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Are you for or against GPS and cell phones in cars?

by wcunning Roadshow staff / May 22, 2007 10:29 AM PDT

In my recent column, Driver distracted, I wrote about improvements from auto makers so car gadgets will be safer to use while driving. What do you think of new car interfaces for GPS, cell phones, and other car gadgets?

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by treet007 / May 23, 2007 3:32 AM PDT

As driver-in-command, you are the sole responsible person for the safety and welfare of your car while driving. I believe every driver knows that. The problem I believe is knowing your limits and when to terminate/ignore the distractions to concentrate on driving. I have a hands-free phone, but I do not always answer it. I even tell the listener on the phone to "standby" if I am making turns or something requires my attention. Using GPS, radio, eating, etc. is the same situation. I would pull over to a parking lot if I had to do a lot on the GPS (like entering my destination), then I would resume my driving once I am ready to concentrate on my driving. If I have a passenger who talks a lot, I actually would (and did in some occassions) ask the person to hush since he/she is distracting my driving, or if time permits, take a break from driving by going to a rest stop or restaurant to finish chatting.

No amount of technology will solve the human piece of the puzzle. Only the human him/herself can solve that.

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cell phone
by superchf / May 30, 2007 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Driver-in-command

I think cell phones should be made not to be able to work while in a moving automobile. I almost got killed in a possible accident on the freeway here in California. If your driving pay attention to driving not talking on the phone

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Are you almost not there?
by lhufty / May 30, 2007 12:42 PM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

How can you be almost killed in an almost accident? Sounds like you have been playing too many video games.

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by fgfsumh / May 31, 2007 4:14 AM PDT

This guy here sounds like the ones that can multi task almost a hundred things at a time. One day when you least expect it you'll find out that driving is a full time job, especially with you almost multi taskers.

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Someone is "almost not there"
by hrwaller / May 31, 2007 9:13 AM PDT

You've never had a "near miss" where only very quick action prevented a collision, usually because the other driver was doing something other than paying attention to driving? Either you are extremely lucky or you haven't driven much in Oklahoma where between cell phones, cigarettes, or keeping track of their spit cups there isn't a lot of attention left over.

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how about almost survived
by Mr-Opinion / July 4, 2007 8:40 AM PDT

If you find almost accidents a safe operation than I truely think your license should be revoked ! where do you draw the line, the almost fatal accident that only parlized the driver, the almost dangerous that only cost thousands to fix, the almost collission that only resulted in a heartattack ... drivers with that attitude are a danger to all ... normal driving is risky at best, why live at the 98% almost where the odds are that one day you will be "almost survived"

PS: no problem with answering a quick call (short) but no chitchat, messaging, contact search and for that matter whatching a GPS screen


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Almost only happens in video games
by Mr-Opinion / July 4, 2007 8:46 AM PDT

Soory but I need a second reply, I believe you've been living too many video games where all the dead people and creatures are right back again on "restart' too bad we don't have a 'new game' button on real life, 50,000 drivers a year in the US would love to find it


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anything can be a distraction including a clutch
by david2908 / May 30, 2007 8:48 PM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

All cell phone use while driving should be banned. I depend on my GPS to get me to my destinations but I progam it before leaving my drive way. It is the best navigator I have ever had.

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Cel phones, etc.
by vasmith1 / June 1, 2007 7:16 AM PDT

Cel phones should not be used while driving - period!
I do not wish to die because another driver was unnecessarily distracted especially when the vast majority of those cel phone conversations have no urgency to them and could wait until you were parked somewhere. There is just too much multi-tasking going on in cars these days. Life on the road has become increasingly dangerous because of cel phones, coffee drinking, cigarette lighting, nail polish doing, shaving, hair combing, etc. Our cars are lethal weapons and the misuse of them(by multi-tasking) should be a felony punishable as severely as a DUI should be.

The GPS use is ok if it is programmed while you are standing still. I find the directions given help me to prepare to make my turns properly and assist in preventing sudden moves across lanes and remind me to timely start signalling for turns. If used properly they will prevent accidents not cause them.

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Not a chance. That's a bad path of thinking.
by Andy77e / June 2, 2007 7:08 AM PDT

See I could buy that. I could buy that cell phones should not be used in cars. But all of you need to think where this path goes. Follow the idea to it's logical conclusion.

If we are going to ban cell phones from cars because they are a distraction and could cause an accident... what else should also be banned? Drinks? Food? Drive-throughs? Lights of any kind? Pagers? In car-TVs? Animals of any kind? Portable games like Gameboy or PSP? GPSs? Even car steros?

Every single one of those is a possible distraction that could cause an accident. I have been hit twice in recent times. First time it was a guy in a truck with his dog. Right before the stop light, the dog acted crazy and the man didn't brake in time. The second, the guy was messing with his stero and rammed me without even touching his breaks.

