Mobile Phones/Driving

  Wirral Bagpuss 09:30 06 Apr 2003

I read with interest the plans by Government to band handsfree mobiles in the car. I can understand it when they say driving and clutching a mobile in one hand is not on. However what on earth is the harm in the handsfree method. Should radio's now be banned in the car, or the emerging DVD entertainment systems in the back seats, with big screen movies, for fear of distracting the driver?.
The Government should be tackling bad drivers, not the technology!

  jimv7 09:43 06 Apr 2003

Anything that distracts concentration is bad when driving.

Most accidents are caused by lack of concentration.

  Forum Editor 10:16 06 Apr 2003

between listening to music - which is a passive exercise - and having a phone conversation. The phone call involves a fair degree of concentration, more than is required for a normal conversation with a passenger. If you talk to a passenger you are far more relaxed, and can break off whenever you like - to negotiate a roundabout for instance. The passenger is seeing what you're seeing, and makes allowances for pauses. Not so with a phone call; there's an inherent pressure involved when you're on the phone. Pauses in the conversation are easily misunderstood by the person at the other end, and he/she may think you're disinterested or annoyed. We all try to maintain a constant flow of conversation in such circumstances, and it can be very distracting. If the connection is poor even more concentration is required, and this can result in an accident. It has done so, on many occasions, and there are cases of pedestrians being killed or injured by drivers who were talking on phones.

I know it's a debatable issue, and there are the inevitable pros and cons. I use a (hands free) phone in my car, quite a lot in fact, and I would not be particularly happy if we banned their use. I would recognise the sense of such a law though, and would abide by it. No call is so important that it's worth risking a life for it.

  spuds 10:48 06 Apr 2003

I live near a large motorway interconnecting junction, and it is an everyday occurance to see people 'tanking' into this intersection who are totally ignorant of the traffic conditions around them. It is obvious that the scene of hand gestures etc, that the driver is having a great telephone conversation.How can these people fully concentrate on a number of activities that they are undertaking.I have even seen people driving along obviously talking via a mobile phone link, and at the same time filling in some form of order/appointment book. Yes,I have witnessed some very bad RTA's at this section of motorway, with the end results of a lot of emergency services activity and the sadness of death.When the road is blocked, nobody saves that extra few minutes.A device should be installed, so as to prevent a mobile phone from being used, whilst the vehicle is in motion.People who are found guilty of using a mobile whilst in motion, should be prosecuted.
A friend of mine was involved with an RTA a couple of years ago. She was knocked off her bicycle, by no less than a medical surgeon, giving advice over his mobile phone.He saw no danger in this, and his attitude showed it.Result of this minor knock. Two days in hospital for my friend and a number out-patient cosultations, and a court appearance for the surgeon.At no stage did an appology arrive, as previously stated. He thought he had done no wrong. Rant over !!.

  Scouse 11:09 06 Apr 2003

How many times would a driving instructor tell his/her trainee to "CONCENTRATE"?

The hands free issue is going to continue for some time but, as the FE has said above, what phone call is worth a life? None.

I drive for a living mainly in London and the outlying areas, the in-vehicle phone is a total hazzard. Drivers often give more priority to a phone call than the main issue of getting from A to B in a safe and sensible manor.

As the Transport Supervisor for our company's fleet of trucks I remind all drivers of the need for sensible use of their mobile phones. I never condone the use of the phone whilst on the move and cannot empasise this enough when addressing safety issues.


  so3003 12:09 06 Apr 2003

If you believe driving while talking on a mobile phone is safe, try this out next time you have occasion to do so: having taken your call, try to remember any of the details of the past bit of road you've travelled on while talking on the phone. I'm willing to bet that you'll probably not remember much about it, even if it's an area you travel through quite often.

As a rule I try to avoid using my phone when driving - as was said above, nothing is so important that I'm willing to risk my life to hear it when I can easily pull over to take the call.

In fact the only time I remember using my phone when driving was to phone the fire brigade when I passed a vehicle which was on fire and clearly about to explode (it was transporting timber etc) - and as I said before, I ended up near my house on automatic pilot... a good thing noone jumped out in front of me that day.

Remember too that it's not just you who is at risk by using your phone; you are needlessly endangering the lives of all those around you who become potential targets of your moving vehicle.

  mikef™ 12:33 06 Apr 2003

I totally agree with the above comments and working in an A/E hospital I've lost count of the number of accidents that we have had when the driver has been using a mobile, hands free or not.

The answer is simple, if when I'm on call and my mobile goes off when I'm driving everybody knows to leave a message on the voice mail, I'll then stop when it is safe and call them back, NO call is important enough to put other peoples lives at risk.

  crx16 12:58 06 Apr 2003

where does SAT-NAV fit into this,any objections to a 7" LCD on the dash,guiding you thru the city streets.

  Wirral Bagpuss 18:05 06 Apr 2003

Hmm interesting and well thought out arguements sent in response to my original message. Hope i did not offend anyone, having read of one or two people lost friends in RTA's. It was not my intention. I know the pain of losing someone close to you, as my Mother died last summer from Cancer. I miss her all the time.
Anyway, it seems to me that the overwhelming majority of you wants mobiles switched off whilst in the car. Fair comment! Interesting point though raised by crx16 about the SAT-Nav GPS systems. How would that fit into the equation?.
Well, it's been an intersting debate, thanks for all your replies so far!.

  Forum Editor 20:44 06 Apr 2003

my car was in for a checkup I had a loaner with a satellite navigation system on board........and it was the best gizmo I have ever seen on a car.

It took me from my house in London to Norwich airport without a single hitch, and although I tried several times to fool it by making random deviations it calmly (and very rapidly) guided me back to its chosen route. I was terribly impressed, and the system's quiet but insistent female voice wasn't at all distracting. Exactly the opposite was true actually, because I didn't have to worry about looking for road signs at roundabouts or junctions. The system was so accurate it even knew my house number when I was parked in the drive.

Every car ought to have one.

  IanWilk 21:45 06 Apr 2003

Odd thing about SatNav, which I think has an lcd screen - the Con & Use Regs make it an offence to have a tv screen in a car which is visible to the driver - a fine line somewhere here. Done by voice no problem, but if you have to look down at the screen as dangerous - or more so -than a non hands free mobile.

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