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The Love Bug

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Mobile Phones... [Jul. 6th, 2003|01:12 pm]
The Love Bug
[Current Mood |determineddetermined]

With the upcoming legislation on mobile phone use in cars, I'm absolutely astounded to see what appears to be people making the most of it until the legislation actually goes in place.

Let me explain...

I've just got back from work, which is a 4 mile journey. In those 4 miles, I saw no less than 3 drivers using a handheld mobile phone. In all three cases:
  • Their driving was erratic
  • There was someone in the passenger seat who could have taken/made the call
  • The driver was smiling/laughing, suggesting that this was not an important call

Now, this so-called legislation is not due to come into force until 1 December 2003. So what do we do in the meantime? Put up with drivers who persist in driving without due care and attention? I tell you, we have to do something, because the police certainly aren't.

What can the average Joe (or Jo) do to stop this from happening, because I'm getting seriously fed up sharing the road with people who refuse to respect other road users. Everyone, by now, should be aware of the risks faced by using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving, and with the cost of handsfree kits as low as they are, I can see no reason whatsoever why people would want to intentionally put their own lives, as well as the lives of other roads users, at risk in this way!

Am I the only one who feels this way? I certainly hope not. So what can the 'collective' do about the problem? Well, I'm going to write to my local MP as well as the local Police Commissioner and ask them what we, as the general public, can do when it's perfectly clear that the local authorities aren't going to do anything about it.

Thoughts and opinions welcome.

[User Picture]From: stainsteelrat
2003-07-06 05:35 am (UTC)
The key to any legislation being effective is enforcement. The problem as I see it is that the police don't have the resources or the drive to enforce this law.

Also I don't know if the police are monitoring mobile phones as one of the accident "contributory factors" in their paperwork. I don't see it as a specific cause in the Transport Research Laboratory data accident codes.

Plus it is important to get this in context. I'm sure that mobile phones are not a principal cause of accidents, even though any accident is a bad thing (obviously!).
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[User Picture]From: kuzanagi_
2003-07-06 05:48 am (UTC)
I personally believe that when driving one should be doing just that, and that alone. I don't even find the use of a hands-free kit an appealing alternative. The number of times I've been at a roundabout or junction, and someone's been on the phone, be it hand-held or hands-free, when they'll stare right at me, when it's my right of way, then, due to being so engrossed in their phone call, manoueveur regardless forcing other people to make allowances for their lack of concentration.

I don't care who you are, or what your perceived level of driving ability is, driving demands your full attention. Scientists have proven that basic reaction times to external stimuli whilst driving are very much the same whether you're Colin McRae (WRC Rally Driver) or Colin Smith (70 year-old man, not a WRC Rally Driver), it's all about what you do when you react, if you see my point. Surely having one hand off the wheel engrossed in a conversation is going to impede your ability to react, as well as to how you will react.

Although, having said this, I believe that it's a fairly difficult law to enforce compared to, for example speeding or running red-lights. Incidentally, a lot of Motorist groups are suggesting that nowadays, running red-lights is a more dangerous practice than speeding, which I have to say I agree with.
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[User Picture]From: tep
2003-07-06 06:01 am (UTC)
What worries me is the number of people I see with one hand clamping a phone to their ear and having the one remaining hand to try and cover steering as well as changing gear. They take their hand off the steering wheel and change gear so they have no hands on the steering wheel, now if all roads where straight and flat that wouldn't worry me, but they are obviously not. All mobile phones have some kind of facility for voicemail, so I'm sorry but there is no reason to take the call as you are driving about. Let the voicemail take a message and call them back once you stop. It's not complicated. :)
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From: (Anonymous)
2003-07-06 06:15 am (UTC)
As it's only four miles, why dont you reduce the risk of being in a car crash by walking? Seeing as you are overweight you should consider this.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2003-07-06 06:25 am (UTC)
Thank you for your highly intelligent insight into my physical makeup.

As it's only four miles, why don't you try and walk it. Start on Brighton Pier and walk south.
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[User Picture]From: emsee
2003-07-06 07:43 am (UTC)
I agree with the mobile phone legislation - it can't come soon enough really.

Driving one handed while using a mobile is doubly dangerous as not only is the driver distracted by the mobile conversation but they are unable to change gear unless they let go of the steering wheel or risk dropping the phone by holding it between their ear & shoulder.

Some survey's say that using a hand's free kit is almost as distracting as using a handset but I'm not so sure.
Talking on a hands-free kit may distracting compared to concentrating purely on driving but what I want to know is how distracting is talking on a hands-free kit compared to talking to other people in the car, arguing with other people in the car, driving with the kids playing up in the back seat, listening to a lively radio phone-in, listening to loud music (a survey a while back said that loud music reduced the concentration of drivers), and I'm sure there's loads more everyday distractions which could reduce a drivers concentration, (obviously trying to make an outgoing call by dialling a number while driving is a different matter).

Banning the use of hands-free kits as well as hand-held mobiles in cars would be uneforcable and I very much doubt it would actually make a difference due to the multitude of other distractions which are perfectly legal.

I'd be interested to hear what your local MP & Police Commissioner have to say :)
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[User Picture]From: sadsacks
2003-07-06 02:11 pm (UTC)
One of the problems of trying to ban hands free mobiles, its pretty much the same as talking to a passenger in a car, in fact it can be worse as when talking to the passenger you can take your eyes off the road and talk to the passenger, now you tell me which one is worse
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[User Picture]From: crazybee
2003-07-06 08:43 am (UTC)
I agree with you 101%.

When I'm driving about up in london the amount of times I see someone on the phone chatting away and then making really a**hole mistakes on the road is unbelieveable. a efw times I have actually told people to "get off that bloody phone NOW!" while I'm driving my bus and they have done something silly in front of me. God its like watching people running across the road without even looking to get on a bus I mean jeez there are other buses ont he road to catch you dont have to get killed to get it. The same with smokers too I have noticed that they'll do anything to keep their fag alight.

Mobile users watch out I think enforcement should be dealt with a iron fist, anyone driving caught using a hand held mobile phone should be FINED on the point, no mercy. Same with driving or parking in bus lanes and bus stops ;) sorry couldnt resist getting abit of bus drive hell in there too
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[User Picture]From: geggle
2003-07-07 02:49 am (UTC)
This legislation has existed in most of Australia for several years.

As several people have already noted, enforcement varies, although it's another thing to add to the list should you have an accident and the police determine you were on the phone at the time.

I really think mobile phones shouldn't be answered when driving anyway - you can't properly concentrate on talking and driving at the same time!
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