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Texting and Driving Spell Trouble on the Road

Posted on Jul 27, 2009

Hang it up, people: Texting ’n’ driving can significantly raise the risk of collision, according to a new study out of Virginia Tech.

Despite any illusions some of us may still harbor about our manual dexterity and multitasking prowess behind the wheel, a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has found that text messaging and driving really don’t mix. Surprise.

The New York Times:

In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.

Even though trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable than cars, the findings generally applied to all drivers, who tend to exhibit the same behaviors as the more than 100 truckers studied, the researchers said. Truckers, they said, do not appear to text more or less than typical car drivers, but they said the study did not compare use patterns that way.

Compared with other sources of driver distraction, “texting is in its own universe of risk,” said Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study at the institute.

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By Chuck, September 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well there certainly is a problem with talking/texting while driving. The stats speak for themselves. But if that isn’t enough, just take a ride for a while. The person who is doing 40 mph in the high speed lane of the interstate will be the one on the phone. The person continuously crossing the lane markings will be on the phone. The list goes on and on. Most of the people on the road can’t drive anyway. The last thing they need is another distraction.

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By KevC, August 1, 2009 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To those who have no problem with these morons talking/texting on their phones while driving I have a proposal: Let me drink and drive.  I have a mighty capacity to do 12oz curls and not show any marked decline in reaction reflexes.  I’d wager with 4 or 5 beers in me I’d score higher 9 out of 10 times against someone trying to send text messages on their phone on a controlled test course.  Surely you have no problem with that?  Right?

Of course I’m not being serious, but I find it highly ridiculous that the DUI has become this social pariah behavior yet being a total selfish prick and endangering those around you while you’re playing with your “toys” is somehow a “freedom” you have.  Hell, with the BAC limits in most states a person could have two beers in about an hour and be or be close to being legally “drunk”.

Also the argument on “other distractions” while driving is bunk. Many of these studies on texting/talking on cell phones also looked at things like people smoking, messing with the radio, talking with another person in the car, and even while driving legally drunk.  Guess what?  None of those came close to the horrible driving they observed with people using the phones.

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By RAE, July 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Hi there “Fat”...

Oh, I have no response… just “texting” to let you know I’ve received your message. (Too bad you couldn’t have sent it privately so I’d be the only one to know just how stupid you are.)

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By Fat Freddy, July 31, 2009 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

If this is YOU… I do NOT want you on the road! Period.


I think you are the one that needs to stop driving. You are obviously TOO AFRAID. DRIVING on the ROAD is NOT for the FAINT of heart. People WHO DRIVE SCARED are far more LIKELY to cause an ACCIDENT than someone YAPPING on the phone. Would you like a SCIENTIFICALLY VALID REFERENCES? Too bad. You ain’t getting one. I’d bet YOU drive the SPEED limit or BELOW, in the LEFT LANE because speeders are putting your LIFE AT risk. All I can SAY is ... stay the f*ck away FROM ME, cause I’ll run your ass off the damned ROAD.

Also, I find YOUR preaching attitude, your use of the “caps lock”, and disregard for others opinions to be boorish, crude and devoid of any intellectual integrity. Learn some damned manners!

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By negativequity, July 30, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i don’t really see the issue here, as a matter of fact, i sent this comment from the web via my mobile device while rocketing down the expressway at 85 and having breakfast at the same time.  get hip, people!

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By WykydRed, July 30, 2009 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

Ah come on Steve! Faces can be fixed.

A bad boob job, however, can last a lifetime! Good opinion! I’d like to see that myself. Especially after all the moms I’ve seen in stores “drop” their kids or whacked one in the face just trying to purse dive for that all-important cell phone call.

Since the New Namericanz are all up for banning things, hell I’ll go with this one. It won’t work…but I’ll go with it.

