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Author Topic: "Distracted Driving": What Dave Sumner did NOT say  (Read 18025 times)
WA4D
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« on: January 20, 2012, 10:01:12 AM »

The  NTSB 's December recommendation to ban all driver "nonemergency use of portable electronic devices"  rattled Newington.  [As well it should]

ARRL CEO Dave Sumner (K1ZZ) writes in the current issue of QST, an editorial on "Distracted Driving". Sumner, predictably begins with a Distracted driving  incident where kids were involved and goes on to point out that existing laws in the state were in place prior to the incident  and one of the "guilty" drivers was violating the law.

Sumner observes that there is little debate over "texting" as a "bad idea" and "serious safety risk" yet hands free cell phone use is more questionable as a risky distraction.

What Sumner did not say is WHY  Ham Radio's should be  operated by the driver of a motor vehicle. Just what communication by hams is necessary while a vehicle is in motion?There is no "vital" need to operate a ham radio while driving. Pull over if one must for the extremely rare emergency traffic.

There is indisputable evidence that interaction with electronic devices takes the driver's attention off his most important task. That of driving the vehicle safely.  Sumner repeatedly makes reference to "Safety" in his piece. Yet, this safety concern is hollow, while still supporting the non-essential (and some would say frivolous} use of Ham Radios while operating a vehicle  in motion.

The  NTSB 's December recommendation to ban all driver "nonemergency use of portable electronic devices"  should extend to Ham radio, GPS units, iPods, ebooks, and any other }portable{ device not associated with vehicle operation. Ham Radios operators should not be exempt from such prohibitions. [ If legislators are given the opportunity to hear the level of discourse on a 2 meter repeater, there is little doubt Hams will be hoisted by their own petard.]

Sumner should take a stand for safety first and advocate  the termination of Ham mobile operations. Instead he seeks refuge in the nauseating reassurance of the 2009 comments by the NSC President.  "Until such time as compelling, peer-reviewed research denotes significant risks" in the use of Ham  Radio, they will oppose legislative restrictions. How ridiculous!  It' not the radio, or the phone, it's the cognitive overload that is the issue.

The good news is, Ham Radio mobile enthusiasts are now on the defensive. Newington will lobby against ham radio mobile prohibitions. Yet the odds are that in some states a total ban will be successfully enacted.  As it should be.

mike/ wa4d.net




« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 12:52:28 PM by WA4D » Logged
KB9TMP
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 10:37:36 AM »

QUOTE:
"The  NTSB 's December recommendation to ban all driver "nonemergency use of portable electronic devices"  should extend to Ham radio, GPS units, iPods, ebooks, and any other device not associated with vehicle operation. Ham Radios operators should not be exempt from such prohibitions."

That would also mean that you CAN NOT play your car radio/tape player/CD, use your heater/AC unit or any other electronic device since it would not be associated with "vehicle operation"

I don't need the feds to protect me from myself! Nor do I want to live in a "Nanny State" either!
73 KB9TMP
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W2RI
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 11:44:43 AM »

I don't know why (a) your previous thread on this topic seems to have disappeared and (b) why, after the response to that thread from readers, you felt the need to rehash the same topic. Are you just trolling, or do you really believe what you've posted?
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WA4D
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 12:16:26 PM »

KB9TMP.....good point. And a minor correction. The NTSB 's recommendation was for PED's (there's already an acronym!)  Portable Electronic Devices.

Cheers from LA...... where there are Dozens and Dozens of VHF/UHF Repeaters that are silent except for ID's day after day after day and little would be lost were Mobile operation banned.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 12:27:44 PM by WA4D » Logged
K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 04:00:24 PM »

Oh! Geez, here we go again. Mike doesn't believe anyone should operate from their mobile, as any frequent visitor to eham would know.

What David said is fairly close to reality, but if you really want to know the real story, all you have to do is scan around the NHTSA's site. All of the data you can absorb is there, and on the NSTB's site.

