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state-wide texting ban proposed


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#1 johnfwd

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 12:08 PM

The FWBP article below reports on a legislative proposal to ban texting while driving.  We've all read news reports about traffic accidents caused by motorists distracted while texting.  I myself have been guilty of this practice in the past and can attest to the adverse effect on your driving performance (fortunately I didn't cause an accident).

 

I have mixed feelings about this proposed ban.  I agree that texting is a traffic safety hazard.  But, as we all know, so is gazing in the rear-view mirror to comb your hair, or eating lunch with one hand while the other grasps the steering wheel, or too-intense listening of your favorite music CD, or even prolonged staring at a pretty girl walking down a street while you're driving.  Singling out texting as the accident culprit is in vogue because it is so prevalent and conspicuous a practice, I suppose.

 

Another concern I have is about the extent to which police will enforce the texting ban.  Will police try to pull over every motorist who has his head turned downward just because he "might" be texting? Regulating traffic is one thing but regulating a motorist's behavior (other than DWI of DUI offenses) is far more difficult.  We shall see if this bill passes.

 

http://www.fortworth...cfe02cb25c.html



#2 JBB

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 12:26 PM

It's almost completely unenforceable. Short of someone getting into an accident and admitting to it or pulling records from providers, it's nearly impossible. Isn't driving while being distracted already illegal? I was in an accident way back in 1994 where the other driver was cited for a distraction in the vehicle (he and his wife were fighting and he lost control in front of me). If there is already a law in place, why can't that one be enforced? I tried Googling the topic and every result leads back to current cell phone use discussions.

#3 johnfwd

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 01:26 PM

It's almost completely unenforceable. Short of someone getting into an accident and admitting to it or pulling records from providers, it's nearly impossible. Isn't driving while being distracted already illegal? I was in an accident way back in 1994 where the other driver was cited for a distraction in the vehicle (he and his wife were fighting and he lost control in front of me). If there is already a law in place, why can't that one be enforced? I tried Googling the topic and every result leads back to current cell phone use discussions.

I thought, maybe, you could be fined for reckless driving.  But there's no traffic ticket for that, at least in Fort Worth.  Mainly, the fines are for readily visible vehicular violations of traffic norms caused by driver misbehavior, but not offenses against driver misbehavior itself.  So, like I implied in my previous post, if you are going to arrest someone for being distracted by texting, why not arrest someone for being distracted by eating your lunch while driving?

 

A major exception of arrest for driver misbehavior is DWI or DUI, because police see a vehicle performing erratically and so they suspect its because the driver is under the influence.  Or they set up roadblocks and question drivers to see if they have been drinking.  But it makes no sense to set up a roadblock to stop texters.

 

What it boils down to is that a driver can get away with any misbehavior such as texting so long as the vehicle doesn't display a visibly erratic performance or doesn't violate a traffic law, such as running a red light.


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#4 Bonfire98A

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 01:40 PM

This sounds like one of those reactionary bills where elected officials feel pressured to "do something now" for the sake of getting something done, without having fully thought it through.  From the FWBP article, it also sounds like a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type of bill, not wanting to look bad compared to other states.  My current home city of Hurst has passed such an ordinance already, and it says drivers are not allowed to view or manipulate the screen (unless it is being used for GPS purposes), and even goes so far as to say drivers cannot hold it like a phone, in a talking or listening position.  

 

Mark Davis brought this up on his talk show this morning, and also posted a column in the DMN on the subject -- he agrees that laws like these are unenforceable, and suggests having these cases fall under the purview of existing laws on negligent and reckless driving



#5 Doohickie

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 02:38 PM

Speeding is unenforceable in most cases too.  Yet we have speed limits.

 

Does banning texting work?  Yes, according to this story about a Texas A&M study.

 

Researchers found that car-crash hospitalizations dipped in states that instituted relatively strict bans on texting and driving between 2003 and 2010.

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#6 JBB

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 03:37 PM

Speeding can be measured using radar. How is that unenforceable?

Edit: nevermind. I think I get what you're saying. Unless someone is watching, speeding isn't enforceable. My contention is that, if driving while distracted is already banned, then texting is already illegal. And I completely agree with johndfw. Texting is far from the only distraction that needs to be addressed.

#7 Doohickie

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:14 PM

Texting is far from the only distraction that needs to be addressed.

 

True but, (again from the article, emphasis mine):

 

Texting, the CDC says, is especially dangerous, because people have to take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road and their minds off of what they're doing.

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#8 johnfwd

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:56 AM

 

Texting is far from the only distraction that needs to be addressed.

 

True but, (again from the article, emphasis mine):

 

Texting, the CDC says, is especially dangerous, because people have to take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road and their minds off of what they're doing.

 

Incidentally, the paraphrased statement from CDC also describes a driver-less vehicle.  Heaven help us if they let those automated catastrophes on one of our busy expressways!



#9 JBB

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 11:15 AM

Texting is far from the only distraction that needs to be addressed.

 
True but, (again from the article, emphasis mine):
 

Texting, the CDC says, is especially dangerous, because people have to take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road and their minds off of what they're doing.


I would say that a lot of the other distractions require the same dangerous activity - eating, reading, putting on makeup, fooling around with entertainment devices. I wonder why texting is so much more dangerous.

#10 Doohickie

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 11:21 AM

Because unlike those other ones, texting engages a person's attention to a greater degree.  For instance, if you're messing with your radio, you're half-watching traffic and if something happens, you just let it drop.  But if you're composing a text, you want to complete typing out your thought before averting your attention from the phone.


