Cellphones and driving: Is focusing on teenagers enough?

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  • JRO35 Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 8, 2013 10:15 p.m.

    Today I was driving and the car in front of me kept swerving off to the side of the road. When I finally got up next to her...what a surprise...she was texting. Lame-o

  • Dorothy Provo, UT
    April 7, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    My friends Dave and Leslee Henson were going for a walk in Santa Clara, Utah on March 4. A 50-year-old woman was texting and speeding. She hit a car which careened into Dave and Leslee, killing him. Leslee has a broken neck and back and 5,000 stitches in her body - 3,000 in her face. Surgeons had to reattach the nerves in her eyes. Was that woman's text worth it? She will spend up to 15 years in prison and pay up to $10,000 in fines. Her life is over too.

    Leslee is speaking at high schools to tell young people about the dangers of distracted driving. Hopefully they will go home and tell their parents. Tell friends, family and strangers - park your phones before you drive. No message is worth a life.

    April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. (Thanks for your story Emiley!!)

  • JRO35 Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 6, 2013 10:00 p.m.

    I only say adults are the worst offenders, because that's who I always see. No doubt teenagers are learning it from their parents.

  • JRO35 Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 6, 2013 9:05 p.m.

    I think that the message needs to be sent to EVERYBODY. Adults are the worst offenders of bad driving due to cell phone use. I can't count how many times I've nearly been run down by someone who has their hand plastered to their ear, or worse, TEXTING! I cannot believe people actually find that acceptable. It's appalling.

  • SLC Grandma Salt Lake City, UT
    April 4, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    In addition to making it against the law for ANYONE to use any kind of mobile device while driving, except in an emergency where it's not possible to pull off to the side of the road, I agree with the comment made that insurance companies withhold payment of claims if the driver was using a cell phone at the time of an accident - same with motorcyclists not wearing helmets. It seems the best way to impact a person's thinking is to make it hit the pocketbook - then he/she pays attention.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    April 4, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    Kyna, you may want to take a course on how the brain works so that you understand that this issue is about divided attention, which the brain cannot do - Western Rover practically proves that point in their post - but is capable of listening to music and looking in mirrors, etc. I'm sure you could Google something like, Why the brain cannot drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time, and get some answers.

    With that said, this is an all-inclusive issue, not just a teenage issue!

  • goodnight-goodluck S.L.C., UT
    April 4, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    While a start, laying the issue off on the teenagers in disingenious. The problem is most people can't walk and chew gum much less drive and use the telephone, hands free bluetooth helps some insofar as the call is incoming. Outgoing calls still require focus be diverted from the road to the phone and @ a mile a minute that's 88 feet a second.

  • nanato12 Spanish Fork, UT
    April 4, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    I think that the law should apply to everyone. We were almost run off the road yesterday while coming home from Idaho by a lady talking on a cell phone and trying to plug it in or something at the same time. She had no hands on the wheel and it was rush hour traffic in SL. For many years, we managed to wait until we got home to catch up with our friends on the phone. Wow, we survived. Cell phones are more distracting than talking to passengers. Also, people are trying to dial, or other things. Focus on that fact that you are driviing a lethal heavy weapon down the road. Don't live to regret it!! The teenager that caused the accident should have to go help the family she impacted. Maybe then she would really understand what she did. She should also go around and talk to schools about what happened. Let's learn from her experience.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 4, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    There are some risks you can manage and others that you cannot control but mitigate. In this case, people under 18 have great ability to respond quickly and can be more alert without as many disabilities as those over 18. This law is protecting those under 18 who don't have as much good judgment capabilities at the 16 - 18 years. They gain experience, hopefully, that will give them better judgment in the future, if they live. I can picture those that have caused serious injuries or deaths due to their lack of good judgment, wish they had not been talking, texting, or surfing the net as they went through an intersection or ran into someone crossing the road.

    It is a little too late for some action for those with bad judgment. There will still be incidents but now it is against the law and it will give attorneys and those harmed an opportunity along with insurance companies to highlight these incidents. Those that caused the harm or damage will have to live with their consequences in their minds for a long time as they witness the grief and pain of those impacted, literally, in these cases.

  • Western Rover Herriman, UT
    April 4, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    I honestly think some people know how to handle distractions, and some don't. I might begin a conversation (either on the phone, or with a passenger) while driving in light traffic with few distractions. A traffic situation develops up ahead, and I lose the thread of the conversation while I'm concentrating on my driving. After I get past the situation and driving becomes automatic again, I have to ask the other person to repeat herself because I missed everything she said while I was thinking about my driving.

    It seems that some drivers, instead of dropping the conversation, they drop their driving when more concentration is needed. Why is that?

