Smartphones Blamed For Spike In Traffic Deaths

After decades of decline mostly attributed to safer vehicles and stiffer DUI penalties, traffic deaths in the US have spiked by 14.4% over the last two years. The government has yet to formally blame the rise on smartphone use, but others are convinced.

Bloomberg reports:

There are three big clues, and they don’t rest along the highway. One, as you may have guessed, is the substantial increase in smartphone use by U.S. drivers as they drive. From 2014 to 2016, the share of Americans who owned an iPhone, Android phone, or something comparable rose from 75 percent to 81 percent.

The second is the changing way in which Americans use their phones while they drive. These days, we’re pretty much done talking. Texting, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the order of the day—all activities that require far more attention than simply holding a gadget to your ear or responding to a disembodied voice. By 2015, almost 70 percent of Americans were using their phones to share photos and follow news events via social media. In just two additional years, that figure has jumped to 80 percent.

Finally, the increase in fatalities has been largely among bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians—all of whom are easier to miss from the driver’s seat than, say, a 4,000-pound SUV—especially if you’re glancing up from your phone rather than concentrating on the road. Last year, 5,987 pedestrians were killed by cars in the U.S., almost 1,100 more than in 2014—that’s a 22 percent increase in just two years.

RELATED: Last week on my trip down to Atlantic City, I got an alert on my iPhone that offered to silence my phone since it appeared that I was driving. It turns out that’s a new feature of the latest iOS.

  • greenmanTN

    Texting while driving is nature’s way of culling the herd.

    • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

      You mean the pedestrians and people on bikes?

      • Todd20036

        Yay! I’m a herd!

      • greenmanTN

        You and others are all correct, they put other people in danger. If they only hurt themselves that would be one thing, but that isn’t the case.

    • pch1013

      The problem is that smartphone-using users are placing *others* at increased risk. There’s no such thing as Darwinism by proxy.

    • Karl Dubhe

      But it doesn’t usually kill the texter. It’s killing the other people.

      Kinda like drunk driving. It’s why the penalties here are the same. Driving and texting is a chargable offence and can result in prison time.

    • greenmanTN

      Addendum: all the replies are correct, they endanger other people, not just themselves. I apologize for being flippant about it.

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        It’s all good. Hey, I’ve been guilty of checking JMG when I’m at the wheel. We all think we are the exception. But when you ride a bike it’s really eye-opening

      • Daveed_WOW

        Frankly, if they only endangered themselves, I would not care at all.

  • Blake Mason

    Smart Phone in the hands of not-so-smart people.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Sounds like someone I know.

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    Crossing the street just Saturday and had the walk light ..looked both ways anyway.. guy blew thru the red light right before stepping out. People have checked out.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Eye contact. Make eye contact and look before stepping out in the street.

      • liondon#iamnotatraitor

        He never stopped

    • ColdCountry

      Thing is, if I accidentally do that, or even come close, it scares the shit outta me and makes me hyper- aware for quite a while. People now just seem to shrug off the fact that they might have killed someone with their inattentiveness – and they get pissed if you yell at them, ’cause it’s YOUR job to look out for THEM!

  • Gustav2

    I was lucky to have a job that was just 4 blocks from our home, Every time I was almost run over in the crosswalk or on the sidewalk, it was almost always driver in a SUV talking on a cell. Now it has to be more dangerous.

    • pch1013

      It’s way more dangerous. Rideshare drivers are among the worst offenders IMHO, because their eyes are constantly glued to their phones. While riding my motorcycle around San Francisco, I experience close calls with them almost every day.

  • Mark

    There is supposedly a law against driving while on your phone, unless hands free in Santa Fe. I have YET to see anyone stopped for talking on their phone. I just turn mine off now so I can stay alert to the assholes talking. This week alone, I’ve had 4 people pull out in front of me, forcing me to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them. I was flipped off two of those times, even though they’re the one’s who pulled out in front of ME!

    • Todd20036

      I try to keep the conversation short if the person I am talking to is driving.

  • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

    I often commute by bike. I can attest that almost every single person has their phone in their hand and glides into their stops as they glancing down. It’s a bit terrifying. It’s an epidemic and I don’t think there’s a good fix. Maybe self-driving cars but those are a good 20 years away

    • olandp

      I can stand at my kitchen window and watch almost every driver who comes into my condo complex looking at their phone, not where they are going.

      • WildwoodGuy

        I have a balcony overlooking my one-lane, dead end street. On my street live several attorneys, a chiropractor, chief-of-police, all of their driving-age children along with a multitude of mill workers and their wives and families. (58 households on the street.)

        I cannot begin to tell you how frequently I’ve seen ALL of these folk driving down the street, head-down looking at their phone… including the chief-of-police! I sometimes want to go stop her and ask her to come stand with me in the balcony some morning, just to watch all of the offenders driving by. But I’m not certain she’d get it!

        • olandp

          I once saw a motorcycle cop at a red light, dial his phone and take off down the road talking on his phone! Don’t know how he did it.

    • Todd Allis

      I hope they’re 20 years away or less. I figure by the time I’m too old to stop driving, I’ll have a car that can drive for me. I’m 48. 🙂

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        It’s definitely the future. Nobody denies that anymore. If we survive trump , that is

  • PickyPecker
    • joeyj1220

      that’s a lot to ask today’s drivers. Choose one

      • Todd20036

        “Get the fuck out of my way” would suffice.

    • JT

      My favorite is the category of fuckheads who tailgate at highway speeds while using the cellphone!

      • Frank McCormick

        Within the city, the most annoying are drivers stopped at traffic lights paying no attention to the signal — even when they are first in line. Frequently only two or three cars manage to get through the traffic light. I’m surprised there isn’t more horn blowing — but then again the potential wake up alarms are also looking at their phone and not the light.

        • pch1013

          I’m *never* looking at my phone, because I’m always on my motorcycle. In those situations I’m more than pleased to provide a wake-up call with my extra-loud horn – or just ride around and get ahead of the oblivious lead car.

          • ColdCountry

            I used to have duel air horns on my bike. Worked well for dogs, too.

    • BearEyes

      I can’t upvote this enough.
      So tired of seeing very poor driving skills and rude drivers. The phones are only part of it. Other distractions are in car consoles that require too much attention, kids, pets, eating, grooming, etc. So glad I don’t commute to work any more.

      • netxtown

        The auto industry got saddled with making cars stupid-proof. Nowadays drivers have an attitude of unsubstantiated dis-concern that they are totally safe. Now add the tech companies selling their attention hogging wares via the dashboard….

        • ColdCountry

          I’m convinced that the more a car does the driving for you, the less attention people will pay.

    • Skokieguy [Larry]

      I often do NOT use turn signals (and no I don’t drive a BMW). I find that when there is generous room and I signal a lane change, invariably, the car in the next lane will speed up to try and prevent the lane change. In other words, signal usage is increasing the risk by giving information to other drivers who then engage in unsafe behavior.

      I also find that I have to take defensive action to prevent a crash that would have been caused by an inattentive driver at least several times EVERY day. My commute is about half hour in the AM and an hour in the PM.

      • pch1013

        Wat? People intentionally speed up so you can’t enter their lane?!

        Please let me know where you live, so I can make sure not to go there.

        • Skokieguy [Larry]

          I’m in the Chicago burbs. Midwestern nice, huh?

          • Randy503

            Same thing in Washington DC and burbs.

          • pch1013

            Yikes! As bad as drivers here in the Bay Area can be – and like everywhere else, people here are convinced that locals are the worst drivers in the world – I must say I can’t remember experiencing too many displays of overt rudeness like that. Maybe it’s because everyone is stoned most of the time. 🙂

        • Mike__in_Houston

          It happens in Houston and other parts of Texas on a regular basis.

        • William

          In Dallas, drivers base Right of Way on how much the car is worth.