So if we're going to ban phones for this, steros and animals should also be banned from cars, as well as everything else.

Then you have to ask how would we enforce this? Will police officers be pulling everyone with anything distracting in their cars? Will everyone get a ticket for doing anything slightly distracting whether they cause a problem or not? Do you realize the man power that would be needed to enforce this law?

I submit to you, the better way is simply to make people accountable for their own actions. If they crash, they pay for it. You do the deed, you are responsible for it.

There is risk in freedom, but the risk is far better than a locked down risk free, freedomless society.

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Agree with bad path of thinking
by surmisez / June 3, 2007 1:26 PM PDT

>>>I submit to you, the better way is simply to make people accountable for their own actions. If they crash, they pay for it. You do the deed, you are responsible for it.

There is risk in freedom, but the risk is far better than a locked down risk free, freedomless society.<<<

I agree 100%.

Society keeps trying to "child proof" the world. I do not need, nor want all this coddling. It's ridiculous and insulting, and breeds complete contempt for your fellow man.

People need to realize that they are solely responsible for their actions. As a society, we need to hold adults responsible for their own actions and stop blaming the manufacturers for how their products are used.

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Cell Phones have a Useful Function in the Car
by richkras / May 30, 2007 9:13 PM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

In my opinion, as long as you are wearing a headset, don't get into long personal conversations and don't do much hand-dialing, cell phones can be a very positive addition to your car. If there is an emergency, you can be contacted. If there is one you are witnessing or involved in, you can contact the appropriate authorities. I was in back of a car that was driving extremely erratically...on a two lane road, swerving into the oncoming lane and then across into the breakdown lane, etc. I called 911 and was in contact with my local Police department within seconds. I gave them the license number and vehicle make. I continued to follow the car while giving the police a blow-by-blow description of what the driver in front of me was doing and letting them know precisely where we were. When the cruiser intercepted us, I turned off my phone and watched as the police observed the driver's erratic behavior and pulled her over. In the next day's paper, I read that a woman had been stopped at that location and time and was arrested for DUI. Maybe somebody was saved from serious injury or worse. Bottom line, just use common sense. It's a lot easier to dial 911, or even another programmed number, and speak on your headset, than it is to go through your CD collection while driving and make CD changes on the fly. I think talking while holding a phone when driving is very dangerous. That's why it's illegal in Connecticut.



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Are you serious?
by batman823 / May 30, 2007 10:25 PM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

If I got bitten by a shark or stung by a jellyfish while I was in japan, I wouldn't demand that all sealife were exterminated. You're essentially claiming that same thing on a different level. The cell-phone that person was using is the reason why he/she almost hit you. Whether it be a cell-phone, make-up or burger, that person was a bad driver with bad habits. Also, I'm surprised that you have only had one close call living in California.

On the subject. There is nothing wrcong with using a cell-phone while driving, provided you are being responsible with it. I believe it should be ok for you to use the phone if it is on speaker and tucked under your seatbelt on your chest. I do this sometimes when I don't have the earpiece plugged in. If you an afford all that bluetooth stuff, then that's even safer than the earpiece with the long wire. Most phones have voice regognition capabilities. All I have to to is hold the button on the earpiece wire for 2 seconds and use the voice prompts when driving. It is unacceptable to be driving, especially a stick, while using either hand for anything but driving. Interactive devices only make the problem worse. Anything that takes your attention off the road should be used the bare minimum. I tend to have my passenger light my cigarette for me and I never dial the phone. I will either use the voice feature digit dial or I'll wait until I get to my destination or a stop sign/light.

Message was edited by: admin

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by Manuel S. / June 1, 2007 5:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Are you serious?

I absolutely agree with your answer to superchef on all respects, except for one small detail, if you were bitten by a shark or stung by a jellyfish on Japan, that would also be YOUR fault, because they leave in the sea, and we don't, so the solution would be getting the heck out of the water and let the animals in peace where they belong! I'm sorry, no offence but that was a very ridiculous comparison.
As I said before, however, I DO agree with your answer.

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they LIVE in the water!
by Manuel S. / June 1, 2007 6:08 AM PDT
In reply to: sealife

I meant to say they LIVE in the water, not leave,of course.

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I think the examples are very similar.
by batman823 / June 4, 2007 1:35 AM PDT
In reply to: sealife

I agree that the water belongs to the sealife. The point was intended to be rediculous. The subject I was commenting on was equally rediculous.Therefore; I think the analogy was proper.

