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British teen imprisoned after texting caused death

British teen imprisoned after texting caused death

Danger on the roads: texting teens.

The Post Chronicle reports that Rachel Begg, 19, has been sentenced to four years in prison for causing the death of Maureen Waites, 64, last year.

Waites was driving to Newcastle airport to pick up a relative when she was rear ended by Begg on a rain slicked road. The accident caused Waites to spin out of control and to crash into a crash barrier where she died at the scene from neck injuries.

Crash investigation has shown that Begg was travelling at 70mph when the accident occurred and phone records show that she had used to her cell phone in the fifteen minutes prior to the crash.

The preceding judge told the courts that “To send a text message is even more perilous at night in a darkened car.”

The incident proves that the tougher mobile phone laws that were introduced in February were required, but should the government go one step further and ban the use of mobile phones in vehicles if they're not completely hands-free? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.

46 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
LeMaltor 23rd July 2007, 09:22 Quote
Is she mad, she is going to miss Crysis, Alan Wake I just cant believe it. Still she should be out in time to play Half-Life 3 so its not all bad.
cjoyce1980 23rd July 2007, 09:50 Quote
women drivers!!! i saw a copper doing the same thing the other day, but if i got my phone out to take a picture of him i'm sure i would of been slapped about a bit by now!
Mister_X 23rd July 2007, 09:50 Quote
Way to go, trivialise a serious incident like this.

Alan Wake indeed. Obviously its GTA4
Paradigm Shifter 23rd July 2007, 09:58 Quote
Is it just me, or does this show perfectly how people are ignoring this 'new' law? I mean, the law was pointless in the first place, because using a mobile while driving was "Driving Without Due Care and Attention"... but hey, Blair was good at passing pointless or loophole filled laws that did nothing or close to nothing.

Just ban the use of mobile phones in cars. Or actually have the police enforce the law, for a change. I see people driving using mobile phones all the time - why pass a law if you're not going to try to enforce it? Hell, the law is close to unenforcible anyway - why make laws you can't enforce at all?
Jamie 23rd July 2007, 10:01 Quote
It does not say how long she is to be imprisoned for?

It also says that she was texting in the 15 minutes prior to the incident, if that is the case it wasn't the cause of the accident, it's just something the Police are adding to the sentence.
[USRF]Obiwan 23rd July 2007, 10:04 Quote
I never anwer or even use my phone when driving. If it is that important they will call back.
But the car is not even that dangerous. Last week i saw some dude riding on his bike typing in a msg with both hands while listening to his i-pod. He almost drove straight into a parked bus. But he could avoid it in the last second.

Its a obsesion really. 25 years ago there where no mobiles at all in cars (maybe some expensive very weighty ones). Did anybody need it then? no...

Whats so damn important to make a call or type in a msg while driving any verhicle anyway? Car manufacturers should be forced to make a phone jammer inside the car so its imposible to use a mobile phone in a car...
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 10:05 Quote
Whenever I see someone on the phone whilst driving I either knock on their window if I'm close enough, or I throw something if not.
[USRF]Obiwan 23rd July 2007, 10:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Whenever I see someone on the phone whilst driving I either knock on their window if I'm close enough, or I throw something if not.

You must be a karate-kid or builder type person. If i do that here. I have a 80% change to end in the hospital
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 10:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
You must be a karate-kid or builder type person. If i do that here. I have a 80% change to end in the hospital

N'ah, I just peg it. :)
quack 23rd July 2007, 10:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]I never anwer or even use my phone when driving. If it is that important they will call back.
But the car is not even that dangerous. Last week i saw some dude riding on his bike typing in a msg with both hands while listening to his i-pod. He almost drove straight into a parked bus. But he could avoid it in the last second.

Its a obsesion really. 25 years ago there where no mobiles at all in cars (maybe some expensive very weighty ones). Did anybody need it then? no...

Whats so damn important to make a call or type in a msg while driving any verhicle anyway? Car manufacturers should be forced to make a phone jammer inside the car so its imposible to use a mobile phone in a car...
Blocking all calls is stupid, sometimes it's important to be able to receive calls while on the move. There's a reason hands-free devices were invented.