Distraction kills! No one denies that. What isn't defined here is, the level of distraction. The old adage is true—some people cannot chew gum, and walk at the same time. That in no way indicates that some of us might be able to. Even with that thought in mind, if amateur radio communications were as destructive as Mike would have us believe, then police, ambulance, and firemen would account for 90% of the accidents. They don't even come close to 1%!
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NO2A
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 05:04:39 PM »

Mike,if you want to remove your car stereo,heater,a/c,and anything else that`s a "distraction" go ahead. Please stop blaming hams and comparing them to cell phone users. I have yet to see a ham operator cause an accident.
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KB1TXK
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 06:53:00 PM »

Maybe his last thread disappeared because someone reported it, like whats happening now.
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 11:16:04 PM »

If he doesn't want to talk on the radio, why is his name Mike ? Wink
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W7AIT
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2012, 12:49:24 PM »

In my opinion **all** mobile ham radio while driving is distracted driving.  Period!

I especially get upset with CW mobile ops I work barreling down the road at 80 mph (bragging about it too) just sending away, talking to me.  Dangerous, stupid!  I “call them” on it, telling them to pull over and stop if they want to qso (they don’t).  I surely wouldn’t want my kids, wife or any family killed by an accident caused by such a stupid ham who has such blatant disregard for not paying attention to his driving and placing  sending CW with a key at 80 mph in his car, above the law, safety and common sense.  Any of his actions leading to fatality of anyone must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

And the “emergency preparedness” reasons for operating CW mobile (or any voice mobile) at 80 mph just doesn’t wash, makes no sense, and is a load of horse dung; how stupid- give me a break, I have more intelligence than that.  There is absolutely no reason **ever** for a ham to operate CW or SSB or FM barreling down the road at 80 MPH, emergency or not.  Its plain DANGEROUS!  There are people who’s profession it is to take care of such emergencies, they are trained for it, have the help, so it can be done safely as professional first responders.  Leave it to the pro’s!

Time for hams to “get real” and get off their stupid high horse, holier than thou, stinking attitude.
 
If said mobile CW or SSB or FM ham causes a wreck and kills my family due to distracted driving, I surely will be civilly and criminally suing him for blatant negligence.

No I don’t operate radios mobile.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2012, 02:03:15 PM »

How about the driver who is talking to a passenger, or dealing with kids in the back seat, or changing stations on the broadcast radio? That fact is that it's all distracting to some extent - its a matter of degree. Listening and occasionally talking on a 2M mobile is less distracting than using a handheld cell or texting. Operating an HF, trying to tune in a station, adjust filters, etc is more distracting "ham operation" than monitoring 2M FM.

The problem with more government rules is that there are usually unintended consequences that the lawmakers never thought of. They'll outlaw radio use without realizing that means a police officer in hot pursuit has to pull off the road and stop in order to call for assistance or a license plate check. Mean while the bad guy is long gone.
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AI8P
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 05:30:26 AM »

Mike,

I agree with you,  it is the cognitive overload that is the problem.  I have reviewed a lot of the research and it is very clear that operating mobile radio is a danger both to the hams doing so and to the others who share the highway with them.

It is now the official policy of Summit County ARES that no hams are to communicate on the radio while driving.   If communications is absolutely required, then pull off to the side of the road and communicate.

And what passes for arguments against this on here is pathetic:

<<"How about the driver who is talking to a passenger, or dealing with kids in the back seat, or changing stations on the broadcast radio?">>

The fact that we cannot eliminate ALL distractions has nothing to do with the fact that we CAN eliminate a distraction that is not necessary. 

<<"Listening and occasionally talking on a 2M mobile is less distracting than using a handheld cell or texting">>

Clearly, this person has not read the extensive scientific research which disputes this claim.

<<"Please stop blaming hams and comparing them to cell phone users. I have yet to see a ham operator cause an accident.">>

Have you actually personally seen a cell phone user cause an accident?   I haven't.  I don't need personal confirmation to believe that things exist.  I've never been to New Mexico, but I believe it exists.   The scientific evidence is quite convincing.  There is no difference between ham radio operators and cell phone users in terms of cognitive overload.   Please read the available research.

<<"The old adage is true—some people cannot chew gum, and walk at the same time. That in no way indicates that some of us might be able to. ">>

This is the classic "Lake Wobegon, where all the kids are above average".   Everyone thinks that they are especially talented and aware and everyone else is stupid and unaware.   It just isn't true.  No one has  a "super brain" that is immune to cognitive overload.   I don't and you don't.  The sooner we realize this and face up to it, the better and safer we will be and those who share the highways with us will be.