      • Frank McCormick

        Oooo, even with folks who won’t let you merge, it’s still a dangerous policy. And, yes, I detest the folks that basically think, sure you can merge, but only behind ME when the next guy in line is thinking the same thing.

        Also, it’s been over a decade since I was last in Skokie, so I have a hard time believing that Chicagoland traffic allows anyone to speed up . (It took me two hours to get from Montrose and the Lake to O’Hare on my way to my new home in Austin.)

        • Skokieguy [Larry]

          I’m fortunate that my commute is basically the reverse of the heaviest traffic. I live a few blocks from Chicago but work in the far western burbs so a good portion is expressway travel and I ‘could’ do 80 comfortably. The opposite direction is bumper to bumper.

        • Randy503

          My hometown of Buffalo, NY — We are still road-courteous. We merge politely and allow people to switch lanes.

        • William

          Austin is nearly as bad. I quit driving on freeways in Austin before I quit driving period.

      • Randy503

        when I did have a car, long time ago, I found that to be the case here in Washington DC. People would speed up to prevent you from getting in! There is no courtesy left anymore on the road.

      • Bad Tom

        Whenever I see a signal, I try to accommodate the driver.
        But the, I try not to be an asshole.

      • Mike__in_Houston

        I would love to stop using my turn signals, for the very reason you mention. I’m amazed that people care enough about somebody getting in the lane in front of them that they would bother to speed up just to keep them from doing so.

        Another one of my favorites–and this happens more than I can ever count–is when I signal a lane change and the car directly behind me moves over into the lane I am intending to move to, speeds up, passes me, and then moves back into the original lane. This could be a comment that I am making my lane change too slowly, which could well be the case, but I’m once again surprised that the other driver would go to that much trouble and increase the risk of an accident–what if I’m not watching and change lanes anyway?–when I’ll be out of his or her way in a second or two.

    • MichaelJ

      Amen.

      Though to be fair, there are plenty of asshole cyclists in NYC where I live on the bike paths — bikers who jeopardize other cyclists. I’m talking about bikers who speed along in crowded bike paths, weaving in and out of everyone, or cyclists who pass on the right without giving any warning such as ringing a bell or shouting “on your right.”

  • Rebecca Gardner

    99% of my traveling is done on two wheels, either bicycle or motorcycle. I am sick and tired of seeing selfish, self-centered, a$$holes on their cell phones while operating a 5,000lb bullet.

    In 2009 I was rear-ended by a tractor trailer while on my motorcycle. It took me three years to walk again without the use of crutches or a cane.
    In 2015 I was T-Boned by a BMW that ran a red light. Today my neck is still so painful that surgeons are suggesting a spinal fusion.
    What do these two accidents have in common? Both drivers were on their cell phones.

    It would be my dream come true to see a law that makes causing an accident that results in injuries, because you were so fucking selfish as to drive while using your cell phone, to be treated exactly like a DUI (DWI depending on the part of country you’re from). Immediate loss of license. Massive fines. Mandatory driver training and counseling classes, and mandatory jail time for 3 or more offenses.

    • Gustav2

      Our nephew loves his motorcycle, once in a while he will drop by on a sunny weekend afternoon. WE STOP DRINKING because we want him to be completely sober when he goes home with all the assholes on the road.

    • Treant

      Welcome to Pennsylvania. For your first DUI, we laugh and let you go, ignoring all mandatory sentencing. For the second, if you suck up to the judge, we’ll give you the minimum sentence.

      Or so my useless cousin found it. But he has the advantage of being white.

      • Todd20036

        Hmm, are the judges ever worth sucking?

        • Treant

          In my experience, rarely.

          • Joe in PA

            You have experience sucking judges? Hmmm.

          • Treant

            I plead the Fifth. 🙂

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    • james1200

      Here in the Boston area, so many bicylicts were getting killed in the last few years. In certain areas, they’re expanding the side walk and putting the bike path there so hopefully that will help.

      • Jeffrey

        Wow, I thought it was just here in Las Vegas. We’ve had so man bicycle related car accidents in the past few years that people are scared to death to ride. Myself included.

        • Lars Littlefield

          Vegas seems to have a pedestrian death ever 24 hours. Two days ago it was a 1-year-old baby who was run over in a gated community.

      • Bad Tom

        If you see a Ghost Bike chained up somewhere, it is a memorial to a bicyclist killed on the spot. They are all over Boston.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aad52fcd80da2c2310c332d113a4f6d32bef3836193ab8e8308546498c40d351.jpg

        • Rebecca Gardner

          Sadly they are all over every major American city. :'(

    • skyweaver

      Jesus. I’m glad you’re alive.

    • RMJ

      Hi Rebecca,

      In TX we have a very lax helmet law, it’s $5.00 for the exemption sticker if you want to do it by the book but most riders just don’t wear helmets (cause murica n’Texas) – I sold both my bikes a few years back after a very large 4×4 truck tried to run me off an overpass because he didn’t like the fact that I tried to pass him before we reached the overpass. Had a similar experience with an SUV that sped up (had to have been doing almost 90 mph) to block me from entering an on ramp – I missed my on ramp but avoided being splattered on the pavement. In the riders safety training course they taught us not to pick fights with vehicles since riders will always lose and I found that to be a very good piece of advice but if you do end up moving to TX, be forewarned, the redneck drivers here are total assholes and take offense just because. Ride safe and watch your back. :o)

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Thanks for the Heads-Up! I’m pretty sure that Texas is going to be in my future so this is good to know.

        Oh, and speaking of Texas. If I spot anyone “Rollin’ Coal” is it legal to set their truck on fire?

        • ColdCountry

          I had to google that, and… seriously?? I used to drive truck, and black smoke would get you a ticket in a hurry. It was also looked down upon by other drivers, as not just crass, but a sign that you weren’t taking care of your vehicle. Wow.

          • pch1013

            And now people do it on purpose, and for the same reasons that they voted for Trump: to piss off libtard environazi coastal elitist snowflakes.

          • ColdCountry

            When I was growing up, being an asshole was shameful.

          • pch1013

            Now it can get you elected President.

          • (((GC)))

            They install switches to emit clouds of smoke at will.

            I encountered a coal roller in Pennsylvania, not far north of Philadelphia. Seeing my Prius may well have triggered them.

          • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

            I like the morons who coal roll and inhale deeply of the black smoke spewing out. They’ll need health care later on.

        • RMJ

          I haven’t seen anyone “Rollin Coal” yet but the number of lifted 4x4s (that require a ladder to get into) sporting rebel flags is extreme.

          What I do get (because I’m a white guy) is the assumption that I’m either racist or a trump supporter – had to set a guy straight at work when he used the phrase “those people” when referring to people signing up for the ACA.

          The other thing you’ll notice because you’re a rider and will likely be out lookin for twisties on the way to a flea market (or are flea markets just a gay-man thing?) is pretty blatant racism. When I first met my partner who grew up in a rural part of TX about an hour south of DFW, we went to breakfast at the local diner down on Main street in his home town. At the booth next to us were four retirees (2 men and 2 women) and they were speaking quite loudly ni**er this and ni**er that. I was totally shocked and started to say something but my partner stopped me. Apparently if you drive an hour outside of a metro area in TX you should be prepared for some rural redneck shit. He said his memaw used to make him wash the sheets when his black friend would stay over when they were kids and he had to actually tell her several times that you can’t say ni**er memaw. To her, it was as natural as rain.

          There are a lot of great things about TX and it’s steadily getting better but there are constant reminders of the states history and the fact that it’s basically the gateway to the south.

          • Rebecca Gardner

            This could be fun for me. One time I involved myself in a conversation about illegal aliens taking our jobs. I said, You are so right! My whole life I dreamed of a sweet strawberry picking job in the Central Valley but those God Damn illegals took my dream away from me forcing me to go to college and become a software engineer.

