." I have heard a number of women tell me the tricks they use and laugh about how they "cried and made stuff up" and were let go" Silly me, I told the police officer that I had just been flight delayed after being at my grandmother's deathbed in another state and had to work at 7am (it was 1:30am) and that I wasn't paying attention to my speed... that garnered my no sympathy. (Perhaps I should have broken down sobbing and blamed a medical condition for my emotional outburst.)

I also wonder if the proportion of lawyers doctors and architects is men-biased? I wonder if this has ANY impact on insurance rates?

These are all just questions I have without the data at hand (or perhaps it doesn't exist for "crying"). Anyone have thoughts?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 10 months ago

During my years of commuting, I've seen (at 70+ MPH):

  • Groping. I wonder how many children have been conceived on I-70.

  • A guy on a cell phone who had technical blueprints spread out all over his dash board and steering wheel, like it was a big desk to him. He was in a Suburban, so he had a LOT of room to work with.

  • On a regular basis: women putting on make-up. This is a double-violation because they usually turn their rear-view mirror into a vanity mirror. I even see women driving around with their mirror permanently in that position, as if to suggest that they are constantly "checking themselves", but never checking the traffic around them. This is my big pet peeve. Endangering my life for their vanity.

  • Eating. Not just burgers, either. Pork ribs. Plates of food being eaten with flatware.

  • Disciplining children. With one hand on the wheel, body turned all the way around facing the back seat. Other hand slapping bad children into next week. Nice. Most often witnessed in Wyandotte County. I assume they are typically on the way to a mall so they can finish up their whoopin' in the Orange Julius.

  • Reading books and magazines.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

Old enuf, Point#5...classic! LOL! (But now they can go to "Legends.")

Adrienne Sanders 11 years, 10 months ago

All of the above, and I'd like to add my own pet peeve: tailgaters. You're not going to get me to speed up, and you're not going to get there any faster, and if I have to stop suddenly you're gonna cause a wreck. So back the h*!! off!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

OMB, are you speaking from experience on that one? If so, what sort of endangered animals?

gphawk89 11 years, 10 months ago

"Nearly 80 percent of crashes were the result of driver inattention...". Can someone think of anything that causes crashes BESIDES driver inattention (and the rare mechanical failure)? If everyone obeyed all traffic laws and practiced good situational awareness I would think there would be VERY few accidents. (Situational awareness would include seemingly-common-sense things like slowing down when the pavement is snow-covered or wet, watching out for people backing out of parking spaces, being careful when backing out of parking spaces, watching for deer on the highway, etc.).

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago


Before I moved out of Lawrence I did get to see someone pulled over because they turned into the wrong lane. It was after the turning lane at Iowa and 27th St was expanded to 2 lanes. The turned from the inside lane on 27th St to the outer lane on Iowa...and cut the cop off who was turning as well. I would say it had to do more with them being a complete idiot than just turning into the wrong lane though.


Living in Missouri, I completely agree. Though I did have a stupid Kansas driver in front of me over the weekend, 55mph in a 65mph zone in the left lane.

Liberty 11 years, 10 months ago

Why not just go back to: If you hit someone, you are liable for the actual loss that the other party proves that they suffered. That way you don't need all of these "laws" and enforcement on cell phones, speed limits, using seat belts, car seats etc... It is just straight forward, if you break something that belongs to someone else, you are responsible for fixing it. Common Law = Common Sense.

gphawk89 11 years, 10 months ago

Tailgaters and inattention... Reminds me of a situation in Lenexa a few years back. Red light about a half-block ahead so I'm just coasting (25 in a 35 zone) in the right lane. Some guy tailgating me starts honking and motioning at me because I'm slowing down. The light is still red - I continue to slow down. He finally zooms around me doing about 40 in the left lane, staring me down to make sure that I see that he's flipping me off, and the POW!!, he plows into a car stopped at the red light in the left lane. Airbags deploy, glass and coolant flying everywhere... He never even attempted to slow, never even saw the car, but he made darned sure that I knew he was mad at me.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

There are all types of driving distractions; cell phones, cigarettes (being a smoker I know if you drop one of those puppies in your lap when it's lit, that'll make you swerve a little bit), putting on makeup, reading the paper, text messages, email, books, maps, eating--the list goes on and on. I'll agree with Jonas about the under 18 thing (I wouldn't have when I was under 18, but we live and learn). But I would also take exception to the over 55. I think that at 55 you should have to take a written and physical driving test every two years to renew. Then every year once you hit 65. Being realistic, kids don't pay enough attention to the road and old folks don't have the reaction time they once had.

