Really, if this isn't obvious ...

Reader comment on: Texting While Driving Bans

Submitted by Long Driver (United States), Sep 29, 2010 02:49

It always amuses me when someone defends talking on the phone while driving (or texting, or emailing) by making a defensive comparison with, say, applying makeup, or maybe hunting for a CD, fiddling with the kids, you know - things inside the car.

You knew what I meant by "inside the car". Yes, it's quite irresponsible to take one's eyes off the road, and worse to engage in some complex activity (other than driving). But talking on the phone, even hands-free, is far worse. Listen, retards: When you're on the damn phone, the bulk of your attention isn't even in the car. It's with the person on the other end.

Yes, I said "retards". Anyone who lacks the insight to recognize what happens when they engage in conversation qualifies as one. Talking to the person in the passenger seat is fine - your attention, the mental model with which you're currently operating, remains in the car with you and your partner. Not so when the target of the really complex task (conversation) has to be imagined, and that imagined image resides in a foreign context.

Now, anybody who watches traffic has seen people do dumbass things, and anecdotes don't pile up to data. But I can't recall ever seeing a potentially fatal error that I couldn't put down to either drunkenness or talking on the phone.

The problem isn't manipulating the phone, that's all with you, and no more complicated than finding something besides country or top 40. Some texters are so facile they really can thumb-twiddle without fumbling the car. It's the conversation that distracts so completely. Even a person who reminds their self to "keep it light, don't get distracted" can easily slide into phone world. Watch someone else talk while "attending" to some middling-complex task, or try to remember your own mental contents the next time you get off the phone. And if I see you on the road with it, remember that I'm wondering how it'd feel set to vibrate and nestled in your colon. Gotcha' on speed dial.

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Title By Date
Texting while driving are well intentioned however... [123 words]Safe TextingDec 24, 2010 22:48
As a professional driver [89 words]Mr EvilwrenchSep 29, 2010 17:03
more harmless distraction [117 words]equitusSep 29, 2010 16:02
Gloves make it too hard to text while on my motorcycle... [27 words]styrgwillidarSep 29, 2010 12:28
anecdotal evidence [84 words]Old FogeySep 29, 2010 11:36
Where are the millions of accidents [109 words]Tom WadeSep 29, 2010 11:21
"better to regulate outputs than inputs" [109 words]PieFarmerSep 29, 2010 05:08
⇒ Really, if this isn't obvious ... [343 words]Long DriverSep 29, 2010 02:49
Add me to the chorus of disagreement [135 words]ChubfuddlerSep 28, 2010 21:22
too many people cant multitask [167 words]FenSep 28, 2010 19:43
Unserious [108 words]JoelSep 28, 2010 18:54
Followup [510 words]Lummox JRSep 28, 2010 18:06
Incentive not to Text while driving. [61 words]W. BourneSep 28, 2010 18:01
it does not follow from the data that texting is relatively safe [115 words]W4LTSep 28, 2010 18:01
checking e-mail is not the same as texting [143 words]deebSep 28, 2010 16:57
OBTW - Nanny State [64 words]lhogSep 28, 2010 16:55
More distracting [94 words]LhogSep 28, 2010 16:48
Cognitive Capture [94 words]JeffSep 28, 2010 16:43
Email is different. [89 words]DagwudSep 28, 2010 16:36
"I don't see how . . ." I do. [98 words]FredBSep 28, 2010 15:48
What is being measured? NOT if texting is going down or not. [175 words]DDSep 28, 2010 15:45
What would you do?
[w/response] [213 words]
Paul SimmonsSep 28, 2010 15:44
Are you kidding?
[w/response] [353 words]
Lummox JRSep 28, 2010 15:40
Texting IS dangerous while driving! [96 words]chicopantherSep 28, 2010 15:34
Prizes [53 words]JohnSep 28, 2010 15:32
At what point does Nannity become Insanity? [59 words]Owen McCallSep 28, 2010 15:31
Shifting sight and concentration from the road is bad, mmmkay? [72 words]Mark A. FlacySep 28, 2010 15:27
Partly disagree [111 words]DeanSep 28, 2010 15:25
Incentives? Penalties? [36 words]DonMSep 28, 2010 15:18
Texting not much worse than adjusting a/c? [92 words]GeneSep 28, 2010 15:17
Thanks again, NYT! [135 words]FerdSep 28, 2010 15:14
Disagree [81 words]Joe MelnickSep 28, 2010 15:00

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