we define driving while distracted
as a form of aggressive driving?
is a tendency to think that
multi-tasking while driving is the
cause of driver inattention or
distraction. This belief leads to
demands for new laws that restrict or
ban the use of in-car communication
devices such as phones and computers.
But the correct argument is that
multi-tasking can lead to driver
distraction when drivers haven't
properly trained themselves to use the
new car gadgets. This is true for
older devices like the familiar radio
and CD as well as the new, like GPS,
phones, and e-mail. So it's true that
multi-tasking becomes the occasion for
drivers to make more mistakes, when
they fail to train themselves
properly. This increased training is a
joint responsibility of the individual
driver and the government.
behind the wheel is a matter of degree
and all drivers are responsible for
determining when they need additional
self-training activities. When drivers
overstep this line, they become
socially and legally responsible.
Drivers who allow themselves to be
distracted by their multi-tasking
activities are increasing the risk
factor for themselves and imposing
that dangerous limit on
others--passengers, other drivers,
pedestrians. This increased risk to
which others are subjected is thus
similar to other driver behavior that
are considered aggressive and illegal:
going through red lights, failing to
yield, exceeding safe speed limits,
reckless weaving, drinking and
driving, driving sleepy or drowsy,
road rage, etc. Distracted driving can
insurance rates to go up for
Wireless and Communication Devices
by Dr. Leon James
position is that a better solution
than laws banning use, is to install a
system so that when drivers get their
license or renew it, information can
be placed on the permits that indicate
additional approved skills, just as
they do now for restrictions such as
daytime only, or must wear glasses,
etc. Whenever drivers complete
additional training activities they
can get their permit electronically
marked for the specific training, for
example, Is licensed to operate
such training, which is to be renewed
again each time drivers renew their
license, motorists will be able to use
smartphones and GPS devices
competently (as for instance police do
who regularly using communication
devices while driving in traffic).
is also a moral issue people need to
think about. Not to get trained and to
use them illegally is to run higher
risk of crashes. But crashes mostly
involve other innocent motorists and
passengers. To increase risk on them
is therefore a moral issue: is it
right or wrong to do that? Am I the
kind of person who is OK with that?
drivers who are busy communicating or
dining are being aggressive because
they are willfully imposing their own
level of risk on others. Distracted
drivers are not only a danger to
themselves but to others. Forcing
higher risk on others is aggressive.
Maybe the distracted driver thinks,
Oh, I can handle it, but can others?
Se we consider distracted driving as a
form of aggressive driving. Drivers
who use communication devices and
drive distracted as a result are being
access from a moving vehicle is a
reality today, and getting bigger each
month. Research on cell phone use by
drivers shows that some drivers become
dangerous due to distraction. But
other drivers maintain their focus and
safety level. What is the difference?
First, some people are naturally more
excitable and distractible while
driving, whether they communicate with
a passenger or through a communication
device. They are especially at risk
and dangerous--unless they train
themselves. We don't know of any
training programs for Internet access
in cars, or for other multi-tasking
activities. We recommend that these be
put in place by the industry and
government. But in the meantime,
drivers can train themselves.
drivers must acknowledge that they
need to train themselves, and if they
don't, they become a danger to others.
So until they go through the training,
they ought not to allow themselves to
use the equipment while the car is
moving. Second, they need to practice
the equipment over and over again
while the car is not moving, until
they can do it with closed yes and
while talking to a passenger. Third,
they cautiously begin to use features,
one at a time while the car is moving
in the right lane without too much
traffic, thus gradually increasing the
times and places of use. We also
recommend monitoring yourself and
keeping a Driving Log or Diary where
you record the errors you've seen
yourself make. Finally, ask a
passenger to monitor you to see if
you're making mistakes or distraction.
drivers voluntarily train themselves,
it's likely that government
regulations and restrictions will be
Dr. Leon James Interview
with Men's Health August
> -What makes
texting while driving so
Texting while driving is
distracting for all drivers who have
themselves to do it
without taking their eyes off the
road, and without
losing focus and
presence of mind on the driving. This
would no doubt
include 99 percent
of all drivers.
> -What's going
on when people are communicating via
text messages that
> maybe adds
to their distraction level as
opposed to other distractions
> (ie. eating,
talking on the phone)?
Eating and talking on the
phone are less attention demanding
though they are
still distracting for drivers who have
not trained themselves appropriately.
degree of distraction in
multitasking is proportional to
the attention demand of each task.
Here is an illustrative
psychological scale of increasing attention
of various multitasking activities
planning details of something complex
calmly to passengers
simple controls like volume or air.
calmly on the phone hands free
to the radio with involvement, such as
an exciting sports program or talk show
calmly on the phone hand held
up something that fell or adjusting
objects lying on the seat
drinking, reading, watching video or TV,
putting on cosmetics
an argument with a passenger or on the
children passengers or pets who are
unruly or untrained
a map, texting, using computer while the
car is moving
with another car
a catnap while the car is moving or
briefly falling asleep at the wheel
greater the attention demand of
the task, the more training is
required to do it safely.
What we do while we drive
According to a telephone
survey of 1,026 drivers
released by NETS:
70 percent of drivers
routinely talk to passengers
47 percent adjust controls.
29 percent eat or read.
26 percent pick up something
19 percent talk on the phone
Varieties of Driver Distraction
distraction can manifest itself in
several ways (Brown, 1994). A general
of attention manifests itself in
both degraded vehicle control
and degraded object and event
detection. The putative
mechanisms behind this are eyelid
closure (in the case of driver
fatigue) or eye
glances away from the road scene
(in the case of visual
and more insidious, type of
distraction is what is termed the selective
withdrawal of attention. In this
type of distraction, vehicle
control (e.g., lane keeping, speed
maintenance) remains largely
unaffected but object and event
detection is degraded. The putative
mechanism behind this is attention to
thoughts and might be indicated by
open-loop rather than closed-loop
visual scanning, restricted
visual sampling of mirrors and the
road scene, empty field myopia
(e.g., fixating too close), and selective
filtering of information based on
expectations rather than the actual
categories of driver distraction
suggest different types of measures
and scenarios for evaluation of their
presence during device use. For
example, measurement of lane keeping
performance represents an example of
general withdrawal of attention but
says nothing about the selective
withdrawal of attention that might be
associated with a device that perhaps
does not require a visual resource,
e.g., a voice-recognition system.
also a type of distraction effect
which I term biomechanical
interference. This refers to
body shifts out of the neutral seated
position, e.g., when reaching for a
cellular telephone or leaning over to
see or manipulate a device. That this
may be important is indicated by a
recent report from the Japan that
indicated the preponderance of
cellular telephone-related crashes
were associated with receiving calls
and reaching for the cell phone
(National Police Agency of Japan,
1998). Similarly, the hand(s) occupied
and off the steering wheel might
degrade the driver’s ability to
execute maneuvers. These types of
manual loads might involve, e.g.,
operating a hand-held remote for a
route guidance system, a hand-held
cellular telephone, eating, drinking,
lighting a cigarette, etc. These are
the types of biomechanical
interference effects that a thorough
safety evaluation should also be
prepared to address.
> -What is the
impact of texting drivers taking
their eyes off the road?
** Taking the eyes off
the road for one or two seconds while
the car is in motion reduces the
driver's ability to
avoid a crash that can be avoided
with full attention.
** There is also a
focus switch from close while texting,
to far when looking up again.
There is a recovery time during
which the eyes do not focus clearly
on distant objects.
** It also increases inattention
blindness, such as completely
missing a swerving car or a sudden
There is a
shift of attention away from the
can lead to visual blindness and
salience can capture attention
cues elicit immediate
response (e.g., telephone ring)
Inattention or reduced
vigilance may result from
over-reliance on driver support
systems – see also the concept
risk and risk homeostasis
(touching, operating, adjusting,
** visual (visual blindness)
** auditory (contraction of
** verbal (yelling in anger)
breathing and heart rate)
** biomechanical interference
(e.g., when reaching over to
pick up or operate)
cognitive lock up
inadequate processing or
impaired judgment or objectivity
the one hand, the external
environmental forces for greater
safety (less risk):
construction of more and better
highways to accommodate the
increasing numbers of drivers
of better and safer vehicles
efficient medical infrastructure
to handle victims of crashes
of highway law enforcement and
electronic surveillance as
on the other hand, the internal
individual forces for
maintaining high risk (less
widespread acceptance of a
competitive norm that values
getting ahead of other drivers
round schedule of time pressure
and its mismanagement through
rushing and disobeying traffic
weakness of driver education
programs so that most drivers
have inadequate training in
emotional self-control as
portrayal of aggressive driving
behaviors in a fun context
psychological tendency to
maintain a preferred level of
risk, so that increased risks
are taken when environmental
improvements are introduced
(also called "risk homeostasis",
see Wilde, 1994; 1988)
and safety officials attribute
this resistance to accident
reduction to the attitude and
behavior of drivers who tend to
respond to safety improvements
by driving more dangerously. It
has been noted that a critical
aspect of driving is the
driver’s competence in balancing
risk with safety. The risk in
driving is largely under the
control of the driver. The
driver decides at every moment
what risks to take and what to
inhibit or avoid.
taking is a tendency that varies
greatly between drivers as well
as for the same driver at
different times. Thus, if a road
is made safer by straightening
it, or by moving objects that
interfere with visibility,
drivers will compensate for the
greater safety by driving faster
on it—the so-called "risk homeostasis"
phenomenon. The result is the
maintenance of a constant
subjective feeling of risk that
is the normal habitual threshold
for a particular driver. In such
a driving environment, the rate
of deaths or injuries tends to
remain high, despite the safety
improvements that are
institutional or societal
response to this stalemate
between safety and
risk tolerance, has
been to increase enforcement
activities by monitoring,
ticketing, and jailing hundreds
of thousands of drivers.
Nevertheless, the number of
deaths and injuries has remained
nearly steady, year after year.
Besides law enforcement, there
has been an increase in
litigation due to aggressive
driving disputes between
drivers, as well as more
psychotherapy and counseling
services, including anger
management clinics and
workshops, and community
initiatives. Nevertheless, these
remain scattered attempts, and
have been unable to alter basic
driving patterns. As
detailed in this chapter,
socio-cultural methods need to
be used to change the driving
norms of an entire generation.
Measures of Distracted Driving
perhaps in retrospect, safety
cannot be measured directly
(Dingus, 1997). Indirect measures which
are used to measure
be put into several categories
(Tijerina, Kiger, Rockwell, and
measures are taken primarily
because of the importance of
vision in driving. Glance
durations, glance frequency,
and scanning patterns are
part of this set of measures.
performance measures are
also popular because of their
prima facie safety relevance. Lane keeping, speed
maintenance, car following
performance, and driver
reaction times to objects and
events are common measures
from this class.
control actions such as steering
wheel inputs, accelerator
modulations, gear shifting,
brake pedal applications, and
hand-off-wheel time all have
been or can be used to make
inferences about the distraction
level a driver is under during a
Reports on Distracted
Driving—Dr. Leon James+++
of Motorists are Distracted
Insurance National Driving Habits
Survey revealed that 76% of all
drivers engaged in activities
while driving that distracted
their attention from the road. In
many cases the distractions
resulted in accidents or
near-accidents. "People are so
caught up in doing things
simultaneously to save time that
safe driving seems to be taking a
back seat," cautioned Mory Katz,
Chairman of Response Insurance.
the survey 32% of drivers are
reading and writing while on the
road, 29% are talking on a cell
phone, 17% are combing hair, 16%
are fighting with another
passenger, 10% are putting on
makeup and 3% are putting in eye
drops or contact lenses. 20% are
so busy they admit to steering
with their thighs. The most common
activities were tuning the radio
(62%), eating (57%) and turning
around to speak to someone in the
In one of the
most startling findings, the
survey revealed that activities
many drivers would consider
innocuous were potentially just as
dangerous as those usually
considered irresponsible. While
breaking up a fight between
children in the car and racing
with another car were both done by
12% of those surveyed, more
drivers say they caused or nearly
caused an accident by separating
their kids than they did by racing
another car (26% vs. 21%).
NHTSA said it
found 44 percent of drivers have
phones in their vehicles or carry
a cellular phone while driving, 7
percent have e-mail access and 3
percent have fax capabilities.
NHTSA and the American Automobile
Association shows that while
equipment activated by voice
commands has a safety advantage,
there is still a danger in
focusing on a conversation with
While all 50
U.S. states have laws covering
reckless driving, only half have
laws against inattentive driving,
according to NHTSA.
March 28, 2000
Half of the
nation's adults (51%) admit to
driving while drowsy, reports the
National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in
its new 2000 Sleep in America
Poll. Among 18 to 29 year olds,
nearly one-quarter (24%) report
actually falling asleep at the
wheel at some point during the
past year, compared with 15% of
those aged 30-64, and 6% of people
65 and older. These statistics are
in line with scientific research
showing that fall-asleep crashes
are most common in younger people,
with peak occurrence at age 20.
contributes to other dangerous
driving behavior on the road as
well. Forty-two percent of adults
report they become stressed while
driving drowsy and 32% say they
get impatient. Twelve percent of
adults admit they drive faster
when they're sleepy, with 22% of
younger adults reporting this
dangerous driving characteristic.
