Toledo Talk

Distracted Driving

So, yesterday, I am waiting at the traffic light on Secor that controls the traffic between the Elder-Beerman and Home Depot parking lots - the one near Popeye's. I'm waiting to cross Secor to enter the HD parking lot. It's raining, roads are wet. I hear a screeching of brakes and watch in amazement as some moron, tablet in hand, head down, texting away, skids halfway through the intersection - light has turned red for him because the right turn arrow is now lit for me. Thankfully, I was not turning right.

The "amazing" aspect of this was his reaction. He simply looked up for a split second, realized he wasn't going to plow into anyone (this time) then his focus goes right back to his tablet, head down and continues through the intersection.

I see this behavior daily. And, since I'm in the insurance industry, I deal with it daily. Put the freaking devices down and watch the road! If it is that important, then get off the road and respond.

I also realize this falls on many deaf ears because too many people's lives are centered on their "smart" devices.

I've handled three claims just this week that involved distracted driving - two of which resulted in life threatening injuries and major property damage. Please think about it before you instantly grab your smart device like one of Pavlov's dogs when the damn thing beeps.

created by Foodie on Jun 05, 2014 at 09:51:36 am     Comments: 16

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Comments ... #

"Distracted Driving" not only is one of my major pet peeves, but puts everyone at risk on the road. People are so damn dependent on their mobile technology devices. No phone call or text is that damn important that it cannot wait. No one needs to make themselves available every split second

posted by Hoops on Jun 05, 2014 at 09:58:11 am     #   1 person liked this

I am not so much worried about talking on a phone while driving, I am not the type of person that talks with his hands or body language. i can keep my eyes looking around me while talking and when I used my phone while driving I actually made sure to look around and in my mirrors as much as if I wasn't on the phone. I can do the same with a hands free option so I dont really need the phone to my head to use it although it didn't prove to be a problem when I did. I never did talk on phone while driving very much to begin with but I dont think it really posed a danger to me or others when I did.

posted by MIJeff on Jun 05, 2014 at 10:03:45 am     #  

MlJeff one would think not but it does reduce situational awareness. A lot of us think we can multi task really well but all it amounts to is doing three things simultaneously poorly and feeling like we are something being able to do it. Fully endorse first two posts. Cars are heavy metal and plastic. They require rapt attention when operating.

posted by Mariner on Jun 05, 2014 at 10:11:08 am     #   1 person liked this

The government needs to mandate jammers in cars as safety devices like they did seat belts, safety glass, air bags and bumpers. No cellular or internet device should be able to operate inside the car when the car is turned on (although 911 should be functioning at all times - with all the technology we have, I'm sure it is possible). I know there are already laws against distracted driving but there are also laws against drunk driving, speeding, running red lights and stop signs that are frequently ignored every day. I don't care if others want to endanger their own safety, but they have no right to endanger the safety of others. I'm not a fan of excessive government intervention, but when so many accidents are caused by irresponsible drivers choosing texting, calling, looking at their tablets or laptops instead of driving safely, something has to be done to eliminate that option for them.

posted by Mike21 on Jun 05, 2014 at 10:18:13 am     #   2 people liked this

Mike21 posted at 10:18:13 AM on Jun 05, 2014:

The government needs to mandate jammers in cars as safety devices like they did seat belts, safety glass, air bags and bumpers. No cellular or internet device should be able to operate inside the car when the car is turned on (although 911 should be functioning at all times - with all the technology we have, I'm sure it is possible). I know there are already laws against distracted driving but there are also laws against drunk driving, speeding, running red lights and stop signs that are frequently ignored every day. I don't care if others want to endanger their own safety, but they have no right to endanger the safety of others. I'm not a fan of excessive government intervention, but when so many accidents are caused by irresponsible drivers choosing texting, calling, looking at their tablets or laptops instead of driving safely, something has to be done to eliminate that option for them.

Or, make the punishment so severe - like suspending their license and confiscating the vehicle - that it may scare the bejeebers out of someone considering it.

I know, severe punishment doesn't always work, but the meaningless laws against texting and driving have done precious little to stop the epidemic. And, the problem has reached epidemic proportions.

Next time you receive your insurance premium invoice and wonder why it has gone up, this is but one more factor.

posted by Foodie on Jun 05, 2014 at 10:25:34 am     #  

Technologically this would be relatively easy to implement in any device that has a GPS receiver. It would simply need to disable certain functions above a certain speed, easily calculated with GPS. Most certainly it could permit calling to 911 and even allow phone calls if paired with a bluetooth hands free device...nothing more than a bit of code would be required (and a push from legislation or customer demand).

