Personal Freedoms vs. Texting While Driving

joneil

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#1
I’ve been struggling with something lately. As the topic suggests, where do we draw the line on rules, laws, policy’s that infringe on our freedoms?

I don’t text and drive. Period. I think it’s dangerous and I don’t want to do it. In fact, I get angry when I see people texting and driving, whether I’m on my bike or not. I feel like I’m sharing the road with a dangerous idiot. In the state of Nevada it happens to be against the law, although seldom enforced. So I guess I have the law on my side.

Yesterday on the way home from work, I was in the car pool lane (legal on two wheels here) and came along side what seemed to be a nice looking, well dressed lady driving a very expensive Chevrolet Suburban LTZ. Yes, she was texting, updating her status on FaceBook or some such BS that couldn’t wait until she got home. Could she be that stupid? Or is it something else? Does she refuse to accept a law that controls her actions, in her car? Law be damned, she will not be told what is safe and what is not and only she will decide what risks are worth taking.

When I ride to work, which is normally 4 times a week, I see many people using their phones as they drive. The law is evidently unpopular. Many disobey it. Few are ticketed for doing it. They seem to be comfortable with the consequences of texting and driving.
Should we throw the law out and let people be free from unpopular infringement on their personal lives? Reverse the scary trend of Big Brother taking control of more and more of our daily lives? Or, do we decide to carry laws on the books that keep the politicians and insurance actuarialists feeling good about themselves? I’m afraid either way, people will continue to act irresponsibly while driving and lives will be destroyed.

Collectively, this is a pretty smart group. I quite often read things that change my opinion on things. I’m interested to see what any of you might think.
 

snakebitten

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#2
What's really crazy is that fancy SUV is most likely equipped with really cool Bluetooth options that would at least afford her to keep her hands on the wheel and her eyes on the road.

Like a lot of technology nowadays, it's mostly being underutilized and/or being used completely wrong.

Also, far less people are good at multitasking than we think. Most I observe suck at it. But they don't think they do.

Gotta be careful out there. It's a threat to our 2-wheel survival every single time we mount up. Everytime!
 

navynuke

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#4
I think the bigger problem with driving and texting is the view most people take on driving now. It is no longer something to be enjoyed, it is an empty time between two activities they want to do, so they try to fill it with "useful things" so that they can focus on whatever else they do while not driving.

Get people to focus on driving as an important action, not the equivalent of the walk from your front door to the mailbox and actions may begin to change. So long as the perspective on driving is not focused on driving then phone use and distracted driving will be a problem, regardless of any laws passed about it.
 

EricV

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#5
Laws are passed because people are unwilling to follow common sense. I.E. they are stupid.

Problem is, stupid people are... well, stupid.

LEOs are not the judicial part of the process. But they do have people pointing them in the direction of what laws to enforce. Officer discretion be damned, they really ought to punish the stupid.
 

Checkswrecks

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#6
Texting is so common in the DC area that it's normal. Illegal, but so normal it's never a surprise and I always have space to "give." I really am never amazed how people wander into my lane, then yell at me (usually phone still in hand) because I have an aux horn and will give them a really long blast to interrupt what they are doing.


I have no problem confronting people. It probably does no good at all but I give people the phone hang-up hand sign, where you do the thumb and pinky and then slam it down, like hanging a phone up.







Of course, if you don't like that one, there's always the ol' Loser sign. The left hand on the back of your helmet actually works well.
 

Checkswrecks

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#7
btw - We had this discussion a few years ago on the FJRForum and also on ADV, where somebody sooner or later mentions they want a cell signal jammer. Technically not hard to do, but massively illegal in the US and then you get half a freeway of people - centered AROUND YOU - who are not looking where they are going as they try to figure out what just went wrong with their phone.
::)
 

AVGeek

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#8
I forget where I heard it, but the phrase "your rights end at the tip of my nose" seems to apply here. I love technology, it's responsible for my livelihood. BUT, there is a point where tech is intrusive, and it is with the constant need for people to be "connected" to their cyber-circle. Expectations have changed greatly in the last 5 years where people now expect instant gratification and communication, and there is definite pressure to respond instantly, regardless of any other activities (like driving) that a person may be doing.