Liberty 11 years, 10 months ago


They will want to outlaw type "A" personalities next.

Your description perfectly describes that over-driven agressive attitude that most companies like. The type "A" overdriven personality works good in some situations in work (don't quit attitude, go-go-go), but it does not know good limits to it's behavior in most other things. Most people become consumed by it, rather than using patience and good judgement.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

gp, hazardous weather is also very good at wrecking the cars even of the most attentive drivers. Yes, it is good common sense to drive more carefully when it is wet or snowy, but there are times you might encounter conditions that are hazardous no matter how much you slow down -- and there's not always clear warning.

Back in January, we here in southeastern Michigan had an incredibly icy Saturday morning that saw dozens of crashes in my area. I can tell you for a fact that when I left my house, it was not snowing or raining heavily. It was barely even drizzling. It was more of a mist. It didn't even feel particularly cold, and there was no real warning that the roads were going to freeze until they were frozen, and at that point there were spots where people had no chance to maintain control.

Same with fog. A year or two ago up in Lansing we had a huge fog settle on the area and cause something like a 130-car pileup. It's hard to be a distracted driver when you can't see ten feet in front of your car.

Also, I think unintelligent driving -- like tailgating -- should not fall under the category of distracted driving.

Nikki May 11 years, 10 months ago

someone mentioned text messages. Oh my goodness. I love text messages. However, I get one in the car and I ignore it until I'm at my destination. I have seen several people (and even have friends that do this) holding the phone up and text while driving. Like it's in the sight path to the windshield, then it's ok. SCARY indeed.

But, what about drunk drivers? That's not really inattentiveness, but they do cause accidents.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

It's not so much that I think 55 is old, OTTR, but at 55 we start to decline in health and reaction time. It's just natural. There's nothing wrong with testing people over the age of 55 to make sure they still have good reactions. When you're behing the wheel of a 2 ton death machine, you should be able to react to potentially dangerous situations quickly and some older people just can't. I'm sure older people would balk at that, but I would rather there be angry, indignate people at the DMV being tested than being scraped up off of the highways. Age is a factor in driving, bottom line. We all know it. Some of us just don't want to admit it. I'm going to have to deal with taking the keys away from my own parents soon or they're going to get someone killed.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

Regarding drivers over age 55: A grizzled old man was eating in a truck stop when three Hell's Angels' bikers walked in. The first walked up to the old man, pushed his cigarette into the old man's pie and then took a seat at the counter. The second walked up to the old man, spat into the old man's milk and then he too took a seat at the counter. The third walked up to the old man, turned over the old man's plate, and then he took a seat at the counter. Without a word of protest, the old man quietly left the diner. Shortly thereafter, one of the bikers said to the waitress, "Humph, not much of a man, was he?" The waitress replied, "Not much of a truck driver either, he just backed his big-rig over three motorcycles."

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280 Interstate. Please be careful!"

"Hell," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"

Policeman: "When I saw you coming around the corner, I said to myself, `fifty-five at least.'"

Woman driver: "Well, you were a long way off! It's this hat that makes me look so old!"

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

I am over age 55 and am an excellent driver. I used to buy my underwear at K-Mart, but it closed, so now I don't go there anymore. My mother is 87 and she manages to barrel her way through almost anything driving in her big Buick. And, she always seems to make it back home.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 10 months ago

My thory is that old people are never IN car wrecks, they just cause everyone else to have them.

