August 25, 2016

Why do you text and drive?



ADDED: This video is very affecting and has an important message, which I don't mean to diminish, but I'm just going to appropriate it for a couple seconds to make a nonverbal argument about what is surely a less important matter, but it is something I've been talking about for a long time: men in shorts:

53 comments:

Dave D said...

Thanks for posting, Ann. Powerful message. My youngest rear-ended another vehicle at a stop light because of this. No injuries, but could have been terrible!

Mike said...

Why does Carpool Karaoke get a pass?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

They used to say that SUVs worsen traffic because they take longer to clear an intersection.

rhhardin said...

You get distracted driving when the dog changes the station on the radio, too.

Lyle Smith said...

Driverless vehicles will allow for all the texting you want.

Mike said...

"Eating while driving causes 80% of car accidents"
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/eating-driving-80-car-accidents-study-shows-article-1.427796

And driving with passengers -- 60% increase.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4507310

Original Mike said...

You're guiding a 3,000 pound vehicle at 50 feet per second. Boredom??? More like stupidity.

TreeJoe said...

Texting has become the cause du jour (and in many ways, rightfully so) but the bottom line is distracted and unsafe driving needs to be addressed.

I spent ~3 years of my life driving with <4 hours of sleep per night due to children. And I don't mean 2 rough nights in a row - I mean months at a time without getting adequate sleep. I am sure in a reaction time and cognitive testing battery, I would have scored similar to those notably over the legal limit for alcohol.

I see people routinely - ROUTINELY - driving 3 ton vehicles (many RWD trucks with lightweight empty beds) at 75-80mph on well worn tires tailgating others.

I could go on, but the bottom line is people have become comfortable piloting 1.5-3 ton vehicles in the most ridiculous of ways - texting, singing karaoke, inebriated, high, tailgating/swerving lanes. Some of this comfort is due to societal acceptance, some of it is due to advances in automotive manufacturing.

It needs to be addressed.

Full disclosure: I speed. I drive a high performance car and I drive ~10-15% faster than cars and trucks around me. I justify this to myself, I don't tailgate, and I don't swerve through lanes. But I do justify it, and I know driving slower would be safer.

Fernandinande said...

Why do you text and drive?

Because I read on the Intertubes that the NSA can't read messages if the source is moving.

Mike said...
And driving with passengers -- 60% increase.


I saw a US stat about that - tremendous increase in accidents for people under 19, very little diff for older people.

And rural driving has twice the death rate (100% increase) of city driving (whether per mile or per person, etc, don't recall).

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I always wonder why it's legal to drive with dogs unsecured and climbing all over the driver. How's that less distracting than me texting at a stoplight?

eric said...

I read and comment at Althouse while I'm driving. Drives my wife crazy. I also eat, drink, talk to passengers, yell at my kids, listen to the radio, follow my napping tool, talk on the radio, take glasses on and off, move the visor when the sun is shining in a particular direction, blow my nose, take off my shoes, put on my shoes, take off articles of clothing (like a sweater if it gets too hot), and many other things while I drive.

Yancey Ward said...

I have lost count of the number times in just the last month in which I was behind a driver at a red light who was texting and didn't see the light change. While I don't tend to notice the other driver's actions inside the car when I am in motion myself, it scares the crap out of me to think these same people are probably looking at the phone even when moving.

My youngest sister was in a head-on accident a couple of years ago, when a 17 year old girl swerved into her lane on a two lane road, and was nearly killed in the accident. My sister spent months in rehabilitation, and will spend the rest of her life with physical limitations due to it. We didn't try to prove it, but we suspect the other driver was on her phone and over-corrected back onto the road after running off the shoulder.

n.n said...

To keep up with e-mail and Facebook, of course. That said, everyone should be entitled to a personal secretary. This would reduce the occurrence of road-related abortions, stimulate the job market, and mitigate HOV disparity.

Original Mike said...

"I always wonder why it's legal to drive with dogs unsecured and climbing all over the driver. How's that less distracting than me texting at a stoplight?"

Do you really need someone to tell you that other people's dangerous behavior does not excuse yours?

Original Mike said...

Sure glad eric doesn't live in Wisconsin.

mockturtle said...

It is against the law in some states. It should be prosecuted the same as driving under the influence.

BDNYC said...

One of the teens remained seated when he shook the woman's hand. Am I the only one who considers that rude?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I never text while driving, as it would interfere with catching Pokemon.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Point is, Mike, distracted driving is distracted driving. Having some yappy dog sitting on your lap or three labs barking in the backseat is just as dangerous; why isn't that the focus of public outrage?

Original Mike said...

"Point is, Mike, distracted driving is distracted driving. Having some yappy dog sitting on your lap or three labs barking in the backseat is just as dangerous; why isn't that the focus of public outrage?"

