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

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Thu Sep 15 01:01:37 PDT 2011

On Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 3:40 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> That equates to 1.13 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, or 1.13 for
> every 2 million hours traveled.
> If the accident rate increased by 25% because of multitasking
> (astronomical), that would be 354 million driving miles and 5.9 million
> driving hours per additional fatality.
> As a couple studies show, some people are just as safe and alert and some
> people some of the time are more safe and alert.  This is going to offset or
> at least average against some of those that are not.  Additionally, any risk
> increase is going to come into play in a small portion of the driving time
> and still be relatively rare.
> Let's say that the marginal risk is a 10% increase, but only affecting 5%
> of time (3 minutes every hour).  That would be 17.7 billion driving miles
> (1M/1.13/.10/.05) and 294 million driving hours per additional fatality.
> That's 294 million driving hours talking on the phone in a
> much-more-than-normally risky way, per person killed.  Subtracting sleeping
> time and other overhead, accounting for typical lifespan and the range of
> productive, happy life, and narrowing the driving hours exposure to
> realistic levels, how many lifetimes of living is gained vs. lives lost?
>  Assuming 30 years, 200 days, .5 hours avg. per person, that is the amount
> of commute time for nearly 100,000 people.  It is 50 years of 8 hours per
> day of "life" (a weak definition of a "lifetime") for 2020 people.  It is
> every hour of life for 336 centenarians.
> Are you sure it is valid to trade away that much "life" for that many
> "lives"?  Especially since, with a little training (do not dial, look, type,
> or talk much while approaching an intersection...) the risk could be
> drastically reduced.
> sdw

Umm, Stephen, I have seen your car and I know how full of gadgets it is, but
depriving someone of time spent on a cellphone, or blackberry, computer or
whatever, in no-way equates with depriving someone of life, especially when
they have the option to pull over to make their call. It might feel that
way, to some, but its not.

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