I'm personally hoping we soon end up with driverless cars, then we can happily text away without the need to pay attention :-) but until then, only phone calls for me, and only with handsfree.

posted by breeman on Jun 05, 2014 at 11:46:28 am     #  

breeman posted at 11:46:28 AM on Jun 05, 2014:

Technologically this would be relatively easy to implement in any device that has a GPS receiver. It would simply need to disable certain functions above a certain speed, easily calculated with GPS. Most certainly it could permit calling to 911 and even allow phone calls if paired with a bluetooth hands free device...nothing more than a bit of code would be required (and a push from legislation or customer demand).

I'm personally hoping we soon end up with driverless cars, then we can happily text away without the need to pay attention :-) but until then, only phone calls for me, and only with handsfree.

Regarding your first paragraph- wouldn't this affect passengers ability to use their phones?

posted by dell_diva on Jun 05, 2014 at 01:50:33 pm     #   1 person liked this

Passengers not being able to use their cellular devices would be inconvenienced a whole lot less than the people involved in an accident caused by a driver not paying attention to their driving would be.

posted by Mike21 on Jun 05, 2014 at 02:57:04 pm     #   3 people liked this

I am a pretty easygoing guy, but if some moron hit me (or worse, me and my family) because he was texting, I honestly worry that I would kill that moron.

posted by Ace_Face on Jun 05, 2014 at 02:57:59 pm     #   1 person liked this

Ace_Face posted at 02:57:59 PM on Jun 05, 2014:

I am a pretty easygoing guy, but if some moron hit me (or worse, me and my family) because he was texting, I honestly worry that I would kill that moron.

I got rear ended by a 25 year old girl going 30-35mph who was texting. I was sitting at a red light and couldn't go anywhere. I saw her coming in my rear view. She was looking down. I never knew how hard a 30mph impact was before that. I was sore for weeks. She was soooo pissed when I called the cops. My car was drivable, but I wanted it on her record.

posted by justread on Jun 05, 2014 at 04:21:00 pm     #  

Unfortunately, it's not possible to legislate a cure for stupidity. And, imho, you have to be some kind of major stupid to be texting when you're behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. I don't know what the solution is but I wish we could arrive at one. Instances of distracted driving seem to grow worse every day, along with what seems to be an attitude of "I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing so I guess you better."

posted by hippiechick on Jun 05, 2014 at 05:01:50 pm     #   1 person liked this

Would you be any less pissed off if he we eating a Popeye's piece of chicken as his distraction?

posted by bucknut on Jun 05, 2014 at 09:39:11 pm     #  

Popeye's chicken, changing the radio station, or yelling at your spouse in the car are not arguably more dangerous than driving under the influence of substances.

“When the effects of experimental studies testing the effects of texting, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use are converted to a common metric (i.e., correlation coefficients) and the average effect weighted for sample size is calculated, it is abundantly clear that the effect of text messaging while driving rivals that attributable to alcohol and surpasses that of marijuana use.

posted by oldhometown on Jun 06, 2014 at 12:49:46 am     #  

I wouldn't mind toughening up Ohio's current distracted driving legislation, which considers it a secondary offense compared to a primary offense. Let LE pull motorists over and issue citations for texting. And let it be reported to insurance companies, possibly resulting in higher premiums for violators.

posted by bikerdude on Jun 06, 2014 at 06:00:43 am     #   2 people liked this

Well if it is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, as stated by oldhometown, shouldn't the punishment match? Or shouldn't the crime be reclassified as "impaired" driving and include distraction in the definition?

In my not so humble opinion, punishment does not seem to deter crime (we have prisons full of evidence of this fact), and given the need for illegal searches (aka DUI checkpoints) the strict punishment for existing impaired driving law does not seem to deter this behavior, I would think the only real solution is prevention. Thus my suggestion of a technical solution...seems much more sane.

Loss of use of these devices for passengers is a small price to pay for safe roads....until none of use have to drive any longer...this might be coming sooner than you think!

posted by breeman on Jun 06, 2014 at 08:19:03 am     #  

bucknut posted at 09:39:11 PM on Jun 05, 2014:

Would you be any less pissed off if he we eating a Popeye's piece of chicken as his distraction?

No, I wouldn't. Last I knew, dining tables are neither standard equipment or available options in vehicles.

posted by Foodie on Jun 06, 2014 at 08:27:01 am     #