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By Just Cause, July 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do accidents happen due to people talking to other people in the car? Yes
Do accidents happen due to people changing their radio stations/settings? Yes
Do accidents happen due to people having slower reactions than others? Yes
Do seniors have accidents due to slower response times and slow mental acuity? Yes

Should we create laws to stop the above? If you say “yes” enjoy that world, if you say “no” you’re selectively creating laws that are going to be enforced against one set of people (generally 18-30 age range), while letting others off in the above scenarios.

Also, trying to enforce a “no texting while driving law” is impossible. If police pull you over will they be able to force you to show your phone? Will they be able to force you to unlock a phone that has a security lock? Will they try to obtain your phone records? I use other apps to text, how will they know what to look at? I have two phone what if I give them my second phone, but hide the other?


There are already distracted driver laws, creating more laws to enforce something that already exists is silly!

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By SteveL, July 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

The A-holes that text and talk on the cell phones while driving need to have their dentist talk on their cell phone while drilling their teeth and have their plastic surgeon text while operating on their face.  Then I will believe their crap.

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By RAE, July 29, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

to pt109…

Right on. America (the USA more specifically) is NOT a Democracy, but a Republic

is NOT a Theocracy, in spite of your “In God We Trust” logo/slugline

is… (ta-ta!) an HYPOCRISY… what you SAY and what you DO, are often two completely different things.

You wrote: “people just dont care about their fellow human beings.”

Oh they DO… but only when it PROFITS THEM TO DO SO. Nowhere but in America will you find such aggressive litigation to GET SOMETHING at someone else’s expense. An American will sue you for a million dollars EVERY CHANCE THEY GET… they don’t give a rat’s ass about YOU or your welfare unless you can profit them by doing so.

Don’t believe me? When was the last time America INVADED a country with NO OIL OR OTHER RESOURCES strategic or otherwise? No invasion of North Korea. Why? They have nothing the USA wants or needs! North Korea’s economy results from the sale of “military products, mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy, textiles, food processing, tourism” none of which are important enough to America to go to war over. Hell the biggest asset America ever got from their “association with” North Korea was M*A*S*H!

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By WykydRed, July 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

I was hit 3 times as a delivery driver (once when I was a passenger in a car on my day off! lol) by people talking on their cell phones. Not texting, just talking. Britain started the whole thing, and banned ANY use of cell phones in cars. People still do it, they just hide it when cops drive up or by them because there’s a BIG ticket involved and you can lose your license.

I have to go with Just Cause on this one. It IS human nature to try anything “illegal” and therefore, taboo. Take a look outside schools. Kids smoking between the ages of 8-18 have skyrocketed because smoking is “taboo”. Parents who spend all their time bitching about smokers and smoking, spewing their hatred in their homes and anywhere they feel like have convinced their children that smoking behind their parents backs is “cool as shit”. (I quote that from the 200th kid in my town I’ve interviewed to find out why they started smoking.) It’s “naughty”. It’s like the 60’s when white girls started dating black guys just to piss their parents off or give them heart attacks. Now, no one cares. Well, I guess some still do, but they’re considered (at least by high schoolers) as “Jurrasisoric”. That’s a word I got from a 9th grader. I kinda like it! Probably didn’t spell it right.

Humans fight against that which oppresses them. At least some of us. And we never stop. I often wonder what kind of dipshit one has to be to demand order through law. All anyone can really do is say, “this is the problem. And we can’t stop it. YOU can stop it, just through taking personal responsibility.” That still won’t stop it, no matter how man bloody, gory pictures you show people of mayhem-laden car crashes, train crashes and cruise boats sinking with all aboard lost.

Make something illegal, and people WILL want it, just to show the idiots demanding a no-tolerance-of -anything government they can shove it.

There are only 2 types of people in the world and only 2. And both of them are assholes. Guess what those two kinds are?....

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By RAE, July 29, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

To Just Cause, who wrote:

“Criminalizing personal behavior to try and create a perfectly safe world will never work, what you resists will persist and grow stronger and stronger”

...AND YOUR SCIENTIFICALLY VALID REFERENCES to support this statement are…???