            I love the blank stares I get when I say shit like that.

          • RMJ

            Lol… my grandma grew up on a peach farm in the central valley and I remember as kids my parents would take us to pick strawberries – but it was considered a treat and only took about 30 minutes before we lost interest.

            And I totally agree, if undocumented workers are competing for your job, you need to step the fuck up. You’ll get no sympathy from me.

          • olandp

            I say, “My mother is black.” With my blond hair, blue eyes, and skin so fair I’m almost transparent, I get quite the look.

          • Librarykid

            Gateway? I thought it was the other end of the alimentary canal, although it is in competition with several other states for that honor. It’s like this person who eating like food would be unavailable for the rest of his life and someone said he was eating like he had three assholes. I guess the south is sorta like that.

        • Furface

          Tain’t legal, but sometimes a Very pistol has non emergency uses.

        • Mike__in_Houston

          I had never heard the expression “rollin’ coal,” so I googled it. I’ve seen that phenomenon from time to time, but had no idea that it was intentional. Incredible, even by Texas drivers’ standards.

          A couple of other observations about Texas drivers after my having driven here for over 40 years. Obviously, not every Texas driver is this big of an asshole, but in a state where road rage is the order of the day, we do tend to have more than our share:

          (a) “Cutting someone off” comes close to being a hanging offense. I occasionally hear somebody say, “He…he…he…cut me off!” “Cut me off” is defined as “got in front of me with anything less than a tenth of a mile to spare.”

          (b) I have seen drivers who would rather hit the person in front of him (or her) than slow down. Some drivers here consider it a god-given right never to have to use the brake pedal (see (a) above).

          Some years ago, I wrote a letter to the Houston Press in response to an interview with a police officer where he said, among other things, that not enough Houston drivers practice defensive driving. I wrote back and said that defensive driving is very popular in Houston, and it is very simple, having only two steps: (1) maintain speed (most important); (2) lean on your horn. I never gave the letter another thought, and a week or so later was shocked to hear a co-worker in the lunch room actually reading my words out of the paper.

          Agreed, the smartphone thing has made the highways and even the roads considerably more dangerous. It doesn’t take a scientific survey to prove this; all I have to do is glance out the window, more or less at any random moment.

          • Librarykid

            I saw a car on the expressway about 9:30 at night no lights at all, creeping at maybe 40 mph. As I pulled up along side, I saw the blue light of a screen on the driver’s face. For once, justice was served when blue and red lights lit up the little dark car and pulled it over.

          • William

            When I lived in Houston, there was an incident a couple blocks from my apartment. One motorist had shot and killed another at Richmond and Shepard because that person had honked at him. The shooter got out of his car and walked up to the window of the honker’s car and shot him.
            He said that he feared for his safety.

            Because the man had a concealed carry permit, police ruled the shooting justifiable.

          • (((GC)))

            Ugh!

        • William

          The state has random vehicle emission monitors set up along highways. Some are permanent, others are portable and get set up in different areas. My partner received a warning letter in the mail after he drove past one of those sensors. One of the spark plug cables had popped off and hit hot metal. He was on his way to the auto parts store when he tripped the emission monitor.

      • MichaelJ

        I had a similar experience 40 years ago, outside of Durham, NC, though I’m sure drivers purposefully harming bikers still happens and can happen anywhere. Riding my bike to look at a car I wanted to buy, I was cut off on and driven off of a two-lane road by a car driver annoyed with the small amount of space I was taking up. I ended up in ditch, not too bruised personally, but my bike frame was totaled.
        In the city I pretty much stick to dedicated bike lanes and paths, but I really only enjoy bike riding on relatively empty country roads.

        • pch1013

          A couple of weeks ago, some snot-nosed little shit in a Ram pickup intentionally hit four cyclists on a charity ride in Marin County. Fortunately, a passing motorcyclist caught the incident on his GoPro, and police found the attempted murderer several hours later.

          • MichaelJ

            I hope the drive was charged with attempted murder.

    • TrueWords
      • JCF

        Agreed—but there’s nothing new about drinking a beverage while driving (when accident rates were lower). Smart phones are.

    • ColdCountry

      I remember a time when almost all drunk drivers who caused a death were let go. Hopefully, the phone thing will change as well, though a lot of people will suffer and die in the meantime. I just don’t get it. I was taught that when you’re driving, you’re DRIVING, not doing anything else except maybe talking to your passenger, without looking at them or singing. And there were a lot fewer cars on the road then. I gave up my motorcycle years ago because I found that my mind was wandering while riding, and you really need to stay focused – as you well know. Driving anything is a HUGE responsibility – isn’t that taught anymore?

    • JaniceInToronto

      “mandatory jail time for 3 or more offenses”

      Why in hell would you give these dolts 3 chances. That’s -way- too many. They’ll just go kill someone else.

    • TrueWords

      Someone hit me two years ago from behind (a young man) while in the parking lot of the grocery story…I could see he was on his cell phone…it was early in the morning…nothing serious…to me or the the car

      When he stepped out of the car to assess the damage I slapped the shit out of him and said, “if you say one thing to the police I will request an ambulance and make your life HELL”…

      • Goodboy

        Funny I’ve never felt the need to assault someone over a fender bender.

        • TrueWords

          well you deserve a Milk-Dud

      • DonnaLee

        LOL….got one. My first bf hadn’t gone to the chiropractor for his neck yet. He had an old metal-body car (no fiberglass), and was built like an amateur wrestler. He was sitting at a light when he got rear-ended. When he got out, he was rubbing his neck and growling out WTF is wrong with you?? The guy behind him was thin, short and young, and his new car (very fiberglass) was smashed from the fender to the hood and was leaking antifreeze. Bf saw there was only a few scratches on his bumper, so he offered to push the car for the incredibly scared, stuttering young man to the side of the road. He also gave my ex $40 for hitting him, yet being nice enough not to kill him! Bf took the money, and suggested that if the driver was going to make a habit of hitting people with his car, he not get a convertible for his next car; due to the ease with which he could have reached in and pulled him from the car if he’d been really angry.

        I’m sure that man never had another rear-end accident again.

    • Ninja0980

      The law has yet to catch up with the technology but you are so right.
      Texting/smart phoning etc. while driving is no different then DWI/DUI and should result in the same kinds of punishment.
      I too know people that have been injured like you have and all because someone couldn’t wait five damn minutes to check their phone messages.

    • Scott MB

      I understand your concern about cars vs motorcycles and I am not saying anything personal here, just my own experience. I have ridden in the past, as well as many of my family members, so I understand the danger of car vs motorcycle/bicycle.

      That being said, I see motorcycles everyday during the riding season locally but I have yet to see a single one actually doing the speed limit. They race the roads weaving in and out of traffic, some passing me when I am doing 70 on the highway like I was standing still. Doing that they must assume the risk that they may not be seen. It isn’t a drivers fault that a motorcycle is putting everyone else in danger because he wants to race the roads to be cool for his buddies.

      Bicycles that ride halfway in the road when there is a clear bike path on the side of the road. If they are in the bike lane, they are riding the line so tight with plenty of room on their right to ride in it safely. I rarely see a bicyclist pay attention traffic signals, they will go right through a red light without any intension of stopping. Bicyclists around here think that it is 100% up to driver to watch out for them while they refuse to follow the traffic laws. When you have a bike riding a line in a bike lane and two cars passing one another at the same position as the bike then the bicyclist should be aware that he/she will get buzzed. They need to accept that since the fact that they put themselves in danger as they refuse to stay safely in their designated lane.

      It is not only the fault of drivers not paying attention it is also on the two wheeled drivers as well. When you are going 100+ mph, riding in the middle of a lane meant for a car, or not following traffic laws thing can happen and it is just as much the fault of the car driver as it is the motorcycle or bicycle rider.