Here's why. We all have the privelage of driving, as well as swimming. If we do something improper, we should stop doing it. A person will usually not stop doing something stupid until they suffer a consequence. All of us with a driver's liscence belong on the road. It is our privelage. Those of us who break the law or establish bad habits are endangering themselves and others. Responsible use of a cell-phone is perfectly fine. I personally get off the phone when traffic gets heavy. I never hold the phone with my hand while driving. I believe that to be a proper mannerism.

The analogy between a swimmer and the sea is the same as a bad driver on the road. It's simply the consequence that changes. Instead of endangering your own life by swimming in the wrong waters, a bad driver endangers others as well as themselves.

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cell phones in cars
by Oldchris / May 31, 2007 12:55 AM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

It seems to me that if a message is important, the driver can pull over to the side of the road. If it isn't important, it can wait until the car trip is over. I have been nearly run over several times by women talking on ttheir cell phones while speeding along in the car.

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Cell phones a good extension to car
by UNCMAN / June 2, 2007 8:55 AM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

Alright. Phones and miscellaneous electronic devices CAN be dangerous if people don't use them responsibly. But the cell phone in particular is a very useful feature for the car, as long as you use a headset or a speakerphone while driving. That is why some states make it illegal to drive and talk with the phone to your ear. But the phone is a safety net for when you're in the middle of nowhere and your car breaks down, when you need directions, or when you want a spoken traffic report for a specific area. For instance, all new Boost Mobile and Nextel phones have available Telenav navigation systems for download. This is a cheap and helpful tool when you don't want to pay $250 or more for a standalone GPS system. Also, cell phones are great for getting help when you have a problem and are not nearby a town or city ( except for Sprint phones; the damn things lose a signal in a remotely out of the way area and won't work unless in analog roaming, which eats up the battery ). I don't get the Sprint Nextel merger because the Nextel network has such a stronger signal and larger coverage area. Anyway, phones are good in cars as long as you use them only with a headset, navigation, or great time of need- not for those typical conversations about people's boring lives.

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outlaw radios, kids and passengers
by Mr-Opinion / July 4, 2007 8:28 AM PDT
In reply to: cell phone

Though I am sorry about your experience I must first all note a national study on accident causes which listed phones in fifth after radio (1) kids in backseat (2) food / smoking (3),
you see having been brought up "properly" I am supposed to look at my conversation partner making me take my eys of the road, my cellphone doesn't require that when I talk.

Yes I do believe we shouldn't chitchat on the phones while driving, don't fumble through phone directories or messages and 'damn' the GPS maps - phone or dashboard (heck TV's are illigal - whats the difference
But don't condem someone or make a law prhibiting answering a quick call or using 1-9 single button speed dials, or even better the voice dials / blue tooth or you might as well outlaw everything else especially those reasons for accidents listed above


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The driver is responsible for what happens in his/her car.
by bobbiev / May 30, 2007 10:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Driver-in-command

I agree that the driver is the only one responsible for what happens in their car. Whether it is reading a map, looking at a gps or talking, whether on a cell phone or to a passenger. I drove for many years with my five children in the back of my station wagon. Was I a good driver? As good as I could be with five distractions in the back seat. For me, I think my cell phone attached to a speaker or a headphone is a lot less of a distraction than my children were. BUT, I avoid using my cell phone as I want to be a safe driver.

If the driver does not care enough to remove or avoid distractions, then he/she is liable to have an accident or cause an accident.

We all need to be more aware of what we are doing on the road as well as what every other driver is doing.

Treet007 is absolutely correct. The problem is not the distractions, but knowing our limits and abiding by them. As human beings, we are offered a lot of choices about how to do things. Not everyone is capable of concentrating on their driving no matter what the circumstances.

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Agree with Driver in Command and Bobbiev
by Cambi / May 30, 2007 2:48 PM PDT

Yes, there have always been distractions; the driver should be in command and should know his limits. Flashing advertising signs, unreadable traffic warning signs, and car radios are among them. Like Bobbie, I had a carload of children to deliver to school, games, etc. They could be far more distracting than a cellphone or GPS. My solution was always to find a safe place, pull over, and wait for them to realize they would be late, ask me why we had stopped. My explanation always resulted in good behavior the rest of the trip.
If the government really wants to make driving safe, how about some of those technological marvels like proximity signals that warn the driver who's approaching another vehicle or barrier?

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Cell phones, GPS and other distractions.
by plwertz / June 1, 2007 7:58 AM PDT

A driver simply cannot do a competent, safe job of driving doing anything else but drive. Its not so much a matter of not having enough hands or eyes, it is a matter of concentration of the mind.
I suddenly realized back in the CB radio days that when I was talking to a person in another car that my attention concentration was thus diverted and I was not fully aware of what my car or any other car was doing. Also, on a long trip we took, my wife and I elected to listen to some audio book tapes on the car's tape player. Now I enjoy seeing the scenery and seeing details as I go by, but with the story playing on our player I realized that while I enjoyed the tape I didn't take in much of the scenery. Diverted attention is easy to experience but the results can be drastic.

