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"Calling" All Drivers

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  • "Calling" All Drivers

    How was your commute today? Did you notice the man, woman or teen behind the wheel eating a bagel and drinking coffee with their hands; using their shoulder to hold their phone and their knees to steer? Alberta is quickly becoming a province being recognized, not for its success, but for having some of the most dangerous and reckless drivers in the world. The real danger is that we, as citizens, have become habituated to it. Every week, 9 Albertans are killed in motor vehicle collisions. We refuse to let our children be exposed to second hand smoke, yet we are willing to let them play on the streets where they are exposed to bigger threats – distracted drivers. Everyone has, at one point, seen at least one person on the phone during their commute, either texting or talking, while they drive. If you follow them long enough, they are likely going to make a mistake. It may not be as catastrophic as a four-car pile-up, but it is nonetheless, a large amount of time where that driver has NO IDEA what is going on right in front of them – Do you feel safe with that person on the road? One of the leading causes of unintentional deaths in Alberta is due to motor vehicle collisions and of these, 80% is caused by distracted drivers. Statistics show that if you talk on the phone while driving, you reaction time is decreased by 18%, and you are four to six times more likely to be involved in a collision. That means you may be more impaired than a legally intoxicated driver! Want more stats? Well, here’s the shocker: if you text while driving, the risk of collision increases by twenty-three times! One of the scariest facts of all is, in the five seconds you take to look at a text on your phone, you could have travelled the length of a football field.

    Countless Albertans drive their vehicles while talking on their company phones because they feel it is an obligation and a necessity as an employee. The Coalition for Cellphone Free Driving has laboured for nearly five years, lobbying employers to break this frame of mind and safeguard their employees, or face serious legal consequences. It is in the best interest of employers to ensure that their employees are not involved in collisions due to cell phone use while on company time. There have been cases in the United States where companies have been slapped with multi-million-dollar lawsuits for the fault of cell phone use while driving related collisions. In 2005, the Coalition took it upon themselves to convince companies around Alberta to adopt a policy that would restrict employees from using cell phones, both hand-held and hands-free. In their most recent meeting, Aegis Mobility demonstrated the latest product in driver safety called DriveAssist. This software detects when an individual is driving, re-routes inbound calls to a message indicating that the person trying to be reached is driving and informing the caller that their call will soon be returned; thus eliminating the reaction to answer a call. However, the message of safer roads is not exclusive to Alberta or Canada for that matter. Talk show host and Television Queen Oprah Winfrey has urged her viewers to pledge their car as a “No Phone Zone”. With companies like Aegis Mobility, The Coalition for Cellphone Free Driving is growing in size, and to date has over 50 members, all with the same intentions, to “cure collisions”.

    Currently, provincial governments across Canada are taking steps to ensure the safety of their citizens; however the steps they have been taking are not the most effective. There is a common misconception that using hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth headsets or onboard calling systems eliminate the dangers associated with cell phone use while driving. Unfortunately, governments across the nation have bought into this misconception and have implemented policies that ban the use of handheld devices while operating a vehicle. Although the right idea has been put into place, they have not gone far enough as they have not banned hands-free. Studies have shown that there is no benefit to using a hands-free device in place of a handheld device because it is the conversation that is the distraction. Many may refute this argument by saying “Well, what about a passenger? If I am talking to a passenger in my car while I am driving, isn’t that conversation a distraction too?” The answer is a simple “No”. If a passenger is in the car, they are aware of what is going on around them; therefore if, for example, the weather suddenly turns poor, they will abruptly end the conversation or, in some cases, even help the driver. This cannot be done if an individual is on the other side of a phone call. Implementing a policy strictly on handheld devices will not reduce the danger, and in fact, gives people a false sense of security. If the provincial government really has any interest in making Alberta roads safer for its citizens, then they will ensure that legislation is put in place to ban cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free.

    We as a society have this tendency to separate ourselves from the notion that a vehicle is the most dangerous thing on the road. We assume that we as humans have an amazing ability to eat, drink, text and talk while driving. We fail to realize that at any moment, even for the one minute phone call reminding you to pick up the milk, could change your life forever. Whether it is a necessity, fad or an obsession, it is a distraction when used while driving. What call is worth a life?

    For further information visit: www.cellphonefreedriving.ca or contact us at 780 492-5775.

    -- Abhaya Prasad and Dr. Louis H Francescutti
    Last edited by NoreneS; 15-04-2010, 08:08 AM. Reason: embedded code

  • #2
    There is a common misconception that using hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth headsets or onboard calling systems eliminate the dangers associated with cell phone use while driving. Unfortunately, governments across the nation have bought into this misconception and have implemented policies that ban the use of handheld devices while operating a vehicle. Although the right idea has been put into place, they have not gone far enough as they have not banned hands-free. Studies have shown that there is no benefit to using a hands-free device in place of a handheld device because it is the conversation that is the distraction.
    And yet Alberta's proposed legislation exempts hands free devices. Sigh.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that there is tremendous merit behind this cause. But I also think there are two factors to consider:

      1) Distracted driving prohibitions need to extend over ALL driver distractions, not just cell phones. Alberta drivers need to believe that driving is a privilege, NOT a god-given right with some conditions.

      2) A law is only as good as the enforcement behind it.