      As to people on their phones while driving, I completely think it should be treated no different than a DUI. However, they just get a ticket and are on their way, at least around here. They should be arrested and phone confiscated. Their insurance premiums should reflect the violation just as it would for driving drunk. Subsiquent violations should include manditory jail time and loss of license. Once someone looses a $900 phone and soends a couple months in jail, loosing their job because of it, and insurance premiums jump through the roof maybe they will think the next time. But who knows it doesn’t seem to make drunk drives think twice.

    • narutomania

      Agreed. 1,000x agreed.

    • Lars Littlefield

      Move to Nevada and your wish is granted. The Silver State has the strictest no phone/texting law of the books.

    • charemor

      I gave up riding my motorcycyle for that very reason; it was simply too dangerous to be out on the road.

  • Todd20036

    There’s a reason I see myself more as a target than as a pedestrian on the streets in DC, and fortunately for me, cars rarely move faster than 25 miles per hour in Dupont.

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    “I heard it is because Barack Obama has been driving the past 10 months. Thats what I have been told.” – Asshole in the White House

    • james1200

      I also heard that Barack Obama doesn’t call the families of those he has run over. Some people are saying that, many people.

  • netxtown

    I only recently went from a basic phone to a smartphone. Two weeks with that fucking thing resulted in a castration of all but its basic functions. No email. No gps. No google store. No auto-install some fucking goofy app. Even the goofy apps that were pre-installed are long gone.

    As for texting…if it takes more than 2 texts, I’m done with it. I’ll call them and head it off at the pass. Besides, the “keyboards” are not for fat manly fingers!…and you just can’t trust auto-correct to say the right thing…..

    • Joe in PA

      You forgot “get off my lawn”!!

      (teasing!)

      • netxtown

        dammit…this getting older thing….now where’s my news paper……..

        • djcoastermark

          Newspapers, still good for swatting them dang pesky kids off your lawn too. ( guilty here of reading the “papers” everyday.)

        • orion dumptee

          Sometimes i talk on the phone in my car..when i park it close enuff to my outside porch jack.(4 prong).and the cord is long enuff to reach

          • netxtown

            had to laugh at that. I used to have like a 20ft cable attached to my land line phone. I was sooo cool! I could go from room to room and yap on the phone. Of course, at a certain point, I’d have to unplug and untwist the wire cuz it was all knotted up.

          • RMJ

            lol… what is this “land line” you speak of?

            All the old jacks in my house have long been covered over by flat wall plates. My friends kid actually asked me what the plate on the kitchen wall was for. I had to explain the concept. I feel so old…

          • AmeriCanadian

            That’s when you tell them it’s a built-in WiFi antenna but it only works for people who have been enlightened and, sadly, they are not.

          • RMJ

            Actually my friends two boys actually read books. They definitely like their video games and iPad’s but we recently went out to dinner and both of them brought a book with them and read through dinner. I was so impressed but my friend and his wife are definitely raising their kids right. I do have other friends with kids that fit your description though and I’m totally using that ;o)

          • Adam King

            I became adept at the elegant art of flipping the cord so it would followed obediently around corners.

          • orion dumptee

            ha ha ..same here…we had phone jacks in just a few rooms,and lots of cords..still have the phones

          • orion dumptee
        • RMJ

          What is this “news paper” you speak of?

        • -M-
    • Gustav2

      That’s how we know Trump has tiny hands.

      • Tawreos

        And yet, covfefe

    • JAX

      There’s an app for “fat finger” syndrome: Swiftkey

    • greenmanTN

      Manly fingers? Todd Starnes, is that you?! 😉

      • netxtown

        sorry it took me so long to reply…I was buffing my nails….:)

      • Mike__in_Houston

        My hands are probably smaller than The Screaming Cheeto’s and my fingers are still too big for the virtual keypad on my iPhone 5c. I’m thinking of upgrading sometime soon. How does it work for those of you who have 7s and above with there being no earphone jack?

        • greenmanTN

          I often use voice recognition, but it can get comical. You. Have. To. Speak. Like. This, and ALWAYS double check before hitting send!

          • WildwoodGuy

            No kidding!! Try to get voice recognition to understand the name “Klaudija” versus “Claudia”! Or my Sicilian friend’s last name of Ceserani. Speaking slowly and having to indicate punctuation marks makes for a much clearer message as an end result, however!

    • Ernest Endevor

      As the kids say, check out podcasts. If you spend time driving you can hear many interesting podcasts that will stream from your smartphone to your car radio. Maybe not your car radio but you can do as I did for mine, buy a bluetooth speaker that can live in the car. And if I have to explain about bluetooth… well, I tried that already with the hubby and once is enough.

      • netxtown

        the irony is that i am a wirehead. I have spent my whole life emerged in technology….even attending IT conventions on both coasts…and my adoration for technical progress is towards areas that actually do something rather than just entertain and/or distract boredom.

      • ColdCountry

        What is this car radio you speak of? And as for bluetooth….

    • Tom Furgas

      I’ll bet you have fat manly somethingelse too. ;^)

    • Droz

      Swiftkey is the best auto-correct/guessing what you’ll type next/keyboard replacement app there is. Assuming you have an Android that is.

    • Jeffrey

      Not beings smartass but then why did you get a smartphone?

      • netxtown

        that’s easy. the other one died.

      • WildwoodGuy

        In my case, my old slab phone wasn’t able to upgrade to 4G… and the only option was the ISP’s ‘free’ phone… or purchase a new iPhone 5s. I’d had that old slab phone since 1994! Worked just great! And I could always tell everyone that they couldn’t text me because the phone didn’t have that functionality.

    • Mike__in_Houston

      I remember responding to a text on a help line a couple of years ago. The person on the other end told me flat-out that he would not talk to me on the phone and that he would only communicate by text. I told him that I did not engage in lengthy conversations–which calls to this help line tend to be–by text, and that I would try to find somebody else to contact him. That was the last I heard from him.

      Two texts seems about right to me as well; after that, I pick up the phone and call. One can have a two-minute phone call that would require at least twenty minutes by text. Why the kids prefer texting is beyond me.

      I also hate people who text me to that same help line, which means I will invariably not know them, and then not give at least their first name. My first reply is always, “Who’s calling, please?” My second is often, “Please call me at this number.”

      • stuckinthewoods

        We don’t have any of these devices. I’m finding people assume that everyone does. Recently a friend was to provide information and I didn’t respond to her. She had texted it…to our landline number.

  • james1200

    “Last week on my trip down to Atlantic City, I got an alert on my iPhone that offered to silence my phone since it appeared that I was driving. It turns out that’s a new feature of the latest iOS.”

    I’m no technophobe, I love all this stuff, but damn if this doesn’t send a chill up my spine anyway. They know *everything* about us and what we’re doing. Hope I live long enough to see us merging with all this technology and becoming something other than human (we have stopped evolving as humans, hence Trump, so we’re obviously going to have to force it, lol.) But then again, I also hope I don’t live long enough to see it. I’m a little confused. It’s already happening, too.

    http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/the-future-is-android/

    https://78.media.tumblr.com/002630e40e3515a9cfd54204881b4eca/tumblr_nnjzkcm4ex1tslewgo1_500.gif

    • pch1013

      In this case, it’s fairly innocuous – smartphones contain GPS receivers that can tell when they’re moving above a certain speed. Dash-mounted GPS systems have had similar functionality for years – they’re not supposed to let you fiddle with them while the car is moving.

    • boatboy_srq

      You should try the auto insurance apps that track your driving habits to encourage better driving through lower rates. Good for your premiums, but OMEFFSM.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        OMEFFSM?

        • boatboy_srq

          Oh My Even BLEEPing FSM. Pastafarian spin on an old Southern exclamation.

    • Adam King

      People with robot hands often get caught in a time loop.

