In our opinion: Put down the cellphone and drive

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  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Jan. 13, 2018 9:54 a.m.

    It is everywhere!

    I was two cars behind a business woman who was so deeply engrossed in her world of texting and talking on the phone that she did not realize she was holding up traffic for nearly a mile. This woman was 10 miles an hour under the speed limit. She had no idea what she was doing or how much she was impacting everybody around her. I doubt she cared.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Jan. 12, 2018 5:01 p.m.

    If you are going to drink, don't drive.

    If you are taking medication that impairs judgement, perception, or reflexes, don't drive.

    If you are sleepy, don't drive.

    If you are driving, don't text or otherwise manipulate a cell phone.

    If you are driving, don't put on make up or engage in personal hygiene tasks.

    If you are going to drive, get your seat, mirrors, climate control, and music adjusted before you start, and know your vehicle controls well enough that you can adjust these as needed without taking your eyes off the road.

    Learn and use the proper lane. Pass left, drive right.

    Burn headlights when using wipers or any other time visiblity is impaired including dawn and dusk. Even if you can see ok, lights let others see you easier.

    Use, and respect turn signals.

    Plan ahead and avoid needing to cross multiple lanes of traffic in the last 1/4 mile to make your off ramp or turn.

    Red means stop. Green means go. Stop signs mean stop. Traffic circles are not that hard.

    We no longer enjoy big, wide, mostly empty roads. Our streets are crowded, most of us have someplace to be.

    If you are driving, just drive.

    If nothing else, have some pride in not being incompetent.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Jan. 12, 2018 4:51 p.m.

    I must confess to being a bit of a late comer to this conclusion. While I've always opposed texting and driving and can't understand how anyone can claim any differently, I used to believe that talking on a phone was a minor distraction that might be tolerated in some circumstances.

    Evidence from both controlled studies as well as my daily driving has convinced me to the contary and I have had to change my mind and position. It is clear that talking on a phone--especially a hand held phone--is a major distraction and a serious impairment to drivers.

    Unlike impairment from alcohol or other drugs, or sleep deprivation, the impairment from cell phone use (or even texting) can end at will, at a moment's notice. This may be what causes too many to think it is less dangerous. But in far too many cases, the moment's notice is a moment too late for someone's life. And so, like impairment from alcohol and other drugs, we must do what we can to discourage and precent this entirely avoidable risk. Imposing civil and criminal penalties is appropriate.

    I support this bill and hope it passes. If it does this term, it may be in force very shortly after our 0.05% DUI law. A great combination.

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    Jan. 12, 2018 9:37 a.m.

    It's a common sense move to improve a constant and real threat.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 3:56 p.m.

    DesNews: "In 2007, Utah passed its first law banning cellphone use while driving, but only as a secondary offense. Even so, the number of distracted driving incidents fell by about 24 percent the following year. But in the subsequent six years, rates climbed again and now account for about 10 percent of all collisions involving property damage and injury."

    iPhone introduced in US: June 29, 2007

    Coincidence? Not that correlation equals causation, but it is suggestive that the added functionality of the smartphone over its predecessor flip phone has increased to opportunities for driver distraction. It used to be all you could do with your mobile device was voice or text messaging. Now you can review that restaurant you just left, bingewatch "Game of Thrones," update your genealogy, check traffic conditions, and order a birthday present for Aunt Mary.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 2:32 p.m.

    2 bits claims: "I'm not talking about texting. I'm talking about a hands free conversation. It's no different than speaking to someone in the car."

    I know this was already presented to you, but it bears repeating...

    In simulation studies, David Strayer and colleagues at the University of Utah found that drivers talking on cellphones got into more accidents, ran more red lights and stop signs, braked later, and generally made more mistakes, no matter whether they were holding the phone or using a hands-free device.

    It doesn't matter what you believe, especially since you've been using the "Fake News" title as often as Trump.

    You are presented with peer reviewed studies, but your like, really smart and prefer your anecdotal evidence over facts.

    More anti-intellectual nonsense, you claim universities are liars, and you reach back to a single incident in 50 years ago, to make your point?

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 2:23 p.m.

