Take away bad drivers' mobile phones, they still crash their cars
Jalopy-jabber crackdown achieves diddly squat - study
Chinese researchers reckon its bad drivers who cause accidents, not the phones they're using at the time, and that banning in-car use doesn't reduce accident figures significantly.
The state-sponsored study was triggered by disappointing results from bans on mobile usage, which haven't reduced accidents as much as had been hoped, so rather than blame lackadaisical policing the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science tried to identify the kind of person who makes calls while driving, and discovered they're pretty accident prone anyway.
We're grateful to Tech in Asia for the translation, which tells us that "frequent phone users indeed drove more dangerously than occasional phone users did, driving faster and more erratically, making more violent turns and overtaking more other drivers".
Drivers do have accidents while talking on the phone, which has led to bans on holding a telephone while talking and sending text messages - despite the existence of perfectly-good laws on "due care and attention" already. But now the Chinese Institute of Psychology, working with US counterparts, has surveyed drivers and discovered a close correlation between those who use a phone when driving, and those who drive dangerously even when not distracted.
The scale of the study isn't clear, and there's not yet a peer-reviewed paper to back up the claims, but the approach is interesting and it's true in other nations that bans on phone use haven't led to any great drop in accident statistics.
New laws banning phones and texting (as opposed to careless driving) are largely a political move - allowing authorities to be seen to be doing something without spending any money. If the Chinese results apply in other countries then the high-cost alternatives - better roads, more driver training, in-car surveillance by the insurance companies to prevent reckless driving - will have to be applied, at least until the cars can drive themselves. ®
Don't take their phone away - take their car.
If I could issue tickets for people using their phone when driving, I could solve the deficit in a week.
I don't know why this particular action manages to infuriate me so much. But there is something galling about seeing someone in a £40,000 car who didn't have the brains to buy a bluetooth - or get one bundled with their phone (like wot I did). Everyone knows the ban was for safetys sake - so these selfish cunts (thanks AC@13:21) are basically saying to the world "I couldn't give a toss about anyone elses safety."
People who use handheld phones or text while driving are utter idiots. They remain utter idiots even when not using such devices, but are merely driving a car.
Same goes for speeding
It's the same problem with all the speed cameras and calls to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
Accidents are caused by inappropriate speed - not just going over the speed limit.
90mph on an empty motorway? Not a problem.
25mph past a school at going-home time? Get the ambulances ready.
People who drive badly do so even when not using a phone and not speeding - and still cause accidents.
Good drivers (probably) don't use the phone in the first place, and get off it, or pull over ASAP. They also drive at speeds appropriate to the road conditions, and within their abilities - even if that means they are above the speed limit.
The problem is, there is no simple way, once the test has been passed, to weed out the morons until after they have caused an accident - so we all have to pay the price with more and more rules that don't actually achieve what they are intended to do.