Shelby 11 years, 10 months ago

this can be answered with a simple forumula:

x^4 = |-11/x|/x^3

thomgreen 11 years, 10 months ago

How about just plain uneducated drivers. It seems like people know less and less about the rules of the road these days. I still think driver's ed. should be required for everyone.

Jay_Z 11 years, 10 months ago

Some Lawrence residents have found that crossing guards waving to passing traffic are a leading cause of traffic accidents! Oh the horror!

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey, I haven't driven in St Louis for over 25 years!

betti81 11 years, 10 months ago

just skimming through today, but as far as the "no one under 18 on the road" bit, it doesn't matter what age you start people driving, it is inexperience, not age that is causing the problems. i do realize that maturity has something to do with it, but 16 or 18 either way, it amounts to lack of experience.

otsq: I would say lack of attentiveness all the way around, regardless of whether its food, cellphone, passengers, etc. the driver is not paying attention.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

And he's channeling through omb..oh now that's creepy.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

x^4 = |-11/x|/x^3 x=11 old people on the road

11^4 = |-11/11|/11^3

14641=/= 1/1331

I'm confused.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

By the way..omb- are you by chance missing one nipple due to a close encounter with a beaver?

avoice 11 years, 10 months ago

seat belts.

They give us a false sense of security. We strap ourselves in and deem ourselves impervious to all driving hazards, including our own inept driving skills. After all, they tell us seat belts save lives. We believe. We believe.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

Bankboy, it's 5:30pm in Reykjavik, Iceland I say go ahead and have a cold one with that Klondike bar!

avoice, I have a friend with part of his brain left near some track outside of his truck that he was thrown out of...who's now the "poster man" for "you should wear your seat belt". (He's gorgeous).Just try living his life. Last I talked to him, (speaking is very hard) the few day to day skills he has are leaving him. He was a genius, that traveled the world, now his own apartment is hard to navigate.

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

Mrs Canada: I was a very good driver by 17. I had no accidents past my first year of driving until a middle-aged person spun out on the road in front of me on K-10. I was simply implying that if there are arbitrary age restrictions, then they should go both ways. I am not a supporter of restricting driving to 18. I believe that all that would do would be push the learning curve back 2 years, and the old drivers would be just as bad as before.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

The only 2 accidents I had were before I was 18. I hit a telephone pole after taking out a street sign, and later on tried to take out a sewer gutter. When my unstoppable force encountered an unmovable object, the object won both times. Physics wasn't my strongest subject. Unfortunately, I can't say it was lack of experience because I had been driving for over 2 years before the pole incident.

Shelby 11 years, 10 months ago

Bankboy, it figures that you'd be confused if you tried to compute a stupid joke.

Ken Miller 11 years, 10 months ago

KU students studying while driving on K-10.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

Resist, OMB! Resist! (Although I'd love to hear the answer!)

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

Posted by one_more_bob (anonymous) on May 1, 2006 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Posted by horrific_changeling (anonymous) on May 1, 2006 at 12:27 p.m. (Suggest removal) By the way..omb- are you by chance missing one nipple due to a close encounter with a beaver?"

I would get banned forever if I even tried to answer that.

For those anyone, and LJW staffers who don't know..that's from Jeff Foxworthy's Blue Collar Comedy Tour Some men hit a beaver with their truck, they go to pick it up from the ditch by the tail, it awakens and turns and bites the man's nipple off. (That was the short version) Jeff's comment is that he bets that's the only time the headline could use the words beaver and nipple and no one would be offended.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago were the one hiding critters, it was just too hard to resist! And now that you have us all on the edge of our seats, just what are your nocturnal activities, when you wake up in the middle of the night and drop up a line on here?

As for my nocturnal habits, I believe I'll be making those much more tinman from now on.

As for people as driving: I have to tell you, just being a stressed out person is much more distracting than my cell phone ever is.

I want everyone person,father/ mother /caregiver out there, to admit, how many times have they driven to Walmart, when they meant to drive to the grocery store?

Or had their child or passenger tell them, didn't we just miss the turn for somewhere?

Or when Walmart changed locations, the car still went to the old place?