    April 4, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    you are going to have to ban manual transmissions, radios, and passengers from cars if you want "talking" or making sure that both hands are on the wheel 100% of the time. Also consider banning billboards, removing mirrors and visors. We may want to consider allergies and colds problematic, due to how they impair vision and are distracting. Driving should also be banned driving eastbound in the mornings and westbound in the afternoons. Police officers should also be required to actually pull OUT of the lane of traffic to park when ticketing people. If we are going to talk about road safety, lets really address it - all of it, and not just pick on the socially popular topics at the moment.

  • Goldies Pa Hurricane/Washington, UT
    April 4, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    It is my opinion, that this is just another fine example of do nothing politicians who pass foolish laws, just to get their names out there and fool constituents into believing they are actually doing something, and worthy of re-election. But nothing could be further from the truth. If they are actually interested in doing something that will enhance safety on the road, make the law applicable to everyone. Instead, they have targeted an "easy mark." A group that does not have the right to vote, so they think it won't come back and bite them.
    I've seen many inept and crooked politicians in my lifetime, all over the country. But I have never seen a group that was as totally worthless as this bunch we have in SLC right now. We should recall the whole darned bunch of them.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 4, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    The story about Alexie's family is sad but is similar to 1000s who have been impacted by not only talking on cell phones, but texting while driving. Some can multi-task but this multi-tasking takes away the ability to get the big picture driving down the road. The hands-free devices are good but those even require doing similar tasks on the cellphone to get a number dialed depending what hands-free device one has.

    This is a good start. 20-years ago, people that had cell phones and talked on them believed it was a civil rights or freedom issue. This story and the process to get a bill passed 20 years later shows that even today, people still have some concern that they have the right to use their phone in any place and any time while driving. It is sad to see people drive down the road with their little children in seat-belts and car seats while the driver is texting, talking and other tasks while going down the road, especially through intersections. The cross traffic driver who should be stopping may be on a smartphone, but the driver is far from a smart person.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    April 4, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    A libertarian mantra: "Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose."

    If yappin' on the phone or texting while driving only affected the person choosing to do so, I'd gladly say, "Let freedom ring! You make the choice, you deal with the consequences." But far too often, the victims are innocents who just had the bad luck of being in the path of destruction. Ask Mr. Baugh and his family!

    Some people obviously won't make a good choice, unless there are costly legal consequences. (Some will ignore the law, too - witness the number of people who drive drunk, even though it's against the law.)

    I've had numerous close calls with distracted drivers; fortunately I've not been personally impacted, nor have the authorities come a-knocking on my door late at night to report the tragedy. And I want to keep it that way! I fully support the banning the use of all electronic gizmos by drivers. The stakes are too high. We did just fine, driving without 'em, for 100 years, and will do just fine in the future.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 4, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    With all due respect, Mr. Maslar, your post is a glaring example of the cause of the real problem. Ignoring it and seeking instead to blame it on the Ten Commandments is simply foolish.

    When anyone defends use of cell phones or texting in any form while driving, what you are really saying is, "Don't take away my right to kill you if my cell phone distracts me."

    Is that what we REALLY want on our highways?

    One way that might actually work, would be to pass a law that requires insurance companies to withhold any payments of benefits of any kind to anyone who caused an accident while on the phone. Cell phone records can provide the proof. If chronic phone talkers were faced with paying 100% of any damage done, they might think twice.

    But a few days in jail would certainly be effective, too.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 4, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    Studies have consistently shown that talking on a cell phone while driving (including hands-free devices) causes a degradation in reaction times similar to that of DUI. We don't pass laws making DUI illegal only if you're under 18, so why do it that way for phones? Turning 18 doesn't suddenly improve one's reaction time while driving distracted.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    April 4, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    There is a problem with thinking legislation alone will resolve the problem of talking on the cell phone while driving. There was once a program called, "People do the darnedest things," and for the strangest reasons, or no reason at all. They just do stuff regardless of consequences or danger to themselves and others. Kids talk on cell phones while driving because adults who should know better do the same thing. Legislation does not solve problems. Behavioral problems have extended down from adults to children and as they become young adults and themselves have children, how do adults suddenly gain the wherewithal to guide their progeny as they themselves refused to be guided. The nanny state cannot succeed in controlling behavior by piling up regulations while the masses choose to ignore the basic Ten Commandments.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 4, 2013 5:46 a.m.

    I don't mind hands free talking, but all other uses the should be banned. For all ages. It's not just the kids who are the problem.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    April 4, 2013 12:06 a.m.

    The Majority of drivers I see on the phone are young mothers...Ban Everyone!

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    April 3, 2013 10:50 p.m.

    There is nothing about a cellphone and driving that anything in common with personal freedom.

    Nevada (or Clark County-Las Vegas area) passed legislation last year prohibiting all use of mobile devices by a driver.

    It's past time for Utah to do the same!