  • PickyPecker
    • Joe in PA

      The worst are the hands free conversations…you don’t know who they are talking to. Really, you are THAT busy that you can’t hold a phone to your ear?

      Yes yes, that is usually followed by “now get off my lawn!”. 🙂

      • TuuxKabin

        “And stay off.”

      • PickyPecker

        Customers in my business often have their phones with them (in hand, always for some reason) and I have noted that when broken down to basics, conversations most always consist of ‘I’m here….where are you?’

        • djcoastermark

          Right here.

        • boatboy_srq

          I once overheard a business transaction – real business, not contracting a “companion,” mind you – in the bathroom. Complete with user credentials and account numbers.

          • pch1013

            I always make a point of flushing the toilet whenever I hear someone on the phone in the bathroom at work. Sometimes I have to flush twice.

          • Joe in PA

            Oh that’s just mean. I like it. 🙂

          • ColdCountry

            I used to work night desk in a hotel, and as the only employee there, I had to take the phone with me anytime I left the desk. Every now and then it would ring when I was in the bathroom with someone would be requesting reservation information. I’d always ask them to wait a minute as I was away from the desk. If they gave me attitude, and a few did, I would make a point of holding the phone near the toilet when I flushed. Usually quieted them down.

          • ColdCountry

            I hate being in a public restroom and having the person in the next stall suddenly start talking. Especially if they start with, “Hi!” Awkward.

      • djcoastermark

        Yep. Years ago, when one would encounter a person on the street or in a shop, and they were talking to themselves, we assumed they were crazy. Now it just means they “might be” talking on a handsfree device. Still = crazy tho.

        • Keroleen

          I still engage in “On the phone or off their meds?” people-watching on occasion, especially if the person in question is particularly animated.

      • greenmanTN

        The first time I saw someone having a Bluetooth conversation I watched in fascination because I thought I was watching a schizophrenic talking to themselves.

        • boatboy_srq

          There’s a lot of us who thought similar things that first time.

          Not sure what that says about the state ot US mental health services.

        • Karl Dubhe

          I saw someone talking to himself yesterday.

          I noticed because he wasn’t really having a conversation, he was just talking about whatever entered his head at the time; loudly.

          • greenmanTN
          • Karl Dubhe

            Oh, no. He was harmless, or rather, was only harming himself. 🙁

          • ColdCountry

            I work with someone like that. He’s not nuts, just kinda on another plane of existence, and what he is saying does make sense, if you can figure out the context. We have a customer like that, and one day the two of them were having a conversation. It was entertaining for me, to say the least, and they seemed to be enjoying it as well.

          • Karl Dubhe

            I’m not saying that this guy was nuts either. He was just talking to himself without a phone there. It was odd, so I noticed it of course. 🙂

          • WildwoodGuy

            I think there is a scene similar to that in the movie Latter Days. Cute guy trying to hit on someone with earbuds on and a cord going down to his pocket. Cute guy ‘accidentally’ pulls the cord out of the other guys pocket and realizes it isn’t actually attached to anything at all.

        • ColdCountry

          I’m a cashier at a convenience store, and every now and then someone will come in wearing a phone(?) in the ear away from me. They’ll wander back to study the beer selection, and suddenly start talking. Startles the shit outta me.

      • marshlc

        I’m hard of hearing, so use a bluetooth with my smart phone that connects directly to my hearing aids. If I actually hold the phone up to my head, I get feedback, so it works best if the phone is in my pocket.

      • WildwoodGuy

        WOW! That is one of the coolest things I love about my new iPhone! I can be out working in the garden and a call will come in… I’ll answer and we can talk while I continue working. Or when I’m in the kitchen cooking; absolutely love it!

    • “Neigh”? Who wrote this, Mr. Ed?

  • worstcultever

    I never touch my ancient flip phone – or even my ancient iPod – unless I am stopped at a light. Fat lotta good it’ll do me when the smartphone army comes to take me out. Oh well, it could have been a mass shooting!

  • Acronym Jim

    “By 2015, almost 70 percent of Americans were using their phones to share photos and follow news events via social media. In just two additional years, that figure has jumped to 80 percent.”

    Thank you drivers playing Angry Birds and Candy Crush for being part of the problem. Oregon just passed a distracted driver law. I hope it helps.

  • CanuckDon

    Driving gives me the chance to get away from the constant distraction of the online world. Too bad others don’t see this benefit.

    • boatboy_srq

      Getting from place to place is so inconvenient: it distracts from one’s vital tweeting.

      /s

      TXTnDRV is definitely a thing. And not a good one.

      I’d be interested in learning how many of the pedestrian casualties were TXTnWALKing. So many I’ve seen crossing the street no longer even look up. The drivers are bad, but c’mon people….

      • pch1013

        Texting and bicycling is a thing too, at least where I live.

        • boatboy_srq

          TXTnPEDAL? Really? Wow.

        • Karl Dubhe

          And I thought I was a crazy cyclist when I used to ride thru Canadian winters. When we used to have real f’n winters too.

          (that’s the reason I have hair on my chest.)

        • ColdCountry

          Talk about living dangerously!

      • Furface

        I’ve had a few walk into the side of my moving pickup, no injuries; and then have ’em yell at me. It’s my fault they stepped into moving traffic?! I long for the days when drivers had skills, not friggin’ phones.

      • Mike__in_Houston

        For many years I had a wonderful time talking to truck drivers on the CB; besides being a great way to stay awake in the car late at night, it was an even better way to make some short-term in-person friendships. These days, one can find nary a truck driver on the CB; they are all on their phones. Still, I have had a CB in every car since my second one (which I bought in 1981, when the CB craze was already starting to wane) and I will continue to do so; hope springs eternal that one day this smartphone “fad” (as James Cagney said about talking pictures in Footlight Parade) will pass. Of course, I’m so old now that it probably wouldn’t matter if it did…

  • Mark McGovern

    Driving the interstate highways reveals many many many drivers texting and driving. I mean many at any given time. I watch for this when I’m a passenger.

    • another_steve

      My state, Maryland, has laws making that and handheld cellphone use illegal… but how do you enforce such laws?

      • Mark McGovern

        The only way I can think of is some sort of electronic intervention, or massive fines and jail for infractions.

        Electronic wise, if the phone detects you are in the car, all handheld options would be disabled, leaving only the Blue Tooth.

  • Do Something Nice

    In San Francisco, the plague of Uber and Lyft drivers with their attention focused upon their smartphones has created constant traffic clusterfuck.

    I believe that these companies have rules that the car cannot be more than 3 years old, so a good rule for driving in SF is that in multi-lane streets, always get behind the older car as it is most likely not Uber.

  • TuuxKabin

    OT: but, NOW WE KNOW — Warning for the parents of teenage children: It is possible to scream so hard your lungs could collapse. That’s what happened to a 16-year old girl from Texas at a One Direction concert. The case, which doctors called boy band-induced pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, and pneumoretropharyngeum, was published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

    • Gustav2

      Going to an One Direction concert would kill me.

  • Lee Grupsmith-Pedersen

    There have been more times I can count where I am crossing the street in an intersection (with a green light) and a car come barrelling right at me. The driver is obviously on the phone one way or another. I’ve been tempted to make my last stand by pointing my own phone at them and snapping their license plate before they run me over. For some reason when they see that the brakes come on. Fast.

    • I was nearly run down on my bike at an intersection by a woman paying more attention to her phone than to what was going on around her. She didn’t even slow down, just mouthed at me through her (closed) window “I’m so sorry!” To which I mouthed back, “You stupid cow, watch where you’re going.”

      I should add that she was a stereotypical yuppie: SUV (before they were a thing), full of kids in the back, on her phone while driving.

      I should also add that it’s now illegal in Illinois to use hand-held devices while driving. So people use their earbuds to hold conversations on their cell phones and still don’t pay attention to what they’re doing.