1) Do you get
drowsy after meals?
b. Often after
breakfast or dinner
c. Often after
If you picked:
yourself 0 points
b. 10 points
c. 20 points
FOR THE CAR
says that BMW's new BMWG.F 7-series of
automobiles will have dash-top
computing using Windows CE software,
is also in 13 vehicle lines worldwide,
with 9 more planned later this
year. Sun Microsystems, one of the
companies competing with Microsoft in
the auto dash-top market, has similar
agreements with General Motors and
Ford, which will use Sun's Java
technology. Although dash-top
has been slow to develop, Microsoft
executive Gonzalo Bustillos says,
"Vehicle computing is going to be
there. Carmakers have decided it's
to be there. The only questions are
when and how the models may become a
reality." (Reuters 4 Mar 2002)
Tessmer, a NHTSA statistician, estimated 20%
to 30% of fatal accidents are due to
distractions, but said it's impossible to know
for sure because only a few states document
distractions in accident reports. quoted
certainly a lot of driver education
that needs to take place because there
is a lot of new technology coming on
the scene,'' said Brian Gratch, a
marketing director at Motorola Inc.,
which makes cellular phones. quoted
Are we too hooked on our phones for a driving
PM EST, Wed December 14, 2011
-- A federal agency in charge of safety on the
roads wants an outright ban on using mobile
phones while driving. But what if we're just too
hooked on our smartphones and other digital
gadgets to care?
For many drivers in 2011, a phone is as vital
an in-car accessory as a radio, a map or a cup
holder. Spend a few minutes watching motorists
backed up at a traffic light and you'll see a
large chunk of them on their smartphones:
talking, texting, peering at a digital map or
playing "Angry Birds."
Enough, says the
National Transportation Safety Board, which on
Tuesday issued its most sweeping
recommendation on mobile-phone use yet --
that all nonemergency talking, texting or other
use by drivers be made illegal. That would
include hands-free devices as well as handheld
Reaction has been heated. There seems to be
across-the-board agreement, even on the part of
some self-admitted offenders, that a ban on
drivers using their hands to text and talk makes
But after that, things get more complicated.
And some critics are saying that any law
targeting phone use in cars is already too late.
"Mobile phones are omnipresent. Virtually every
adult and many kids have one," Detroit Free Press auto
columnist Mark Phelan wrote Wednesday.
"No law will change the fact that people expect
to remain in touch while they're behind the
The NTSB's proposed ban, he said, would be "the
most pointless and universally ignored law since
In the United States, more than 35% of adults
own a Web-enabled smartphone and more than 83%
own a mobile phone of some kind,
according to a recent Pew study.
At any given daylight moment, some 13.5 million
U.S. drivers are on handheld phones, according
to a study released last week by the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year
involved distracted drivers, although the actual
number may be far higher, the NHTSA said.
Federal officials have taken to calling phone
use behind the wheel "the new DUI."
"Should radios and GPS navigation also be
banned from cars? Laws exist in most states
banning texting and making phone calls without
hand-free equipment -- the issue is that these
laws are not being enforced. "
The use of mobile GPS also was mentioned
frequently by both readers and online pundits.
Virtually every mobile operating system has some
sort of mapping app to help drivers get from
Point A to Point B.
What sense does it make, the logic goes, to ban
phones in the car while allowing apps that are
created, almost exclusively, to be used in the
"(G)iven that GPS is now an integral part of
most smartphones, and that services like OnStar
integrate voice commands to phones via
Bluetooth, it's not clear how effective or
enforceable a total ban would be -- or whether
it would change the behavior of drivers in a
significant way," wrote Sean Gallagher for tech
blog Ars Technica, a CNN content partner.
"Bans on handheld phone use haven't
significantly reduced the likelihood of drivers
to take incoming calls while they're driving
regardless of the type of phone they have."
A bigger safety issue could arise, Cudmore
said, if such tools are banned.
"If cell phones are banned, those of us without
GPS installed in the car will need to revert
back to paper maps or printed directions," he
said. Which is more dangerous, listening to my
phone's GPS navigation or reading a set of
printed instructions? Let's be honest, before
GPS when everyone used maps, did we all pull
over to the side of the road to read the next
instruction once we reached a waypoint? If used
correctly, these devices are improving safety."
Any ban on cell phone use in cars probably
wouldn't become law for a while. The NTSB
doesn't have any lawmaking power and Congress
would have to pass any law regarding phones and
driving, although the safety board has helped
push ideas into law before. Getting such a law
through Congress, given the current gridlock in
Washington, could be a torturous process.
Currently a patchwork of laws governs cell
phone usage by drivers. Some 35 states ban text
messaging while driving, 30 states ban cell
phone use by novice drivers, and 10 ban all use
of handheld cell phones, according to the NTSB.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
holding a hearing on driving distractions and
road safety, and a
major focus of the meetings is the
proliferation of high-tech,
in-vehicle devices such as mobile phones,
on-board maps, GPS
devices and CD players.
How big a problem is this, in your view?
Express your opinion.
government is getting involved...Help the
government by responding!
PHONE USE CAN IMPAIR VISION WHILE DRIVING
Researchers at the
University of Utah have found that drivers using
cell phones, even hands-free devices,
experience a decrease in the ability to
process peripheral vision, creating a
potentially lethal "tunnel vision." This
"inattention blindness" slows reaction time by 20% and
resulted in some of the 20 test subjects missing
half the red lights they encountered in
simulated driving. "We found that when people are on
the phone, the amount of information they are
taking in is significantly reduced," says
associate professor David Strayer. "People were
missing things, like cars swerving in
front or sudden lane changes. We had at least three
rear-end collisions." The Utah study is
only the latest investigation into the effects
of driving and cell phone use, and most of the others
have also demonstrated some degree of
impairment. And while most studies have focused
focused on the distractions of dialing or
holding a phone, the Utah research tried
to focus on the distractions caused by having a
conversation. New York is the only state
to have instituted laws against the practice, but 30
more states have similar legislation
pending. (CNet News.com 27 Jan 2003)
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 06:48:48 -1000
From: Eric Peterson
a freelance writer working on a story for the
Boulder (Colo.) County Business Report and was
wondering if I could get your opinion on the
impact, dangers, and/or benefits of telematics
- essentially, vehicular Internet access.
Would it prove distracting to a driver? How
about if the driver couldn't access it while
driving, but passengers could?
by Dr. Leon James:
devote a section of our new book on Road Rage
and Aggressive Driving (see press release
below) to this topic of automotive
telematics in relation to driver
distraction--which by the way includes in car
communications devices and dashboard dining,
both being major sources of distraction. We
don't think that multi-tasking should be
banned by the law but we do think that some
form of required training is highly desirable.
In fact, no training is dangerous.
drivers who are busy communicating or dining
are being aggressive because they are
willfully imposing their own level of risk on
others. Distracted drivers are not only a
danger to themselves but to others. Forcing
higher risk on others is aggressive. Maybe the
distracted driver thinks, Oh, I can handle it,
but can others? Se we consider distracted
driving as a form of aggressive driving.
Drivers who use communication devices and
drive distracted as a result are being
access from a moving vehicle is a reality
today, and getting bigger each month. Research
on cell phone use by drivers shows that some
drivers become dangerous due to distraction.
But other drivers maintain their focus and
safety level. What is the difference? First,
some people are naturally more excitable and
distractible while driving, whether they
communicate with a passenger or through a
communication device. They are especially at
risk and dangerous--unless they train
themselves. We don't know of any training
programs for Internet access in cars, or for
other multi-tasking activities. We recommend
that these be put in place by the industry and
government. But in the meantime, drivers can
drivers must acknowledge that they need to
train themselves, and if they don't, they
become a danger to others. So until they go
through the training, they ought not to allow
themselves to use the equipment while the car
is moving. Second, they need to practice the
equipment over and over again while the car is
not moving, until they can do it with closed
yes and while talking to a passenger. Third,
they cautiously begin to use features, one at
a time while the car is moving in the right
lane without too much traffic, thus gradually
increasing the times and places of use. We
also recommend monitoring yourself and keeping
a Driving Log or Diary where you record the
errors you've seen yourself make. Finally, ask
a passenger to monitor you to see if you're
making mistakes or distraction.
drivers voluntarily train themselves, it's
likely that government regulations and
restrictions will be the reaction.
James, Ph.D. and Diane Nahl, Ph.D.
ROAD RAGE AND AGGRESSIVE
DRIVING: Steering Clear of Highway
Warfare (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books,
nationally known authors from Hawaii have
published a new book on a topic often
discussed in the media. What other authors say
about this book:
the weather, everyone is talking about
road rage, but Drs. James and Nahl have
finally done something about it. They show
that what we call "traffic" is really an
ever-changing set of social relationship
tests, and how we engage in these
auto-connections speaks volumes about the
ultimate quality of our own and others
lives. They show us how being a better
driver helps us lead a better, happier,
Pearsall, author of The Pleasure Prescription
and Wishing Well
time you're about to crowd someone's
bumper because they cut you off in
traffic, take a deep breath, back off, and
drive to the nearest book store to buy
this book. You'll not only learn why we've
become such impatient, hostile drivers,
you'll learn exactly how to reverse this
life-endangering habit. Bravo to the
authors for a well-written, much needed
book. Read it and reap!"
Horn, author of Tongue Fu and ConZENtrate
about personal behavior! ------ For those
of us that have been personally involved
with "Road Rage"; for those of us who have
witnessed "Road Rage"; for those of us
that understand "Road Rage" truly exists
and is a serious issue for the motoring
public, this is a page turner. Leon and
Diane have defined the issue, shown what
it has cost us and most importantly
----Given Specifics for us to prevent from
participating in a "Road Rage" incident or
being the victim of "Road Rage".
is a must read for young drivers,
experienced drivers and professional
drivers alike-----Remember that it's about
personal behavior! Who better to discuss
this issue than Social Psychologist, Dr.
Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl."
McWilliams, Manager Safety Information Systems
Leon James Interview with Men's Health
Jen Ator August 23, 2008
-What makes texting while driving so distracting?
driving is distracting for all drivers who have not
themselves to do
it without taking their eyes off the road, and
losing focus and
presence of mind on the driving. This would no doubt
percent of all drivers.
-What's going on when people are communicating via
text messages that
maybe adds to their distraction level as opposed to
(ie. eating, talking on the phone)?
talking on the phone are less attention demanding
though they are
still distracting for drivers who have not trained
appropriately. The degree of distraction in
the attention demand of each task. Here is an
attention demand while driving:
1. Thinking and
2. Talking to
passenger, or singing
3. Talking on
the phone hands free
drinking, putting on make up
5. Talking on
the phone hand held
6. Having an
argument with passenger or on the phone
7. Reading a
map, texting, using computer
-What is the impact of texting drivers taking their
eyes off the road?
Taking the eyes
off the road for one or two seconds reduces the
ability to avoid
a crash that can be avoided with full attention.
also a focus
switch from close while texting, to far when looking
again. There is
a recovery time during which the eyes do not focus
Issues Related to Driver Distraction From
Ian Noy, Ph.D., CPE Ergonomics Division Road
Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation
Directorate, Transport Canada
- shift of
attention away from the driving task for a
task can lead to visual/cognitive lock-up
display salience can capture attention
- cue elicits immediate response (e.g.,
- shift of
attention away from the driving task for
inattention may result from over-reliance on
driver support system (reduced vigilance)
task difficulty predominant factor affecting
attention and performance variables
modified their looking behaviour in an
attempt to maintain driving performance
strong adaptive behaviour, distraction from
in-vehicle task caused driving performance
new curse: Cell-phone rage
over mobile phones may be the next social ill
as millions get increasingly fed up with
hearing the strains of Beethoven or Jingle
(Texas) - Like air rage and road rage,
mobile-phone rage is emerging as a disturbing
social menace, prompting some manufacturers to
take steps to put an end to unwanted ringing.
phones are a fairly new technology and a sense
of etiquette maybe has not evolved as fast as
the phones have penetrated the market.' -- Mr
Travis Larson , spokesman for the Cellular
Telecommunications Industry Association of
they were first sold in the United States in
1983, these phones have multiplied.
a few thousand the first year to more than 100
million today, mobile phones are here to stay.
bad news for those fed up with ringers
disturbing the peace is that, according to the
telecommunications industry, only 30 per cent
of the market has been penetrated.
only is the number of mobile phones growing,
the piercing sounds of their ringers seem to
be increasing as well, with louder and more
elaborate tones available, said Ms Amy Wu, who
writes for Wired News.
though most of today's phones have volume
controls, many people leave them set on high
no matter what the situation.
instead of just ringing, phones can be
programmed to play Bach, Mozart, the James
Bond theme or Jingle Bells.
you might be happy when Beethoven lets you
know someone is calling, millions of people
are not pleased at all.
are fed up with hearing your phone go off.
phones have become part of the urban
landscape, but the behavioural battles rage
on,' Ms Wu said.
businesses and public places have devised ways
to deal with the phenomenon. But mobile-phone
rage may very well become the social
controversy of the next decade.'
Travis Larson, spokesman for the Cellular
Telecommunications Industry Association of
America said: 'Mobile phones are a fairly new
technology and a sense of etiquette maybe has
not evolved as fast as the phones have
penetrated the market.'
rage is a big enough problem that some
manufacturers have started sensitivity
training for users.
in museums, announcements over intercoms and
advertisements outside buildings remind people
gently to turn down their mobile phones in
Mary Beth Griffin, executive vice-president of
BlueLinx, based in North Carolina, said her
company designs and builds ringer regulators
are mounted on the walls of movie theatres or
churches and emit a signal that turns down
for the system to work, each mobile phone must
be equipped with a special software.
now, courtesy is based on people's memories,'
Ms Griffin said.
August 2, 2000
DAVE CARPENTER AP Business Writer
inside the elegant San Antonio club and the
jasize="3 singer was crooning love ballads.
a cell phone rang. To the dismay of performer
Ken Slavin, the patron not only answered the
phone - but shushed the singer so he could
take the call.
a San Francisco Bay ferry, where "Cell Phone
Free Zone" signs are posted, a woman gossiped
loudly on her phone.
lady," a fellow rider piped up. "I think I
speak for the rest of the passengers here when
I say that we don't care to hear about the
intrigues of your office, so please either
finish your call or go outside."
woman stormed out - to applause.
Cell Phones" signs are popping up all over.