Ever drive all the way across town, and be so mentally preoccupied, you don't remember a bit of the drive?

Admit it, it happens to a lot of busy people..we're trying to remember what we need to do, the fears in our heads, lack of sleep, problems with our children, exs, bills, work. We are thinking all the time..and driving too. It's the nature of being human.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

Now I'm intrigued omb, what's going on at your house at night that involves nipples and beavers, hmmmm?

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey, h_c, I was just heading to Dillons to get pop/water for the office fridge and caught myself driving home. I got 5 miles down the road before I was like "hey, where ya going, dummy?" I'll admit it. I forget where I'm heading all the time because I'm always making mental lists and not paying attention. I've never wrecked though. Twice someone has run into me when I was at a stand still. Guess I've just been lucky.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

Dillons is dirty. I always went to Hy-Vee.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey, as long as the beavers weren't driving omb's car, it's okay.

BunE 11 years, 10 months ago

Most accidents are caused by spinning blades of death extended from the whell hubs...At least when Speed lets me take the Mach 5 out!

Ceallach 11 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like we have a lot of Mr. Magoo posters, never had a wreck but caused a thousand :):)

Laura 11 years, 10 months ago

Dad: I can't believe you wrote that people who were twisted around in their cars while slapping their children were on their way to O.J. in WyCo. I'm a successful attorney living far from WyCo who has been in almost a dozen accidents in the last several months due to my attention being focused in the back seat where my two-year-old sits. Just want you to know that middle-class people who probably make more money than you do also are bad drivers, even if it does mean "outing" myself here!

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 10 months ago

Liberty I totally concur with your statement and that was my next thought. More revenue... so the bottom line here is all about "money."

ms_canada 11 years, 10 months ago

jonas - I was busy earlier and just saw your note above. Yes, I guess driving ability is all really an individual matter but not according to the law. BTW, at what age can a person down there get a license? Here a 15 year old can get a learners permit and must be accompanied in the car by an adult. Then can get a license at age 16, far too young in my mind. I have 3 grandsons who drive, 2 are excellent drivers but the oldest has wrecked 2 cars in 3 accidents. Two accidents were completely not his fault. Can you tell me, do they teach driver training in your high schools and if so do they teach defensive driving. I think this is a vitally important aspect of driving a car. I know that when I am driving I am constantly aware of other drivers behavior. Defensive driving might have saved those two cars of my grandson. Might have. One driving habit drives me crazy and that is the irresponsible lane changes on the freeway. I think they cause a lot of accidents.

Mamie 11 years, 10 months ago

How about people in the outside lane making left turns? That just about got several people at 19th & Haskell earlier today.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 10 months ago

What causes accidents? When cars/trucks run into each other or into a structure of some sort (man-made or nature-made).

Simple enough.

What else do you need to know?

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

Mrs. C: A lot of questions there! To my knowledge, you can still get a learners permit here at 15, for parental supervision, and I seem to recall being able to get a learner's license as well to drive to school and work, but don't know if that's still continued. Driver's l's are issued at 16. They have drivers ed in high school and I guess they teach you defensive driving, though I think in reality that's something you have to grow into. Really, from what I remember your instruction on "defensive" driving was having an old dude instructor who had all his nerves shorted out and shot by years of sitting next to students who panic coming onto the freeway and hit their breaks as a Big Rig comes barrelling up behind you, who has a seperate brake built into his side of the training car, is not afraid to use it, and yelps and squawks over even remotely potential errors in your driving.

. . . at least that's what I remember.

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

Still, in regards to defensive driving, and driving in general, I am of the opinion that it has little to do with age, and lots to do with behind the wheel experience. Learning to scan the road, move your eyes around, check mirrors, navigate weather, etc. are not traits that really come with age, but with practice, and sometimes hard learning, such as when you smash into a light-pole taking a turn too fast in the rain.