Personally, I find loose dogs unacceptable too. But as to public outrage, the fact that the ratio of texters to loose dogs is, who knows, 1,000 to 1? is probably relevant.

Why can't you put the freakin phone down until you get to your destination?

paminwi said...

If something is so important. Find a parking lot to pull into to complete your talking, texting, whatever. It's what I do and it adds very little time yo get to your destination.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Mike--I never said I text and drive; go bark at someone who defends the practice which I am not.

Sure cell phones + cars is more ubiquitous than unrestrained dogs + cars, but you never hear any criticism of the latter which mystifies me.

Martha said...

A woman talking on her cellphone while driving is just as dangerous as a teen texting while driving.
I know because I am a woman.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Why can't you put the freakin phone down until you get to your destination?

If this is addressed to me personally, then, well, I do. So don't worry about me!

Related to my point, why can't people leave their freakin' dogs at home?

Original Mike said...

Nah, you just wait until the stoplights. Better than nothing I guess, but still not great. I do not understand this compulsion. If it were your life and limb I wouldn't care, but these people put others at great risk too. The analogy to drunk driving is completely apt.

Anyways, I have errands to run. The phone will be off.

Original Mike said...

"If this is addressed to me personally, then, well, I do."

Well, then I apologize, but you can see why I reached the conclusion I did:

"How's that less distracting than me texting at a stoplight?"

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It was a general "me;" good lord. Exchange that for "someone" if it sounds better. Enjoy your errands and drive safely!

JRoberts said...

I really appreciate that Atlanta airport (and other airports) have "cell phone" lots.

Unfortunately, it's not always convenient for me to drive to ATL every time I want to use my cell phone.

Marc Puckett said...

I don't know where eric lives but I would like to know, can he tell me where to get a napping tool cheap? Often I'd like to nap on slow workday afternoons but can never overcome my misplaced conscientiousness about such things.

Will text at red lights but otherwise am terribly censorious about texting drivers. Most of the time I use the bus and/or walk, however; my current peeve is those drivers who wait at the red light (not turning right, on red, as they are entitled to do)-- they may be thinking that I am going to use the crosswalk against the lights?-- until the instant the green appears, which happens often a half second before the pedestrian crossing light comes on. I will wait patiently for the p. crossing light only to find that if I actually begin to cross at that point the right-turning vehicle will be accelerating into the crosswalk. Now of course I am paying attention and see that the vehicle is begun moving so there's been no bloodshed yet. But...

Anthony said...

And, as we all know, there were no accidents due to distracted driving before the advent of cell phones and texting.

David said...

Since 2004, number of texts in the US have increased by about 20 times while traffic deaths have fallen by a quarter.

The long term trend has been down since the early '70s so it's probably not true that texting makes driving safer (although it's easy to come up with an explanation of why that would be true), but even if it makes driving more dangerous, it's impossible for the effect to be very large.

eric said...

Blogger Marc Puckett said...
I don't know where eric lives but I would like to know, can he tell me where to get a napping tool cheap?


Oops. Meant mapping tool. Not sure how that turned I to napping. Fat finger I guess.

Blogger mockturtle said...
It is against the law in some states. It should be prosecuted the same as driving under the influence.


I agree with this, except that I think driving under the influence shouldn't be prosecuted.

eric said...

Blogger Original Mike said...
Sure glad eric doesn't live in Wisconsin.


You'd be safer while driving.

Bruce said...

I'm not texting while I drive... I'm using the map app to find the nearest liquor store when the flask I'm drinking starts to get low.

More seriously, in my state it is now illegal for a driver to have a cell phone in their hand, even if they are stopped. That seems like overkill to me. Obviously you should not text while actually driving, but reading a text from your spouse at a long stop light doesn't seem like it should be illegal. It will get you a ticket here.

Peggy Coffey said...

My husband and I were just talking about this. We are motorcycle riders and have seen things that I never thought people could do driving. We do not text and drive in the car and what is so important that it can't wait until you stop or get home. We lived many years without a phone attached to our ears and so can everyone else. Our children screech if the phone rings while we're driving, but no one answers if we're in the car.

khesanh0802 said...

@BDNYC No. That was my reaction as well. We must be really old school!

Ann Althouse said...

"More seriously, in my state it is now illegal for a driver to have a cell phone in their hand, even if they are stopped."

Is it okay to have it resting on a surface but to touch it in the way that activates Siri? Is it okay to have the earbud in and to touch the microphone on the earbud wire to activate Siri? That's all I would do.

Ann Althouse said...

I have a problem with kids texting and biking. I often walk on a mixed use path -- bikes and pedestrians -- where there are cyclists who look younger than 16 who have phones out and one hand off the handlebar and are looking at the phone as they swerve around people. This path often has children and old people, and the bike riders are already the kind who ride in that kid way where you go way to one side or the other with each pedal push (instead of keeping a straight line).