<<"I don't need the feds to protect me from myself! Nor do I want to live in a "Nanny State" either!">>

This is called a Red Herring - it has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.  It doesn't dispute that cognitive overload is a problem,  it doesn't talk about the mythical difference between ham radio and other distractions, it just tries to sidetrack the discussion into an ever-popular "Government is evil" track.

I wonder if this author feels he doesn't need the feds to protect him from others on the road?  Is it a "Nanny State" to require drivers to pass a test to drive, to have insurance, to have working brakes on their vehicles?   

Let's have less inflammatory comments intended to "win an Eham argument at any cost" and let's have more rational discussion of the actual issue including the actual research.  There is plenty of data available, and it is quite compelling.

My only concern is increasing the safety of all hams everywhere, and of all people who share the road with them.   We cannot achieve "Perfection" in the sense of eliminating all possible distractions for drivers.   However, that is no reason not to eliminate a real distraction that is unique to Ham radio.

Dennis, AI8P
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G7DIE
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 07:29:06 AM »

Quote
Clearly, this person has not read the extensive scientific research which disputes this claim.

I'd venture it's clear most haven't, in order to enable us to benefit from the research, can you at least point to it, share a link, copy and paste, or whatever.
In the UK special legislation was drawn up to ban the use of mobile devices whilst driving, however press to talk devices were specifically exempted from this legislation, why? because there wasn't the evidence to suggest that using a PTT device was a contributing factor in road accidents.

I use HF mobile a lot so I'd like to see the evidence.
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AI8P
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2012, 11:43:09 AM »

Stephen,

It's not hard to find but I'd be happy to give a link.

Here is an excellent paper which also contains good explanations and also references to a large number of studies.

http://www.fnal.gov/pub/traffic_safety/files/NSC%20White%20Paper%20-%20Distracted%20Driving%203-10.pdf

Various studies have found that even listening to audio with the knowledge that you will be quizzed about the content later results in tunnel vision.   So no talking, no manipulating buttons, no PTT and still significant cognitive distraction.

I find the studies where they actually instrument people and record where they look to be particularly persuasive.   The more people have input overload, the smaller the area that they actually look at.   Sometimes people are looking straight out their windshield, but they are scanning such a small area that they never look at the (red) traffic light.  It isn't just the time that they are looking away that is the problem.  The quality of mental processing of the information that they actually see is also clearly affected when they are trying to do more than 1 thing at a time.  That is why the hands-free solutions are not really solutions at all.

Here is another site with a lot of info

http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/research.html

It's nice to have a rational discussion about this.

Dennis
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AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2012, 12:48:29 PM »

Well, the I guess the government should outlaw all of the following in order to protect us from outselves:

1) AM/FM radios in vehicles
2) Talking to passengers
3) Navigation devices
4) Two-way radios in police cars and emergency vehicles. They could be automatically disabled any time the vehicle is moving just to make sure the cops follow the rules  Grin
5) Cell phones
6) CD players
7) Ipods
8 Paper maps
9) Food or drink of any type. Auto mfgs must remove drink holders.
10) Make up, hair brushes, etc. kept within reach of the driver.
11) Require Breathalyzer installed on all vehicles to prevent starting the vehicle if you are drunk or have bad breath  Shocked

I believe the report was in error about one thing: The Gov't didn't outlaw texting while driving for federal employees. I believe it outlawed texting while driving a "government vehicle" for federal employees. Military bases also outlaw hand held cell phone use or texting for anyone while driving on the base.

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G7DIE
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2012, 01:07:16 PM »

A good video about inattention blindness here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

If you've seen it before, or figured it out, please leave others to discover the point.

Can I honestly say that my driving has never been impaired by using my radio whilst mobile? No, however knowing this I do takes steps to minimise my exposure to such impairments, that said it's less impairment than driving tired, something I often did when I used to work permanent nights, a 60 mile drive following a hard nighshift really can impair one's cognitive abilties, but then falling asleep always has Embarrassed

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