Even though YOU, JustCause, the master of glib opinion and untested assumption, may be PERFECT behind the wheel under any and all circumstances, OTHERS AREN’T. It’s the “Others” that worry me… the ones who are reading and replying to their “Dear John” text message, or engrossed in some inane family emergency such as “Johnny just stubbed his toe in the sandbox” message, while hurtling at 70mph down some roadway upon which I also happen to be travelling.

If this is YOU… I do NOT want you on the road! Period. And I don’t give a damn how many of your PERSONAL RIGHTS TO FREEDOM I cram down your throat in the process. Your actions put ME at risk… and you DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT.

One of MY personal RIGHTS is to be FREE FROM YOUR SOCIOPATHIC THREATS to my body, vehicle, family, home, existence. That TRUMPS your assumed right to assassinate me any way your ignorant, anti-social behavior urges you.

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By pt109, July 29, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is it the country with the most freedoms has the least responsibility when it comes to things like this. In a great deal of western countries driving is taken much more seriously than it is in the USA. They get that cars + phones or cars + fast food or cars + make up or cars + reading the news paper are a completely unacceptable behavior and in all probability will lead to traffic fatalities.

Why don’t we????? Guess the “me” mentality is truly too pervasive in this country and people just dont care about their fellow human beings.

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By Just Cause, July 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you can’t win through the facts, it’s always safest to make personal attacks and insult people.

Criminalizing personal behavior to try and create a perfectly safe world will never work, what you resists will persist and grow stronger and stronger

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By RAE, July 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

There are those with little or no COMMON SENSE.

Then there’s “Just Cause” - NO SENSE OF ANY KIND.

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By Just Cause, July 28, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will be no more talking in cars, you can’t talk because it’s too distracting and someone may get in an accident. From this day forward we must all sit quietly in our cars (no radios, etc) and look straight ahead. Silly….

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By RAE, July 28, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

“Mr. Hanowski said the texting analysis was financed by $300,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has the mission of improving safety in trucks and buses. More broadly, the research yielding the results represent a significant logistical undertaking.

The overall cost was $6 million to equip the trucks with video cameras and track them for three million miles as they hauled furniture, frozen foods and other goods across the country.”

Sometimes the complete lack of COMMON SENSE we humans display stuns me. IT IS CRYSTAL CLEAR OBVIOUS TO ME that no one can SAFELY operate a vehicle in today’s traffic while SIMULTANEOUSLY TYPING on a keyboard.

SIX MILLION DOLLARS to verify the OBVIOUS! I can’t believe it… just as I can’t believe there are actually functioning adults in our society who are SO STUPID, SO ARROGANT, SO FULL OF THEIR OWN IMPORTANCE that they not only consider THEY (and they alone) are endowed with superhuman skill and abilities and therefore are entitled to PUT EVERYONE ELSE’S LIFE AT RISK while their attention behind the wheel is ANYWHERE but on the road.

Congrats to those states, provinces and countries who DO have the COMMON SENSE to absolutely BAN the use of TEXTING devices & hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

SHAME on those that haven’t done so… why not also allow TV screens to be installed so drivers who are bored can be entertained by Oprah or Springer just before they plow into oncoming traffic and kill a few people?

ANYTHING to GUARANTEE an individual’s ABSOLUTE RIGHT to be as STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, as he/she can possibly be.

Anyone caught without both hands on the wheel and attention fully on the road should have their license suspended and vehicle IMPOUNDED for ONE FULL YEAR. That’s enough for the first offence.

The second offense would bring LICENSE CANCELLATION, VEHICLE CONFISCATION AND 10 years in jail. Too tough? Right… I’ll ask you again just after one of these assh*les piles into YOUR vehicle.

NO ONE has the right to put MY LIFE in jeopardy.

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