US may disable all in-car mobile phones [Telecom]

There may indeed be an insurmountable barrier to preventing the use of cell phones use while driving, but the need to make any legitimate emergency calls is not it. It is a trivial matter to exempt calls to

911 or the state police via *77 (or whatever code is used in each state) from any ban on making calls while in motion. Such calls would be so few and far between that they would not be worth worrying about.

For those that believe that the government has no legitimate role in limiting the personal conduct of it's citizens, even if that conduct is jeapordizing other citizens, then you needn't worry. Most legislators are just as self centered as many of the people they allegedly serve, [so] effective bans on cell phone use in moving vehicles will never be enacted unless the legislators can find some easy way to exempt themselves. The proof of that is in the quick rush to ban the texting that most of them don't do and the passage of "feel good" hands-free requirements that do not address the distraction of the call itself.

How about this for a compromise. Throw out all regulation of cell phone use while driving, but make any death caused by a driver who was using a cell phone at the time of the collision "Statutory Murder by reason of Depraved Indifference to the safety of others". No ducking and dodging available here because the people who believe that they are not part of the problem could not in all decency object to the state punishing those who are. If the way you drive when you are using a cell phone is not part of the problem you would be unaffected because they would never be involved in an accident while operating a cell phone and driving.

For good measure, we add in a statutory presumption, under the "Last Clear Chance" doctrine of tort law, that anyone involved in a collision while using a cell phone is presumptavly at fault and the cell phone use constitutes gross negligence, thus piercing the no fault laws in states that have them, and the remedy is then focused solely on the persons who are causing the colisions. Do not cry foul, though, when insurance carriers walk away from the cell phone user's loss claim, because it is a legal absurdity to expect them to pay for wanton or grossly negligent actions.

I will continue to hope that the carnage that cell phone use is causing, that I have personally seen as just one rescue worker, will be stopped. Perhaps [the solution] will have to come in the form of staggering "Dangerous Product" judgments against cell phone service providers that will make their liability insurers run for cover. Once the cell phone service providers are directly exposed to the possibility of huge judgments they will find a way to stop the use of their service while in high speed motion without any legislative action being required.

-- Tom Horne, speaking only for himself

***** Moderator's Note *****

My brother is a first-responder who has dedicated his life to helping those in need. As such, I accord him a certain lattitude in the tone of his posts on this subject.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Tom Horne
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I agree that education is the way to fix the problem, but "the problem" is nanny-statism, not phoning and driving. Anyone who drives badly while phoning probably drives just as badly when not phoning.

Precisely. The time for police to intervene in how someone drives is after they crash. Until then, anything the driver does is a victimless crime.

And as a result, we're stuck to this day with belts that don't do their job (which is to stay tight, so you're fixed to one spot on the seat and have better control of the vehicle).

Reply to
John David Galt

And what this doesn't address is people distracted by other devices such as iPods, laptops, or other passengers.

I think the best solution is aggressively enforce and prosecute reckless and dangerous drivers. But there are many problems with this. Traffic enforcement is difficult (ask any traffic cop or state trooper) and often charges are difficult to prove in court because it comes down to a judgement call. Two, the public tends to view traffic offenses as minor and DA offices go easy on drivers because virtually every adult in the nation is a driver and people can too easily see themselves as a defendant. Few of us are harden criminals so we have no trouble locking them away. But scofflaw drivers?

If you're really a glutton for punishment pop over to misc.transport.road sometime. I've seen people vigorously defend the "right" to drink and drive. If we have people with that mindset then cell phone usage will never hit their radar.

As long as we're a nation of "me" instead of a nation of "we" this will always be a problem. Social pressure isn't working nor are ineffective, unforceable laws. I think it's time we look at a technical solution to the problem. Don't like it? Look in mirror and ask if you're contributing to the problem.


Reply to
John Mayson

Education. Education. Education. That's the key.

My parents' 1956 car, a red/white Ford Fairlane, had lap seatbelts from the dealer and we used them.

When I bought my first car, a 1960 Citroën DS-19, I installed a 3-point (lap and shoulder) seatbelt system for both front seats because I had seen a picture of another Citroën wrapped around a tree with the driver exiting safely because he wore such a belt system -- that convinced me. All passengers in my cars must wear belts or they get out and walk.

Reply to
Thad Floryan

I suspect that standard would both ban and mandate use of certain drugs (like aspirin, which for some people is recommended to reduce the chance of heart attacks, but which can cause Reye's syndrome).

If even one 911 call is blocked or delayed by that ban, and the result is an unnecessary death, I want the banner executed for first-degree murder. Even if it's the entire Congress. (The same should apply to someone who intentionally drinks, then goes out driving and kills someone. Or someone who takes Ambien intentionally and then goes out sleep-driving and kills someone.) That includes blocking a call by someone stranded on a freeway with a steady stream of moving cars surrounding him (which is going to be a problem with "jammers"). It also includes a driver stuck on a freeway with the accelerator stuck on full blast (Yes, one such infamous call was a fake. It still might happen for real, especially given recalls for such problems.)

I think that restriction pretty much eliminates a ban enforced by technological means described as "jamming" or "a device you put in a car". It won't be able to exempt 911 and any jamming will leak outside the car. It might still be doable if it can be described as "something you put in a phone" (which means older phones don't have the ban) or "something you put in a cell tower". That still puts unnecessary restrictions on bus and train passengers. *Perhaps* long sections of inter-city train track could be exempted by coordinates if there aren't that many roads around.