      Personally, I'd like to see a Coalition Against Distracted and Stupid Driving, with cellphone use being one of its subcategories.
      Imagine: a world free of hypothetical situations!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
        And yet Alberta's proposed legislation exempts hands free devices. Sigh.
        I'm not suggesting that a conversation is not at all distracting. But compared to issues with hand-held devices such as having to use a hand/limb/neck or potentially taking one's eyes off the road, how is conversing on a hands-free device any more distracting than conversing with someone within the vehicle? To what bounds should distraction-related legislation end? To a ridiculous extrapolation, the driver should be in a sealed compartment with radio/climate/light contols that only work when the vehicle is at rest.

        Comment


        • #5
          My vehicle has Bluetooth and I've found that I'm not nearly as distracted while driving while using it, as I was when holding a cellphone to my ear. It's no more distracting than having a conversation with someone in the seat next to me.

          A cellphone to the ear obstructs peripheral vision, and makes turning difficult since you only have one hand to turn the wheel and most turns require a two-handed hand-off to properly maneuver the steering wheel.

          Don't even get me started on people trying to signal when holding a phone (doesn't happen) or trying to drive a standard.
          "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
            There is a common misconception that using hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth headsets or onboard calling systems eliminate the dangers associated with cell phone use while driving. Unfortunately, governments across the nation have bought into this misconception and have implemented policies that ban the use of handheld devices while operating a vehicle. Although the right idea has been put into place, they have not gone far enough as they have not banned hands-free. Studies have shown that there is no benefit to using a hands-free device in place of a handheld device because it is the conversation that is the distraction.
            And yet Alberta's proposed legislation exempts hands free devices. Sigh.
            yeah bad hands free. and ban manual transmissions. and ban gps. shall we ban fm radio and cd players in cars next? you think things will change if you ban hands free? they won't. people who are ****** drivers will always find a way to **** up.

            Comment


            • #7
              http://onemansblog.com/2009/06/19/cr...ding-in-india/
              You where saying...........
              This is also posted on another thread.
              Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

              Comment


              • #8
                ^ haha. and this is after they banned "passenger seating" so the driver can't have a distracting hands-free conversation. AND after they banned hauling your three kids around on a motorcycle cuz you know how distracting they can be

                Comment


                • #9
                  All this talk about hand held devices etc:
                  No one has mentioned the fact that 6 hockey/soccer kids in the back can be a distraction.
                  Sometimes even one kid can do that.
                  Having said that, I do think it is time we all got serious about our driving habits.
                  We have all seen people doing things in moving vehicles that would make our hair curl (if you have any).
                  My feeling is a couple of d-merits would have more of an impact than just a fine alone.
                  Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Companies should be committed to safety on the roadways. Managers who give a bit about their employees wellbeing should implement a ban, relying on their own common sense to do so.
                    The sooner we get young drivers off their cells the better.
                    I was rear ended by a young man texting. I couldn't believe it...........

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had a long discussion with our HR business partner regarding a company-wide cellphone ban while driving (hands-free would be ok) after witnessing one of my Calgary co-workers driving erratically while on holding a phone to her head.

                      I don't want to see anyone in the company getting hurt, or more importantly, hurting an innocent person because of their stupidity.
                      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I see a member MLA introduced this PROPOSAL vs the Minister. That should be enough of a tip off as to how serious this PROPOSAL is. This CONS government is enough to "drive" us crazy?
                        Time will tell on this new Alberta Government.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Spill View Post
                          Originally posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
                          And yet Alberta's proposed legislation exempts hands free devices. Sigh.
                          I'm not suggesting that a conversation is not at all distracting. But compared to issues with hand-held devices such as having to use a hand/limb/neck or potentially taking one's eyes off the road, how is conversing on a hands-free device any more distracting than conversing with someone within the vehicle? To what bounds should distraction-related legislation end? To a ridiculous extrapolation, the driver should be in a sealed compartment with radio/climate/light contols that only work when the vehicle is at rest.
                          The person sitting beside you understands and realizes the context of what is going on and will stop talking if road conditions worsen, may warn you if someone is crossing the street, etc.

                          Numerous studies have showed there is precisely zero difference in distraction between hand sets and hands free. So banning one and not the other is counter productive in the extreme.

                          Originally posted by DTrobotnik
                          yeah bad hands free. and ban manual transmissions. and ban gps. shall we ban fm radio and cd players in cars next? you think things will change if you ban hands free? they won't. people who are ****** drivers will always find a way to **** up.
                          We actually agree. Considering most laws/rules of the road are barely enforced if at all, it seems pointless to bring in yet another one, especially if it is counter productive or intuitive.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whynow99 View Post
                            I see a member MLA introduced this PROPOSAL vs the Minister. That should be enough of a tip off as to how serious this PROPOSAL is. This CONS government is enough to "drive" us crazy?
                            It's still a government bill that came from the minister: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index....selectbill=014

                            Ministers often ask MLAs to carry legislation for them in the legislature. It's not the same as a private member's bill.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How about better training of new drivers? Obtaining a drivers liscence in this province (counntry)is relatively easy compared to Western Europe for instance. This is a total knee jerk policy if it where to be implemented. I'd be interested to see how the introduction of mobile phones have impacted collision rates in the last 25 years in various jurisdictions. Also, empoying Oprah in your arguement is a sure way to lose credibilty.

                              Comment

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