We don't have a texting law here in Arizona, but we do have distracted driving laws. Again, they are not enforced as much as I would like to see (I rarely see LEOs when I commute here in the valley), but more so there is a need for greater education about the dangers of distracted driving. We as a community also need to back off from the "need" to reply instantly, just because our devices allow us to do so.
 

viewdvb

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#9
I live in the UK and travel in Europe a lot. I have also done a lot of driving throughout the US (only five continental states I haven't visited), a lot of it on a motorcycle. The glaring difference between US and European drivers is that American drivers have little interest in the business of driving and seem to have no use at all for the associated skills. Maybe it is easy access to a driving licence without much training. It seems departing from A and arriving at B constitutes a successful trip no matter how badly they drove or how many others they endangered along the way, not that many of them would notice or know the difference anyway. Maybe its the general lack of challenging roads, maybe the long distances sometimes involved. All I know is that most Europeans are more involved in their driving and most do it reasonably well. Perhaps that's necessary to survive without the American multi-lane freeways and wide open spaces. I take pride in driving well (though not necessarily slowly) and am always looking to learn from experience and improve. That is a concept that is simply alien to every car driver I have ever spoken to in the US. Most regard it as a natural process and give it no more thought than breathing.
Of course, we have our cell-phoners and texters in the UK. You don't have a monopoly on stupid. It's illegal here too but largely unenforced like most dangerous driving offences, Our enforcement has lapsed into automatic speed cameras and parking tickets because they cost little and generate revenue. It is unusual to see patrolling traffic cops any longer. Even our motorway patrols have been mostly taken over by VOSA - a civilian government department with no enforcement authority. This lack of enforcement no doubt encourages the idiots since they really don't run much of a risk of being caught. OK - some laws are stupid but does anyone have the civil right to drive dangerously? Not when they threaten my safety! What about my rights? No-one would tolerate a gun pointed at them so why should we accept someone wielding an equally lethal weapon in an irresponsible way. I fervently hope that their stupidity finally bites them painfully without anyone else being hurt. In the meantime I'll drive like everyone out there is trying to kill me. It's worked so far.
 

greg the pole

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#10
viewdvb said:
I live in the UK and travel in Europe a lot. I have also done a lot of driving throughout the US (only five continental states I haven't visited), a lot of it on a motorcycle. The glaring difference between US and European drivers is that American drivers have little interest in the business of driving and seem to have no use at all for the associated skills. Maybe it is easy access to a driving licence without much training. It seems departing from A and arriving at B constitutes a successful trip no matter how badly they drove or how many others they endangered along the way, not that many of them would notice or know the difference anyway. Maybe its the general lack of challenging roads, maybe the long distances sometimes involved. All I know is that most Europeans are more involved in their driving and most do it reasonably well. Perhaps that's necessary to survive without the American multi-lane freeways and wide open spaces. I take pride in driving well (though not necessarily slowly) and am always looking to learn from experience and improve. That is a concept that is simply alien to every car driver I have ever spoken to in the US. Most regard it as a natural process and give it no more thought than breathing.
Of course, we have our cell-phoners and texters in the UK. You don't have a monopoly on stupid. It's illegal here too but largely unenforced like most dangerous driving offences, Our enforcement has lapsed into automatic speed cameras and parking tickets because they cost little and generate revenue. It is unusual to see patrolling traffic cops any longer. Even our motorway patrols have been mostly taken over by VOSA - a civilian government department with no enforcement authority. This lack of enforcement no doubt encourages the idiots since they really don't run much of a risk of being caught. OK - some laws are stupid but does anyone have the civil right to drive dangerously? Not when they threaten my safety! What about my rights? No-one would tolerate a gun pointed at them so why should we accept someone wielding an equally lethal weapon in an irresponsible way. I fervently hope that their stupidity finally bites them painfully without anyone else being hurt. In the meantime I'll drive like everyone out there is trying to kill me. It's worked so far.
well put. Having driven in Europe, NA is a bad place to drive/ride. People treat driving as a chore, as something they have to do. No one enjoys it for what it is.
They want to do everything else but concentrate on the task at hand...driving.
Hell even costa rica is better. True, they are in a huge rush to get home, sit in a platic chair with their shirt off and drink beer ::025::, but at least they give a shit while driving, and give the bikers some room.
I ride like i'm invisible. High beam on at all times during the day (fz9), and on the tenere, hid's with a additional 6" rigid light on at 30% dimmer. Nice feature of the rigid dimmer is that it has a alert function, flash the high beams twice, and it goes into a flash pattern on high beam. Air horns on both bikes.
Hell, if i'm annoying you, at least that means that you see me.
 
