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

Research tells me that Kansas lost about $500 million in 2009 from distracted driving crashes (http://www.cartalk.com/content/what-cost), contributing to roughly 97 fatalities, almost 5,000 non-fatal injuries, and about 12,000 incidences of property damage.

Common sense tells me that no conversations were important enough to justify that.

I am pro "leave me alone to do my thing" as much as you are, but only to the point what I want to do doesn't impact those around me. For example, when I practice shooting on my land, that is okay, as long as I am not pointing toward my neighbors. Your car is just as dangerous of a weapon as any gun.

December 15, 2011 at 3:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Sadly, they will probably kill someone you know who is generally a safe driver.

The "Faces of Distracted Driving" series shows why:

http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/11/faces...

December 15, 2011 at 3 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Here are two you might like, because they looked at phone records after crashes. There are more that show exactly the same thing, including our own work:

SP McEvoy, MR Stevenson, AT McCartt, M Woodward. Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study. British Medical Journal, 2005 Jul 12
Studied phone records of 456 drivers involved in injury accidents over 27 months. Analysis of phone records showed that talking on a phone during the period before an accident increased risk 4.1 times. Hand-held and hands free units produced equivalent risk.

DA Redelmeier & RJ Tibshirani Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. New England Journal of Medicine, 1997, Vol. 336(7):453-8
Studied phone records of 699 drivers involved in non-injury accidents over 14 months. Analysis of phone records showed that talking on a phone during the period before an accident increased risk 4.3 times. Hand-held and hands free units produced equivalent risk.

December 15, 2011 at 2:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Actually, there is a company that would like to do this. They claim to be able to prevent cellular signals in the drivers seat only, with an override if you turn your hazard lights on. But the FCC, on recommendation from the telecom industry, refuses to grant permission for test.

You can read more on that in a post I did for CarTalk:

http://www.cartalk.com/content/we-cou...

December 15, 2011 at 2:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

We and others have compared manual distractions (radios, etc.), eating, and other problems often cited with conversations, texting, etc. Manual distractions can be an issue, but very briefly so, akin to the distraction of engaging your stick shift. The problem is that someone talking on their phone for a 20 minute drive is 20 minutes of impairment, while someone tuning a radio will (hopefully) take less than one minute.

That said, we have a team of engineers and designer that are working with our simulator to examine how to make smarter, less distracting, smart car technologies because no distraction, however brief, is worth a life.

December 15, 2011 at 2:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Whole picture

I appreciate Mr. Blevins’ response to my letter. What he seems to have missed are two things. First, these are not “snapshots” in time, but 30-plus year windows. Both have the sorts of events he notes. Second, the events he notes don’t explain why 99% would see almost no growth in income relative to inflation while 1% would see growth of 261%. It is a product of what H.W. Bush called “voodoo economics”, the notion that if you give the rich more money and deregulate, the economy will grow. The fact is that the disparity between rich and poor in the U.S. is one of the highest in the first-world. This leads to fewer economic and educational opportunities, thus less invention and entrepreneurship and less economic growth. There will always be the rich, and that is good. It gives us something to strive to obtain. But we didn’t put a man on the moon by making it tough for people to afford a good education, cringing about improving our infrastructure, or rallying against all things “government” in favor of all things “corporate.”

October 21, 2011 at 3:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU professor says Illinois crackdown on texting while driving can be example for local law enforcement

Actually, they are NOT the same thing at all. Studies directly comparing the two show an in-car conversation changes with road demands, but a cell conversation does not. Think about what happens to your in-car conversation when you hit the crazy interchanges in downtown KC: It stops. The passenger is keenly aware of the road and limits the distraction. (BTW, teens are not as good as this which is why some states limit the number of teens that can be in a car with a teen driver.)

Other work has shown that a passenger can also serve as a safety booster, acting as another set of eyes on the road.

It is not a manual control issue. All of the research uses hands-free devices.

September 26, 2011 at 3:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Degree defended

Thanks for sharing, Cutthroat. It has been my experience as well after doing many years of senior exit interviews across a range of majors at KU that students with liberal arts degrees seem more adaptable when asked to answer problems that are specific to a single domain of study. If I need a circuit board designed, I will hire an engineer for that. But if I need an employee that can adapt to a variety of tasks, then a liberal arts degree is still of great value.

December 3, 2010 at 11:58 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Faith, hunger

It was an honest question. I am curious. I can't know his heart. I do truly hope he prays on it. My belief is that Mr. Brownback is a man of deep faith. I do not envy him for having to reconcile that faith with the desires of those that are funding his political career.

As for Mr._Right_Wing's comments, all I can say is that relying on individual charity is an excellent idea in theory, but poor in practice. Our government, which is you and me not some some secret cabal, should not do everything. But I would hope that the richest society in the world could decide that people playing by the rules, working and trying to contribute like the family in the paper this weekend, should not be "food insecure".

Or, take a conservative approach to it and see feeding everyone as an investment in reduced crime and lawlessness or a sign of our status. There is really no excuse for hunger in America.

September 6, 2010 at 12:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should texting or reading texts while driving be illegal?

I do research and publish in this area. Here are the facts, as we know them right now:

Drink driving: 400% increase in crash risk (numerous studies)
Hand's free cellular: 500% increase in risk (numerous studies)
Texting: 2300% increase in risk (Virg. Tech Trans Inst. in car study)

And guess what Lawrence: In work we just finished, we find that literally 95% of KU students surveyed text and drive. And 75% of those do it two-handed.

Sorry dogsandcats: You can't do it safely even if you can text one handed. You read your replies, right? You eyes are off the road an average of 4 seconds every time you do.

May 9, 2010 at 7:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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