Restaurants, theaters, libraries, museums and
doctors' offices have banned the devices.
on the street jabbering away, in restaurants,
in public toilets for heaven's sake!"
complained New Yorker Judy Walters.
not joking. According to an industry-sponsored
telephone survey conducted in March by
Wirthlin Worldwide, 39 percent of those polled
said they would answer a cell phone call in
at a Toronto hospital report treating both
mobile phone talkers and irritated bystanders
for black eyes and even a cracked rib after
eruptions of "cell phone rage."
New York restaurant fielded so many gripes it
banished users to a cell phone lounge.
Public Radio's popular Car Talk program, whose
hosts rail against cell-phoning drivers, has
given away 60,000 "Drive Now, Talk Later"
bumper stickers since last September. "The
response has taken us by surprise," said
staffer Doug Mayer.
between strangers have broken down," said
Stein, a UCLA sociology professor and director
of Cultural Research Assistants in Santa
Monica, Calif. "We've become desensitized to
aims to civilize cell phone users
July 10, 2000
Stephanie Miles Staff Writer
off your ringers, please. It's Cell Phone
to the citizens of San Diego by cell phone
maker Nokia, this week is dedicated to
encouraging the increasingly unmindful corps
of cell phone users to be more respectful of
their surroundings and those around them.
promotion is part of a growing movement to
rein in rogue cell phone users, a group that
continues to grow in number and offense,
according to some.
are approximately 94 million people using cell
phones in the United States, or one out of
three Americans, according to Nokia.
skyrocketing number of mobile phone users,
driven in part by falling prices for phones
and service, along with improvements in
network coverage and quality, has led to
complaints about inappropriate calling while
driving, during performances, in classrooms,
libraries, museums and restaurants.
growing number of restaurants have designated
themselves cell phone-free zones, and a few
areas have proposed banning cell phone usage
city of San Diego and Finnish-based Nokia,
which employs 600 people in its Product
Creation Center in San Diego, launched the
courtesy campaign today. Consisting primarily
of identifying specific "Quiet Zones" where
cell phones are not welcome,
Phone Courtesy Week was brought about in part
by overwhelming public demand, according to
San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.
Driving and Talking...
Are you being safe?
Craig L. Derington DirectWireless.com
some cities have banned the use of wireless
phones while driving, making it a punshiable
offense. This legislation brings up some
concerns, however. For instance, does banning
the use of phones while driving violate our
rights as citizens. While nearly everyone
would agree that it is important to be able to
keep in touch with family and co-workers when
away from home or office, the issue of safety
is also a major concern. The wireless industry
has recognized this need for balance, and now
offers a wide selection of Original Equipment
Manufacturer (OEM), and third party
(after-market) products to help drivers stay
safe when using cell phones.
are some safety tips for using your wireless
phone while driving:
Hard install car kits usually include a holder
for your phone, an adapter that plugs into
your cars electrical system, and a separate
microphone and earpiece that let you talk
without having to touch your phone.
all phones come equipped with memory dialing
features. These features compliment your need
to call your business associates, family and
friends, by making it as easy as a button
touch from your hands-free system.
If you feel like you are unable to concentrate
on the task at hand: it's always best to pull
off the road to a safe stopping location, or
simply tell the person you are talking to that
you will have to call them back once you have
reached your destination. The little extra
time you spend could be the difference between
life and death.
Reviewing the features is a good idea every
few months. That way, users get the most
support from their phones, as they are most
comfortable with their capabilities and use.
Cell phone use in
far, here at CA State Archives, our patrons
have consistently demonstrated the courtesy of
leaving the Research Room to handle their cell
then there's my local metro bus driver who
drives her coach most evenings, on freeway and
off, having quiet little calls on her personal
cellphone. I'm about to turn her in to the
transit brass. It may not be illegal (yet) to
cell-phone talk and drive, but in the cases of
public transit drivers, it oughta' be --
I want to rip the damned things out of their
hands and smash them against the wall!
However, seeing that such actions wouldn't be
in accordance with professional behavior, I
just grit my teeth. Students at our university
library will answer their cell phone and put
the reference person they were speaking to "on
hold" until they're done using the phone.
Sheesh! As far as I know, there is no official
policy on use of cell phones in our building."
your comments or observations to DrDriving
people on cell phones bother you in waiting
rooms, streets, cars, etc.?
of talking on cell and driving
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000
From: Adams' Family firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Dangers of talking on cell and
Tx -- Kimberly Adams, daughter of Claude T.
Jacobs Sr. and his two co-workers, was
tragically killed as a result of an auto
accident caused by a motorist whose attention
was distracted while using a cellular phone.
to this accident, we and the rest of the
public, lacked a meaningful awareness of the
danger of talking on a cell phone while
driving. Since the horrific death of my
father, I have discovered that the use of
cellular phones by drivers has become a very
substantial safety problem. Scholastic studies
have indicated that the risk of accident
quadruples when a cell phone is being used by
a motorist, equivalent to driving with a
blood-alcohol level at the legal limit.
am committed to raising public awareness of
this issue. I believe cell [Already at start
of message] phones can be useful safety tools,
but have found it to be simply too dangerous
to talk while driving. I have already and will
continue to provide input to my own
representatives in Montgomery Co., Tx to
support meaningful legislative efforts aimed
at this serious problem.
Survey: What we do
while we drive
According to a telephone survey of 1,026
drivers released by NETS:
70 percent of drivers routinely talk to
passengers while driving.
47 percent adjust controls.
29 percent eat or read.
26 percent pick up something that fell.
19 percent talk on the phone
Jul 11 2000
you ever been in a movie theater and heard
someone's phone ring? How about viewing a play
at your child's school? As mobile phone prices
continue to drop, more people are using phones
in some of the most inappropriate places.
a result of the increased inappropriate usage
of mobile phones, the city of San Diego and
Nokia, which has approximately 600 people
working in San Diego, have launched Cell Phone
Courtesy Week. During the week, specific
"Quiet Zones" where cell phones are not
allowed will be identified.
can't believe it has actually come to this.
first heard a case of mobile phone abuse when
I was sitting in a movie theater. It was
during the movie and the guy just kept letting
his cellphone ring. Apparently, he figured if
he ignored it and looked around, people
wouldn't get mad at him. Well, eventually it
went to voicemail but the guy looked very
uneasy for the remainder of the movie, no
doubt afraid for his life.
really have no clue when the appropriate time
to use a mobile phone is. In addition, why
can't they just remember to shut the ringer
off? I guess we could also blame mobile phone
manufacturers for not making it a "one touch"
button that just silences the ringer. If that
button existed, people could just silence
their mobile phone before going into a
restaurant, bank, etc.
used to have a phone with a vibrate feature
and I would turn that on if I absolutely
needed to keep the phone on. I remember
someone I used to work with would shut the
ringer off during a movie and just wait for
the light on his phone to light-up if a phone
call came in. I'm not sure what he would have
done if the call actually did come in, though.
One would hope that he would leave the theater
before answering the phone.
Phone Courtesy (NOT!)
(12:43pm EST Tue Jul
11 2000) I was once in a Home Depot hardware
superstore and the guy behind me in the aisle
was talking on his cell phone to (hopefully)
his wife and describing the prostate exam he
just came from! He wasn't even trying to speak
softly, in fact, he was speaking rather loudly
due to the ambient noise. Well, I turned to
him and said, "If you don't mind...I really
DON'T want to hear how your doctor had his
finger up your A** 10 minutes ago!" I said it
loud enough for the party on the other end to
hear as well as everyone in the aisle.
Surprised at my outburst, he promptly turned
red and left the aisle. Looking over the
others in the aisle, they all smiled their
approval to me....
not forget business... (2:11pm EST Tue Jul 11
2000) I see cell phone arrogance at its worst
during business events such as meetings or
conferences. It's unbelievable how these
business men let their cell phones ring and
TAKE CALLS while someone else is talking or
trying to give a presentation just a few feet
away. Of course they're each just TOO
important to shut it off...
One-Touch button (2:25pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000)
If I've forgotten to turn off my ringer, I can
reach in my pocket and press the 'end' or the
'off' button to silence it after one ring. I
use this a lot as there are a lot of places I
consider it rude to talk on the phone.
Basically, anywhere where anyone is forced to
sit and listen to you is usually bad. The
train, doctor's office waiting room.
phone proper use (3:38pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000)
people today have NO concept of those around
them. People are self-centered and selfish,
not caring how their actions impact others.
The problems you all state about using
cellular phones merely mirror the overall
problems in society. If we all tried to be a
little more cognitive of the needs and rights
of those around us, we certainly would all be
a lot better off.
other day I was Big K-Mart, and the lady in
front of me, in the line of eleven people, her
phone rings. So my buddy and I strike a
conversation about the up coming All-Star
game. Our voices steadily grew as she
continued on the phone. No doubt, she turned
around and asked us to please quite down. We
both looked at her, and yelled,
AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!. She jumped back into the
person in front of her. The person got mad at
the lady with the cell phone. The cell phone
lady got mad at us. The people behind us
started going, "Yeah!!". It was the beginning
of a brawl. But sadly, the manager came over
and told every to be calm, and ask the lady
with the cell phone to leave. So she stormed
out of the store, with her cell phone still
on!! Ah, it was a Kodak moment
beating (4:34pm EST Tue Jul 11 2000) I read a
story a while ago about a guy in german who's
phone rang one to many times in a bar. after
the 4th time the other patrons of the bar
started throwing beer bottle at him and he
eventually got killed by one of them... now
that is a waste of good beer.
See this MSNBC
report of July 26, 2001
can be done to fix them, and are some of them
located near you? For years, big insurance
companies have been sponsoring
state-of-the-art crash tests to encourage
safer car designs and reduce insurance costs.
But experts say that cars and drivers aren’t
the only ones to blame for accidents.
Sometimes, it can be the road itself,
everything from confusing signs to faded lane
lines, to traffic lights you can barely see.
high accident locations, drivers had to shoot
the gaps between multiple lanes of on-coming
traffic in order to make a left turn. State
Farm traffic experts say allowing protected
left turns only on a green arrow is safer. And
if the signals are properly timed, the green
arrow can improve traffic flow.
the pavement markings clear?
often, bad intersections need a fresh coat of
paint to help keep drivers in the proper
lanes. At big intersections with two or more
left turn lanes, State Farm says it's
especially important to have good markings to
keep drivers from side-swiping each other as
they make the turn.
drivers approaching the intersection at high
Farm says several of this year's worst
intersections seem to have a speed problem.
Sometimes there's a relatively high speed
limit leading up to a light and drivers get
caught by surprise. A simple fix could be an
"advanced warning" light before the
intersection to alert drivers they'll have to
stop soon. Other locations may need tougher
enforcement of lower speed limits and
crack-downs on red light runners.
there pedestrian crosswalk signals?
seems to be a forgotten element at some big
intersections. There are poor or missing
signals/markings to help pedestrians get
across a big street safely. What's more, when
surprised drivers slam on the brakes to avoid
a pedestrian, the result is often a rear-end
Meeting on Driver Distraction
Prepared Remarks For Rosalyn G. Millman
DeputyAdministrator National Highway Traffic
NHTSA Public Meeting
on Driver Distraction
Tuesday, July 18, 2000 Washington, D.C.
distraction is perhaps the most demanding
highway traffic safety issue of the day. For
us at the Department of Transportation working
in the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, - driver distraction is a
broad subject area that includes everything
from radios and fast food to Internet
connections and on-board navigation devices. I
was eager to participate in today's meeting
because we in the highway safety community
must take every opportunity to explore and
share information about this critically
important subject. To meet with the
individuals, organizations, and industries
represented here today is a special
more than three decades - since its founding
in 1966 - the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration - has grappled with many
threats to public safety on America's
roadways. The challenges we confronted over
these many years range from drivers who are
too impaired by alcohol to drive safely or
testing the protective benefits of seat belt
distraction is not a new problem. NHTSA has
been studying and confronting distraction
issues for many years. Yet, the driver
distraction of today is far different than in
years past. It is related to innovative
technologies that are entering vehicles at
breathtaking speed - whether it is wireless
telephones, Internet services, navigation
devices, or new sophisticated entertainment
driver distraction that traditionally was a
single device or stimulus is now a diffused
and often difficult-to-define set of issues.
The stunning speed from innovation to
installation is so fast that NHTSA's first
awareness of a product or service may well be
when it is already being designed into or
carried into a vehicle and used by a driver on
driver's responsibility is to operate the
vehicle safely. Distraction degrades driver
performance. Multiple distractions and more
complex distractions degrade driving
performance even more. For all driver
distractions, including wireless phones, the
gathering evidence is persistent and clear.
Whether the information comes from anecdotal
reports, real-world data, or research, we have
a serious problem on our roadways now and it
cannot dismiss anecdotal reports, although
they are unreliable sometimes. They are
continual and straight-forward. Real-world
data is limited at this point, and, for years
to come, may not be robust enough to measure
distraction precisely or justify a particular
course of action. But the real-world data we
can assess leads us to conclude that drivers'
use of wireless phones in moving vehicles is
contributing to crashes.
is further along. We are using many tools and
techniques that have matured over the years to
assess new forms of distraction - the use of
wireless phones, in particular. NHTSA's
National Advanced Driving Simulator, which
will come on-line by the end of this year,
will provide unprecedented opportunities for
detailed, repeatable research on such driver
fitness issues as distraction and fatigue.
all of the information to date, from all
sources, is consistent - each separate story,
each data set, and each research paper adds to
the growing body of evidence.
distractions, increase the risk and in turn
lead to unintended consequences.
am not aware of a single instance - not one -
of information that suggests distraction is
not a problem, or that we have misunderstood
it, or that it is lessening. Driver
distraction, in all its forms and from all its
sources, is a real threat to the safety of
threat is growing and growing fast. Wireless
phones are the fastest penetrating technology
in history. Just a few short years ago - to
see someone talking on a wireless phone
anywhere was still relatively rare. Today, a
regular commute trip without seeing two,
three, or more drivers talking on their
wireless phones while their vehicles are in
motion is relatively rare.
of a traffic safety threat is often easier
than mitigating that traffic safety threat.