And if you think talking on a phone is distracting, how about talking to passengers, want that banned too? How about the radio? You may have to fiddle with the station or the volume, that's a distraction... let's ban the radio too. Next we'll ban air conditioning just in case you need to change the temperature and get distracted doing that. :D
mandy_modded 23rd July 2007, 10:29 Quote
with the increasing complexity of cars any activity except actually driving should be illegal, and i'll incur the wrath of the forum by stating that car stereos should be redesigned so that most functions require the vehicle to be stopped to change (excluding changing volume or on/off).

I have 6 classic cars (Wolseley's 1936,1948, 1955,1962 and 2 Mazda's 1977) as well as a modern 2006 Mazda, and the older cars are very uncomplicated with so few gadgets or knobs or butttons' for the myriad functions and extras that modern cars have.

I actually bought my partner a mobile last year for while i was in hospital, it sits in my purse and comes out for charging periodically and topping up the pre-paid amount, it is for emergencies only.
Paradigm Shifter 23rd July 2007, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
It does not say how long she is to be imprisoned for?
Says right in the first paragraph - four years. :)
xrob 23rd July 2007, 11:02 Quote
I think its a bit harsh to be imprisoned for 4 years because they sent/received messages and or calls 15mins prior to the crash, i know they are trying to set an example but really how big of a difference is sending 1 girl to jail for 4 years and pretty much destroying her life. In a few months everyone will have forgotten about it. Unless she is some white trash chav girl with no ambition in life i feel really sorry for her.
And dont say you've never used your mobile or text or make/receive calls in the car because i bet you have.
Nexxo 23rd July 2007, 11:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
And if you think talking on a phone is distracting, how about talking to passengers, want that banned too? How about the radio? You may have to fiddle with the station or the volume, that's a distraction... let's ban the radio too. Next we'll ban air conditioning just in case you need to change the temperature and get distracted doing that. :D
Not quite the same. Operating a fiddly little mobile is hard to do without taking your eyes of the road, whereas radio and airco can generally be managed on touch alone. Moreover, radios and airco's don't demand your attention right at that tricky junction... Talking into a mobile also takes one hand off the wheel for a long time. Sometimes your arm blocks a bit of your view too, and it is harder to move your head to check left and right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandy_modded
with the increasing complexity of cars any activity except actually driving should be illegal, and i'll incur the wrath of the forum by stating that car stereos should be redesigned so that most functions require the vehicle to be stopped to change (excluding changing volume or on/off).
Kind of awkward. Apart from the problems it may cause when people pull over just anywhere to change station or swap a CD (that should aid congestion, then), it is totally unnecessary --if you apply that increasing complexity of cars correctly.

Take the latest Honda Civic or Afa Romeo. All the radio and hands free phone controls are on the wheel. Moreover, they have voice control. You want to adjust the airco? You just tell the car to. You also tell it to dial numbers, pick up a ringing phone (it even turns off the radio for you), or change station or volume. You don't even have to fuss with CDs because you can connect your iPod --which you again can control over the steering wheel or by voice.
CardJoe 23rd July 2007, 11:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xrob
I think its a bit harsh to be imprisoned for 4 years because they sent/received messages and or calls 15mins prior to the crash, i know they are trying to set an example but really how big of a difference is sending 1 girl to jail for 4 years and pretty much destroying her life. In a few months everyone will have forgotten about it. Unless she is some white trash chav girl with no ambition in life i feel really sorry for her.
And dont say you've never used your mobile or text or make/receive calls in the car because i bet you have.

She killed someone (Old, but still), through negligence and stupidity. It doesn't matter who she is or what her background is. I'm an absolutist here, true, but people exist in a society and agree to follow its laws. She broke those laws and got the appropriate punishment. Not everyone will have forgotten about it either, the family and friends will be affected at least and every little bit to stop deaths like this helps.

And i've never used a mobile in a car. But then, I don't drive.
proxess 23rd July 2007, 11:29 Quote
Just use hands free kits and make a phone call. Is it that hard?
Nexxo 23rd July 2007, 11:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xrob
I think its a bit harsh to be imprisoned for 4 years because they sent/received messages and or calls 15mins prior to the crash, i know they are trying to set an example but really how big of a difference is sending 1 girl to jail for 4 years and pretty much destroying her life. In a few months everyone will have forgotten about it. Unless she is some white trash chav girl with no ambition in life i feel really sorry for her.
And dont say you've never used your mobile or text or make/receive calls in the car because i bet you have.
First, let's get the facts straight:
Quote:
Begg, a bank worker who hoped to become an accountant, used her cell phone nine times in the 15 minutes before she rear-ended Waites' car, which spun out and hit a crash barrier, police said...