Now, assuming that you are going 60mph down a freeway with a phone in your pocket (as driver or passenger), and either you fall (or get pushed) out of the car or hit a bridge abutment and somehow manage to survive and have enough unbroken bones to pick up the phone and dial, how long will it be before you can call 911 for an ambulance? Just how fast does a cell phone GPS recognize a fast stop?

Now, would it be appropriate to re-route the call (one intended for anywhere but 911) to the Three Strikes Driving Hotline, which automatically adds points to your license (perhaps revoking it) and informs you of that? Or would it be safer to just add the points and notify the driver by mail?

It's my opinion that driver distraction caused by a driver calling

911 to report drunk drivers, road hazards, fires, accidents, seeing the license plate number on those "KIDNAPPED CHILD" or "MISSING SENIOR" notices on freeway signs, or a passenger having a heart attack is outweighed by what emergency responders will do about it. (That even applies to *prank* 911 calls if emergency responders get the prankster off the road.)
Reply to
Gordon Burditt

That's ridiculous. People who are staring at their phones are not looking at the road. They may not be fabulous drivers, but they probably are able to notice when the light changes.

R's, John

Reply to
John Levine

Excellent! I wonder how many in this video were using a cellphone:

Warning, not for the squeamish. Note also this URL appeared in the San Jose Mercury News' (SJMN) "Road Show" column by Gary Richards as my contribution for May 7, 2010. It is a short compilation of red-light running accidents around the USA and, no, I did not produce the video.

The original article in the SJMN was:

but it seems that anything over a week old is moved to the SJMN's paywall archives for which big bucks are required to retrieve articles.

Reply to
Thad Floryan

"Nanny statism" is now a catch all for any government regulation of anything. Under the principal that the state should not be protecting us from ourselves; which I happen to subscribe to; all regulation is held to be bad no matter what it is intended to mitigate; which I do not subscribe to. In a democratic society the entire justification for the exorcise of the police power of the state is to protect citizens from the wanton negligence and criminal actions of others.

Your neighbor uses great aunt Barbara's Christmas tree lights and lights his house on fire so the fire department tries to hold the fire to the building of origin so that your house does not burn down do to his negligence.

Someone staggers out of a bar heading for the parking lot and the cops arrest him as soon as he opens the drivers door of an automobile.

Your neighbors kid uses model rockets to learn about physics and rocketry so the town establishes rules that prevent him from setting your roof on fire. His parents have to transport him to a range to fire off his rockets.

You are building a house and the code enforcement official prevents you from connecting your down spouts to the sanitary sewer so that the rest of the taxpayers don't have to pay to process your rain water through the sewage treatment plant.

Each of these state exorcises of the police power has a consequence to someone.

The firefighters cut large holes in the roof of the building of fire origin to release the heat and smoke in order to make an effective attack on the fire. This increases the losses to the building of origin but lessens the burden of fire protection on the rest of the community by avoiding expensive injuries to the firefighters and holding the fire to the building of origin.

The drunk would be driver is jailed and punished for his wanton negligence of attempting to drive while drunk but other drivers and passengers make it home alive.

Your neighbors have to transport their son to a model rocket range but no one had to file an insurance claim for a roof fire caused by an errant rocket.

You have to build a dry well to dispose of the storm water from your property, at considerable expense to you, but markedly reduced expense to the rest of the community.

None of these, In My Un-humble Opinion; for if my opinion were truly humble would I bother to offer it to others; is an example of a Nanny State excess. In each case the state is protecting the public at large from the harmful actions of others that are beyond the public's ability to control except by state action.

In like fashion the regulators who find a means to prevent you from driving distracted by a cell phone conversation will be protecting the other people on the road from the actions of someone who is not willing to put the safety of the rest of the driving public ahead of their own convenience. I don't see that as a nanny state excess but rather as a perfectly legitimate exorcise of the police power of the state in protecting the public from an individuals negligence. In each case it would be easier on the individuals being regulated if they could do what they wanted to do without state interference. In each case if those individuals are allowed to proceed with their plans free of state interference there will be real consequences to the rest of society that; again IMUO; that society has a right to protect itself from.

-- Tom Horne

Reply to
Tom Horne

Those distractions you mention are separate issues.

The issue at hand is cell phone conversations while driving a car.

Reply to
Lisa or Jeff

Thanks to things like seat belt wear, air bags and other safety features in cars, and less alcohol impaired driving, the death rate is declining.

But highway deaths are only one of many measures of highway safety. There is also the accident rate and accident cost, and I believe they are both going up.

In any event, if any given factor is discovered to be a cause of accidents, that particular factor should be attacked regardless of the situation of other factors. It has been widely established that using cell phones causes accidents, thus it is desirable to eliminate (or reduce as much as practical) cell phone use.

Reply to
Lisa or Jeff

Well at least around here there's widespread Wi-Fi on MBTA commuter rail. Who needs phone service?

Reply to

No, the issue is the distraction from the main task of driving, whether it's talking on a cell phone, changing the station of the radio, or scolding the kids. There may be different levels of distraction, but they all impact negatively on driving ability.


Reply to

  1. > The firefighters cut large holes in the roof of the building of fire

Tom, by what exercise can we exorcise from you the devil in you that makes you repeatedly misspell "exercise" as "exorcise"? :-)

Cheers, -- tlvp

-- Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP

Reply to

Death by spell checker. Point well taken.

-- Tom Horne

***** Moderator's Note *****

Is it possible to exorcise fat without exercise?

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
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