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#11 Bonfire98A

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:43 PM

There were a couple of times I tried texting via dictation while driving -- unfortunately, if you're a stickler for spelling and grammar like me, and you want to make sure your message looks right before you send it, that ultimately proves just as distracting (I got pretty swervy on the road at one point, so I haven't tried it since).  

 

Besides, trying to dictate to Siri is always a crapshoot -- I can always tell when my wife is dictating to Siri while driving; she just sends whatever Siri thinks it hears without checking (which is ultimately safer on the road), and the resulting messages are often quite jumbled and nonsensical.



#12 Doohickie

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 01:59 PM

Hands free isn't necessarily an answer either.  I've read that speaking on a phone (and probably dictating voice commands, for that matter), draw significant attention from driving as well, impairing a driver's ability almost as much as talking while holding the phone.

 

A two-way conversation with someone in the car is tempered by the fact that the other person can see traffic and is understanding of pauses due to driver workload, etc., and can even help point out hazards to a driver.  But talking to someone outside the car means the other person has no clue what's going on and I think the driver is less likely to pause due to traffic.  I've found that I can give full attention to one thing or the other, but not both, when I'm talking on the phone and driving at the same time.  When I hang up, I'm often surprised how far I've driven.  I'm doing all the navigating and negotiating through traffic, but in the background while the conversation was going on.

 

When there's someone else in the car, the conversation seems to come in smaller snippets punctuated by pauses for traffic and navigation, and even though I'm still primarily doing only one or the other, the times in between are shorter and the driving and the convo both seem more continuous to me.


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#13 Askelon

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:00 PM

 I initially leaned towards preservation of induvidual liberties when this first came up years ago. I do not care for goverment intrusions into personal lives without just cause and proof of benefit.

 However, I travel the state for a living-Big Spring one day, Palestine the next, Lubbock for a week,etc. 5000 miles a month is not unusual. And as the years have gone by I have seen the need for something to be done. Ten years ago I would , maybe once a month, see somebody driving erratically and think "That person is drunk/doped up. Lets keep our distance." And yes, if bad enough, I will report it ( twice,) with no guilt.

 But now, I see it almost EVERY day. And I will think " I bet it's a phone." 90% of the time I am proven right.

 Now I would not call the police on temporary incapacitation ( that is what it is,though.) But maybe, just maybe , if it was a law , it would give some people the initiative to pull over to conduct their business. 


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#14 johnfwd

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:24 AM

I have to admit that my fears about bike riding on city streets (even in the "bicycle lane") have risen as a result of the news publicity about auto accidents caused by texting.  I'm afraid, especially at night or early morning, that a texting driver will swerve to the side of the road where I am biking.



#15 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:48 AM

Seems to me like texting (and phone use in general) is a far more common distraction than anything else.


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#16 mmmdan

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:36 AM

Most regulations are put into place because there was a problem that enough people decided was big enough to try and solve.

 

Here is a very recent incident showing how dangerous texting while driving is.

http://www.star-tele...e142118559.html



#17 rriojas71

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:32 AM

Yes that is a very tragic story and texting is much more dangerous than messing with radio functions because most people hold it in their lap and they are looking down without using the peripheral vision that you use when facing forward. It is still dangerous, but not as bad as texting.

I agree with Askelon that many of the drivers I see swerving are almost always on their phones and/or looking down.

Unfortunately most of them are usually younger drivers, mainly in their late teens or early 20's, who are already inexperienced drivers and now who are also distracted. Unfortunately many of them who drive this way have never known a life without a smartphone and it is almost a habitual action. No offense to anyone in their late teens or early 20's.

#18 Keller Pirate

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:15 PM

The "Grits for Breakfast" website mentioned a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that claimed in states that have enacted texting bans have seen accident rates increase in 3 out of 4 states.

The report was from 2012 and it seems odd they used the phrase 3 out of 4 states instead of 75%. Their theory was that states that have bans cause people to hold their phones lower and out of sight while they text, causing the drivers eyes to be diverted further away from the road than if they weren't trying to hide what they are doing.

Tough call on what to do, I'm not in favor of more accidents and I'm not in favor of texting and driving. Probably just check a persons phone after an accident, just like they do with breath.

#19 JBB

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:00 PM

Just to address the tone of some recent posts, I'm against the ban, but not because I think texting while driving isn't dangerous.

#20 rriojas71

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:41 PM

Just to address the tone of some recent posts, I'm against the ban, but not because I think texting while driving isn't dangerous.


I understand that a ban does sound like an extreme measure, but what do you do to address this? It is starting to become a noticeable public nuisance that is putting people in danger. I think it will have a hard time passing here in Texas... I lived in CA and they had a ban. I don't text while driving now because of that, but I do use hands-free.

#21 JBB

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:59 PM

Address it 2 ways:

1. Better and more driver education and testing. Driver education is incredibly watered down in the state of Texas. Completion and testing is basically an honors system.

2. Enforce and advertise the laws on the books. I have a hard time believing that, right now, a police officer can see a driver losing control of their vehicle due to inattention and not have any recourse under current law.

Am I going to lose sleep if Texas bans texting while driving? Not really. But if the existing laws would be enforced, the legislature would have time to focus on more pressing issues, like what bathroom I'm supposed to be using and making Chuck Norris an official Texan.

#22 johnfwd

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:22 AM

The governor has signed the ban into law.

 

http://www.fortworth...rticle-nav-next






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