...Waites, of Wingate, died at the crash scene. Begg, of nearby Ponteland, suffered neck injuries. An investigation showed Begg made and received phone calls and read and sent text messages in the 15 minutes before she hit Waites' car.
Not the same as using the phone 15 minutes prior to the crash.

There's a certain tragedy about it, but it is not only her life that was destroyed --we may forget about her in a few months, but it seems you already have forgotten about the 64-year old grandmother who got killed. In any case, laws mean nothing unless people are prepared to enforce them. Rachel may be a bright, ambitious girl, but that only means she should have understood the risks and the law better.

I've never used a mobile while barreling down a road at 70mph at night, in the rain, by the way. Certainly not nine times in 15 minutes.
capnPedro 23rd July 2007, 11:51 Quote
God damnit, I can't believe people would be this stupid! It was not only raining and dark but she was only 19. 2 years of driving experience does not make you an expert. Yet she still decides to take her concentration off the road. What the hell? People who act that irresponsibly don't deserve to be allowed control over a potentially lethal car.
Amon 23rd July 2007, 13:33 Quote
And I thought that driver licensing is stricter in the U.K.--not that it would have been a countermeasure against idiots like this girl. A hands-free kit doesn't offer a quantifiable advantage by measure of mental alertness, and could only be conceivably useful if you are driving a manual transmission. It's people like this who can't appreciate driving pleasure and think of it as 'just another task'.
Veles 23rd July 2007, 13:47 Quote
Yes the test is very strict, but as soon as people pass they stop driving perfectly because they don't have an invigilator in the seat next to them all the time and driving how you do to pass a test is very un-natural and uncomfortable for almost everyone.

Nexxo, I don't know about you, but I can hit the answer call button and switch it to loudspeaker without looking at the keypad quite easily, after all, many of us can push most buttons on a keyboard without looking at it, and that's 26+ button locations to remember. I also know plenty of people who drive one handed even if they aren't doing something else but are perfectly safe drivers.

Although texting in a car is stupid, even if the woman hadn't been using her phone she probably would have got 4 years because she did kill the woman.
Nexxo 23rd July 2007, 14:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Nexxo, I don't know about you, but I can hit the answer call button and switch it to loudspeaker without looking at the keypad quite easily, after all, many of us can push most buttons on a keyboard without looking at it, and that's 26+ button locations to remember. I also know plenty of people who drive one handed even if they aren't doing something else but are perfectly safe drivers.
The first rather depends on the phone --easy on a Nokia or Motorola, hard on some Samsungs and LGs by my experience.

With the second, I was thinking more of dialling out and texting, which is not at all comparable to operating a computer keyboard. Typing blind may not involve looking at the keyboard, but you do look at the screen for feedback. With a mobile you will generally have to do the same (unless you memorised the exact order of all the names stored in the phone book, and have absolute faith in predictive texting). You also need to take your eyes off the road to read texts. All by squinting at a tiny screen.

