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Texting While Driving

Samuel Påhlsson

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Anyone else think that it should receive the same punishment as a DUI?

I've noticed a ton of drivers (especially on the 99) who make scary maneuvers while driving and when I pass them or end up in the lane next to them I see them on their phones WHILE DRIVING not at a red light. not that that is any better.

I'm just curious what people's opinions are on the punishment I know it was made more severe recently but I still don't think it's helping. I know once they made the DUI penalties more severe it helped the impact to some extent.

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Not even kidding 80% of the people I see texting are girls. Usually between 20-30 years old. It happens so often at lights and they’ll sit there 5 seconds after the green to start moving. That’s when I lay on the horn.


Seriously though, yeah it’s pretty dangerous and there should be a harsher penalty.

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If the punishment was an officer can take your phone, smash it on the ground, make the driver clean it up, then pay a hefty fine, then maybe people would start doing it less.

It happens far too often, and too many lives are being lost as a result. If only people would smarten up.

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They should have their cell phones taken away for a year.

Signed a motorcyclist.

I bet they'll still find a way to get it back :P

The urge is always there. Even I can't last 20 hours without my phone. My parents told me this special quote to me a very long time ago. I use it to this day:

Destroy what destroy's you..

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Still don't see the difference between hands free and talking to someone while holding a phone in your hand. They are both equally distracting.

I talk on bluetooth all the time, I don't find it distracting.

I am more distracted when I am eating and driving than when I am on my phone (bluetooth)

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I talk on bluetooth all the time, I don't find it distracting.

I am more distracted when I am eating and driving than when I am on my phone (bluetooth)

Perhaps not.

A new study suggests drivers making a left-hand turn while talking on a hands-free cellphone is more dangerous than previously thought.

In a small study, researchers put 16 adults between the ages of 20 and 30-years-old to the test.

Using a driving simulator, complete with working foot pedals and a steering wheel, the test subjects manoeuvred through a series of driving tasks that became progressively more difficult over the course of an hour.


An man works his phone as he drives through traffic in Dallas, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP / LM Otero)


Commuters are reflected in a rearview mirror in rush hour traffic in Toronto. (The Canadian Press/J.P. Moczulski)

All the while, researchers at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital mapped their brain activity with an MRI.

What researchers saw in the MRI scans was startling. They found that turning left requires a high level of brain activation. In fact, they say it uses more areas of the brain than turning right or even driving straight.

"When it came to a left-hand turn at a busy intersection, virtually the entire brain lights up, giving us objective evidence it is a very demanding task," said Dr. Tom Schweizer, a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital, who led the study.

That's key, because according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S., left turn crashes happen more often. More than 22 per cent of the 2.3 million collisions that occurred in the U.S. in 2008 happened when drivers made left turns at intersections compared to 1.2 per cent during right turns. Transport Canada says about 30 per cent of fatalities and 40 per cent of serious injuries in crashes in Canada occur at intersections and left turn crashes are among the most dangerous.

The drivers in the Canadian study were put through the paces -- asked to go straight, and turn left and turn right six times without facing any oncoming traffic as they laid down in the MRI driving simulator. Then they were told to turn left six times as traffic approached. They then repeated the left turns facing oncoming traffic as a voice peppered them with true or false questions such as "does a triangle have four sides?" to simulate a hands-free cellphone conversation. To answer the questions, they pushed buttons on the steering wheel similar to ones drivers use to adjust volume control.

When the mock motorists made a right turn, the MRI showed little to no change in brain activity. Turning left with traffic coming at them activated more areas of the brain.

However when they turned left with oncoming traffic and a voice distracting them, it provided a much different picture. The MRIs showed a dramatic shift that's illustrated in bright red on the images -- blood moved away from the visual cortex part of the brain, which controls sight, and surged to the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision-making and monitoring a conversation.

And that's disturbing because managing traffic flow is a task that is visually demanding, said Schweizer.

"You have to pay attention to the traffic light, to oncoming cars and pedestrians. So in that moment in time, you're processing a huge amount of information in that snapshot," he told CTV News.

While participants also saw other motorists behind them in the simulated traffic scenario, Schweizer admits they were more cautious and spent more time at the intersection, deciding whether it was safe to turn, than they would have in the real world.

Researchers also couldn't induce the pressure and anxiety drivers feel in real traffic when another motorist is giving them the finger or honking their horn because they're in a hurry, he said. And study participants knew they weren't going to die if they crashed in the simulation, although none did crash, he said.

While driving with a cellphone in hand is banned across the country except in Nunavut, use of hands-free cellphones is allowed in most provinces although some provinces prohibit hands-free cellphone use for novice drivers.

In light of the study results, should the law be revisited to include hands-free cellphone use by motorists? "Yes," said Schweizer.

The study suggests it's the distraction -- not the cellphone device itself -- that's the problem for drivers.

But it's not just cellphones drivers should be concerned about -- a great radio talk show could also be too distracting, he suggested.

The nine men and seven women in the study were all healthy and had a mean driving experience of 7.4 years. Results for older, more experienced drivers could differ so a larger study involving people of various ages would be needed to confirm the findings, he said.

Schweizer and his team are currently seeking grant money to do a similar study with brain damaged patients and elderly patients in the next year.

The bottom line? Hands-free isn't brain free -- having a cellphone conversation could be a lethal combination if drivers are turning left at a busy intersection, said Schweizer.

The study, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, is published online Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/hands-free-isn-t-brain-free-distracted-driving-researchers-say-1.1175293#ixzz3SFxFcrj4

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Yeah. Can be just as dangerous as DUI (which can range from not very to very).

But it is such a rush...

and now it is more of a problem than it was before it was illegal.

i mean at least before you could hold your phone up on the steering wheel and have one eye on the road. Now i gotta hide that @#$% under the dash or between my legs and man that is scary esp when i need to correct the auto correct from saying something silly... in the middle of rush hour...

but yeah its pretty bad but either way cell phone or no cell phones, alcohol or no alcohol some people are just born bad drivers and to be honest if you get hit by someone it will probably be one of those born bad drivers

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Falls into the same category of distracted driving.

Hardly. Texting and driving and talking are 2 very different things. It's so easy to know when someone is texting while they're trying to drive.

Personally, I think it's pathetic that we have become a society where some people can't go a few minutes without grabbing their phones while behind the wheel.

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