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Old 01-14-2009, 11:39 AM   #61
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I believe the difference between talking on the phone and talking to someone in the passenger seat is that the person in the passenger seat can see what is going on the road and knows when to shut up and let you concentrate. The person on the cell phone only sees what is going on in their own location.
I do not think that is much of a difference.

For one thing, just because they can see what is going on in front of them does not mean they will be able to alert the driver with enough time for the driver to react. When accidents happen it is often because of split second decisions. Also very often, the person in the passengers seat is not even looking at the road. I know when my wife is a passenger and I am driving she is looking at me when talking to me or she might be looking at the kids behind us or reading a magazine or looking at the car next to us.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:42 AM   #62
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I believe the difference between talking on the phone and talking to someone in the passenger seat is that the person in the passenger seat can see what is going on the road and knows when to shut up and let you concentrate. The person on the cell phone only sees what is going on in their own location.
Agree. Also, your passenger in the front seat can hit the brake pedal that's not there....
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:55 AM   #63
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I put my phone on speaker phone when Im in the car. To me there is no difference then if someone is in the car with me. on speaker my hands are free and I'm talking and listening just like if someone was in the car or I was singing to the radio.
You are the only one who actually responded to my question. The question was not about whether we should outlaw cell phones, the question was about the DIFFERENCE between using a bluetooth or talking to someone who is sitting next to you. I've been driving for over 50 years, and have had others in the car with me while driving most of those years. You are never going to convince me that you aren't looking at each other once in a while while talking. The passengers are NOT watching the road, they're involved in a conversation and they are expecting ME to watch the road.

As for the comment about my not being able to see a car in my blind spot because of the headset, please Google "Bluetooth" and see what this thing actually looks like. It's about 2 inches long and fits in your ear. No way can there be an obstruction. And my mirrors are set so I can see everything, everywhere all the time. I drive a Buick Rendevous and the mirrors are huge. But that's not the point. My point is: What is the difference between using a bluetooth or talking to a live person? The law is specific and I'm wondering why. If you outlaw headsets because the conversation is distracting, then you have to outlaw driving with a passenger in the car. Get it? NOW tell me what you think. And thanks Alix for understanding.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:58 AM   #64
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Nobody calls me while I'm driving... I don't have any friends...
Thanks, we needed that.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:00 PM   #65
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The law is specific and I'm wondering why. If you outlaw headsets because the conversation is distracting, then you have to outlaw driving with a passenger in the car.
It is very simple. Laws have to be enforceable. There is no way to enforce a law that says you can't talk to a person sitting next to you in a car. not to mention that a law like that would never pass. No one is going to agree to not talking to someone while driving. It is just not realistic. Enforcing a law that says you can't use a bluetooth with driving with come with its own set of challenges in enforcing it, but it is much more doable that outlawing talking to a person in your car while driving.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:01 PM   #66
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I do not think that is much of a difference.

For one thing, just because they can see what is going on in front of them does not mean they will be able to alert the driver with enough time for the driver to react. When accidents happen it is often because of split second decisions. Also very often, the person in the passengers seat is not even looking at the road. I know when my wife is a passenger and I am driving she is looking at me when talking to me or she might be looking at the kids behind us or reading a magazine or looking at the car next to us.
Yep GB I'm like your wife. When I'm the passenger, often we play "punchbug" (without punching to distract the driver of course) or the license plate game. No way am I paying attention like I would be if I were driving. That is not my job while I'm in the passenger seat.

And apologies DQ for not staying more on topic. I think I have been clear that I don't see a difference between conversation with passengers and conversation on a bluetooth or other hands free device. And to comment on the passenger should know when to shut up and let the driver concentrate...agreed, but again, in the real world how often does that happen? The passenger is often dealing with the kids, reading, working on a laptop...all the things the driver SHOULDN'T be doing.

DQ, you should start a poll to see what folks think about this. I think you are going to need quite a few options though.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:04 PM   #67
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Evidence also shows that teenage drivers have many more accidents when driving with other teens in the car (as compared to driving alone). No cell phones involved.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:07 PM   #68
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It is very simple. Laws have to be enforceable. There is no way to enforce a law that says you can't talk to a person sitting next to you in a car. not to mention that a law like that would never pass. No one is going to agree to not talking to someone while driving. It is just not realistic. Enforcing a law that says you can't use a bluetooth with driving with come with its own set of challenges in enforcing it, but it is much more doable that outlawing talking to a person in your car while driving.
Agreed GB, but there are jillions of laws on the books that are unenforceable. (You have to go read the Balderdash game, I laugh my butt off everytime we play it) It still seems to me that there is ALREADY a law that covers this particular situation, so I fail to understand why they would need another. (DQ, sorry to hijack a bit here) Am I missing something? Why would you need a law about cellphone usage (either hands free or not), or a law about talking to a passenger, or about drinking coffee or anything else a driver is doing? Does the US not have the citation in place about "driving with due care and attention"? If you get in an accident because you are acting like a dork behind the wheel for whatever reason doesn't that law cover it?
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:11 PM   #69
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DQ, you should start a poll to see what folks think about this. I think you are going to need quite a few options though.
I DID start a poll, right here, but it ain't workin'. But I have to admit a lot of people have a lot of different views on cell phones even though that wasn't the point of the original question. I like the differences of opinions. I have no desire to give up my bluetooth. It keeps my hands on the wheel, and I CAN concentrate on my driving. Never had a ticket or an accident (that was my fault) in my life. And I will blog about the cell phone issue.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:13 PM   #70
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I will go one step further to say that I think talking to a person in the passenger seat could even be more distracting than talking on a hands free phone. I know that when I talk to someone next to me then I do turn and look at them from time to time. On the phone, I do not do that. My eyes stay on the road.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:20 PM   #71
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the next thing will be heads up displays on the windshields.

