GUESS WHAT PEOPLE??!?! YOU CAN
DRIVE AND TALK ON A CELLPHONE AT THE SAME TIME!!!
I am a bit at a loss as where to begin this post, so Ill just begin with random numbers. (national statistics database, see online example at http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov
The number of cellphone users has close to tripled in the US since 1999, with over 160 million current cellular subscribers (may be much higher than that, let me state now that ALL my stats are being deliberately CONSERVATIVE as is appropriate). The number of vehicular related deaths/100 million vehicle miles has dropped from 1.73 to 1.46 between 1994 and 2004. Indeed, the raw # of accidents has gone up, but not coinciding with the number of drivers.
Between 1994 and 2004, the number of licensed vehicles saw a 19% increase, the # of licensed drivers saw a 12% increase, and the # of TOTAL collisions, saw a 5% increase. # of fatal colisions saw a 6% increase. So compared to 13 years ago, it is much safer to drive on the road today. Not because of the cars being safer, because fewer accidents are occurring based on the number of cars/drivers.
Estimates of those with cellphones who use them while driving vary from as low (still high!) as 50%, to as high as 73%.
Accident statistics from California show that only 0.12% of all Californian car accidents involve cell phones. 0.12%. Ok, of collisions that were deemed strictly from distraction, this number raises to 11%. Similar results from Michigan in 2003: accidents involving cell phones account for 0.15% of all reported accidents, ~18% of distraction related accidents.
From these numbers, sure: cell phones contribute to the accidents caused by distraction, but they do NOT increase the likelyhood of any collision happening. I should mention, that distraction related collisions also did not increase from 1994 to 2004 (compared to increase in #of drivers, theres actually a decrease as above for general conditions), so long before cellphones, the same #s of accidents were still happening.
I mean really, as gailuvscats said, and as an above statistic says, 8/10 people driving are on their phone! If that is true, then why arent 8/10 accidents associated with cellphones? I mean, that would be if cell phone were NOT a factor, if they were, then 9/10, or 10/10 would be associated with phones. Face it- the VAST MAJORITY of people on cellphones are absolutely able to drive as well as they can without the phone. The issue is if we screw the majority to protect us from the minority who drive like idiots...
I get that its a concern, because we see so many people on phones, but the evidence really DOES NOT CONCLUSIVELY EXIST one way or the other. The data is there, and it DOES NOT say that cell phones do or dont cause accidents. You can quote the toronto study of 4x more likely to cause accidents, and I could then quote you a different study, or criticize theris based on bias, sample size, and analysis valididy (which are all in question, and serve to further this debate).
Now I will make a couple more points, and it is very very hard for me to be polite considering how rude some of the attacks in this thread have been, but I will do my best.
Gailuvscats: 1) you state that when you see someone on their phone you "beep, curse, whip around, give dirty looks" etc. That is a terrifying driver to me: the one consumed with road rage. I understand that cellphones upset you, but reading your posts it sounds like your anger is unhealthy to the point of only compounding the problem and then putting others and yourself at risk. Please try to calm down and maintain the safety you are striving to protect. Also, to directly attack leli and compare her to a drunk driver, when only your anger is the basis of this attack, is out of line. There is ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARITIVE EVIDENCE, controversial or not, comparing cell phone distraction to the type of impairment found with a CNS depressant. It is very out of line for you to make that comparison.
Same goes to Amber the Bobcat: the drunk driving comparison seems like something you are only doing to incite the feelings that people have when they think of drunk driving, and in an actual debate, would make your whole argument moot. Beyond that, ill point out again, that it HAS NOT been PROVEN that cellphones and driving are EVEN CLOSE, let alone similar, to drunk driving. And frankly, you are ignoring everyoneelse on the road if the only bad drivers you have ever seen are cell phone users.
The only time I have ever almost been killed, KILLED, while driving, was from a mother who yes, was turned to her backseat, and crossed the middle line. Sad that her and her kids would also have died too - luckily i knew I had room to swerve onto the shoulder... Thus I can agree with legislation regarding distractions in cars, but it is not fair to single out cellphone because everyone has one. Kids should also be banned from cars for the same reasons. They account for the same nuymber of distraction related crashes. Food is right up there too, and most (all??) studies say more of a distraction than a cell phone.
Perhaps the issue isnt at all people talking on their cellphone, but I can see email, picture taking, scheduling, and all of the other things phones can doing being a problem.
I am wondering if there is some honest LEGITIMATE (not Im angry and dont like them and Im right) discussion about the cell phone issue to be had. Otherwise, the personal attacks I have seen in this thread should be enough to have it closed.