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

And for those of you saying 55 isn't old, when I turn 55 I plan on being plenty old. I hope by 50 to be "Old Man Jonas" in whose yards neighborhood kids sneak into on a dare, until I come out, yelling and waving a cane, or maybe a katana.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

The perfect sandwich is the chili dog, done right and with artistic flare. There is nothing more American than that, to appease the appetites of our right wing nut-brothers-in arms. Peace, my friends, and pass the ammunition! I think, having a wreck has allot to do with age and your particular mind set at the time. When I was 18, I plowed head-long into a bus, while my girlfriend, the love of my life by the way, was sitting on my lap, telling me just how special I was, am. When I was 36, I plowed head long into a turnpike pillar, drunk and self-destructive and seeking relaese from memories of my life long love, who was married then to God knows who, Jim B. or some other a__hole. When I was 47, I plowed head long into a lake, just not paying attention and, oddly enough, talking on the cell pohone with my High School Sweetheart. Ain't Life strange? My point is, people are human and make mistakes and screw up, no matter how old they are or how smart they are or how rich they are or how psychologically screwed up they are or how drunk they are or how old they are or how young they are. Moral of the story is, drive defensively.

H_Lecter 11 years, 10 months ago


In kansas 14 yr olds have two options (see top link) 1) Learner's permit 2) Farm permit - if qualified

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

Driver's permits are available at 14. You can legally drive without an adult at 15 but just to and from school or work. My 15 yr old neighbor drives herself and her brother back and forth (7 miles on a curvy highway) to school. Even though she's not my daughter, I have lectured her more than once on not passing cars on the highway. She admitted that she does, on occassion, when she is running late and gets behind a slower car. ARGH!!! My plan is to make my 11 year do all the mowing from here on out (driving mower, of course) and get her behind the wheel as much as possible whenever possible. Practice, practice, practice. Pray, pray, pray!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

paladin, please give make, model, and color of car so I can avoid you. ;o) Me thinks the "love of your life" is bad for your health.

H_Lecter 11 years, 10 months ago


I think it would be more fun to let the kids think that at "old man jonas" basement, kids sometimes never leave and that he's always BBQing. The friendlier you are, the more scared they are.

"Come on in kids; hey, do you want to try some chili?"

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

Ms_C, according to H_L's link, I stand corrected. Farm kids can drive at 14 without an adult in the vehicle.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

ms_canada- I'm sorry and I love you. You're my friend.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

on behalf of thousands of parents out laura..

we're guessing quitbitchin isn't a parent yet? Or just wants to sound righteous!


To quote another Foxworthy line..if you keep a flyswatter in your car so you can reach your children in the back seat...

(you'd have to take your eyes off the road less, just keep swinging until one of them yells, either it will be the right one, or not, then you can try again!)

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

s_s- The "love of my life" is sweet and gentle and innocent and loving and giving and is blessed by Angels and forgives me all my transgressions. And she needs me and I need her. What you gonna do? We are a bit separated right now, but things are looking up. Destiny?

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

Oh good grief. Men use women and that's the facts jack.Where's a can so I can ralph?

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

Men use what they can, what they think they need. What they want. Women use what they think they have to. That's what I think. So, what. I think I need a chili dog around about now.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

I sure wish someone would refute my "sexist" claim. Women are getting out of tickets more than men; the result is higher insurance rates for men. Talk amongst yourselves.

ms_canada 11 years, 10 months ago

Here I am home again, went for coffee with an old friend. watching the hockey game and you all may be pleased to know that Detroit Red Wings just scored the first goal of the game. Of course I have to root for the Edmonton Oilers or the Oil as they are affectionalately called. Some nice old fellow came out at the beginning and did a nice rendition of the US anthem and the Can. anthem, both in english. Something else that might, just might interest you is that there are two french versions of our anthem and one english and another in inuktitut (een ook tee toot), the language of the inuit (een oo weet) people of our northern territory of Inuvik whose capital city is Iqaluit (ee kal oo weet) Is that not interesting??? I thought it was.

ms_canada 11 years, 10 months ago

Oh and thanks all for the info about driver ed. and age for licenses. And paladin, I love you too.

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

I guess I was taking her near accidents less literally than you were. My remark was definitely more geared towards the demands of children in the back seat!