As for one-handed driving, as I said before, keeping a phone at your ear may block some of your peripheral view and definitely restricts head movement. And although we may all adopt the casual taxi-driver's one-hand slouch, the second arm is immediately available when required for sudden gear changes, indicating etc. Not so when it is holding a mobile.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Although texting in a car is stupid, even if the woman hadn't been using her phone she probably would have got 4 years because she did kill the woman.
Not so. Nobody gets punished for tragic accidents that were considered unavoidable (say, if her tire had popped). But there is such a thing as "driving without due care and attention".
Veles 23rd July 2007, 14:55 Quote
Yes, but texting or not, this would be down to driving without due care and attention, there are plenty of things to keep your attention away from the road other than mobile phones. Is there anything saying she was texting at the moment of the crash?
jjsyht 23rd July 2007, 14:57 Quote
Easy solution to stupid problem:
Ban forever the driving licience for anybody causing an accident from a mobile, and charge them with the same severity as homicide (not even unvoluntary homicide).
completemadness 23rd July 2007, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Yes the test is very strict, but as soon as people pass they stop driving perfectly because they don't have an invigilator in the seat next to them all the time and driving how you do to pass a test is very un-natural and uncomfortable for almost everyone.
Amen, that's so true, the aim of the driving test is to pass, after that is when you really learn how to drive
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
You also need to take your eyes off the road to read texts. All by squinting at a tiny screen.
Very true, i find it hard enough to operate the radio keeping my eyes on the road, but looking at a mobile ..... i wouldn't really want to do it
Quote:
As for one-handed driving, as I said before, keeping a phone at your ear may block some of your peripheral view and definitely restricts head movement. And although we may all adopt the casual taxi-driver's one-hand slouch, the second arm is immediately available when required for sudden gear changes, indicating etc. Not so when it is holding a mobile.
Also very true, people do argue that you can drop the mobile and get your other hand back if you need it, but people just wont frigging do it
I saw a women trying to turn off a main road, because she was on the mobile, a good thing to do - stop driving if your on the mobile
However, she was trying to perform the maneuver 1 handed because she wouldn't put down the phone - i mean cmon women - Just say "give me 2 seconds to pull over" put down the phone, get off the road, and continue your conversation - is 5 seconds really that important

On mythbusters they did Mobile phones vs drink driving
They found the mobile phone was far more dangerous then being drunk while driving, and although they did say at least you can put down the phone, you cannot stop being drunk, some people just wont do it

Now back to the issue at hand, even if she had used the phone 9 times 15 minutes before, who says she was on the road at that time ? - couldn't she have pulled over and done it then ?
Also, although it says she was doing 70MPH - it doesn't say what road she was on, what if she was on the motorway, that's a legal speed limit - and how do we know that the older driver hadn't done something wrong
The details here are so seriously lacking, its hard to really judge, so personally - i couldn't say whether or not she deserved 4 years

Edit:
Quote:
which spun out and hit a crash barrier, police said.
Crash barrier ? - that makes it sound like a motorway, or at least dual carriageway to me

Although it was rainy, she should have reduced her speed, 70MPH is still legal, and as i said - the details here are so thin that its hard to make any really conclusions, Also this was reported by the times, so expect a nice helping of spin on it
Nexxo 23rd July 2007, 16:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Yes, but texting or not, this would be down to driving without due care and attention, there are plenty of things to keep your attention away from the road other than mobile phones. Is there anything saying she was texting at the moment of the crash?
Not possible to tell from the article, but I'm sure her defense counsel would have raised this argument if he could have. Either way she wasn't paying a lot of attention if she rear-ended someone at 70mph.
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Now back to the issue at hand, even if she had used the phone 9 times 15 minutes before, who says she was on the road at that time ? - couldn't she have pulled over and done it then ?
Pulling over on the hard shoulder of a motorway/A road just to make some social calls? Again, her defense counsel would have raised that argument if he could.
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Although it was rainy, she should have reduced her speed, 70MPH is still legal, and as i said - the details here are so thin that its hard to make any really conclusions, Also this was reported by the times, so expect a nice helping of spin on it
The idea is that people drive at a speed appropriate to the road conditions. 70mph is a maximum limit, not an endorsement. And I'm sure that a reconstruction of the accident had been performed. Perhaps the old lady braked suddenly, but then the driver still should have kept enough distance to deal with that.
specofdust 23rd July 2007, 17:27 Quote
I strongly object to the title of this news piece. Crashing caused this womans death, not texting. Someone texting may have been a part of the reason that the crash occured, but it did not in and of itself cause the death of someone.

I hate alarmism and sloppy media reports like this, lets leave them for the Sun or the Daily Crap, yeah?
The_Beast 23rd July 2007, 17:44 Quote
well that is going to ruin your weekend
wafflesomd 23rd July 2007, 18:12 Quote
That's why I never text, ever. It's much more efficient to just call the damn person.
Nexxo 23rd July 2007, 18:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
I strongly object to the title of this news piece. Crashing caused this womans death, not texting. Someone texting may have been a part of the reason that the crash occured, but it did not in and of itself cause the death of someone.

I hate alarmism and sloppy media reports like this, lets leave them for the Sun or the Daily Crap, yeah?