      • LeeCMH

        I quit riding on highways and other busy streets on my bike. I only use trails. I quit mingling with cars on my bike about ten years ago, as it was already becoming clear people were not paying attention.

        • This was on a residential street in the middle of a weekday.

      • boatboy_srq

        Isn’t it rich how they think a disingenuous throwaway apology offsets their potentially-fatal self-centredness?

  • Adam Stevens

    Here in Los Angeles it has reached ridiculous proportions. You can easily pass 6 or 7 cars without a single driver inside them even looking at the road. They literally drive while looking down into their lap, since it is illegal to use phones in your car here.

    Mostly, I find it astounding that people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others so they can ‘LOL’ and emoji wink at a Kim Kardashian tweet.

  • Daveed_WOW

    For the love of all that is holy (oh wait I’m an atheist), put your phone away while you are driving. It’s like reading a magazine on the freeway. Beyond the pale. Why aren’t people being pulled over for this?

    • boatboy_srq

      LEOs are too busy stopping people for Driving While Blah.

      • Bad Tom

        I was rear-ended on Storrow drive at a construction site. No damage.

        The LEO in front of us missed it, because HE was on HIS cellphone!

  • Ken M

    Are we sure it’s the phones? I was car (SUV) shopping and was met with alot of this, and more. http://www.carnectiv.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2017-Ford-Fusion-Sport-front-interior.jpg Yes, there is a button/knob for shifting gears.

    • Adam King
      • Ken M

        And to think it was a safer drive, and much nicer looking as well. Nothing on the road today will ever have the status of a “Classic.”

      • OCW

        What car is that? It looks very much like the 1962 Plymouth Belvedere I had

        • Adam King

          Don’t know.

    • boatboy_srq

      You would be amazed at all the drivers of all those connectable vehicles who don’t bother with all the handsfree functions and reach for their bricks instead.

    • Rebecca Gardner

      Everything in my car will can be controlled by your voice and while the vehicle is moving the car will not let you fuck around with all the pretty things on the dashboard so you aren’t distracted. That should be how all cars work. It’s just too important a safety feature.

  • another_steve

    I’m an advocate of mandatory in-car technology that disables handheld devices.

    Seat belts are now mandatory; why not something like the above?

    • Bad Tom

      Such technology should still allow 911 calls.

      • another_steve

        Good point, Tom.

  • Natty Enquirer

    Phone zombies shuffling along on foot are a hazard, too. At least a couple of times a week, I have to cry “Watch out!” to keep some bent-neck from running into me.

    • LeeCMH

      I’ve had the habit of whistling or singing out loud to get the phone zombies to look up and avoid walking into me.

      • boatboy_srq

        I bump right into them. “Oh, I’m SO sorry; were you in my way?” Works wonders deflating self-important egos.

        • LeeCMH

          That’s why I stop. When they walk into me, I am stationary.

          They clearly walked into me. I usually do not apologize. I usually say, curtly, “watch where you are going.”

          Same deflation.

          • boatboy_srq

            I stopped the curt responses after observing how wingnuts broadcast the same attitude when you’re merely somewhere in their sightline.

            I once stopped to tell a (tourist) couple that their reverse lights were out. They had been backing up on a BLEEPing major highway, and I had had to zig to avoid them. For my trouble I got a “you should watch where you’re going.” Exsqueeze me? Your car is a rolling road hazard, and you’re operating it illegally, and that’s MY fault? I do NOT think so.

          • AmeriCanadian

            Yep…blame anyone else except themselves. I was in the right lane of a two lane expressway and the car to my left began drifting into my lane. I honked my horn. They swerved back into their lane and then honked at me and gave me the finger.

          • boatboy_srq

            You DARED to use your horn to get their attention! You horrible person you.

            I wonder whether there is a correlation here with the Reichwingnuts who get busted for their bad behavior. It’s always the horrible liebrulsoshulist press’ fault, or the activist judges’, or some other segment.

          • Natty Enquirer

            Everyone knows that the horn is there to express disapproval, not to warn of hazards or some nancy thing like that.

          • boatboy_srq

            Not even that anymore. It’s become the automotive equivalent of “look at MEEEE!!11!1!”

          • LeeCMH

            The blame others syndrome for one’s own transgressions is prevalent in prison populations.

            Whenever you hear criminals’ explanations of their crimes, they always use the third person when referring to themselves. Or de-reference themselves from from their crimes.

            Example: “He shouted and the gun went off.” Yes the gun in “his” hands.

          • boatboy_srq

            Sounds a bit too much like Rummy’s “mistakes were made”.

    • M Jackson

      Guilty, but I’m looking for an address on a map app trying to figure out where i’m going.

      • Adam King

        Stand still while you do so.

        • LeeCMH

          Exactly!

      • stevenj

        Never stop and ask another carbon unit for directions. That would be so…..yesterday.

        • M Jackson

          Asking for directions is for women.

  • Silver Badger

    I loathe and detest my smart phone, but I have to have it for work. I got along just fine with a land line and considered voice mail to be intrusive. Now, I’m expected to be available to the world 24-7. Beware anyone who calls me after 7:00 P.M. You won’t like what you get.

    • -M-

      See if your phone has automatic Do Not Disturb settings for time, place, and driving.

      • Silver Badger

        It does, but I must be available in case of emergency. It had damn well better be an emergency.

        • -M-

          It should have exceptions for important numbers.

          • Silver Badger

            Unfortunately, there are 108 unites I. Important numbers.

    • Adam King

      I have no mobile phone, and rarely answer my land line. If you call me, leave a message. (I’m enjoying the privileges of retirement and keeping you damn kids off of my lawn.)

      • kareemachan

        Ditto. Although, I have to admit we don’t have a cellphone cuz no coverage where we live. Bummer. 😉

      • bzrd

        Leaving the house is to go to the dog park, grocery store, restaurant or visit friends thus no need for a cell. At home the land line identifies the caller sometimes so leave a message, you’ll get a return call if I know you.

  • JustDucky

    As is so often the case, they have already figured this shit out in parts of Europe:

    “A traffic engineer in the Netherlands, Hans Monderman (1945 – 2008) turned urban transportation planning upside down with the groundbreaking concept of ‘Shared Space.’ His idea is disarmingly simple: remove traffic lights, signs, crosswalks, lane markers and even curbs so that pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists must negotiate their way through streets by interacting with, and reacting to, one another.

    Monderman’s work demonstrated that city and village streets become safer when they are stripped of traffic controls so that drivers must take cues from observing people rather than signs. Though it sounds chaotic, the results of Shared Space have shown to be just the opposite: traffic moves slower and the rate of major accidents declines drastically.”

    https://www.pps.org/reference/hans-monderman/

    “A wide road with a lot of signs is… saying, go ahead, don’t worry, go as fast as you want, there’s no need to pay attention to your surroundings. And that’s a very dangerous message.” — Hans Monderman

    • Natty Enquirer

      How does slower traffic result in shorter trip times?

      • pch1013

        Because of fewer accidents, I assume.

        • Bad Tom

          Then it is a wildly skewed distribution where applying an average is a suspect calculation.

      • JustDucky

        Unfortunately I don’t have access to their data so I can’t give you a definitive answer but my best guess is that because additional speed makes a fairly minimal difference in travel time* (except in cases of interstate driving over long distances) the time saved by eliminating stop signs and stop lights and lane markers is sufficient to more than compensate for the time lost to decreased speed.

        * https://lifehacker.com/does-speeding-really-get-you-there-any-faster-1556767685

  • Tom Furgas

    This is the world we live in now, where every doctor’s office I go to has prominent signage imploring patients to shut their stinking cellphones off. Because most fools don’t understand that the doctor does not want to talk to them about their health while they have their heads buried in that stupid gadget.