Data and information that are clearly
worrisome enough to recognize risks and warn
of their consequences are not nearly complete
enough to support a given solution or validate
a particular action. Further complicating the
search for solutions are the equivocal, and
sometimes vague, public arguments that obscure
what must be good-faith efforts to confront
distraction issues directly and effectively.
Here are five.
Number One: "The genie is out of the
bottle" - that potentially distractive
devices have invaded the driver's domain
so pervasively, attempts to control them
now are impossible or ill-advised.
This problem will grow larger and more
complex. Waiting only increases the difficulty
we will have solving it.
Number Two: Eating fast food, applying
cosmetics, and other in-car distractions
also present risks, so why are we not
worrying about them?
We have work to do on all forms of driver
distraction. But, we should not accept one
risk because we have yet to address another or
because have accepted a particular risk.
Number Three: Hands-free equipment will
lessen or eliminate driver distraction.
Hands-free is not risk free. NHTSA research
and other research clearly show that we must
be concerned with manual distraction, visual
distraction, and cognitive distraction.
Hands-free, depending upon the equipment, may
reduce both manual and visual distraction -
but it will not affect or reduce cognitive
distraction. Some researchers believe
cognitive distraction is the most problematic.
I have not seen any research or studies that
suggest hands-free devices will solve the
distraction problem. If anyone is aware of
such research, NHTSA's scientists would like
to review it.
solutions for part of the problem without
addressing the whole problem may simply
postpone a better, more complete solution.
Number Four: Existing laws are adequate to
deter drivers from the inappropriate use
of distracting devices.
NHTSA's preliminary review and assessment
suggest that existing laws are not necessarily
adequate to limit distractions from wireless
phones or other electronics. The nature of
distraction-related crashes is that they often
occur under conditions where the driver may
not be exhibiting overtly negligent behavior -
they occur when unexpected events happen.
Moreover, only a few states have "inattentive
driving" laws, and they are not uniformly
Number Five: Wireless phones and other
devices contribute to highway safety,
because they allow people immediately to
notify law enforcement and emergency
services, reducing their response time, or
provide directions to drivers who may be
lost or unfamiliar with an area.
While these benefits are certainly real, they
in no way reduce the risks from a driver's use
of a wireless phone or other devices in a
moving vehicle and that is the threat we are
addressing today. Moreover, we obtain these
same benefits, if the caller or user is not
driving or if only 911 calls are possible in
many traffic safety challenges, solving this
one will require all interests coming together
to contribute to its eventual resolution. All
of those involved in highway safety - whether
in government, industry, or the public at
large - are responsible for raising and
debating the important questions of driver
distraction. The highway traffic safety
community must expand to include those who
design, manufacture, and service the
computers, navigation systems, and other
devices used on the roads and installed in
vehicles. You can become one of our most
important partners for years to come.
me briefly mention a couple of areas where we
can work together. First, we all need good
quality and uniform data. Perhaps with the
help of other devices in the vehicle, such as
event data recorders, we can determine which
device was in use when a crash occurred.
Recognizing the private nature of much of the
data, we must use it only for statistical
indicators and for maintaining a data base to
help define the problem. We need states to
work with us to develop better data on driver
distraction through a uniform data collection
methodology with which NHTSA will
enthusiastically assist you. If manufacturers
make their test and evaluation data available
to NHTSA, we can independently evaluate the
results. NHTSA can help manufacturers and
service providers publicize safe use
information for people who use the products.
are experiencing a dramatic change in driver
behavior. Every day, you see more and more
drivers using wireless phones. It is hard to
ignore that wireless phone use is increasing
at an exploding rate. We can expect a similar
pattern for other devices. It follows - and it
is illogical to suggest otherwise - that
increasing distractions increase the risk and
lead to unintended consequences.
we underestimate this potential risk to
highway traffic safety and do not moderate
drivers' use of in-vehicle systems, the price
may be very steep, indeed. We cannot wake up
in 2004 or 2003, or even a year from now, and
excuse the possibly scores or hundreds of
deaths - or the injuries to thousands more -
because we failed to ask the right questions
and we failed to seek answers when we had the
opportunity. That opportunity is now. This
public meeting is one of the steps in that
journey. The Internet forum that we have
underway until August 11 is another.
consumer information will now include advice
that growing evidence suggests using a
wireless phone or other electronic device
while driving can be distracting and drivers
should not talk on the phone or use other
devices while their vehicles are in motion. As
effective as government might be in providing
this advice, it will not be enough to affect
significantly the problem or reduce the
distraction is a shared problem and everyone
has a role in solving it. The federal
government has a role, state legislatures have
a role, as do safety organizations and other
traditional highway safety partners.
Manufacturers and service providers whose
products and services create the credible and
substantial risk to highway safety have a
vehicle manufacturers and many others, the
in-vehicle systems industries are responsible
for understanding and assessing their
products' risks to their customers and others
on the highway - before they become a major
threat to the public. Manufacturers and
service providers are responsible for
understanding the safety implication of their
devices; designing features to mitigate risks;
and providing effective consumer information
to resolve any remaining risk.
plethora of gadgets and gizmos that are being
designed into vehicles as standard equipment
may be the much bigger threat of tomorrow. In
the interim, we must learn more about the
risks of today's devices, including drivers'
use of wireless phones in moving vehicles.
Will we learn about those risks and deal with
them expeditiously, or will we wait for rising
numbers of deaths and injuries? That is the
challenge we face today.
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 12:23:12 -1000
Subject: not driving
was looking for something that is unsafe while
driving. So many people do them while driving.
I know the number one thing is cell phones and
it is a big problem. I can't wait till the law
is pass that driver can't use their cell phone
I see Items unsafe...not in order
Putting on make-up
2. Picking their nose
3. Pop their pimples
5. Adjusting radio
6. Reading (map, newspaper, & etc..)
7. Looking for something.
8. Pets in car
9. Reach in back (baby or getting something)
list keeps going on and on. I will stop now.
is their a site that show these unsafe acts.
My inner cellphone
From the May, 2000 issue of Air Canada's en
I am a self-hating cellphone user.
it's the narcissism that cellphones construct.
it starts with the assumption that doing
business takes absolute precedence over
everything else, like eating or driving or
chatting with a neighbour. But Cellphone Guy
takes that feeling and runs with it, and all
of a sudden the callback from the dog-sitter
makes him the centre of the world, certain
that any annoyance he causes is swept away in
the tide of his obvious importance.
other technology allows you to be elsewhere so
casually while in the company of others.
Cellphone Guy does more than just erode the
line between the public and the private. He's
continually making a statement on his
surroundings, blind to his effect on others,
until everyone around him feels subtly
truth is that Cellphone Guy isn't any more
important or busy or focused than the rest of
us. He's just a modern-day overgrown teenager
who's figured out how to leave the house while
remaining in his bedroom, like John Milton's
Satan, who carried hell with him everywhere he
get me wrong. As much as I hate Cellphone guy,
I love my cellphone. There's nothing more
satisfying than buying movie tickets while
stuck in traffic. Or getting hit with a good
idea in an elevator and being able to share it
with someone across town before the doors open
at the concourse level...
by no means suggesting a Luddite-like return
to an earlier time. Rather, we need the
maturity to be at ease with the technology.
and we should know when to send Cellphone Guy
back to the corner of his room for a little
calling for a new sense of digital decorum.
Consider it the blinking light on your
spiritual message indicator. Welcome to your
new mobility. You have two messages. First
message: Love your cellphone. To replay this
message, press one. Next message: Tame your
inner cellphone guy. Never delete this message
from your mailbox.
found it here
of Driver Distraction
distraction can manifest itself in several
ways (Brown, 1994). A general withdrawal of
attention manifests itself in both degraded
vehicle control and degraded object and event
detection. The putative mechanisms behind this
are eyelid closure (in the case of driver
fatigue) or eye glances away from the road
scene (in the case of visual inattention). A
second, and more insidious, type of
distraction is what is termed the selective
withdrawal of attention. In this type of
distraction, vehicle control (e.g., lane
keeping, speed maintenance) remains largely
unaffected but object and event detection is
degraded. The putative mechanism behind this
is attention to thoughts and might be
indicated by open-loop rather than closed-loop
visual scanning, restricted visual sampling of
mirrors and the road scene, empty field myopia
(e.g., fixating too close), and selective
filtering of information based on expectations
rather than the actual situation.
categories of driver distraction suggest
different types of measures and scenarios for
evaluation of their presence during device
use. For example, measurement of lane keeping
performance represents an example of general
withdrawal of attention but says nothing about
the selective withdrawal of attention that
might be associated with a device that perhaps
does not require a visual resource, e.g., a
is also a type of distraction effect which I
term biomechanical interference. This refers
to body shifts out of the neutral seated
position, e.g., when reaching for a cellular
telephone or leaning over to see or manipulate
a device. That this may be important is
indicated by a recent report from the Japan
that indicated the preponderance of cellular
telephone-related crashes were associated with
receiving calls and reaching for the cell
phone (National Police Agency of Japan, 1998).
Similarly, the hand(s) occupied and off the
steering wheel might degrade the driver’s
ability to execute maneuvers. These types of
manual loads might involve, e.g., operating a
hand-held remote for a route guidance system,
a hand-held cellular telephone, eating,
drinking, lighting a cigarette, etc. These are
the types of biomechanical interference
effects that a thorough safety evaluation
should also be prepared to address.
perhaps in retrospect, safety cannot be
measured directly (Dingus, 1997). Indirect
measures which are used to measure
safety-relevant distraction effects can be put
into several categories (Tijerina, Kiger,
Rockwell, and Wierwille, 1996). Driver eye
glance behavior measures are taken primarily
because of the importance of vision in
driving. Glance durations, glance frequency,
and scanning patterns are part of this set of
measures. Driver-vehicle performance measures
are also popular because of their prima facie
safety relevance. Lane keeping, speed
maintenance, car following performance, and
driver reaction times to objects and events
are common measures from this class. Driver
control actions such as steering.3 wheel
inputs, accelerator modulations, gear
shifting, brake pedal applications, and
hand-off-wheel time all have been or can be
used to make inferences about the distraction
level a driver is under during a trial.
Subjective assessments of driver workload and
device design are also sometimes used.
Finally, measures of the in-vehicle task such
as task completion time have been used or are
being proposed as a index of the distraction
potential of a device (Green, 1998). It is
interesting to note that a measure such as the
number of lane exceedences during device use
is not considered prima facie safety-relevant
example, some argue that if there is no one
nearby, if the lane exceedence is small or of
short duration, if the lane exceedence
reflects the driver’s strategy for reducing
workload during concurrent task
execution....there is no safety implication at
all. This is an intriguing line of reasoning.
On the one hand, it honors the wisdom of the
driver to generally make good choices. On the
other hand, it flies in the face of accident
statistics that indicate drivers by and large
get into trouble precisely when they think
everything is fine, i.e., in daytime, dry
pavement, moderate traffic density situations
(Wiacek and Najm, 1999). At present, it seems
ill-advised to run a comparative study of
different devices or tasks, find that one
generates substantially more lane exceedences,
yet declare such results irrelevant unless
there happened to be a near miss. Tijerina
(1996) pointed out that the chaotic nature of
crash occurrence may be taken to imply that
new technology that taken the driver’s eyes
off the road or attention away from the
driving task produces an incremental rise the
crash hazard exposure.
Cell Phones: All
Jan. 4, 2000 From WIREDnews
phones have become part of the urban
landscape, but the behavioral battles rage on.
Some businesses and public places have devised
ways to deal with the phenomenon. But cell
phone rage may very well become the social
controversy of the next decade.
Joseph Miller, a social psychologist who
teaches at the New School of Social Research
in Manhattan, views the cell phone as an
annoying object of post-modernism.
a way of minimizing the importance of the
group," Miller said. "It's ego-enhancing at
the expense of others. [Cell phone users are]
telling people around them, 'You don’t matter,
and I must be very important,' and it forces
people into [an] awkward sense of
least one group, the Solid Gold Chart Busters,
has become vigilant in the matter. Another
couple of renegades goes so far as to dress up
as cell phones, grab the objects from
unwitting public users, then videotapes the
antics and puts them up on their Web site
writer Lois Reamy, disturbed by the increased
rudeness of phone-talkers, thinks cell phone
manufacturers should distribute a little
etiquette book with each phone.
day when cell phone rage becomes a daily news
story may not be far away.
Paris, model Laetitia Casta recently got a
dose of tear gas in her face after a cab
driver had enough of the incessant ringing of
her cell phone from the back seat.
discourage rampant talking on cell phones, the
MTA installed pay phones on the trains.
However, the MTA has received some angry
letters from commuters who have chastised
fellow commuters for disturbing their peace.
DANGEOURS OR NOT
July 25 12:58 PM EDT Keep On Truckin'
Randy Dotinga HealthSCOUT Reporter
July 24 (HealthSCOUT) -- Don't be so fast to
hang up your car phone. A new study suggests
that the hazards of driving while talking on a
cellular phone aren't as bad as you might
risks of using a cell phone in a car are real,
but they're smaller than other risks in life,"
says Karen Lissy, director of the Program on
Motor Vehicles and Public Health at the
Harvard Center of Risk Analysis.
is the principal author of a study released
today that analyzes the dangers of cell phone
use on the road. The study, funded by AT&T
Wireless, a cell phone company, follows last
week's government hearing on the
million Americans, or about 38 percent of the
population, now have cell phone service, and
surveys have shown that 80 percent to 90
percent of them use the devices while driving.