Yes, I've been in a few accidents. Not one my fault. Yes, I've buried a child (not due to car accident.) Will be burying another before long. Yes, I've buried other relatives due to car accidents.

I guess my thought was that perhaps you hadn't had to discipline a child behind you, or grab one that's made their way out of the child seat all of a sudden, or suddenly vomiting and you're trying to hand them the trash bucket. (And a whole bunch of things that I can't say because they would I.D. me here) All of those fun parent things. :D

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I don't think she was proudly admitting to anything. I think she was admitting to being a human, just like the rest of us.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

paladin, well, I hope you and "the love of your life" end up happily ever after...just don't think about her while driving! She obviously "does something" to you.

Ms_C, just started book #6! Yee Haw!

horrific, sounds as if you've been through some horrific stuff. No one should have to bury a child. I'm truly sorry that you've experienced that. I can not and will not imagine.

Now I just had to laugh because the hubby just hollered to me "Shall we go to bed, oh love of my life?" Too freaky. Good night all.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

@hc- I looked at the link. I am not sure what you were posting it in response to, but I appreciate the info. The one thing really missing is any kind of breakdown by gender, which is implied by the "soccer MOM"(the only male MOM I know of is Michael Keaton; Mr. Mom!).

I looked through the data and thought a few things. They raise an important point, not taken into account in the tabular data..then draw conclusions from the tabular data! The issue: miles driven, which of course, insurance companies know matters quite a bit. That is why they use it as a predictor variable in their regression equations that they use to determine risk and rates.

Another problem with the data (and with using the insurance companies predictors to make causal inferences) is that the data are correlational."Correlation is not causation" is a mantra in stats. There are two simple reasons:two things can be "correlated" for example the number of telephone poles and number of live births in Australia are correlated. Does one CAUSE the other? Probably not (technological advances lead to both more live births and more telephones! Although cell phone tech could lead to a decrease in telephone poles!... still a correlation though, just a negative one)..but even if it did, what is the direction of the relationship (A cause B or B cause A?). The data are simply correlations.

The "rates" in the tables are calculated as how many people per thousand drivers get in an accident. This is where people can lie with statistics; statistics are amoral. There are other ways to assess the risk: 1)what about number of trips made; might architects make more trips? 2)What about average miles driven annually? 3)What about the average number of miles each profession lives from work? 4)Which is more important to being a "safe driver" tickets or accidents? Is someone who gets 10 tickets a year with no accidents a "safer" driver than one who gets 1 ticket and has 1 accident? (for an insurance company, the second represents losses; the first though actually leads to increased rates!)

Insurance companies aren't really interested in the CAUSES of accidents as much as they are in being able to predict accident rates. Sure, they want to minimize accidents to increase profits, but like a casino(in the long run they will make a certain profit based on the odds of the games), they know the prediction, but that tells you nothing about what causes accidents.

Ultimately, my question remains. When you look at tickets in the link,a cursory and stereotypical look at the top and bottom 5 offenders seems to split on gender boundaries...who do you picture as a "homemaker" "secretary" "teacher" "librarian" a man or a woman (again I realize this is a very sexist way of looking at it, but does it have some grounding in reality?)

horrific_changeling 11 years, 10 months ago

sue..thanks. good luck getting any sleep tonight LOL.

jayhawk..rofl! You sound like some too brainy for their own good smart @$$ scientist friends of mine! I like you!

Nite folks, time to try to knock the demons away.

Perhaps I'll count telephone poles, jayhawk!I used to do that when bored on those long drives my parents forced me on as a child. Funny, now I love road trips. Depends on who I'm with.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

Great story OTS. I once encountered a disorder called ignorance with stubborn & antisocial tendencies. Symptoms include a lack of knowledge about a topic, which, by itself isn't a disorder (in fact, its quite a human construct), but when it appears with stubbornness to learn and name calling (sometimes symptomatic of Tourette's Syndrome) it becomes maladaptive. The hallmark of disorder.

Thought you might enjoy that story while looking in the mirror. By the way, is that the only thing you know about Asperger's?

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