Thursday, August 27, 2009

My biggest peeve (lately)

Fine. You can feel free to disagree with me if you want, but I'm just gonna let you know right now that you're wrong.

I've just returned to the US after living abroad for seven years, and I am appalled by the sight of so many people -- so many people -- talking on mobile phones while driving. Every other person, it seems, has their cell phone pasted to the ear, yakking it up. I mean really, what the hell is so important that you can't wait 1 minute and pull over to talk?

You always know the ones who are talking. They're weaving a little, looking in the mirror and picking at their teeth while yammering away. Taking all turns at 3.5 mph because they're steering and holding the phone and probably turning the radio down all at the same time. Unable to change lanes in a sensible way because they're actually visualising a spreadsheet in their heads while talking to some colleague about "those changes in column 7? -- it needs to be re-totaled with the new variables included!" Or talking to a best friend about what color to paint the hallway. Or blabbing about something else, equally mission-critical and totally life-changing.

What the hell is wrong with these people?

And they never think their driving is a problem. Like drunks who stagger out to their cars, stabbing keys multiple times at the door locks, they're "fine." "Oh, I'm a good driver! I really pay attention. I don't think my driving's altered at all." All that stuff about driving extra slow and delayed reaction times and poor assessment of risk? "Not me, buddy!"

I don't care if they're using hands-free technology or those dorky-looking bluetooth things or whatever. Studies have shown that you're many times more likely to have an accident when talking on the phone in the car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

The driver’s primary responsibility is to operate the vehicle safely. This requires undivided attention and focus on the driving task.

Using wireless communications devices while driving can be distracting and increase the risk of crash and injury. Therefore, NHTSA recommends that drivers not use these devices while driving, except in [an] emergency. This recommendation applies to both hand-held and hands-free devices.


A New York Times article gives background on this study, which is one of many over the last several years. Numerous countries and US states have banned or severely restricted cell phone usage based on accident studies. And texting while driving? Please. Or rather, please don't.

This video went viral over the internet during the last several days, and for a reason. While horrible and graphic, it also shows what disasters can occur when cell phones and driving mix.

[Warning: Graphic and violent visuals]



You don't want to be these people. You really don't. Like drinking and driving, cell phone use while driving is irresponsible and just plain wrong. Just like alcohol or drugs, cell phone usage causes you to be significantly impaired if you use a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Get it through your head: Just shut up and drive.





UPDATE: http://bit.ly/p2o1m check it out...
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17 comments:

SkylersDad said...

I couldn't agree more!

@eloh said...

I'm terrified to call my kids, I'm always afraid I'll catch them on the road and they'll answer or even just "look" at the damn phone to see who it is.

More and more places are passing laws....unfortunately, tech is travelling faster than the laws...now they "text".

ladytruth said...

Rihanna is all in my mind now with her little booty shaking song, but I agree nevertheless :)

expateek said...

Skyler's Dad, eloh, and ladytruth -- Thanks for agreeing with my point of view. Sometimes I feel like such an old biddy. It's only when you are about to rear-end someone while glancing away that you realise: disaster waiting to happen! xx e

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

I couldn't agree more as well. Whenever my phone rings and I'm driving, I always let it go to message bank. I'm a bad enough driver without extra distraction. I don't even like changing CD's while driving.

Vic said...

California is one of the states that has banned hand-held cell phone use. Sadly, it doesn't seem to have made much of an impact on younger drivers. I still see texting going on behind the wheel of a lot of cars on the freeway.

It's scary.

Matthew said...

No, I'm with you on this one too. If you even try walking behind someone who's on their mobile phone it's hard enough - being behind the wheel whilst on a call doesn't bear thinking about.

Lisa Paul said...

Exactly. No one is so important with an issue so urgent that they can't wait until they can pull over somewhere before they talk on the phone.

Well, maybe if you are Obama and Kim Jong Il has just called you to say his finger is on the nuclear trigger. But everyone else? Wait until you can stop somewhere before you pick up the phone.

Hannah Rose said...

Unfortunately, also like drinking and driving, this is something that perfectly reasonable and intelligent human beings do, perhaps not fully grasping or even listening to tales of the horrible consequences until after arrest or a tragedy occurs at a close enough degree to cause them to think twice.

I think refusing to be in the car with someone who insists on texting and driving, drinking and driving, etc. is the only way to get them to realize how dangerous it is.

Suzy said...

I know a lot of us are going to die this way, the victim of an asshole texting or talking.

Madame DeFarge said...

I find it worrying when bus drivers are using their mobiles. This seems even more irresponsible. Why are they never spotted by the police?

suze said...

I am not a culprit of talk on the cell and I have decided not to buy food at a drive-thru either. I am incapable of letting a burger roll down my chin on to my jeans without reacting. I think that eating in the car is also a hazard but nothing would be done about it because unlike cell phone companies, who can have add on sales of Blue tooths, the fast food companies would lose money.

ladytruth said...

I have something for you over at my blog ;)

Mary Alice said...

Sing it sister...you'll get a big amen from me.

Baglady said...

It's against the law here and I don't understand why it isn't more strongly enforced.

How long before we stop smokers smoking in their cars, though? It strikes me as pretty dangerous to dig out a packet of fags and fumble around for a lighter whilst driving at 70mph (100kmh). Surely that should be banned too.

mo.stoneskin said...

Drive me mad too. The other day I was driving up the M1 with my father-in-law. We had a heavy van full of stuff. A car in front was weaving dangerously, we thought he was drunk and pulled into the fast lane to keep clear. As we passed we realised he was texting from his phone. While at 70mph. Unbelievable.

Iota said...

Blimey that's hard-hitting.