Harvard study found that cell phone use is
risky to drivers, other motorists and
pedestrians. However, while the level of risk
is not entirely clear, Lissy says it is not
study estimates that a driver talking on a
cell phone has a 6-in-1-million chance of
dying in an accident each year. That compares
with a 31-in-1-million chance for a person who
study also points out that U.S. traffic
fatalities continue to decline, even as cell
phone use grew 17-fold from 1990-1998.
phones also strengthen "social networking" and
increase productivity when they are used for
business purposes, the study says.
all the benefits and risks are considered,
limiting cell-phone usage may not be as
cost-effective as other measures, such as
reducing the speed limit and installing
daytime running lights, the study says.
small municipalities have banned routine
cell-phone use while driving: Marlboro, N.J.;
Brooklyn, Ohio; and Hilltown, Conshohocken and
Lebanon, Pa. While numerous states have
considered restrictions, none have enacted
countries, including Japan, France, Australia,
Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and
Switzerland, have restricted cell-phone usage
Gallup Poll says about two-thirds of Americans
support outlawing cell-phone use on the road.
Half of those surveyed would ban them in
around the Web...
recent survey by the National Highway
Transportation Safety Administration found
that 44 percent of drivers have or carry
phones in their vehicles when they drive.
1997 study published in the New England
Journal of Medicine found that talking on a
mobile phone while driving quadruples the risk
of an accident — a rate similar to impairment
caused by intoxication.
lawmakers say a rush to pass new laws may not
be the best answer. Technology is moving too
quickly. In a couple of years, people may
simply consider it irresponsible to use a car
phone without a headset and a built-in system
that dials numbers by voice command.
all 50 U.S. states have laws covering reckless
driving, only half have laws against
inattentive driving, according to NHTSA. The
safety agency released a survey showing that a
quarter of the 6.3 million vehicle crashes
each year in the United States involves some
form of driver distraction or inattention.
More sophisticated cars and efforts by drivers
to use their time on the road more
productively had seen some vehicles come to
resemble home offices.
we conservatively assume that the risk was
only doubled, then 6 to 12 percent of the 699
collisions in the study by Redelmeier and
Tibshirani were attributable to telephone use.
If 1 in 10 vehicles has a telephone by the
year 2000, and the average risk of a collision
in those cars is the same as in other
vehicles, then between 0.6 percent and 1.2
percent of all collisions may be attributable
to telephone use. This would amount to a cost
to society of at least $2 billion to $4
billion per year in the United States.
against using hand-held telephones while
driving exist in Brazil, Israel, Switzerland,
and two Australian states and have been
debated in several other jurisdictions.
Advocates can cite both simulations and real
driving experiments showing that telephone
conversations involving mental tasks slowed
reaction times by half a second or more.
Placing a call was found to be no more
distracting than tuning the car radio or
engaging in an intense conversation, but it
made steering more imprecise (more than
doubled the amplitude of steering-wheel
movements) in city traffic, especially by
users of hand-held telephones.
of Motorists are Distracted While Driving
Response Insurance National Driving Habits
Survey revealed that 76% of all drivers
engaged in activities while driving that
distracted their attention from the road. In
many cases the distractions resulted in
accidents or near-accidents. "People are so
caught up in doing things simultaneously to
save time that safe driving seems to be taking
a back seat," cautioned Mory Katz, Chairman of
to the survey 32% of drivers are reading and
writing while on the road, 29% are talking on
a cell phone, 17% are combing hair, 16% are
fighting with another passenger, 10% are
putting on makeup and 3% are putting in eye
drops or contact lenses. 20% are so busy they
admit to steering with their thighs. The most
common activities were tuning the radio (62%),
eating (57%) and turning around to speak to
someone in the car (56%).
one of the most startling findings, the survey
revealed that activities many drivers would
consider innocuous were potentially just as
dangerous as those usually considered
irresponsible. While breaking up a fight
between children in the car and racing with
another car were both done by 12% of those
surveyed, more drivers say they caused or
nearly caused an accident by separating their
kids than they did by racing another car (26%
Should car phones
Burden of Proof
Drivers: Should Cell Phones be Outlawed?
July 18, 2000 CNN.com
IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN
ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Barry, it seems to me that in your ordinance
-- and I read it this morning -- that what you
have done is outlaw the use of a handheld cell
phone, per se. In other words, if anybody is
driving through your township and speaking on
a handheld cell phone, they are violating the
law without any proof that they're driving
recklessly. In other words, you've said that
you're talking on the phone, you're driving
That's absolutely correct. It's a primary
offense, and we feel it's a distraction and we
don't want to wait for an accident to occur.
We hope that this will help in preventing
those kinds of accidents, Roger.
Well, why did you then make an exception for
people to be able to speak on the telephone or
speak on a cellular phone that's not handheld?
In other words, these kind that are either
built into the dashboard or some other way,
that's not a violation of your law.
Well, in a perfect world, I think I would
probably want to ban the use of all cell
phones. But we don't live in a perfect world
and I think that this is just a good first
step in an effort to try and get legislation
enacted, particularly in my home state of New
Jersey where legislation is pending in the
legislature in committee and lies dormant. And
you need a first step to get started. And
maybe down the road, either the cell phone
industry will come up with better phones that
will be safer for drivers to use or we will
ban the use of cell phones entirely.
Barry, I think what your objection is -- and,
you know, correct me if I'm wrong -- is what
you're saying is, look, we don't want people
driving in our township, at least, while they
are distracted, while they're doing -- while
they're thinking about something else. It
seems to me that by putting that exception in,
what you're saying is, you can still speak on
the phone, which means that you may be
thinking about something else, but your hands
are on the wheel. What about the radio? What
about eating in the car? What about feeding
your child in the car or looking over your
shoulder? I mean, aren't those -- don't those
present the same problems?
I get that question asked very frequently.
There are other distractions, but the fact
remains that the hard data that you referred
to, the "New England Journal of Medicine"
study, has indicated that the use of a
handheld cell phone while driving increases
the risk of an accident by at least four
times. There isn't any other hard data, or
there have not been any studies which have
been done in relation to other kinds of
distractions. I believe the federal government
has some hearings this morning which are
investigating other distractions. But until we
get some hard data on other distractions, it's
been proven that the use of handheld cell
phones are a significant distraction and
increase the risk of injury as a result of
I guess, Barry, the questioning that I'm
having for you is this. I mean, it's -- and I
recognize what you're trying to do, but look:
If you and I are sitting in a car and I'm
driving and I'm talking to you and we're
having a conversation, something as innocuous
as that, it's clear that I am not
concentrating 100 percent on my driving if I'm
talking with you. Can you ban that? I mean,
can you start arresting people for that?
No, I don't think so, and I wouldn't want to.
When I introduced this ordinance at our
meeting a couple of weeks ago, I said that I
was not interested in being intrusive. But the
fact remains that the government has a right
and a responsibility to enact laws or
ordinances where there is a risk of injury as
a result of particular kinds of conduct.
Examples of that are drunk driving laws and
seat belt laws in New Jersey.
in this particular instance, the study has
shown that this kind of behavior, this
particular kind of behavior, the use of a
handheld cell phone, is a significant risk of
injury. And so, therefore, I think we have to
-- we need to enact legislation, we've done
that, to regulate this kind of conduct.
Agency Says High-Tech Driver Distraction a
(Reuters) - Drivers operating electronic
devices such as cellular phones and navigation
systems pose a real safety threat, a
government regulator said.
rising number of devices, which now include
fax machines, e-mail systems and entertainment
centers, may account for an increasing number
of crashes, the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.
industry representatives said the answer was
not to ban the devices but to make them safer,
noting that a similar debate accompanied the
introduction of radios in cars in the 1930s.
are driving more than ever, and efforts by
drivers to use their time on the road more
productively has seen some vehicles come to
resemble home offices.
said it found 44 percent of drivers have
phones in their vehicles or carry a cellular
phone while driving, 7 percent have e-mail
access and 3 percent have fax capabilities.
by NHTSA and the American Automobile
Association shows that while equipment
activated by voice commands has a safety
advantage, there is still a danger in focusing
on a conversation with the device.
all 50 U.S. states have laws covering reckless
driving, only half have laws against
inattentive driving, according to NHTSA.
is the law in other countries?
A survey in the United States has revealed
that the vast majority (84%) of mobile phone
users believe that using a phone is a
distraction and increases the likelihood of an
accident (IRC, 1999). The same respondents
report however that 61% of them use their
mobile phone while driving and around 30% use
their phone frequently or fairly often. Since
mobile phone use in cars is a relatively new
phenomenon, and since the effects of mobile
phone use on traffic safety are still unclear,
laws regarding this subject vary between
countries use a mixture of legislation and
recommendation, but are not consistent about
the difference in hands-free and hand-held
phone use. For example, in Italy only
hands-free phones are allowed by law during
driving. At the same time, however, the use of
equipment that restricts the hearing senses
(which presumably includes all types of mobile
phones) is prohibited. The same situation
exists in Spain, whereas in Portugal, Denmark,
and Hungary only hand-held use of mobile
phones is prohibited by law (Oei, 1998; United
Nations, 1998). Outside Europe, a hand-held
prohibition exists in Israel, Malaysia and
some states of the U.S.A. (Oei, 1998).
Germany, France, and Sweden are examples of
countries in which no rules or jurisprudence
are used to limit the usage of mobile phones
during driving (Becker et al., 1995; Oei,
1998; Petica, 1993)..
it is recommended in Finland and the UK to use
hands-free phones only (Oei, 1998). The
situation is confused and changing
continually. Only recently, The Netherlands
(June 2000)) have jurisprudence on using
handheld mobiles during driving. A driver has
been found guilty causing an accident because
she was having a phone conversation. It is
likely that many other countries will develop
case law in this way even if legislation does
From a drivers
discussion board at ABC.com
Americans ARE LOUSY drivers 7:54PM PDT, Oct 9,
true....I live in a major city, and I see very
few drivers using basic driving skills such as
directionals when changing lanes, inattentive
driving, not looking over the shoulder. I am a
FAST driver, I talk on my cell phone, I drink
coffee or a soda.....and I do all these things
only when it's appropriate to do so. I've
never had a fender bender or accident.
CELL PHONE DRIVING 11:42AM PDT, Oct 6, 2000
will never get rid of the "gee, look at me
talking on my cellphone while driving--aren't
I important?" mentality. Self importance seems
to be the latest status symbol. Hopefully, it
will fade away, once the novelty wears off.
Enforce Traffic Laws.......... 10:19PM PDT,
Oct 4, 2000
you wanted to save a whole lot of lives...put
a govenor on every automobile that would
prohibit speed above 50 MPH !!"
believe that's gonna kill more people than
it'll save, I can see it now, John drives
behind a trailer on a two lane road with 45
mph speed limit.The trailer goes 40, so John
tries to pass, but while he tries to
accelerate his car, whoops, it won't go over
I believe that some distractions are worse.For
instance if I drink 3 beers I am legally drunk
in this state, yet, there's absolutely no feel
of beeing drunk(and don't any of you tell
me"Ahh you just think you're not drunk, blah
blah blah)Actually I start losing my reflexes
around after 6 beers, which are still better
than the reflexes of some 90 YO grandma
driving 20 miles an hour in the left lane on
the highway.There are some problems however to
just outlaw cellular or other
distractions,first for the cellulars, if they
ban cell phones, I can almost guarantee you,
you'll have hundreds of drivers making mad
dashes toward the side of the road to answer
their phones, that can be worse than actually
the talking itsef,besides generally it's not
the talking itself endangering the driving, is
the fact that the driver also tries to take
notes on what he's talking about. Second:
where will it stop?Again after 3-4 beers I
have better reflexes than if I didn't sleep
for 30 hours, or if I took a cold medicine
that made me a bit drowsy, will we have big
brother watching us 24 hours to make sure we
have slept before we're driving?I don't think
I like that.
to be the devil advocate, or not saying that
you are one of those, but it's also amazing
how some people would rather die than let
someone change lanes in front of them.
CELL PHONE DRIVING 3:30PM PDT, Oct 3, 2000
think that distractions in general - cell
phones and otherwise - are one of the leading
causes of car wrecks. When you're driving,
your one and only priority should be just
that: DRIVING. Hang up the phone, don't turn
away from the road to make eye contact with a
passenger, put the book down, and focus on
keeping the car where it should be.
is no time when talking to a passenger, making
a phone call, reading a book, or disciplining
a child is more important than staying alive.
Not my fault driving 12:25PM PDT, Oct 2, 2000
agree that curtesy are needed. I have 30 years
with a midwest highway department. After
watching driving habits so that highways can
be designed safer, I discovered it always the
highway's fault. i.e. "I coundn't read the
sign", "I HAD to drive on the wrong side of
the road to miss the pothole", "I didn't see
him coming", etc.
reason a person ran off the road to into
another vehicle simply "is NOT MY fault".
Rushing is the problem 10:52AM PDT, Oct 2,
also get a sense of enjoyment in watching
someone rush rush rush only to see them 10 or
15 minutes later pulled over by a cop or in an
accident. Naturally, I don't want to see
anyone hurt, but I see a number of single car
accidents here in WI that I don't feel too
yesterday I was cruising along with traffic on
I94. Both lanes were full up with the right
lane moving at about 75mph and the left lane
at about 85mph.
this wasn't fast enough for a guy in his early
20s. He was driving a beatup old brown Pontiac
6000. I first saw him doing about 95mph on the
right shoulder. And when I saw him go past me,
it was just in time to see him hit a muffler
lying on the shoulder. Somehow he didn't lose
control and kept on going.
ten minutes later, I drove by an accident
scene involving him. I didn't see any other
cars involved, but he had obviously rolled his
car. Not wanting to rubberneck, I didn't take
the time to see if he was ok, but my guess
would be no, as he probably got ejected (I saw
no seatbelt when he whisize="3ed by me
almost felt guilty for not calling the state
police when I saw him busize="3 by the first
time but I don't think they could have gotten
to him by the time he rolled his car. Stupid
Bad drivers, bad roads 10:15PM PDT, Oct 1,
points there...European roads (and drinking
water too, for that matter) are definitely
better than those in the U.S. I even remember
some really good roads in Malaysia (sure...no
frost...but then they get 100 inches of rain a
year too--that takes some toll on the roads).
