[FoRK] Laws that ban texting while driving could be counter productive

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Sep 14 09:16:26 PDT 2011

Plenty of people making statements that assume that no driver can 
handle any distraction in any circumstance because some stupid person 
zoned out and caused a crash.

In this article, a woman in a Hummer drove past 5 stopped cars and a 
bus through a red light into an intersection that had obvious cross 
traffic and into the side of a vehicle, killing a guy.  All while 
looking straight ahead but talking on the phone.  This is a person who 
is prone to a blackout with her eyes open.  That's not an average case, 
it is someone possibly with a severe deficiency or at least in need of 
a lot more training to establish an internal "I'm not aware" alarm.

In the same article, they found a nice counterpoint:
'But Jeffrey Hickman of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has 
analyzed the risks of various driver activities.  Even though it's 
counterintuitive, he said, hands-free phone use can be safer than not 
using a phone at all because "drivers on a hands-free tend to 
compensate by watching the road more carefully when they are talking."'


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