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Handsfree devices are NOT the answer
by mmode / May 30, 2007 6:16 PM PDT

I have to disagree with the majority on cell phone handsfree usage in vehicles. Point of fact: accidents that are caused by people talking on their cell phones while driving are not remedied by the requiring drivers to use a handsfree device. The accidents are caused because the driver is too engaged in his/her conversation that they lose complete focus on their vehicle, the road, and other vehicles. Its naive to think that by someone holding a phone to their ear as opposed to placing an earpice in your ear (or holding a conversation through your stereo speakers via bluetooth) will cutdown on accidents.

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There are many dangerous driving habits.
by richkras / May 30, 2007 9:31 PM PDT

How is it possible to list all the dangerous driving habits; eating, smoking, CDs and radios, something you need in the back seat, READING (on the highway or otherwise) and.....talking to a passenger you feel compelled to look at when you are speaking (whether next to you or in the BACK SEAT? I agree that long, exciting or distressful (or meaningless) conversations probably increase your driving risk. I also believe that holding a cell phone while driving is much more dangerous, which has nothing to do with the conversation, but with the physical acts of maneuvering the car while trying to hold a phone to your ear, switch hands, dropping it and picking it up. Think about it, though. How many people keep driving even though they are falling asleep? What if a phone conversation helps keep them awake (of course they should pull over)? How many people tail-gate no matter how fast they are going and whether the other driver can even get out of the way? How many people turn around to yell at their kids? I've seen people driving with their left foot hanging out the window, reading newspapers while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, smooching with their honey and almost anything else conceivable. Please take some responsibility for your actions. Driving is dangerous and should be treated with respect. Cell phones can be a problem, but I don't think police statistics will reveal they are the greatest contributor to accidents.



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by somei08 / May 31, 2007 4:34 AM PDT

I dunno. I've driven plenty of times while talking on a cell phone. Especially when driving home from college. Maybe it's just me, but I can easily talk on the phone and drive, even during an engrossing conversation.

As for the topic in general. Some gadgets just belong in a car...GPS and cell phones make a great combo. MP3 players are an evolution of radios and CD players. However some are just ridiculous. I'm sorry, but do we really need a camera in the back of the car? Before long people will come to depend on it too much and that would be a real headache.

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Part of the Problem.
by mrsthompson-2069561770159 / May 31, 2007 8:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Welll....

You might think you can 'easily' talk on the phone while driving, but what about when an 'emergency' situation occurs?

I'm a psychologist, and I know for a fact you are part of the problem. When a violent critical situation occurs such as a sudden car crash, it only takes a split second to happen. You may only have a 10th of a second between life and death. Think about it, and stay off the damn phone while driving. My son was killed by a woman who still had her phone in her hand when they found her, also dead. He was riding his bicycle. I HOPE THEY OUTLAW CELLPHONES WHILE DRIVING IN 'ALL' STATES!!!

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Reaction time
by bren01921 / June 1, 2007 5:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Part of the Problem.

I do agree that cell phones, GPS and other gadgets slow down your reactions time. But there has to be alot to what causes accidents. in many cases there is something that the driver was doing that they blame the accident on ( If he was not on the phone he would have been able to miss the car in front of him). But in alot of cases this is not true. you dont know how he would have reacted if he was not on the phone.
I race for a living and in my field you have to have amazing reaction time. But out on the road it does not matter you can be slow, and as long as you can drive down a street and do some simple maneuvers you are good to go. so if you want to make things that will slow your reaction time down then there has to be some limit to how fast you reaction time must be to even be behind the weel in the first place.

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by vasmith1 / June 1, 2007 8:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Welll....

What was so crashing urgent for you to talk about when driving home from college that you risked my life and yours?????
What would you say to St. Peter?? Whoops!!!! I guess I was wrong.
Do us all a favor and stay off the cel phone - I don't know about you but I would like to stay alive.

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I agree
by Manuel S. / June 1, 2007 5:43 AM PDT

The fact that a person is distracted while on the phone when driving, is not because of holding the phone itself, it's because that person gets engaged in the conversation and forgets about what's going on around him/her.

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Give me More
by rodbaker / May 30, 2007 10:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Driver-in-command

I love technology and I love it in the car. As long as it does not get in the way of driving.
1. Make it all hands free. If it's not, you can't use it. Hands free cell phones. Voice activated GPS. Radios that you can tell what station.
2. Make folks use the stuff when they take a driving test. If you can't do it during the test than you are not allowed to do it period. Your license should state that you are qualified to eat french fries, talk on a cell phone and look through the glove box, all at once. If not than you should get a ticket for doing it. Happy

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