Admittedly, most roads in developing countries
are pretty crappy (even if they're paved). Of
course, in developing countries, the main
negative factor is the imbalance of driver
skill (and vehicle performance), something
seen less in the US and even further less yet
while American drivers have become much more
aggressive in the past 5-10 years, there are
drivers in many countries far more aggressive
than here. Take Ecuador as an example (I was
there last December)--on curvy 2 lane roads
(in spots which would have a double yellow
line for no passing in the US), I have seen
not only cars blindly passing trucks, but also
a THIRD car passing the car passing the truck,
also blindly (all within a total of 2 lanes)!
Also--the honking--you hear more honks on a
typical street in Quito in a minute than you
probably hear all day in a typical US city! I
rented a car there that stalled once (Quito is
at 9300 feet above sea level--not good for the
poorly tuned-up car I rented), and it was in
the middle of an intersection (and the light
turned red)--and probably 10 or 15 cars were
honking at me at the same time, until 15
seconds later when I was able to start the car
again and proceed forward.
also honk at probably 20 times the frequency
in Tijuana versus San Diego (much more yet at
the northbound border wait).
Generation 7:41PM PDT, Oct 1, 2000
seems as if some of these vehicles passing me
at 80 or 90 on the freeways are imagining that
they are playing a computer car race game. I
think that for their sakes they had better
come back to reality as they may not get a
second chance after a wreck.....nor will the
innocent 'faceless' occupants in the other
cars. I have a 16 year old daughter taking
drivers ed. She will be driving the
residential streets in our neighborhood (with
an adult in the front seat) for a very long
time. After a teen learns the rules of the
road and basic driving skills, it is up to the
parents to see that they master these (with an
adult in the car) and show serious
responsibility before allowing their child to
drive alone. I cannot understand how parents
can let their child drive alone 1, 2 or even 3
months after receiving a permit. If it takes
my daughter a year to prove responsibility and
good driving skills then so be it. Thats my
job as a mother, and my responsibility to
article that started all the talk...
ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CELLULAR-TELEPHONE CALLS
AND MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISIONS
A. REDELMEIER, M.D., AND ROBERT J. TIBSHIRANI,
Because of a belief that the use of cellular
telephones while driving may cause collisions,
several countries have restricted their use in
motor vehicles, and others are considering
such regulations. We used an epidemiologic
method, the case-crossover design, to study
whether using a cellular telephone while
driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle
We studied 699 drivers who had cellular
telephones and who were involved in motor
vehicle collisions resulting in substantial
property damage but no personal injury. Each
person's cellular-telephone calls on the day
of the collision and during the previous week
were analyzed through the use of detailed
total of 26,798 cellular-telephone calls were
made during the 14-month study period. The
risk of a collision when using a cellular
telephone was four times higher than the risk
when a cellular telephone was not being used
(relative risk, 4.3; 95 percent confidence
interval, 3.0 to 6.5). The relative risk was
similar for drivers who differed in personal
characteristics such as age and driving
experience; calls close to the time of the
collision were particularly hazardous
(relative risk, 4.8 for calls placed within 5
minutes of the collision, as compared with 1.3
for calls placed more than 15 minutes before
the collision; P,0.001); and units that
allowed the hands to be free (relative risk,
5.9) offered no safety advantage over
hand-held units (relative risk, 3.9; P not
significant). Thirty-nine percent of the
drivers called emergency services after the
collision, suggesting that having a cellular
telephone may have had ad- vantages in the
aftermath of an event.
use of cellular telephones in mo- tor vehicles
is associated with a quadrupling of the risk
of a collision during the brief period of a
call. Decisions about regulation of such
telephones, how- ever, need to take into
account the benefits of the technology and the
role of individual responsibility.
336 Number 7 ? 453 The New England Journal of
Medicine ©Copyright, 1997, by the
Massachusetts Medical Society VOLUME 336
FEBRUARY 13, 1997 NUMBER 7
Driver inattention is the most prevalent
primary cause of collisions, accounting for an
estimated 25-56% (Wang, et.al. 1996). To be
able to assist drivers, we need to be able to
collect real-time data on driver visual
behavior, recognize what the driver is doing
(contextual information such as maneuvers,
actions, and states), predict what the driver
would likely do next, and assist the driver
(design an interface). The importance of
context is underlined. Attention support
systems should ideally detect the co-occurence
of inattention and safety critical events in
the traffic environment, e.g. sudden braking
of a lead vehicle and eyes-off-road. A
description of the need for attention support
systems can be found in Victor (2000).
Automobiles Can Be a Dangerous Mix
Article from the April 1999 State
automobiles, wireless telephones allow
millions of people to conduct business, stay
in touch with loved ones, call for assistance,
report emergencies, convey information about
hazardous road conditions, and report
aggressive or drunk drivers.
New Jersey, lawmakers are considering
legislation that would prohibit drivers from
operating a telephone in a motor vehicle that
is in motion. Proposed in response to a fatal
hit-and-run accident involving a cell phone
driver, the New Jersey bill would impose fines
between $100 and $250 for violations.
report published by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
similarly concluded that cellular phone use
while driving increased the risk of crash. The
report cautioned, however, that any
legislative actions should recognize a balance
between the benefits and the negative effects
of cell phone availability in motor vehicles.
For example, in 1996 alone cell phone users
placed 2.8 million calls for emergency
assistance. In many instances, cellular phones
reduced response time to automobile accidents
and actually saved lives.
technology proponents argue that cellular
phones in automobiles are no more distracting
than a radio, food or a vanity mirror. As the
number of car phone users rise, however, state
policymakers may face greater pressure to
weigh the benefits against the potential
than 60 million people in the United States
subscribe to wireless telephone services and
an estimated 80 million people will own
wireless telephones by 2000. Surveys indicate
that 85 percent of wireless phone owners use
their cellular telephones while driving.
states already make reckless or careless
driving illegal. Few states, however,
specifically regulate wireless technology in
Florida, cellular telephone use is permitted
in an automobile as long as it provides sound
through one ear and allows surrounding sound
to be heard through the other ear.
Massachusetts, car phones are permitted as
long as drivers keep one hand on the steering
wheel at all times. California requires rental
cars with cellular phones to have written
instructions for safe operation. Oklahoma and
Minnesota require police to include
information about cellular telephones in
1995, at least 18 states have introduced
measures to regulate car phones. Legislators
have proposed outright bans of all cell phones
in motor vehicles, requirements for hands-free
devices, restrictions on phone call length,
prohibition of phone solicitation and improved
passed, the New Jersey bill would be the first
in the nation to prohibit all drivers from
operating a telephone in a motor vehicle that
is in motion.
Articles on Car Phones
Cell Phones Can Compromise Safe Driving" No
Author. NSC Construction Section Newsletter,
Itasca, IL 60143. November/December 1995, pp.
Cell Phones Dangerous on the Road?" by S.
Wortham. Safety & Health, Itasca, IL
60143.V. 155 No. 2, February 1997, pp. 42-45.
Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor
Vehicle Collisions" by D.A. Redelmeier and
R.J. Tibshirani. New England Journal of
Medicine, Boston, MA 02115. V. 336 No. 7,
February 1997, pp. 453-458.
Phone Safety: A Guide to Safe and Responsible
Car Phone Use" No Author. National Safety
Council, Itasca, IL 60143. 1994, 23 pp.
Phone Use Raises Risk of Accident, Study
Asserts" No Author. Chicago Tribune, Chicago,
IL 60611. February 13, 1997, p. 3.
Users' Study Rings Bell: Driving While Talking
Under Closer Scrutiny" by J. Hanna. Chicago
Tribune, Chicago, IL 60611. April 1, 1997, pp.
Phones and Traffic Accidents: an
Epidemiological Approach" by J.M. Violanti and
J.R. Marshall. Accident Analysis &
Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 28 No. 2,
March 1996, pp. 265-270.
in Driver Behaviour as a Function of Handsfree
Mobile Phones - A Simulator Study" by H. Alm
and L. Nilsson. Accident Analysis &
Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 26 No. 4,
August 1994, pp. 441-451.
Effects of a Mobile Telephone Task On Driver
Behaviour in a Car Following Situation" by H.
Alm and L. Nilsson. Accident Analysis &
Prevention, New York, NY 10010. V. 27 No. 5,
October 1995, pp. 707-715.
Message is Clear: Use Cellular Phones Safely
-- And for Safety" No Author. NSC Driver
Trainer Newsletter, Itasca, IL 60143. May/June
1996, pp. 1-3.
Cellular Phones Safely" No Author. NSC
Aerospace Newsletter, Itasca, IL 60143.
November/December 1996, pp. 1-2.
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Cars That Think
Industry Urged to Work on ‘Smart Car’
Secretary Rodney Slater gestures during a
Washington news conference, July 19, where he
kicked off the National Mayday Readiness
Initiative (NMRI). (...)
Nedra Pickler, The Associated Press
W A S H I N G T O N, July 19 — The federal
government is challenging the auto industry to
step up efforts to develop “smart” vehicles
that use technology to help drivers avoid
accidents. More than three-quarters of all
accidents are to due to driver error,
according to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. Better technology would
dramatically reduce that number,
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said
today. Smart technology — high-tech cruise
control, crash-avoidance systems, night-vision
enhancements — already are available as
add-ons to some high-end vehicles. Slater set
a goal of 10 years for the auto industry to
install the technology in at least 10 percent
of all passenger vehicles and 25 percent of
commercial vehicles sold in the United States.
May Help Reduce Accidents Smart technology
“means real possibilities not just for
reducing injuries and fatalities from crashes,
but eliminating them all together,” Slater
‘Smart’ Options in Development General Motors
offers a night vision system as an option on
its DeVille Cadillacs that uses infrared
technology to detect people or animals in the
darkness or past the glare of an oncoming
car’s headlights. The images are projected in
black and white on a TV-like small screen that
is projected on the windshield. Honda has said
it is developing an Intelligent Driver Support
system, which will “see” the road through a
tiny camera on the windshield and help steer
the car down the middle of its lane.
Dangerous Situations “This will soon become
the norm for people traveling in areas that
are more congested,” said Roger King,
spokesman for the Intelligent Transportation
Society of America. “This relies on relatively
inexpensive, albeit sophisticated technologies
that are going into vehicles now.”
Endanger Public Health
least 1,500 Americans die every year because
sleepy drivers insist on staying at the wheel,
according to speakers at the National Sleep
Foundation's first International Forum on
Sleeplessness and Crashes.
forum was part of a campaign started by the
foundation in 1993 called "Drive
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration estimates that as many as
100,000 police-reported accidents--many
fatal--occur every year because of sleepiness
at the wheel.
accident-report data indicate that falling
asleep while driving leads to about 1.4% of
all vehicular accidents and about 4% of all
fatal crashes, Dr. Pack said.
public, physicians and the police are not
aware of the major public-health hazard these
drivers pose, said Darrel Drobnich, program
coordinator for the "Drive Alert" campaign.
"Basically, we see ourselves where drunk
driving was 20 years ago," he said.
states still do not have "fatigue" listed on
accident reports, and police officers who stop
people for weaving and erratic driving assume
that a driver has been drinking--not that they
may be falling asleep at the wheel, Drobnich
survey of 1,000 New York State drivers found
that 25% admitted that they had fallen asleep
while driving at some time during their lives,
according to Dr. Pack.
caused by a driver falling asleep are
"typically single-vehicle, run-off-the-road
crashes," Dr. Pack said, adding that these may
actually account for up to 50% of all fatal
to Dr. Pack, drivers who are most at risk for
a crash due to sleepiness are those who:
sleep-deprived or who have worked all day
drive long distances without taking rest
drive through the night or at other times when
they would normally be asleep;
take medication that makes them sleepy;
drive after drinking alcohol;
drive on long, boring, rural roads;
are frequent travelers.
What to do? Drink coffee--then take a quick
nap, said Jim Horne, of the Sleep Research
Laboratory at Loughborough University in
the time the caffeine takes effect, the driver
will have had a brief nap that should help him
or her drive more safely, Horne said.
turning on the air conditioning or turning on
the car radio do not work either, he warned.
NEARLY ONE IN FIVE
DRIVERS DOZED OFF AT THE WHEEL LAST YEAR
Drivers May Be Impatient, Drive Faster,
National Sleep Foundation Poll Finds
DC, MARCH 28 - Half of the nation's adults
(51%) admit to driving while drowsy, reports
the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in its new
2000 Sleep in America Poll. Among 18 to 29
year olds, nearly one-quarter (24%) report
actually falling asleep at the wheel at some
point during the past year, compared with 15%
of those aged 30-64, and 6% of people 65 and
older. These statistics are in line with
scientific research showing that fall-asleep
crashes are most common in younger people,
with peak occurrence at age 20.
contributes to other dangerous driving
behavior on the road as well. Forty-two
percent of adults report they become stressed
while driving drowsy and 32% say they get
impatient. Twelve percent of adults admit they
drive faster when they're sleepy, with 22% of
younger adults reporting this dangerous
while drowsy is no different than driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs," says
Richard Gelula, NSF's Executive Director.
"Sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases
awareness and impairs judgment. Now we're
finding that sleepy drivers are more tense and
impatient, and may even be speeding up when
they should really be stopping to rest."
poll statistics indicate there are a
significant number of sleepy people in the
U.S. Forty-three percent of American adults
say they are so sleepy during the day that it
interferes with daily activities a few days a
month or more; one out of five people say this
level of sleepiness affects them two or more
days a week.
experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep a
night in order to function properly, yet a
full third of American adults (33%) sleep only
6-hours or less nightly during the work week,
NSF's poll finds. Additionally, a full 45% of
adults agree that they will sleep less in
order to accomplish more.
the best strategy to cope with fatigue while
on the road? "Pull over in a safe place and
take a short nap," says Gelula. While 22% of
drivers report doing just that when they are
sleepy on the road, the vast majority (63%)
turn to caffeine for relief from fatigue - an
effective but temporary solution at best.
National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) 2000 Sleep
in America omnibus poll was conducted by phone
during October and November 1999, among a
representative sampling of the civilian
household population living in the continental
United States. Results have an error range of
plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Do you get drowsy after meals?
b. Often after breakfast or dinner
c. Often after lunch
If you picked:
a. give yourself 0 points
b. 10 points
c. 20 points
Why so many points if you get drowsy after
lunch? If you’re getting enough sleep, you
shouldn’t get sleepy after any meal—especially
2) How long does it take you to fall asleep?
a. ten to fifteen minutes
b. twenty minutes or more
c. five minutes or less as soon as your head
hits the pillow
If you picked:
a. add 0 points
Falling asleep as soon as your head hits the
pillow is actually a bad sign. It should take
you ten to fifteen minutes. If it’s less, you
are seriously sleep deprived and at very high
risk for falling asleep at the wheel.
3) On weekends do you:
a. Sleep the same number of hours as during
b. Sleep longer
If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
If you have to sleep longer on the weekends,
you have what is called a “sleep debt” and
your body is trying to catch up on the sleep
you’ve cheated yourself out of all week.
4) How many nights a week do you feel as
though you don’t get enough sleep?
a. 0-2 nights
If you picked
a. add 5 points
As the nights add up, so does your sleep debt
and the more hazardous you become on the road.
5) In the morning, do you:
a. Get up without an alarm clock
b. Need an alarm clock to wake up
c. Have to keep hitting the snooze button
If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
If you’re getting enough sleep, you should be
able to wake up without the help of an alarm
clock. If you have to keep hitting the snooze
button, you’re not getting enough shut eye.
6. This time, you can pick more than one
answer. Pick all that apply. Do you get
a. Only at bedtime
b. On airplanes or as a passenger in a car
c. Reading or watching tv
d. In meetings or at the movies
e. Stopped in traffic
If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
So why all the points for feeling drowsy at
the movies? well, believe it or not, most
adults do need eight hours of sleep. If you
feel drowsy during the day, you’re not getting
enough sleep. And if you feel drowsy at the
movies or someplace with a lot of activity,
then take it as a warning sign: you’re
definitely not getting enough sleep.
7. Do you snore?
c. Often and so loudly that your partner
complains or leaves the bedroom
If you picked:
a. Add 0 points
If you snore a lot, there’s a good possibility
you actually have a sleep disorder. An
astounding 30 million americans have sleep
disorders they don’t even know about.
8. What is your age?
a. 16 to 29 — add 20 points
b. 30 to 60 — add 10
c. 61 or older — add 0
That’s because the younger you are, the more
sleep you need.
9. You’ve just finished work, you’re beat and
you’ve got a long drive home ahead of you.
What would you do?
a. Hit the road right away
b. Try to relax a little by stopping for one
c. Stop for a meal that might include a couple
of drinks but not enough to make you drunk
If you picked a, add 5 points If you picked b,
or c, add 20 points.
If your strategy is to use a little alcohol
for an extra burst of energy, you’ve got the
wrong idea. In fact, sleepiness and alcohol
make a deadly combination. When you’re tired,
having even one drink is dangerous. It can
make you feel and act as though you’ve had
three or four and that spells disaster on the
10. Is your drive home:
a. Very short, or you don’t drive to work
b. Mostly country roads
c. Mostly city roads
d. Mostly suburban roads
e. Mostly freeways
If you picked a, add 0 points
If you picked b, c or d, add 10 points
If you picked e, 20
When you’re tired, boring drives, especially
long stretches of freeway, make you especially
vulnerable to dozing off behind the wheel.
11. It’s late on a Friday night and you’ve got
a six hour drive to get to your vacation spot
by Saturday morning. What would you do?
a. Get a good night’s sleep and wait until
morning to hit the road
b. Take a nap, then get up at 3 am to make the
c. Drive through the night
If you picked a, add zero points. If you
picked b or c, add 20 points.
Driving all night is never a good idea. Your
body thinks it should be asleep and your
reaction ability is likely to be off. Even
getting up at 3am isn’t smart. Most people’s
body clocks don’t wind up again until after
12. You’re on the road, making that long trip
and you feel a little sleepy so you pull over
to grab some food. What do you get?
a. Just a cup or two of coffee
b. Fast food like hamburgers and fries
c. Sugar loaded snacks
d. A full meal
If you picked a, add 5 points. If you picked
b, c or d, add 10.
Surprise — it makes no difference what kind of
food you choose. None of it will help keep you
awake. And sorry caffeine junkies, whether you
get it from espresso, soda or pills, it won’t
work either. Two cups might jolt you awake for
about 30 minutes, but because caffeine content
varies so much, and everyone reacts
differently to it, relying on it is a huge
“The problem is, if you start talking about
how many cups of coffee does it take to keep
you going, you may have underestimated it, not
taken enough, and you may not make it home,”
says sleep expert Dr. Powell.
13) You’re back on the road and still feel
tired so you try turning up the radio. What do
you listen to?
a. Something mellow
b. Something loud and energetic
c. A talk show or sports game
d. You leave the radio off
Whichever answer you picked a, b, c or d, add
Why are these all the same? Because like food,
the radio will do absolutely nothing to keep
you awake, no matter what you listen to. You
may be jolted awake temporarily, but as soon
as your body adjusts to the noise level, your
sleepiness will take over again.
14) You can pick more than one answer here.
Pick all that apply. When you feel tired on
the road, what do you usually do to stay
a. Pull over to take a short walk or do some
b. Slap your face
c. Talk or sing to yourself
d. Blast the air conditioning
e. Open the window
If you picked a, add 10 points. If you picked
b, c, d or e, add 20 for each.
Sorry, none of these commonly used tricks work
either. And although pulling over for some
exercise will at least get you off the road,
as soon as you get back in the car, you’ll
start feeling sleepy again.
15) It’s now two hours into your drive, you’ve
still got four hours to go. You’re feeling
very tired, your eyes are getting heavy and
you even feel your head bob. What would you
a. Pull over and nap for 30 to 45 minutes
b. Pull over for a quick catnap
c. Get off the road for a few minutes
If you picked:
a. Add 5 points
The truth is, if you’ve waited this long to
get off the road, it’s too late. As soon as
you start feeling tired, you need to pull over
and take a good long nap. When you’re this
tired, you should never be behind the wheel.
“When those eyes start going down and the head
starts nodding, it means that sooner or
later—and probably sooner— it’ll happen and
you will not wake back up,” says Dr. Powell.
“Sleep will overtake you like a seizure and
you have nothing to say about it.”
Add up your point total:
**0 TO 75 points: You are at minimal risk for
falling asleep at the wheel.
**80 TO 150 points: You are at moderate risk
for falling asleep at the wheel.
**155 TO 375 points: You are at severe risk
for falling asleep at the wheel.
If your score puts you in either the moderate
or severe category, you should immediately
re-evaluate your sleep habits. Most people
need eight hours of sleep a night. Some people
need less. But you should make sure you’re
getting the amount you need. And if you have a
high score, it’s probably a good idea to see a
doctor for further evaluation.
on Sleepy or Drowsy Driving Problems
of Human Sleep and Sleepiness
is a neurobiologic need with predictable
patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness.
Sleepiness results from the sleep component of
the circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness,
restriction of sleep, and/or interruption or
fragmentation of sleep. The loss of one
night's sleep can lead to extreme short-term
sleepiness, while habitually restricting sleep
by 1 or 2 hours a night can lead to chronic
Sleeping is the only way to reduce sleepiness.
Sleepiness causes auto crashes because it
impairs performance and can ultimately lead to
the inability to resist falling asleep at the
wheel. Critical aspects of driving impairment
associated with sleepiness are reaction time,
vigilance, attention, and information
and objective tools are available to
approximate or detect sleepiness. However,
unlike the situation with alcohol-related
crashes, no blood, breath, or other measurable
test is currently available to quantify levels
of sleepiness at the crash site. Although
current understanding largely comes from
inferential evidence, a typical crash related
to sleepiness has the following
problem occurs during late night/early morning
or late afternoon.
crash is likely to be serious
crash involves a single vehicle leaving the
crash occurs on a high-speed road.
driver does not attempt to avoid the crash.
driver is alone in the vehicle.
Factors for Drowsy-Driving Crashes
evidence is limited or inferential, chronic
predisposing factors and acute situational
factors recognized as increasing the risk of
drowsy driving and related crashes include:
patterns, including driving between midnight
and 6 a.m.; driving a substantial number of
miles each year and/or a substantial number of
hours each day; driving in the late afternoon
hours (especially for older persons); and
driving for longer times without taking a
Use of sedating medications, especially
prescribed anxiolytic hypnotics, tricyclic
antidepressants, and some antihistamines.
or unrecognized sleep disorders, especially
sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) and narcolepsy.
of alcohol, which interacts with and adds to
factors have cumulative effects; a combination
of them substantially increases crash risk.
Groups at Highest Risk
no driver is immune, three broad population
groups are at highest risk, based on evidence
from crash reports and on self-reports of
sleep behavior and driving performance. These
people (ages 16 to 29), especially males.
workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at
night or working long or irregular hours.
with untreated sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) and
prevent drowsy driving and its consequences,
Americans need information on approaches that
may reduce their risks.
public needs to be informed of the benefits of
specific behaviors that help avoid becoming
drowsy while driving. Helpful behaviors
planning to get sufficient sleep,
not drinking even small amounts of alcohol
when sleepy, and
limiting driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
soon as a driver becomes sleepy, the key
behavioral step is to stop driving--for
example, letting a passenger drive or stopping
to sleep before continuing a trip. Two
remedial actions can make a short-term
difference in driving alertness: taking a
short nap (about 15 to 20 minutes) and
consuming caffeine equivalent to two cups of
coffee. The effectiveness of any other steps
to improve alertness when sleepy, such as
opening a window or listening to the radio,
has not been demonstrated.
A more informed medical community could help
reduce drowsy driving by talking to patients
about the need for adequate sleep, an
important behavior for good health as well as
drowsy-driving prevention. The detection and
management of illnesses that can cause
sleepiness, such as SAS and narcolepsy, are
other health care-related countermeasures.
could be provided to the public and
policymakers about the purpose and meaning of
shoulder rumble strips, which alarm or awaken
sleepy drivers whose vehicles are going off
the road. These rumble strips placed on
high-speed, controlled-access, rural roads
reduce drive-off-the-road crashes by 30 to 50
percent. However, rumble strips are not a
long-term solution for sleepy drivers: any
wake-up alert is an indication of
impairment--a signal to stop driving and get
adequate sleep before driving again.
Employers, unions, and shift work employees
need to be informed about effective measures
they can take to reduce sleepiness resulting
from shift work schedules. Countermeasures
include following effective strategies for
scheduling shift changes and, when shift work
precludes normal nighttime sleep, planning a
time and an environment to obtain sufficient
Panel Recommendations for an Educational
assist the educational campaign in developing
its educational initiatives, the panel
recommended the following three priority
Educate young males (ages 16 to 24) about
drowsy driving and how to reduce
Promote shoulder rumble strips as an effective
countermeasure for drowsy driving; in this
context, raise public and policymaker
awareness about drowsy-driving risks and how
to reduce them.
Educate shift workers about the risks of
drowsy driving and how to reduce such risks.
panel also identified complementary messages
for educational campaigns and called for the
active involvement of other organizations to
promote sufficient sleep--as a public health
benefit as well as a means to reduce the risk
of fall-asleep crashes.
Safety threat grows on America's roads
July 21, 2000
near collision Sweetman observed, caused by a
distracted driver, was no aberration. In fact,
up to 30 percent of fatal accidents are caused
by driver distraction, according the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
that reason the federal agency held a hearing
this week. "Driver distraction in all its
forms is a real threat to the safety of
American roads," said NHTSA deputy
administrator Rosalyn Millman. "This threat is
growing . . . We are experiencing a dramatic
change in driver behavior."
cause of this growing threat, this change in
driver behavior, is new technology. In times
past, drivers were primarily distracted by
station surfing on the radio, in-car grooming,
eating, smoking or chatting with passengers.
Now, they not only have those distractions but
also cellular phones, TVs, on-board computers
and navigation systems.
may not believe these devices pose a serious
threat to their safety and the safety of other
motorists. But they do. In fact, a 1997 study
published by the New England Journal of
Medicine revealed that drivers talking on the
phone quadruple their risk of an accident.
That is almost as dangerous as driving while
countries have gone so far as to ban the use
of cell phones while vehicles are in motion,
and several U.S. cities have considered
similar bans. The NHTSA is not prepared to
propose such a ban at this time. But at its
public hearing, attended by representatives
from the government, the auto industry, the
cellular phone industry and safety
organizations, there was agreement that, at
the very least, a serious public education
campaign needs to be undertaken.
riding on public transportation, avoid loud
and animated conversations by keeping your
voice low or to a conversational level. Be
sure to avoid extended calls.
- Turn the
ringer as low as possible to avoid
if ever, is it appropriate to have phone
conversations at social gatherings such as
concerts, plays, movies, funerals (yes, it
happens!), lectures, church services (here
too!), and many other events.
that the people you are with usually take
priority over a phone call. Having a
conversation in their presence can be viewed
as being rude and make the person feel
unimportant, and make you look bad.
