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Survey: Mobile Phone Use Of Drivers At-The-Wheel 'Not Linked' To Accident Figures

 3:33 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm really surprised by these figures. The number of people I see driving while on the phone is quite high, and they are not driving safely. I can see that as they swerve over the road, and as they get in the way.

Perhaps the alert drivers not using the phone are able to get out of the way of the drivers using their phones.

Researchers have found no link between the number of US drivers making phone calls while on the road and the number of accidents recorded.

A team at Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics analysed more than eight million incidents of car crashes and all fatalities on roads in eight US states.

They examined data before and after 9pm local time over a three-year period.

However they say their results do not include texting or internet browsing.Survey: Mobile Phone Use Of Drivers At-The-Wheel 'Not Linked' To Accident Figures [bbc.co.uk]



 8:21 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

their results do not include texting or internet browsing

In the original article, was this line printed in 36-point bright red boldface?


 8:59 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Technology, automobiles, and human nature generally don't mix


 6:00 am on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

It does not way whether they were using hands free phones or not. It makes a huge difference - using a hands free phone is not very different from talking to someone in the car.

Mr Bo Jangles

 10:20 am on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

using a hands free phone is not very different from talking to someone in the car.

Totaly disagree - no driver who has ever used a phone in a car, handsfree or otherwise could honestly say this.


 9:46 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Depends on who the passenger is. If you're talking to another adult, you're definitely better off than talking to the same person on a cell phone, because that person is also watching the road. If you're talking to a child you may well be worse off than using a cell phone. For some drivers, "Baby On Board" means "My attention is divided between child and road and I may look away at any time-- up to and including physically turning around-- so it's other drivers' job to look out for me." (Unfortunately I am not making this up. I've seen this opinion espoused in print with every evidence of a straight face.)


 1:35 am on Aug 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Using a phone, or eating a sandwich when you are driving is about as dangerous as changing stations on your radio, making a selection on your CD player, following your sat nav, sneezing, smoking, drinking water, talking to a passenger, complaining out loud to yourself about other drivers (probably swearing), checking the time, looking at a pretty woman (or man depending on your preference) walking by,reading roadside advertising, not wearing sunglasses, putting on sunglasses etc., etc.

By using statistics you can label virtually any in car non-driving activity as a major cause of accidents, when the only real cause of accidents is just bad driving.

Beware statistics for instance according to Wikipedia:
In the United States the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 17,941 people died in 2006 in alcohol-related collisions, representing 40% of total traffic deaths in the US.
So 60% of deaths are caused by drivers who haven't had a drink. So why is so much money spent on don't drink and drive campaigns when we should be targeting the sober drivers who are a bigger problem than the drunks.

The above is just as logical as blaming mobile phones.

PS. I get really annoyed with "Baby on Board" signs, I drive carefully all the time, I'm not going to drive extra carefully because somebody may or may not (they never take the signs out when they are on their own)be transporting their treasured offspring. The very idea is risible.


 1:48 am on Aug 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Using a phone, or eating a sandwich when you are driving is about as dangerous as

How long do your sneezes last? How much of your conscious attention is devoted to the sandwich? How ridiculous can we get, and still remain within the parameters of foo?

So 60% of deaths are caused by drivers who haven't had a drink.

You left out the part where they found that less than 60% of all drivers are sober, so drivers who have had nothing to drink are responsible for a disproportionate number of accidents.


 4:09 am on Aug 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@lucy24, kids were what I had in mind. Also adults who do not drive, or who are just unobservant.

@Old_Honky, what does "alcohol related" mean? I bet its not the same as "caused by alcohol" which is harder to determine.


 12:31 am on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lucy 24
It is not ridiculous to say sneezing could be a problem. When you sneeze it takes 2-3 seconds in total and at the final moment of sneezing you automatically close your eyes. It's not how long it lasts that matters, it's exactly when it happens e.g. if the guy in front of you that you are too close to suddenly slams his brakes on.

"less than 60% of all drivers are sober" please tell me you made that up.

"alcohol related" means that one of the drivers had consumed alcohol and tested positive. In this country (UK) if a driver who has had a drink (that puts him or her over the arbitrary level that is considered to be the point that their ability to drive safely is compromised) is minding their own business driving OK and is hit by a driver who has not had a drink then the former is invariably held to be at fault. So it is fair to assume that on a proportion of the accidents where alcohol is involved it is not the actual cause of the accident.


 4:55 am on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@lucy, what you are missing is that 40% of driver had been drinking, is not the same as 40% of accidents are caused by alcohol consumption.

People usually drink in the evening, when they are also likely to be tired and sleepy - each at least as big a risk factor as drinking. So which causes the accidents?

In my view, driving while sleepy or tired should be punished the same way as driving while drunk, but I think politicians have a puritanical streak and are want to punish drinking, rather than causing risk to others - despite horrific examples of the accidents that drinking while tired can cause (at least in the UK).

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