    Banning hands free cellphone use may decrease distracted driving, but it is an unenforceable law. Can you pull someone over for talking while driving - on a hands free cell phone or to your mother in law in the back seat? Just as with the new 0.05 law, you are not stopped by the police for drinking and driving, you are stopped for erratic driving. Texting or having a cell phone in your hand is easy to see.

  • eigerjoe Sandy, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 1:37 p.m.

    I completely agree with banning cell phones while driving. It is extremely dangerous - not to mention how irritating it is to be behind these drivers. However, the police are reluctant to issue citations for these types of laws because they are so unpopular with the general public and with traffic judges. They wonder why they should even bother when they know their actions will only be meet with contempt and scorn. The same thing is true for people running red lights. It happens all the time with little to no consequences because the police don't think it's worth the hassle they know they'll receive it they issue a citation. Unless the public is really willing to support these laws and the police - why waste everyone's time.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 1:09 p.m.

    RE: "Hands free is safer than the alternative. That's a popular misconception"...
    If you can't handle a simple conversation and drive at the same time... you need to give up your license to drive.

    I'm not talking about texting. I'm talking about a hands free conversation. It's no different than speaking to someone in the car.

    It doesn't matter if the voice asking how your day went comes from the seat next to you, or the dashboard.

    People at the UofU have said things that aren't true before (remember cold fusion)?

    I know I can have a conversation and drive.

    Believe every study to come out of a college?

    Google "7 award-winning studies that are too weird to believe"...
    "WEIRD psychology: Social science researchers rely too much on"...
    "10 Most Ridiculous Scientific Studies | Time"...
    "8 Dumbest Research Studies of 2016"...

    Just because a PHD says it... doesn't necessarily make it true. They change their mind and contradict each other all the time.

    Hands free is safer than the alternative (holding the phone to your ear).

    Of course no distractions whatsoever is best (no passengers, gauges, windows, radio, nav, warning lights, etc). But is that realistic?

  • Doom Turtle SLC/SLC, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 12:37 p.m.

    Scientific research published in peer reviewed journals shows that a driver talking on a hands free phone is as impaired as a driver at .08 BAL, which was the legal threshold for DUI prior to the new lower .05 BAL standard.
    All cell phone use should be banned while driving, including hands free. Many of the countries used as examples for our state to go to the .05 BAL also ban cell phone use while driving.
    The penalties for cell phone use should be identical to DUI, and hopefully will eventually carry the same social stigma.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 12:35 p.m.

    bikeboy - Boise, ID

    The new 0.05 BAC alcohol law has no more to do with morality than the 0.08 BAC law. Just don't drink and drive and you won't go to jail.

  • IJ Hyrum, Ut
    Jan. 11, 2018 11:16 a.m.

    I support this initiative 100%.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Jan. 11, 2018 10:12 a.m.

    I would guess, bikeboy, that you have been indoctrinated from childhood to equate any drinking of alcohol with 'being drunk'. Drunken driving has been against the law for decades. Reducing the blood alcohol limit by 0.03 does nothing except scare anyone to have any drink and drive, which was likely the intent of the religiouslature. It will be nearly impossible for law enforcement to administer. Meanwhile the lawmakers ignore passage of bills that would make a real difference in safety on the road.

  • The True Open Minded Mormon Draper, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 10:08 a.m.

    Ban it all!

    - cell phones
    - radio
    - eating
    - talking to anyone in the car for pragmatist
    - putting on make up
    - stick shifts
    - bill boards, especially the brightlight rotating ones
    - other drivers

    Just ban it all and let's be done with it all!!!

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 9:58 a.m.

    Now that the 0.05 law has been passed, it's time to move on to cell phone use while driving. I used to think that those driving slowly in the left lane, not going on a green light, running a red light/stop sign or lane drifting were under the influence of alcohol. Today it's because they are under the influence of their cell phone.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    Jan. 11, 2018 9:53 a.m.

    2 bits: "Why would you want to ban hands-free use? ... Hands free is safer than the alternative."

    That's a popular misconception.

    “These new, speech-based technologies in the car can overload the driver’s attention and impair their ability to drive safely. An unintended consequence of trying to make driving safer – by moving to speech-to-text, in-vehicle systems – may actually overload the driver and make them less safe.” - David Strayer, professor at the University of Utah. (Which has conducted extensive studies on the topic.)

