Distracted Driving Summit

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Scheduled for Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a September summit to address the dangers of text-messaging and other distractions behind the wheel. In late September, senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives and academics will convene in Washington, DC to discuss ideas about how to combat distracted driving.

9 replies
  1. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    SteveA: Agreed … curious to see if anything comes out of this other than “recommendations” that go nowhere ….

  2. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    Steve’s comment illustrates the inability of legislation to be effective at preserving public safety in a dynamic world.

    There is no way laws can be made and enforced in a timely manner for every distraction introduced into the traffic mix- the technology is running way ahead.

    A society that expects civility and responsibility in the public way, and scorns and rebukes those who are not, is the only effective way of dealing with this sort of thing.

    Because such attitudes would benefit everyone while protecting individual liberty, it is sad that notions of political correctness and a perverted idea of tolerance has become such a barrier to civility.

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    “There is no way laws can be made and enforced in a timely manner for every distraction introduced into the traffic mix- the technology is running way ahead.”

    Actually, I see things a bit more cynically.

    My phone connects to the internet and I could send and receive email. Is sending and receiving email “texting”? So if they outlaw texting and emailing, what about surfing?

    Maybe they need a new law to prevent me from turning on the cruise control and steering with my feet while I am posting to CommuteOrlando?

    There has always been distractions, from reading a billboard too closely, to changing the station on the radio, but I don’t remember needing special laws to prohibit specific activities until recently. It all used to fall under “careless driving.”

    But now we have corporations, with their free speech rights defending the “right” to drive carelessly and now we need special laws to stop that.

    316.1925 Careless driving.–

    (1) Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.

    (2) Any person who violates this section shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

  4. rodney
    rodney says:

    Looks like another one of our finest “knee-jerk” reactions to “personal responsibility”. Common sense is a dying animal and is possibly beyond the threshold of deaths door by now.

    Cyclists are taught (read, commonly recommended) to be both assertive AND defensive (A&D) while riding with the flow of motorized traffic. I have seen, from personal experience, my motorist behavior change since becoming a commuting/utility cyclist.

    This set of acquired skills (A&D) has transferred subconsciously to those few times when I am a motor vehicle operator. My traveling speed is at or just below the posted speed limits, my peripheral scanning has improved, and I find myself concentrating more on the task of actually OPERATING the vehicle SAFELY.

    Perhaps a yearly check-up of sorts could be a possible solution. Could instituting a course that involves cycling/alternative transport for a brief time each year be of some use?

    Would that help regain the respect for the privilege of being a motor vehicle operator and the civility/respect for all road users?

  5. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    So why is careless driving not enforced?

    It is because of the attitudes of police, DAs and our judges. We observe, and perhaps perform, careless driving all the time. And because there is usually no negative consequence, we insensitive to the potential harm it can cause.

    It is not perceived as a crime. A traffic citation is not seen as punishment for criminal behavior, but as bad luck. These attitudes are pervasive, wouldn’t you say?

    I agree as well with rodney, superior driving ability is not an admired skill.

    Looking to politics is not the way, as politics mostly follows trends rather than sets them.

  6. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    ChipSeal: Not so sure … what if penalties are for instance tripled for use of a cellular device while driving? I know …there are some problems with enforcement …

    Once pulled over, can a policeman ask to see your cellular device to determine if you were using it? (I would suspect most civil liberty folks would scream no). If not, then it comes down to a policeman seeing it, because if a regular citizen says he was and the person said he wasn’t, it’s the “he said, she said” scenario and nothing will happen.

  7. Eric
    Eric says:

    “I know …there are some problems with enforcement …

    I imagine it would be like the seat belt law. The police can see in the windows and if they can’t, that is a separate citation.

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