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#11
I don't feel the need for any more laws that tell me how to act, or what I can and cannot do. I think we have enough laws, that aren't enforced. My idea is this, have the police throw away their radar/laser guns, get them out of their hiding spots just after the overpass, and have them drive and watch people. Start with people that seem to think they can only drive in the left lane. You know, the ones that go from entrance ramp to the far left lane, stay there for the whole drive, until 100 yards from their exit ramp. The ones that drive exclusively in that lane seem to be the worst. Write them a ticket for improper lane usage, or impeding traffic. I think this the root highway problem, that causes further problems(traffic backups, road rage, not paying attention, etc).
 

BAILEY

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#12
I'm a law enforcement official here in Louisiana and we have started cracking down on the texting and driving. The $380 dollar fine that goes along with it has really changed the driving habits of the people here. We find that traffic flows more efficiently and people are more courteous to each other.
 
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#13
BAILEY said:
I'm a law enforcement official here in Louisiana and we have started cracking down on the texting and driving. The $380 dollar fine that goes along with it has really changed the driving habits of the people here. We find that traffic flows more efficiently and people are more courteous to each other.
That is fantastic to hear.
 

OldRider

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#14
Yesterday was the first day in a while I was able to get a MC out and I was less than a 1/4 mile from my house and I met a car that was coming across the center line. I hit the binders and was down to about 20mph and the car was almpst entirely in my lane when she looked up and saw me. The only place for me to bail out was to the right down a steep grade into a ditch. I don't know that she was texting, but I suspect so. Can't fine them enough as far as I'm concerned.
 

snakebitten

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#15
Over the last few years in my small town, we have had 3 funerals for suspected texting while driving. (3 that I know of)

It changed the habits of a few folks. But what a price to pay to wake up?

I ride everyday. And I don't remember the last time I didn't proceed with caution because I can visually identify a texter in my space. It's that common. And it's deadly.
 

Checkswrecks

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#16
BAILEY said:
I'm a law enforcement official here in Louisiana and we have started cracking down on the texting and driving. The $380 dollar fine that goes along with it has really changed the driving habits of the people here. We find that traffic flows more efficiently and people are more courteous to each other.

Thanks for your effort on this and the input. It's funny how guys will hold their phone down in their lap and girls in the middle of the steering wheel, both thinking they won't be seen. But following either is like following a drunk and easy to notice.
 

greg the pole

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#17
there is a distrected law here in Alberta. it's not really enforced. Pretty sure its a $300 fine. They go on a blitz once in a while, not making much choice.
 

kmac

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#18
I get your point on big brother encroaching on our personal rights. I feel that from many angles like land use, religious, even what I can and cant do on my own property.

But driving is a privilege not a right and subject to laws that govern it.

Texting while driving is worse than driving drunk. Talking on the phone had worse skills than driving drunk according to Myth Busters tests and texting is worse than talking on the phone.

The laws need to be there. Enforcing them need to be upped. It can be tough though. A person can watch mirrors and see a cop in traffic and stop texting, They can not stop being drunk. Drunk driving I think is easier to enforce. YET, people still drive drunk. People will always text/talk on the phone without using hands free devices.

I think the laws are there, and need to be there because if there is an accident that involves texting there are higher repercussions like there is for drunken accidents.

Personal rights, to me, are limited when your rights encroach on other peoples life and safety. There HAS to be limits somewhere.
 
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#19
EricV said:
Laws are passed because people are unwilling to follow common sense. I.E. they are stupid.

Problem is, stupid people are... well, stupid.

LEOs are not the judicial part of the process. But they do have people pointing them in the direction of what laws to enforce. Officer discretion be damned, they really ought to punish the stupid.
CAN'T FIX STUPID!!
 

corndog

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#20
I am not sure I would rely on the Police to accomplish anything. In Louisville KY, the Police car you pass may be on the cell, tapping into a lap top, or on the two-way....or all three. I believe the Police discount the crime much more than drinking.

But all is not lost. Drinking behind the wheel used to be very common and society backlashed against it. Now we are seeing lots of advertising about the dangers of texting.

I gave up on trying to educate drivers about texting with any hand signals or such. Too many mentally UNstable people on the road now for the amount of ammunition I typically carry ;)
 
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