  • boatboy_srq

    Interesting bit related to the “get off my lawn” elder-specific Luddism. It’s anecdotal to be sure, but the worst TXTnDRV and TXTnPED offenders I see are in the late-thirtysomething-to-fiftysomething cadre. So it’s more Teh Olds playing invulnerable MOTU in this part of the world and not so much the kids. Then again, this is metro DC, where everyone is more important than you, doing more important business than you and needing to get someplace more badly than you, so I’m not sure the behavior is changed by the smartphones all that much.

    • Furface

      Ah, DC. Managed a large condo complex in NoVa that was a hive of A-type personalities who are legends in their own minds. Used to tell folks DC was a smallish company town of southern efficiency and northern charm.

  • Ken M

    Maybe we shouldn’t be giving too much credit for common sense when only 19 states have Universal helmet laws (All motorcyclists must wear a helmet.) 28 have limited law, and 3 have none. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/helmetuse/mapmotorcyclehelmets

    • m_lp_ql_m

      Oh, and yes, I’ve seen motorcyclists driving with cell phone in hand. As a motorcyclist myself, I don’t mind their fatality.

      • Bad Tom

        Wow.
        What were they giving up? Throttle/front brake or clutch?
        Because it’s one or the other.

        You can get throttle sets. Rear brake usually doesn’t have the authority of the front.

        Just not safe.

        • m_lp_ql_m

          It is possible to hold a cell in one hand while doing something else unfortunately. This guy was looking at his cell when he wasn’t clutching.
          There are cell phone mounts specifically for motorcycles if you need to use Googlemap directions, but even though…

    • Elsewhere1010

      Lately here in SF I’ve been seeing between one and three powered unicycles a week. (They’re cool, so it seems.) Have yet to see one rider with a helmet or any protective clothing, and a few seemed to be dressed for work.

      I call them “Organ Donors”.

      • pch1013

        I’ve been seeing a lot of people on those red electric scooters wearing 3/4 helmets with the chin straps unfastened. Derp.

      • CB

        My friend an ER doc has long called motorcycles, “donor cycles.”

  • LeeCMH

    Using a smartphone while driving should garner the same penalties as drunk driving.

    • It’s a $500 fine here for the first offense. I don’t know if they are enforcing it. That’s not as serious as drunk driving but it’s enough to be a deterrent for most people.

    • Natty Enquirer

      Apple won’t let that happen.

  • Let’s see. I can’t go anywhere here in north Texas without being jammed up because of an accident. Here are some things I regularly see that are problems that lead to accidents. 1) Texting. That may be #1. They aren’t looking where they are going while they are driving. Yes, that will lead to accidents. 2) People driving way too fast. I don’t mean a little above the speed limit. I mean 20-30mph or more over the speed limit. 3) Construction. It’s about over but the interstate near me has been under construction for years and the lanes are often very narrow. Even so people are texting and driving too fast. I lost count of how many times a car near me scraped the concrete barriers. And of course two miles later the traffic gets backed up because the rammed their car into that barrier. 4) Driving in other people’s blind spot. I don’t know why they can’t fix this problems but we have areas where we can’t see with the mirrors. For some reason even if there are only two cars within several blocks, someone is almost always cruising along in my blind spot. 5) People are fucking assholes. They can see that you signaled to turn left into the next lane but they decide to pass you ON THE LEFT. (or right, as the case may be).

    So no I’m not surprised at all that there are more accidents. People are obviously not being taught how to drive safely and too many are assholes who really don’t care about anyone else’s safety.

    • pch1013

      Many newer cars have blind-spot sensors – I can see them lighting up when I’m splitting past them on my motorcycle.

      • LeeCMH

        Yea, but if the person is paying attention to their smartphone, they don’t see the road, much less blind spot indicators.

      • fuow

        On our vintage Sedan deVille (blind spot city), I found that by leaving the rear-view camera on with motion detection, I have blind spot warning. It’s not as fast as the real thing, but better than nothing. Still find my ancient driving training from Germany useful: Assume, always assume someone is right on the left or right of your car and turn your head and look before making a lane change.
        It’s sad that the 1974 deVille has had fewer repairs in her life than any of the 2015+ caddies. GM needs to get their shit together and that right soon.

    • kareemachan

      I’m an oldster, but when I took driver’s ed, it was 6 weeks of intensive study and practice. Tests every week, and if you flunked one, you had to redo that week’s work. Nowadays, not so much from a private company and one, count them, one day’s practice on the freeway.

      • I took it over the summer so it wasn’t that many weeks, but we did a lot of driving with the instructor and the final was an all-day road trip. We even drove to the nearest hilly area to practice using the D1 and D2 gears (which came in handy years later when I actually had to drive downhill a lot).

  • fkevin

    I was quite surprised to see this occur in the UK. Hopefully it is not all bark and no bite: Drivers who kill will now face life sentence

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/oct/14/drivers-who-kill-may-now-face-life-sentence

  • LeeCMH

    Remember the mall security video showing the woman walking, then falling right into a fountain while staring at her smartphone?

    She sued the mall for releasing the video and embarrassing her.

    • Natty Enquirer

      “Soon after she took her story to the press, it was later found that she had a long criminal record that dates back to the 90s for various things. More recently however, she was convicted in October 2009 for stealing a co-worker’s credit card and making purchases that totaled $5,000. The offenses doesn’t stop there because Marrero also has several theft cases on her record as well as a hit-and-run charge. Once that was out and in the open, Marrero quickly decided to drop the lawsuit she was pursuing against the mall.”

      https://www.phonearena.com/news/Texting-woman-who-fell-into-a-fountain-is-dropping-her-lawsuit-against-the-mall_id16137

      • LeeCMH

        Thanks for the update.

      • paganguy

        Reconfirming that judging the outcomes of her actions is not her strong suit.

        • LeeCMH

          Just guessing, I submit it was the lawyer who determined the viability of the suit.

          • paganguy

            Probably. But she had to know that her past would come out and work against her.

  • Randy503

    I don’t have a car, so I rent when I need to go long distances. While driving back the last time a few months ago, the highway was pretty empty, so I was looking at the cell phone trying to find a song to play so I could sing along.

    I almost got into a high speed accident because of that. The guy gave me the finger (which I deserved, I admit). I pulled over and took a break. THEN I set up the playlist, and drove back without incident.

    I learned my lesson. Plan ahead and don’t text and drive.

  • fuow

    There’s an auto-generated text message and a voicemail not that I’m driving and will respond to the sender/caller as soon as possible. In an emergency, call me on my car’s telephone number.
    It works. I’m not distracted and if someone does both have my car’s phone number and sees the need, I’m happy to pull over.
    There’s no way for the human mind to grasp how many meters one covers in a second when driving. No possible way.

  • Randy503

    Several years ago, I read a book named Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt (2009). He is a traffic engineer and put into layman’s words what the engineers know, and what we need to know. It’s a fascinating book — especially the chapter on how difficult it is to design a safe road.

    Anyhoo, he says that by far the single greatest cause of traffic accidents is switching lanes. (It’s possible that phone usage has leapt ahead, but no question this is still a major cause of accidents). His advice is to pick a lane and STICK TO IT. Do not change lanes, and doing so does not appreciably save you any time.

    Since then, I have taken his advice, and I can’t tell you how much better the drive is! You just focus on the car in front of you, keep your space, and relax. The stress levels have gone way down, and driving is almost pleasurable again. Whether you are commuting or doing a long distance drive, do NOT change lanes. Just stay in one lane until you need to exit and that will go a long way to reducing the carnage.

    • MaryJOGrady

      When I drive, I shall remember this.

    • WildwoodGuy

      Very interesting! I haven’t read the book, but I’m going to look for it. Actually, have been driving this way for many years now… and when I know the area I’m driving and which lanes will eventually be lost on the right or merge either with entering or exiting traffic, I pick the lane I know is going to go the farthest toward my destination exit and stay there. And you’re absolutely correct! It does *ALMOST* make driving pleasurable again!

