Distracted Driving

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561
Distracted Driving

Proposal Bans Snacking, Smoking Behind the Wheel | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Should it be illegal? If so, what should be the penalty? What things should be included?

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

There are some things you can't regulate. How about talking to the person next to you? How about thinking about something else? How about crying or sneezing?

And I haven't smoked cigarettes in years, but driving and smoking when alone in the car was one of life's sweet and simple pleasures, back in the day.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

Years ago my SIL told me that in DC you can not eat and drive (She lives in Alexandria). I have always found that interesting. It was only a few years ago that texting and driving was banned here, but you can still legally talk on a cell phone (hand held) and drive.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

There is already a distracted driving law in Maine that covers things like eating. They aren't going to pull you over for actually eating a sandwich, but if they pull you over for something else and can prove you were eating at the time (i think that would be hard to do actually)...they could give you an extra fine. Plus i'm pretty sure if you caused an accident and were eating at the time (again, not sure how they would really prove that), the charges would be heftier.

I don't know how i feel about it. I mean, i think a lot of it is really hard to prove and fairly unenforceable so I think to myself, whats' the point. But at the same time, maybe the psychological part of it....just driving home the fact that it really can be a distraction is beneficial to a minor degree. If having it in the books just makes people minutely more mindful...i suppose i don't see the harm in it. People really are too lax about what they do behind the wheel. Anything to reinforce how important it is to not be doing other things really isn't a bad thing in my mind.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I dont know. I tend to nod off really quickly when I am in a car. Something about the sound or vibration is really sleepy making for me. So when I have to drive long distances, on the highway, I always either have a drink or a snack with me, and turn the radio up really loud to sing along Smile Especially at night when I am alone, or just with the kids. I honestly think I am more likely to have an accident or drive off the road without those things than with them, so this would suck for me.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I am with you Kyla, I always have a drink in the car so that I can stay focused. I dont typically eat while driving unless we are on a road trip though.

I think the most distracting thing for me is kids. Not really a way I can not have them while driving, so that is out. I do have to say though that I think some people are just more dis-tractable. My sister doesnt eat, drink, or talk on her cell phone but she has been in a lot of accidents. Only one was her fault and that was when she was 16. But she is constantly looking at signs or other cars and I dont think she is a very good defensive driver, and no law will change that

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I want them to ban just being a jerk on the road. You know, the people who drive up on the shoulder to squeeze into the front of a traffic jam....can we ban them?

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

I think one thing that should be banned is people who drive with their dogs on their laps. Seriously....how can that be safe at all???

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

The new vehicles with their GPS screens that switch to radio/etc etc etc back up camera et all are way worse.. I tried to test drive one and had to just not use that part it was scary.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

I'd like to ban all people who can't drive perfectly like I do Wink

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

For the record, i don't think the law here has actually deterred anyone from eating in their cars. While i do feel a need to curb any texting while driving, i don't feel any particular need to stop eating even though it could technically result in a fine and I'm pretty sure, by the looks of it, other people feel similarly about eating.

I do like the idea of penalizing someone for causing an accident due to them being distracted...whatever the cause might be, assuming it can be pinpointed at the time of the accident. This type of law gives law enforcement an mechanism for doing so.

Like i said...i think too many people don't take paying attention while they are driving seriously enough. So yep...if you do actually cause an accident because you were unwrapping your stupid hamburger...i'm totally fine with an extra fine or penalization going along with it.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I wish i could remember which alien races i've done so far and which ones i haven't.

Going with Ferengi...might be a repeat

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I once saw a lady eating out of a takeout box with chopsticks at a stoplight!!! Now, she may have been great with chopsticks, much better than me (I still have to concentrate on eating when I use them) but I still think that any food that you have to use a utensil to eat should be out of the question for car consumption. That would be like eating a bowl of soup with a spoon while you drive. I rock with a spoon. I still don't think I could eat soup and drive at the same time.

Other than that, I agree with Laurie that I think that you can't really ban or control all distractions. Talking to a passenger is a distraction. Having a bee fly in your window is a distraction (I could seriously see me wrecking my car in that scenario.) Having kids is like a permanent distraction. I file all eating (without utensils) under the same category as all of those, where I get that it is probably not the ideal driving scenario, but also, life happens.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

This is an excellent description about what distracted driving laws are actually about

Wisniewski, who said the bill is modeled after New Hampshire’s law on negligent driving, said police can already pull drivers over for many of the behaviors that would be covered under the bill and write them up for careless or reckless driving. But, he said, police might be hesitant to cite those violations if they felt it might not stand up in court.

"If you create an offense of distracted driving, it’s pretty easy to define what distracted is: not watching the road," Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski said it makes more sense to create a wider category of distracted driving than legislate individual distractions as they arise as problems.

Taken from this article Major crackdown on distracted driving under review in N.J. | NJ.com

This makes a ton of sense to me. You are not going to get pulled over for eating a sandwich if you are driving 30 mph on a 30 mph road and abiding by your typical traffic laws.

In Maine, it was even described as such, that it is a secondary offense that you cannot be initially pulled over for.

If you are driving unsafely, because you are engaged in something other than driving...i think it makes a lot of sense to give police the ability to hammer down exactly what your offense is. To put it another way...if you can't eat your hamburger and drive safely while doing so....then you shouldn't be eating your hamburger. Simple as that.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I once saw a lady eating out of a takeout box with chopsticks at a stoplight!!! Now, she may have been great with chopsticks, much better than me (I still have to concentrate on eating when I use them) but I still think that any food that you have to use a utensil to eat should be out of the question for car consumption. That would be like eating a bowl of soup with a spoon while you drive. I rock with a spoon. I still don't think I could eat soup and drive at the same time.

Other than that, I agree with Laurie that I think that you can't really ban or control all distractions. Talking to a passenger is a distraction. Having a bee fly in your window is a distraction (I could seriously see me wrecking my car in that scenario.) Having kids is like a permanent distraction. I file all eating (without utensils) under the same category as all of those, where I get that it is probably not the ideal driving scenario, but also, life happens.

Oh, what about when the "Dashboard Spider" makes it appearance???? I just about wrecked the car when one came crawling across my windshield....freaked the heck out!

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

Sneezing too. I have the worst time trying to keep my eyes open to drive while sneezing.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Sneezing too. I have the worst time trying to keep my eyes open to drive while sneezing.

Nobody can keep their eyes open while sneezing. That's one of the things about sneezing! Your eyes close.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"mommydearest" wrote:

Oh, what about when the "Dashboard Spider" makes it appearance???? I just about wrecked the car when one came crawling across my windshield....freaked the heck out!

Once, we were in TX and we discovered a spider in the car. And I swear to you....the thing JUMPED. It JUMPED. Pandemonium broke out. It's a blessing that I wasn't driving because we would all be dead now if I had been.