FullMoon said...

I let my kids sit on my lap and steer while driving my TR4 through the cemetery. Just this minute recognized irony of seven year old steering sports car at forty five miles an hour through cemetery.

Would never let the dog drive, though.

Marie said...

I agree with eric. We do all kinds of activities in our cars and, most of the the time, we don't cause an accident. Just as most of the time, we can drink and drive without causing an accident. Most of the time, we can fish the baby's pacifier off the floor or eat a burger without wrecking. The idea that we have committed a CRIME by simply having an arbitrary blood alcohol content is ridiculous. Do I want people driving drunk? No, nor do I want the oncoming driver to be turning around and soothing the crying baby until after they are past me. Do I want people texting and driving? Does it matter if I approve? They are going to text anyway and I'd rather they did it with the phone in front of them instead of sneaking furtive glances at the phone in their lap.

Bruce said...

"Is it okay to have it resting on a surface but to touch it in the way that activates Siri? Is it okay to have the earbud in and to touch the microphone on the earbud wire to activate Siri? That's all I would do."

I believe those things are legal.

From the (Nevada) state DMV website: "Texting, accessing the internet and hand-held cell phone use while driving are illegal". So, having the phone in your hand is actually illegal (and is what a policeman observes to trigger writing you a ticket).

"You can talk using a hands-free headset and, while making voice calls, touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.”"
This would allow you to touch the phone to dial, hang up, and presumably activate Siri. But note by the wording that texting and accessing the internet are still illegal, even if the phone isn't in your hand. So even glancing at your phone could be a violation, though pretty difficult to get caught at if you aren't holding the phone in your hand. Siri might be a grey area, because although voice controlled, you are accessing the internet. I doubt one would ever get cited for it

I actually think those are pretty reasonable rules - I just don't think they should apply when the vehicle is not moving.

n.n said...

A corollary: Why mix sex and abortion?

You could have saved a life.

MadisonMan said...

I have a problem with kids texting and biking

I am always tempted to pull the phone out of their hands as they go by.

A message I give my kids: Embrace the time you get to be alone, and not be interacting. Don't let your phone steal that from you. It's okay to be bored, too.

Maybe they listen.

I will use my phone when I drive -- I look at maps. Just like I'd do in the old days, with a Road Atlas.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that this is a very effective ad. But I was doubtful of the kids saying they'd stop texting. One hit it on the head -- you have to stop, cold turkey, and keep stopped so it becomes your habit. For many, obsessive phone checking is simply a bad habit. I suspect if you don't stop checking when you're not in your car, you'll keep checking when you are in your car.

Jupiter said...

Am I supposed to believe that young woman repeated her tale of woe, word for word, to each of those young airheads? Or, alternatively, am I supposed to believe that they pretended to be all broken up about what they were hearing when in fact, they weren't really hearing it? Am I the only person who thinks this way?

EMD said...

The shorts serve a purpose. A nervous or regretful man can't easily tug and fiddle at his trouser ends, now can he?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"If your mem'ry serves you well
We were goin' to meet again and wait
So I'm goin' to unpack all my things
And sit before it gets too late
No man alive will come to you
With another tale to tell
And you know that we shall meet again
If your mem'ry serves you well
This wheel's on fire
Rolling down the road,
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode

If your mem'ry serves you well
I was goin' to confiscate your lace
And wrap it up in a sailor's knot
And hide it in your case
If I knew for sure that it was yours
But it was oh so hard to tell
And you know that we would meet again
If your mem'ry serves you well
This wheel's on fire
Rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode

If your mem'ry serves you well
You'll remember you're the one
That called on me to call on them
To get you your favors done
And after ev'ry plan had failed
And there was nothing more to tell
You knew that we would meet again
If your mem'ry served you well
This wheel's on fire
It's rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
That this wheel shall explode"

Bob Dylan?

Bob said...

Texting seems to be for too many people an all-absorbing activity. Texters are often oblivious to their surroundings. Texting is similar to the "internet chat" it replaced. Obsessive chatting often ruined people.

I wonder if texters listen to people with the same intensity they apply to the words on those little screens.

I have seen people walk into streets staring at their phones, sometimes never looking up. I have stood on sidewalks and waited for texters to realize they are about to walk into me, catching themselves with only a few feet to go. People have walked off of cliffs while texting.

Texting does not distract driving. Driving fails to distract the obsessive texter.

BN said...

Ha ha! Men in shorts! That's good!

Just please do something someday on [older] women in died hair.

BN said...

...or younger women, for that matter.

BN said...

But worst of all? Old men with died hair in shorts!

Lots of click-pics please.

BN said...

Don't you just love to make fun of losers?

It's ok. We all do.

BN said...

But seriously, don't text and drive in died hair and shorts.