Hey, if you send a text but you miss, you may make someone's head explode or something... :p
specofdust 23rd July 2007, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
That's why I never text, ever. It's much more efficient to just call the damn person.

Unless the person is driving and unable to answer a call, or busy at work, or in any situation where they cannot immediately answer a phone and have a phone conversation. And then theres just being polite, say you want to have a quick chat with someone but you're on the Tube and you don't want to be that person who loudly explains half their life story to everyone in the same carriage. There are plenty of reasons to use text messages, just as there are plenty of reasons for E-mail to exist in a world with Instant Messaging.
Neogumbercules 23rd July 2007, 19:46 Quote
Here in the US a car full of either four or 5 teenage girls rammed head-on into a tractor/trailer truck and they all died. The car exploded so you gotta hope that they were dead from the impact and not the fire, y'know? Anyway, cell phone records showed that the driver was texting while driving. She veered into the opposing lane and caused the accident. Yes I think driving laws need to be tougher on cell phone use.
Neogumbercules 23rd July 2007, 19:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
I strongly object to the title of this news piece. Crashing caused this womans death, not texting. Someone texting may have been a part of the reason that the crash occured, but it did not in and of itself cause the death of someone.

I hate alarmism and sloppy media reports like this, lets leave them for the Sun or the Daily Crap, yeah?

It doesn't really matter. She still "pulled the trigger" so to speak. She caused the crash because she wasn't paying attention. She was paying attention because she was texting while driving. She was texting while driving because either A. she's stupid or B. she thought she could get away with it because the laws aren't tough enough on cell phone drivers. Of course, I can see how it would be really hard to enforce such laws because a driver could easily just hold the cell phone down by their lap while texting and an officer wouldn't be able to see it.
specofdust 23rd July 2007, 19:59 Quote
But Neo; that's like saying her stupidity killed the person because she was texting, which was a stupid act. Or that the phone manufacturers killed the victim because the teen was texting, which required a phone.

What killed the women was a car crash, caused by this teen. Part of the reason it occured may have been that she was texting at the time (it's not totaly clear whether she was actually definitely texting at the time) but texting did not kill this women anymore than the concept of stupidity or the existance of phone manufacturers killed this woman.
LeMaltor 23rd July 2007, 20:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neogumbercules
Here in the US a car full of either four or 5 teenage girls rammed head-on into a tractor/trailer truck and they all died. The car exploded so you gotta hope that they were dead from the impact and not the fire, y'know? Anyway, cell phone records showed that the driver was texting while driving. She veered into the opposing lane and caused the accident. Yes I think driving laws need to be tougher on cell phone use.

Why not reform instead of punish? I think this sentence is alittle harsh, but this bint isnt going to be texting and driving when she gets out in 2 years time, if she does then she obviously enjoyed eating out the (butch) dyke on the top bunk a little too much
odin24seven 23rd July 2007, 21:13 Quote
Things happen in life. you can not be protected your self all of the time if that were the case then we would never get to have or do anything. Who in this world is smart enough to tell all of us what to do. The answer is no one. There are too many people in the world and communication is at an instance. The more people in the world the more stuff is going to happen. We can have all the laws that we want to protect people.but in the end everyone has and will brake the laws weather it be something small and stupid or big and stupid. The fact is we are all human. If you don't want anything to happen then move some were that has no one around for miles an miles an miles and don't have anything just live off the land but then there are other things to worry about isn't there. Just remember that somethings in life are going to happen and we have to live with it.
specofdust 23rd July 2007, 21:57 Quote
Not a bad first post odin24seven. Welcome.
cpemma 23rd July 2007, 23:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
First, let's get the facts straight:
Let's add even more facts (on top of the fact that she'd used the phone 9 times on the journey)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBC
Rachel Begg, 19, of Whinbank in Ponteland, admitted sending the message shortly before the collision on the A696, near Newcastle Airport... Rachel Begg pleaded guilty to causing the death of County Durham grandmother Maureen Waites by dangerous driving.
So nobody's arguing her guilt, apart from a few people who haven't checked the story. Figures show you're more likely to cause a crash if you're holding a phone. So there's now a law against it. People ignore it. But does that make the law unjust? Or is it that those people are arrogant idiots? We have a law against murder, it's impossible to prevent murders happening so let's drop it?