    • trouble94114

      It used to drive my partner nuts when I would do this. But like a well trained rat, I would invariably follow the exact same track from point A to point B and invariably position myself in the correct lane to wind up where I needed to be when I got home.

      Case in point, I happen to know that if, after shopping at a particular shopping center, I get into the second lane from the left on the freeway, it will deposit me in front of my doorstep 5.2 miles up the road.

    • OCW

      The other day I woke up with a kink in my neck and could not turn my head to the right. I had to drive about ten miles to my appointment, and I was nervous about my immobility. So I got behind a big truck that was going about 50 and stayed right there all the way to my destination. Avoided all the lane changing, aggresssive, and impatient folks who were on the road.

  • kareemachan
    • Hunter M

      Recent studies definitely show that these new dash controls take the drivers eyes off the road longer. Which of course is adding to the number of accidents. I drive for a living, I see it all the time.

    • Pip

      My favorite is the fact that you can play movies and shows on the dashboard controls. I have actually seen people watching TV as they speed down the highway. Nothing says I want to die like watching your dashboard TV as you fly down mountain highways at 75 mph.

  • Tomcat

    Note to self, refuse to ride in back.

  • Tomcat

    But Millennial’s cannot do without all these life saving gadgets.

    • LeeCMH

      We are lurching towards the hive mind.

      The Borg.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    When I drive I put the phone in the trunk, to avoid even the near occasion of sin.

    • MaryJOGrady

      Good for you! I wish everyone did that.

  • pj

    i was hit last year while riding my bike by a woman driving too fast while on her cell phone. she stopped her van , still on the cell phone, got out and walked back to me , still on the cell phone. meanwhile i didnt want to go in an ambulance to the hospital . i was banged up but decided to just walk away from the situation. the woman, still on her cellphone, got back in her van and drove away. without a word to me.

    • pch1013

      I would have taken that phone from her and flung it far away.

      • pj

        i wish i had.

  • CB

    It’s not just drivers! I cycle in NYC as my primary mode of transportation. The number of people who have stepped out in front of me with their heads in their phones against the light is, well, no longer surprising.

    Drivers are terrible, too, and a woman hit me yesterday, not badly. I was watching. But she was texting as she was driving. You see a lot when you cycle, and I would say a significant portion of drivers in Manhattan are engaged with some device that isn’t the darn car.

    I was hit one other time by someone who told me I had no right to be on the street, and he was in a hurry to get to the airport. That one was intentional. No injury there, either, fortunately.

    BUT, the thing about this is that it makes everyone who uses the streets in any way responsible to watch out for others. Rather than looking at the light and your surroundings, you make me have to take care of you. All very well and good if I’m paying attention, but when two people are otherwise engaged, the prospect of an accident is exponentially greater.

    One funny thing: I was crossing 5th Avenue at 23rd Street recently, and an elderly woman with a walker just walked out into the street against the walk light. When a car screeched to a halt and gave a honk on the horn, she turned, stood up from her hunched over position and flipped him off. It ain’t just the millennials who are valuing entitlement over common sense, safety or civic engagement.

  • JWC

    Just don’t do it. There is nothing so witty or captivating that is worth dying for.That precious little gem of wisdom ,cute pic or snappy snark all can wait for 20 nins and be sent when its safe

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    When driving, I treat my phone like a sleeping baby and leave it in its cradle until we stop. Nothing is so urgent that you need to be one the phone while driving, but if you feel the need to answer or check in, then get off the road, put the car in park then use your phone; it’s not rocket science to figure this out.

    • MaryJOGrady

      As a longtime cyclist and bicycle commuter, you have my deepest thanks.
      Remembering the close calls I’ve had thanks to drivers using phones fairly makes my hair stand on end.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        I hear you. I’m also an avid cyclist and yeah, close calls, I’ve more than my share.

  • stevenj

    In the last few years I’ve nearly hit a guy who walked right into a crosswalk against a red light (looking down at his phone), a guy zooming down a hill through a 4 way stop intersection on his skateboard while texting – with his dog on it’s leash running behind him and nearly broadsided an illegal U turning Uber driver who was right in front of me (with his phone in one hand) who suddenly made his turn. The slow moving vehicles in front of me with drivers looking up and down rapidly get my horn.

  • boobert

    DUH ! It takes about a minute driving to see some ass driving while on the phone.

  • I got that alert offering to silence my phone when I was a passenger on San Francisco’s public transit. Made me laugh.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Back in 1995 I was driving a rental car, zooming around the curvy back roads of north San Antonio trying to find a Lubys. My coworker’s phone rang, she yammered away for a minute and then handed me her phone to talk with another coworker on the other end. That was the first time I ever talked on a mobile phone while driving. It was also the last time. Everyone used to think I was just being weird and difficult for refusing to drive and talk or text. I was also adamant about prohibiting twit heads from smoking in bars, restaurants, public buildings, and in cars with other people. Imagine what other stuff I’ve been ahead of the curve about. Yes, My poop does not stink (much). 🙂

    Here in the Behave State if you see someone talking or texting in their car while they’re driving you can run into them and sue them into the next century for lots of money.

  • Mike Solo

    Well, if more Americans would drive manual, it wouldn’t be a problem! Even when I was still in the US, I always drove manual, and now in the UK, I find it nearly impossible to use my mobile while driving manual and on the narrow roads. A lot of cars now have apple car play or android auto, even the cheapest ones so you can still use your phone, but in a safer manner. US needs to follow suit.

    I’m currently working on the engineering for the new Jaguar E-Pace, and it astounded me that these features are being offered in the US not because of market demand, but its cheaper to make a standard infotainment unit with this for all markets than two separate ones. Go figure…..

  • Ginger Snap

    Never ever use my phone in the car and it is usually in my briefcase, only exception if it’s mounted giving me directions.

  • kladinvt

    As a pedestrian, I’ve nearly been run over 3 times, by distracted drivers and as far as biking goes, I’ve given up, unless I can ride on a designated bike path, where no vehicles are permitted.

  • Bj Lincoln

    Neither the wife or I touch our phone while driving. She drives a 5 speed truck so it’s hard anyway but she would never use the phone with an automatic. I did it once and had a hard time driving. Never again. Her phone has some program that sends a return text saying she is driving and will text them ASAP. It also rolls over to voicemail if someone calls. All because the phone knows she is in a car moving. I smoke, have a beverage and listen to the radio sometimes and that is bad enough.

  • stuckinthewoods

    Inattention has gotten so bad here that the highway department rippled the center of our 55 mph road’s pavement into a rumble strip to alert drivers drifting across the center line.

  • JCF

    I don’t doubt. I’m sure too many drivers are like my brother: “No phone while driving? No, that’s for unsafe drivers—I’m really good!” [Dunning-Kroger Effect of drivers, sigh.]

  • fuzzybits

    Who are all these important people we have to talk to now while behind the wheel?

  • Gerard

    In Ireland, Toyota and Topaz (a filling station chain) have released an app called face it down. If you leave your phone face down while driving (in any car, doesn’t have to be a Toyota), you get a point for every kilometre you travel and you can spend the points in Topaz gas stations. It’s fairly new, but I think the take-up is quite high. Most people realise the dangers of phones in cars. https://youtu.be/otOULyFlHls

  • SDG

    I drive with Mobileye. It’s awesome. Alerts me when I am too close, or above 65kh when I change lanes without signaling. It also alerts me when I am going over the speed limit. Added “free” when I bought my new car. I also got 6% off my basic ins.

    They are talking about making it the law, here. Where tailgating, cutting people off and basic horror on the highways is the norm.

    BTW, why do German cars NOT have turn-signals?