- If you
have to make a call, make sure to take it to
another location that will be less
the person that you are calling that you are
using a cellular phone, then if the
connection fades or drops, the person will
know to wait to see if the clarity returns
or that you will be calling back.
- Focus on
safety first. Do not use cellular phones
when they impede your ability to drive or
walk. Get a hands-free kit or phone cradle
holder for your vehicle or a "walk about"
kit for your phone when out of the car.
caller ID, voice messages, or if you must
have the phone on, get a vibrating battery
or universal belt clip mechanism.
We offer this information not to offend you but
to assist you. A recent survey conducted showed
that "phone rage" is about to quickly become the
top contender of "road rage". Already, the
masses are gathering to eliminate the use of
cellular phones in vehicles and even some public
places if folks do not act more responsibly on
their own. Legislation has already been
introduced into our legislative branch to
consider a study on the use of cellular phones
in cars. We need for all cellular phone users to
be aware of safety
NEW PHONE CODE
COULD HELP DRIVERS
federal government has paved the way for
drivers to get information about traffic jams,
road conditions and construction by dialing a
single three digit code.
regulators have designated 511 as the number
to call for local traffic information. The
plan is modeled after the 911 emergency
will be up to local governments to decide how
to implement and pay for the new number. That
means 511 will not be available in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area right away.
Texas Department of Transportation already
monitors roads around the Metroplex using a
network of 57 cameras. Using information from
the cameras, TxDOT is able to dispatch
courtesy patrol crews to stranded drivers.
the idea of supplying more information to
north Texas drivers appeals to traffic
specialist Mike West.
more people know, the more they can take
alternate routes," West said. His only concern
is the cost, and whether TxDOT will have the
resources and manpower to support the new 511
programs are being set up in five U.S. cities,
though none are in north Texas. The outcome of
those programs will help determine whether 511
becomes as common nationwide as 911.
learn more about the new code, visit the
Federal Communications Commission online.
September 6, 2000
portal service makes itself heard By Richard Shim,
are driving along when you realize you're
hungry, but you don't know what's close by. So
you drive around for an hour or two, simmering
with road rage brought on by the nagging in
the pit of your stomach, until you're so
famished that you settle for something that
you later can't believe you ate.
you can use BeVocal's new Business Finder
service to tell you what's nearby and how to
pioneer BeVocal launched its first
location-based service, Business Finder,
Wednesday. The new feature will direct callers
to the doorstep of nearby businesses.
Business Finder voice service allows callers
to find local businesses by either saying a
brand name or a category, once they are dialed
into the voice portal.
example, callers can say Starbucks or coffee
shop for their caffeine fix. Other brands
included in the service are Safeway, TGI
Friday's, Marriott, Budget, Wal-Mart, Toys R
Us, Nordstrom, Kinko's and major gas stations.
1 million businesses and 2,000 brands
nationwide will be included. The call is free.
voice portal is similar to a Web portal, where
content and service come together in one place
where the user can access it easily. But
instead of a keyboard interface, the method of
communication is voice.
is often thought of as the next evolutionary
step for interacting with mobile devices
because it is such a personal method of
more voice capabilities you add, the more
likely that it will translate into a larger
end-user adoption," said Bryan Prohm, analyst
available services include flight information,
driving directions, traffic reports, weather
updates and stock quotes. The services are
accessible through the 800-4BVOCAL phone
number where users send and receive
information by voice.
directory assistance calls are the fastest
growing segment of directory assistance calls
and the price of those calls has been going
is a free service for customers, which Plakias
sees as a huge advantage for the company.
company plans on making money by licensing its
service to carriers, selling its software,
accepting advertising and receiving a cut out
of referring callers to a business.
is most useful to brick-and-mortar companies
because this drives people to stores," said
Amol Joshi, founder and vice president of
marketing of BeVocal.
in GPS (Global Positioning System technology),
and location-based services come to fruition,"
said analyst Plakias.
Unclear at Any
Speed on a Highway Often an Illusion
Malcolm Ritter, The Associated Press
urge to change lanes while driving may be
caused by an optical illusion that convinces
people the cars in the other lane are going
faster, according to a study.
basic problem is that cars spread out when
they’re going quickly and bunch up when they
slow down, said Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a
professor of medicine at the University of
Toronto. So when you pass a bunch of slower
cars in the other lane, it happens fairly
quickly. But if you are passed by the same
cars while your lane slows temporarily, they
go by one by one.
leads to the illusion that the other lane is
advice: "Resist small temptations to change
researchers also showed 120 driving students a
videotape of an adjacent lane of real traffic,
depicting a side view from the back seat of a
car. Seventy percent believed the traffic they
saw was going faster than the car with the
camera, when in fact it was going slightly
slower on average.
June 24, 1997
Neighborhood Group and Local Illinois City
Police Work Together to Enforce Anti-Noise
Dardick , Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune reports that an effort in
Aurora, Illinois to enforce a noise ordinance
directed at blaring stereos from vehicles has
combined the forces of the Near West Side
Neighborhood Association with community police
officers. Under "Operation Boombox," as the
effort is called, residents in the
neighborhood group use two-way radios to
notify nearby squad cars if they hear a
blaring vehicle stereo, allowing police
officers to arrive quickly at the scene and
determine whether a violation has occurred. If
so, officers can impound the vehicle, the
article reports that Scott Pettit, a member of
the neighborhood group, moved into his large
Victorian house five years ago. He soon
learned that his neighborhood had a gang
presence, which included many cars driving
past his home with blaring, souped-up radios.
Pettit said, "Where I live happens to be part
of the crime loop. My neighbors moved. One of
the reasons they moved was they had a small
kid and couldn't live with the noise anymore."
vehicle boombox problem was so bad, the
article reports, that the city of Aurora
passed a then-unique noise ordinance in March
1996, that has since been copied by other
communities, including Cicero. Under the
ordinance, police can impound a vehicle if
amplified noise from it can be heard at least
75 feet away. In order to get the vehicle
back, the driver has to pay a $75 fine, and
the owner has to pay a $250 impoundment fee, a
$75 towing fee, and $20-a-day storage charges,
the article says.
the ordinance was good in theory, Pettit and
other members of the Near West Side
Neighborhood Association said it was not being
enforced enough to have an impact on their
neighborhood. Neighborhood group members aired
their complaint at a mayoral campaign forum in
March, which also was attended by police
officers. One of those officers, community
policing Officer Shireen Long, said she
realized that if the police got the residents
involved in the enforcement process, the
problem would be solved. So, starting in late
May, the Near West Side Neighborhood
Association and the community policing
division headed by Sgt. Paul Barrett launched
Operation Boombox. Members of the neighborhood
group simply use their two-way radios to
notify nearby squad cars when they hear a
boombox from a vehicle two or more residential
lots away, which amounts to about 100 feet.
Police arrive at the scene quickly and make an
arrest if necessary.
article says on May 23, the day the operation
started, five people were cited and all of
their vehicles were impounded. On Friday, when
police conducted their second Operation
Boombox effort, two people were received
citations. Police Sgt. Barrett said impounding
cars gets the attention of the teen-age
violators' parents, the article reports.
April 15, 2000
Telephone Use in Spain
Prompts Demand for Legislation to Curb Their
Gooch, The Guardian Foreign Pages
to The Guardian, the noise levels from mobile
telephones is such a nuisance that people are
demanding legislative action. The growth rate
of mobile telephone use is higher in Spain
than anywhere else in Europe, according to the
article--from one million to 18 million in
just five years.
article said that the noise level in public
places often exceed established decibels (dB)
levels (55 to 65 dB) that the World Health
Organization set. So the Centre for Scientific
Investigation, Spain's primary research center
supports the demand for legislative action.
article said that Spain's national pastime, la
charla (small talk, talking just to be talking
and chatty citizens that use mobile telephones
for personal reasons are the reason that mere
"noise pollution" has escalated to shouting
and physical brawls.
article said that mobile telephone companies,
in an effort to stop legislation, have
published "guidelines" for using the
telephones and asked users to use the text
Fast lane to disaster?
Web-enabled cars: Fast lane to disaster?
by Lincoln Spector
-- You may consider wireless technology a key
to your success. After all, it helps you be
more productive: You can even check e-mail and
do research online while you're driving. But
while ubiquitous Net access may help you get
ahead at work, many consider surfing behind
the wheel a serious safety hazard.
you're stopped in a traffic jam, I don't see
any basis for doing that. I think it's a
disaster," says Clarence Ditlow, director of
the Center for Auto Safety, founded by
consumer advocate Ralph Nader.
concern grows just as Internet-enabled cars
are getting ready to hit the roads.
Ford nor GM is encouraging drivers to use
keyboards, mice, or monitors on the road. Both
Virtual Advisor and 24.7 provide voice-based
interfaces. For instance, Virtual Advisor will
simply respond to your vocal commands by
reading your e-mail and other data you request
out loud (you have to set it up first on a
computer back at the office). That way, you
keep your eyes on the road and your hands on
But is even hands-off data retrieval safe?
Driving a car while talking on a hands-free
phone is just as dangerous as using a standard
handset, according to a recent study by the
University of Toronto. Research found that
even using a hands-free phone while driving is
about four times as dangerous not using a
phone at all.
everyone agrees with these conclusions. Sara
Tatchio, a safety manager for public affairs
at Ford, considers the Toronto study flawed.
who was in that study had been in accidents,"
Tatchio says. "The numbers are very hard to
define that way."
other studies point in a similar direction.
According to a report by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, "Driver
inattention is the most frequently cited
precrash condition for drivers who use
concerns the mind, not the hands or eyes,
safety advocates note; it's not affected by
the type of phone you use.
are already bringing laptops into cars and
plugging them into dashboard lights,"
Carstensen says. "If we can bring similar
information through a single [voice-based]
interface, we feel we will make it safer."
the end, safety depends on the driver.
American Automobile Association spokesperson
Bronwyn Hogan points out that "the motorist
is, for all intents and purposes, responsible
for his or her safety."
Function On The Road
By Brian Ploskina, Interactive Week
technology developed by MCK Communications
works to extend the corporate telephone
network to anywhere in the world. The Mobile
Extender gives any wireless phone user access
to the private branch exchange (PBX) in ways
not possible before.
of the more primitive solutions people have
used to stay in contact include voice-mail
that tells callers where a person can be
reached or a forwarding mechanism that
transfers calls directly to the wireless phone
number. Unified communications applications
have begun to emerge recently that provide a
"find-me, follow-me service," ringing certain
end-points for a person at different times of
the day, or all devices, all day.
mobile extender's main task is to extend the
voice network to any location, says Al
Brisard, vice president of marketing at MCK,
which has been designing and implementing PBX
extension facilities for more than 10 years.
can turn any analog phone, touch-tone phone,
or cell phone into your digital extension into
the PBX," Brisard says. "We turn every one of
today's phones into an IP [Internet Protocol]
phone." IP is the underlying technology that
enables MCK to extend PBX functionality into
the mobile market.
offering similar services include IP Axess,
formerly Data Race, as well as large PBX
vendors such as Nortel Networks and Lucent
Technologies, but none of them have the
wireless piece. In fact, Alcatel, Ericcson,
Lucent and others resell MCK's Mobile
it's not enough just to make the wireless
device part of the system. MCK also includes
software that allows the user to program PBX
applications into the phone. This allows the
wireless user to hit *8 to transfer a call or
dial 9 to get an outside line. The software
also makes it possible to transmit the display
someone is used to seeing on their office
phone to the display panel on their wireless
Fell asleep at the
crash increases Leeward toll to 12
Advertiser Leeward Bureau
HALE - Alexander "Alika" Nakoa Jr. had
recently joined the Navy, following in his
father’s footsteps, and looked forward to
reporting to active duty next Friday.
Nakoa died early yesterday after the Chevy
Blazer he was driving crashed into a utility
pole on Farrington Highway in Honokai Hale.
Nakoa apparently fell asleep while driving,
20, had been out with his cousin, who also had
joined the Navy and was to report for duty on
Monday. The cousins were close and wanted to
enter the service at the same time, but Nakoa
did not apply in time.
had just dropped off his cousin and his
girlfriend at her Waipahu home and was headed
for his grandmother’s house in Nanakuli at
about 3:20 a.m. when the black sport utility
vehicle veered off the highway, struck an
embankment and crashed into a Hawaiian
Electric Co. pole, police said.
said Nakoa may have been speeding as he was
driving westbound in his father’s SUV. He was
taken to St. Francis Medical Center-West in
critical condition and died at the hospital.
is the 12th person to die in a traffic
accident along the Wai‘anae Coast this year
and the 64th traffic fatality on O‘ahu,
compared to 47 deaths in 1999.
Nakoa said the structured life in the Navy
would have been good for her grandson. He was
a surfer and considered himself a playboy, she
said, but had not found a direction in life.
was tired, I guess." she said. "I think he
fell asleep. Whether he was drinking or not, I
have no idea. He was a good kid. He wasn’t
mature enough to realize what life was all
about. He just wanted to go surfing."
dropping out of high school in California,
Nakoa moved to Hawai‘i for what was to be a
one-month vacation. That was a little more
than a year ago. He spent that time surfing
along the Leeward Coast, working part time and
for direction, he joined the Navy and took his
physical and written tests.
Nakoa Sr. is a chief petty officer stationed
in San Diego.
wife, Maryann, and their two daughters live in
and Monday, sign wavers will be standing along
Farrington Highway from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.,
urging drivers to slow down as part of the
Honolulu Police Department’s annual "Live and
Let Live" traffic safety campaign.
and police officers will be at Nanakuli Beach
Park, Ma‘ili Point and the Wai‘anae Boat
Harbor near displays of cars wrecked in