One warning to people who persist in using their phone whatever: "motorists should be aware that police carry out inquiries to see if a mobile was in use prior to a serious or fatal crash." And your service provider logs your every call.
Quote:
Jools Townsend, head of education at road safety charity Brake, said: "Rachel Begg will probably be free in just two years.

"If deaths like Maureen's are going to be stopped, the justice system needs to get tough on drivers who take needless risks with terrible consequences."
QFT.
DXR_13KE 23rd July 2007, 23:46 Quote
this is why i shout at friends that do this kind of stuff, and i make the phone signal and the no no signal at people that are driving and on the phone and they go all "OMGSORRYSORRY!!!!!!"
Crazyglue 24th July 2007, 02:16 Quote
ouch, cell phone use at night...

the bright light will impair your vision for up to 30 min :-/
mmorgue 24th July 2007, 11:36 Quote
I suppose it's going to head to the point of banning *anything* that could distract the driver from the road.

And while I do see the safety and common sense of such an approach, it certainly isn't practical. For example, going to an extreme of "banning" mobiles in cars period -- at what point or 'distraction' do they stop? No smoking (which I hear is fastly approaching)? No music/radio? No chatting to your passenger? Can taxi drivers have radios and answer pick up requests?

If we're meant to be so focused on what's happening ahead, why do the DSA testing bodies want learners to check their mirrors every 5-10 seconds, taking ther eyes off the road ahead? Surely that is distracting.

It will get to the point where driving won't be a fun experience and will become a hassle, if not more so (i suppose here in the UK it isn't for the most part!)


As for the punishment of the girl. I wouldn't say 4 years is harsh considering her stupidity caused a death which, more than likely, could have been avoided. Had she simply lost control, weather issue, car issue, etc -- it might be easier for the family to accept it as it was truly an accident. But she had the option of being smart and leaving her phone alone or pulling over to a layby or service area to use the mobile. Instead she chose to txt/chat/etc. Shame, but if some young 19 year old caused the death of someone in my family thru a situation like that I'd be more than upset at '4 years'.
Nexxo 24th July 2007, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmorgue
I suppose it's going to head to the point of banning *anything* that could distract the driver from the road.

And while I do see the safety and common sense of such an approach, it certainly isn't practical. For example, going to an extreme of "banning" mobiles in cars period -- at what point or 'distraction' do they stop? No smoking (which I hear is fastly approaching)? No music/radio? No chatting to your passenger? Can taxi drivers have radios and answer pick up requests?

If we're meant to be so focused on what's happening ahead, why do the DSA testing bodies want learners to check their mirrors every 5-10 seconds, taking ther eyes off the road ahead? Surely that is distracting.

It will get to the point where driving won't be a fun experience and will become a hassle, if not more so (i suppose here in the UK it isn't for the most part!)

You're getting silly now. Operating a fiddly mobile is a very different ballgame from just listening to the radio or chatting to your passengers... oh, just read the darn thread, will you?
mmorgue 24th July 2007, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
You're getting silly now. Operating a fiddly mobile is a very different ballgame from just listening to the radio or chatting to your passengers... oh, just read the darn thread, will you?

Mate, I wasn't "arguing" for those stupid things, I was pointing out that when one thing gets banned it opens doors for precedence and different safety groups will argue that x, y and z are also unsafe.

NOt that I agree but you can see how the arguments can hold -- looking down at a mobile phone to txt is distracting, not just cos you remove your eyes from the road but your eyes have to refocus. Looking down at a radio to change stations or play with ipods, mp3 lists, etc -- I could see *how* people would argue it's also distraction. I'm not saying I agree with it but that others will find something else to ban...

Anyhow - doesn't bother me. I usually ride a motorcycle and simply accelerate well beyond any idiotic drivers and keep them behind me. if I can't see it, it don't exist!
Faulk_Wulf 24th July 2007, 18:18 Quote
Aren't non-hands-free cells banned on US roads? Or is that just some states?

For cellphones: Yes, sometimes you need to get an important call on the move. "Important" however isn't necessarily 'Hun, do you want Chinese or Pizza tonight?' or 'h3y d00ds, p4rty!!!11!!1!!oneone!" ... Certain businessmen I'm sure have calls come in that hold various aspects of the company in balance, where hours, minutes, and seconds matter.