gps, video phones, target acquisition, disney movies...
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:39 PM   #72
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DQ - To answer your question, I see no difference between talking on the phone and talking to someone in the car. Each can have it's own set of problems / distractions. It is completely dependent on the ability of the driver to remain focused on the task at hand.

GB - Do you think that such a law would be enforcable?

There just is not an easy answer here.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:46 PM   #73
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Yep GB I'm like your wife. When I'm the passenger, often we play "punchbug" (without punching to distract the driver of course) or the license plate game.
No, it's YOU that plays the game. I just roll my eyes.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:56 PM   #74
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GB - Do you think that such a law would be enforcable?
No, I do not think so, but I do think that there are enough people out there who believe it is so if it ever came to vote on then I could see it passing. I do not think that would be true of a similar law about talking to people who are in the car with you.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:58 PM   #75
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OFF TOPIC JOKE, but since we're talking about communication....:

Redneck Archaeologist


After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of a copper-wire system dating back 100 years, and they came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, California scientists dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, headlines in the LA Times newspaper read:

'California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper-wire system and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.'

One week later, 'The Redneck Rebel Gazette' in West Virginia reported the following:

After digging as deep as 30 feet in a corn field, Bubba Ray Johnson, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing.

Bubba has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, West Virginia had already gone wireless.

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Old 01-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #76
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Well, geez, a quick Google search yields all kinds of hits for the studies that say using cell phones while driving is more hazardous than talking to a passenger.

Here's just one: Study: More Dangerous to Drive on Cell Phone than Chat with Passenger

Lee
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:10 PM   #77
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OK, to answer the question at hand - I do think there is a difference between talking to passengers and talking on a cellphone, hands-free included. A passenger can see that you are still there and if you don't answer, it's because your complete attention to the road is required at that particular moment. There aren't drop-outs where the other person is wondering if you are still there. There is no third distraction - namely the cellphone device.

I do think that passengers can be distracting. I think that eating or shaving or some other activities people engage in while driving are very dangerous - far more dangerous than cellphone talking. But I don't think that's a reason to not legislate cellphone usage. That reasoning seems a little goofy to me. It's like saying "even though I know this makes me a less attentive driver, it's better than some other more dangerous things I could be doing".

On a lighthearted note, maybe we should have cellphone lanes. Like the HOV lanes we have now.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #78
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Oh, you're right about a hands-free law being difficult to enforce. But there are plenty of people who will just obey the law rather than take their chances.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:08 PM   #79
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...On a lighthearted note, maybe we should have cellphone lanes. Like the HOV lanes we have now.
They don't make lanes wide enough...

Seriously though, how many times have you seen a driver drift in and out of their lane, cut people off, change lanes without signaling, almost miss their exit and cut across 3 lanes of traffic, follow another car too closely, sit a a light long after it turns green, and the list goes on and on and on and on. How many times do you look over and see the person either talking on a cell phone or talking on a hands-free device? I don't believe it can be a coincidence as many times as it happens. I live in Atlanta and more often than not that is the case. There may be some of you who are very good drivers and can handle the multi-tasking but for the most part, that is simply not the case.

Even for those of you who think it's only a minor distraction or that their are worse things you could be doing...is my life and the life of my family really worth taking that chance? Is the conversation REALLY all that important?
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:14 PM   #80
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Seriously though, how many times have you seen a driver drift in and out of their lane, cut people off, change lanes without signaling, almost miss their exit and cut across 3 lanes of traffic, follow another car too closely and the list goes on and on and on and on. How many times do you look over and see the person either talking on a cell phone or talking on a hands-free device? I don't believe it can be a coincidence as many times as it happens.
I do not agree that it can be a distraction. At the same time though I remember driving before cell phones and I can recall many times that the above happened. Even though we see someone driving like an idiot while on the phone it does not mean it is the phones fault. That person just may always drive like an idiot.
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