    There is, however, a "safer alternative." It's doing your telephone conversations when you're not behind the wheel! (Since we survived for 100 years or so, I say confidently that life will go on. I think some of those fancy phones will even let the incoming caller leave a message nowadays! Fantastic!)

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 9:24 a.m.

    This is a major public safety problem. It needs to be a primary offense. It's probably worse than DUI.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 9:23 a.m.

    RE: "banning hands-free use by way of Bluetooth"...
    Why would you want to ban hands-free use?

    That would just result in more people feeling they have to take their eyes off the road to pick up the phone.

    Hands free is safer than the alternative.

    I can drive and carry on a conversation. Doesn't matter if the person I am talking with is sitting in the car or sitting at home. A conversation is no more distracting than listening to music, or changing the Chanel on the radio. Are you going to ban that too?

    If you can't multi-task enough to talk and drive at the same time... you probably don't belong behind the wheel. Things are going to come up while you are driving. If you can't handle that without crashing into somebody... you are dangerous regardless of your cell phone. There are distractions out there (signs, other drivers, scenery, etc). If you can't deal with that and still drive safe... you shouldn't drive.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 8:51 a.m.

    This is a good idea. I see it every time I drive. Half of all drivers seem to be staring down. I HOPE it is at their cell phone.

    It is beyond time to make this law. If our legislature cared about people instead of just pandering to their base.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    Jan. 11, 2018 8:47 a.m.

    at long last: "The legislature is too busy passing morality laws [like the 0.05 blood alcohol law], in order to feel good about themselves, to do anything meaningful for safety on the roads."

    Hahahahahaha! I hope that declaration was intended to be sarcastic! Let's see... making it illegal to drive while drunk is a "morality law," and is meaningless with regards to safety on the roads? That is rich!

    I'd be fully in favor of enhanced no-cell-phone "morality laws." I'm often on a bicycle or motorcycle, so I'm particularly vulnerable to 4000-pound missiles being piloted by absent-minded captains.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 8:41 a.m.

    I was listening to an NPR report the other day, and the danger starts when we begin to talk.

    Apparently, as soon as our brain engages in conversation it is massively distracted from what is around so holding and fiddling with a device should be a no brainer.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Jan. 11, 2018 8:26 a.m.

    The legislature is too busy passing morality laws [like the 0.05 blood alcohol law], in order to feel good about themselves, to do anything meaningful for safety on the roads. Banning any use of electronic devices would be the effective thing to do.

    Moss's bill is a band-aid on a serious gaping wound (essentially a placebo for the voters to make them believe something is being done). No legislator has the guts to propose outlawing use in cars because they can't stand the loss of money from the companies that sell the devices. . .

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 7:22 a.m.

    That's a great editorial. My thanks, Deseret News! Lawmakers, are you listening?

  • Newlin Sandy, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 7:10 a.m.

    It happened again yesterday:

    * I’m stopped at a red light, in the left-turn lane, behind one other car
    * Green left turn arrow appears
    * Car in front of me goes nowhere
    * I notice driver has her head down
    * I honk
    * Startled driver’s head jerks up
    * Driver flips me off
    * Driver zooms away as light turns yellow
    * I shake my head

    Go ahead and make cell phone use while driving a primary offense — police can then write tickets all day long and greatly exceed city quotas.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2018 6:27 a.m.

    In California and Nevada hand held cell phones are banned while driving and it is a primary offense. They are serious about this. Too many Utah citizens find out as they cross into these states that the freedom they think they have to text and yap on the phone is illegal.

    We have become overwhelmed and our lives threatened by texters. Even with the current Utah laws, we all see the texters weaving on freeways and ignoring neighborhood conditions. My neighbor and I sat outside last week just as an experiment. 18 cars went past and 11 were looking down at their phones texting, and didn't even see the two of us standing there.

    Of course they were speeding too. Oh well, heaven forbid that we put laws in force that "restrict Utah citizen's freedom". Maybe someone in the legislature has some experience like the rest of us have dodging these dangerous people on the roads?