In fact I could spend alot of time arguing either way about what warrants "important" and what doesn't and stuff, but there's no point. Its subjective and unenforceable. Besides, how many people drive with both hands on the wheel anyway? I sure don't. If a car swerves at you, you drop the cell, grab the wheel, and pray/swear, and hope for the best.

The story really isn't about that. People are always on their cell, but I can't imagine it being worse then singing to music or talking to a passenger, especially since nothing is MAKING you take your eyes of the road. ...

The story is about TEXTING. Skipping my rant about texting being pointless (anything you can text, you could call and say 30x faster.), I don't think there can be a single sound argument for texting while driving. It diverts your eyes from the road, even if your hold the phone up at window level you're still focused on the screen. You're thinking about the message you're typing, what keys to hit, and looking to make sure you dotted your i's and crossed your t's. If there's something you deem THAT important to say, CALL. At least its less hazardous. Otherwise, make sure you start texting on a curve. ;)

(Okay, yes, some people have memorized the key layout of their phone and can text without looking. Prove that 50%+ people who use cell phones can do this, and that it doesn't distract them from another task at hand and I'll apologize, sincerely.)

Radios: As far as radios go, the same objection used to be made for them as they are now for cellphones. Many teens died because they were staring at the radio gauge instead of the road and had the exact kind of accidents we have now with cellphones. I take my eyes off the road to fiddle with the thing (or more recently: To check the track name of the song playing on my iPod). Why not just embed the controls into the steering wheel. Cruise is there, I'm sure some cars have the heat and air controls there too. Scan up, Scan down, and presets 1-5. Wouldn't take up much room, and even if you couldn't do it by feel alone your eyes would be diverted for less time then looking all the way over by the stick.

Maybe all this came out to harsh. I don't know. Maybe I'll be told to QFT or maybe people will agree, or maybe I have the last active post for this thread. I don't know. I wish I had all all the answers, but like everyone else on here this is just my 2c thrown into the vault of millions.
Nexxo 25th July 2007, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faulk_Wulf
Why not just embed the controls into the steering wheel. Cruise is there, I'm sure some cars have the heat and air controls there too. Scan up, Scan down, and presets 1-5. Wouldn't take up much room, and even if you couldn't do it by feel alone your eyes would be diverted for less time then looking all the way over by the stick.
Steering wheel (or steering column) radio controls are already pretty standard in many cars. Not heat and airco though. The latest cars have the relevant displays integrated in or near the instrument panel as well.

Personally, HUD FTW.
bloodcar 25th July 2007, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Personally, HUD FTW.
Cadillac had an awesome HUD that even gave you partial nightvision! They need to bring that back.
Amon 25th July 2007, 14:26 Quote
In-dash displays in general are an absolutely stupid implementation. With no compensation for intentionally distracting the driver to constantly view the screen, you'll notice a bit of an oxymoronic situation as their intention was to improve the driving experience. Audio and cruise controls integrated into the steering wheel are iffy, partly because I'd prefer to swap out the entire wheel for a quick-release racing wheel anyway, but mostly because they are consistently placed in areas that completely interfere with the driver's grip (if the grip were aggressive).

In any case, I'm expecting a significant increase in auto collisions in the near future, solely caused by vehicle design: every car is now becoming progressively heavier--significantly heavier--which lends itself to more unavoidable collisions. Have you ever noticed the big push for crash safety, while ignoring a comprehensive vehicle design that could avoid one? It won't matter how many electronic aids are active during a vehicle slide in the snow, your heavier car cannot avoid the physical laws of mass in motion; inertia. Back to the poor vehicle design, slapping on all of these electronic this and automated that into a car is, in theory, improving the driving experience, whereas in practice they are simply more denominators to divide driver attention. They are also a sign of a coming generation of remarkably poor drivers.

My http://imagehost.epier.com/44263/allthumbs/canada_1945_1_cent.jpg

P.S.: as for the cellular phone in the car, I turn it off and throw it into the cupholder. It's only on for days I share the car. And if I use it when driving, I keep my conversations as uninvolving and brief as possible--it really f*cks up my karma when the phone takes from my driving enjoyment.
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