mobiles - colin
Have just encountered Pratman, turning right at a miniroundabout without signallling. It might have been difficult for him, because he was busy prattling on the mobile held to his ear.
Appreciating the enforcement problems, I still reckon whats needed is just a few high profile and very expensive court prosecutions.
Re: mobiles - Phil Goodacre
Got to agree Colin. Regretably, with the emphasis on speed and reliance on cameras, there will be a reduced police presence on the road and these idiots will continue to risk there own and everyone elses life with their irresponsible antics. There is no way that you can control a car while holding a mobile phone to your ear, regardless of the 'paying attention' element. It will probably take a multiple shunt with major loss of life with the cause proven to be use of a mobile before anything is done.
Re: mobiles - Cockle
Got to agree with both of you.
The question I would like to know the answer to is have these people never heard of the voice mail or text facilities? If you have them then you can drive safely with phone turned off then as soon as you turn the mobile back on, bingo, you get your messages. For the majority of people journeys are quite short so I'm sure they can be out of contact for the duration of their trip.
Another solution I use is to have my mobile on divert if turned off to a pager, I then get the alert, pull over at next convenient stop and reply while stationary. The reason I use this method is that I'm contracted to respond to calls within 15mins and it works a treat, never missed one yet.
Phil, I'm not so sure even a bad RTA will focus minds. Some time back there was an accident on, I think, the A13 in Essex, where a lorry hit a vehicle parked in a lay-by, killing the occupant. When the case came to court it turned out that the lorry driver had been sending/replying to a text message at the time of the collision. Didn't seem to deter anyone around the area though, they still all seem to drive around with their mobiles glued to their ears, don't even bother with hands free.
Re: mobiles - Brian
I wonder that car manufacturers haven't caught up on this one and designed cars to be driven one-handed.
At least it would be safer than the present situation!
Re: mobiles - Dan J
Really I see no harm in using a hands-free kit as it is only like talking to someone else in the car, providing you have the concentration powers to do it.

I think what with that scare regarding radiation and hands-free kits a year or so ago and people's general laziness, noone bothers anymore and it's back to the original situation you had where people are trying to steer/change gear etc whilst juggling a phone.

I think, like the lorry on the A13, people feel less inclined to pull over or save the call for a later and safer moment when on the motorway or main trunk roads than they perhaps might on busy town roads. A moments lack of concentration and some heavy braking in front is all it takes to start a pile-up!
Re: mobiles - Sue
Dan J wrote:
> Really I see no harm in using a hands-free kit as it is only
> like talking to someone else in the car, providing you have
> the concentration powers to do it.

Like so many things, it depends what you're talking about. A quick 'I'm on my way' to someone wanting to know why you aren't home yet is unlikely to be a problem. Trying to negotiate a multi-million business deal in a foreign language might be.

Problem is we all think we have the necessary powers of concentration to do it safely, or we wouldn't do it.

I don't enjoy driving my mother long distances or navigating for my brother: they both have profound hearing loss and have to see your lips to hear you properly. Fortunately they're both aware, from their different perspectives, that conversation in the car is at the driver's discretion!
Re: mobiles - colin
The hands-free aspect is interesting, Dan. I think the 'powers that be' do themselves and us no favours by saying that h-f is no safer than the phone in the lughole. Surely most of us would disagree?
Re: mobiles - Mark (Brazil)
Actually, there is now a new headset you can buy for the handsfree jobbies.

Essentially at the moment they look like a single walkman speaker. Apparantly the new one has the last 10 inches of wire before the ear replaced with a hollow tube, of more or less the same size as the wire. The speaker is a tiny little wotsit at the end of the wire/beginning of the tube and simply shoots up the tube to a little receptacle in the ear, looking a lot like the original speaker.

Apparantly works very well and transmits 0% of the radiation from the telephone signal to your head.


p.s. reading my explanation, I'm not sure its clear, I'll try again if nobody understands.
Hands free - no great improvement - ian (cape town)
I have one of these - we have a "handheld" ban here - but I can assure you it is no great improvement.
For example, yesterday I drove behind a prat in a corolla, who was
(a) not moving out of thre fastlane, though he was 20km/h under the limit
(b)Gesticulating with BOTH hands while chatting on a hands free
(c) totally unaware of me behind him ...

When I stopped at the lights, here he was, having a heated conversation (god knows who with ..)
If ever there was a case of "without due care and attention", this was it...

Another example: Last year I was on a long trip when the office phoned me, looking for some information.
While driving along at 120km/h, I got chatting about a few things.
five minutes later, when the call ended, I COULD NOT REMEMBER anything about driving the previous 10 kilometers at all! Frightening ...

At the risk of going on a bit, here is a delightful story from one of our local newspaper journalists.
I must admit, he has a way with words!

"I think I've discovered the real reason for the Baby on Board signs. It's rather like the flashing hazard lights on a taxi which warn other road users that the driver is about to do something unpredictable or illegal and probably both. The Baby on Board sign is but one part of an incomplete set, the other sign reading "Mother on Cellphone".

Despite the very sensible law that it is illegal to drive while talking on a cellphone, nobody takes a blind bit of notice.

I was following the woman with the Baby on Board sign as she drove erratically through Rosebank, Johannesburg, while attempting to talk on a phone. Call me a male chauvinist pig if you must but women's brains were not designed to cope with too many complicated things at once, particularly just after childbirth. Here was a woman who was clearly having a lot of trouble juggling the complicated tasks of steering a car, working the pedals and talking on the cellphone while junior was probably puking over the back seat in sheer terror. Something had to give and it did. It was the steering and as the car suddenly veered across my path to make a right down a nearly-missed turning, I sat on my horn and made a few rather unchivalrous remarks.

I am delighted to report that the new MGF has a horn worthy of the great British marque. So many cars have pathetic little "meep meep" Roadrunner horns these days that one is reduced to hurling vocal abuse instead. I like a car horn to sound authoritative and full of confidence and this one does. This is not a car horn that needs a motivational course because it's already a triple-yes horn. It's a horn to lean on not to parp...
Re: Hands free - no great improvement - Sue
ian (cape town) wrote:
> Call me a male chauvinist pig
> if you must but women's brains were not designed to cope with
> too many complicated things at once,

Yes, he's a MCP (and I know it's not you Ian but some journalist), not only that but wrong. Women's brains are designed differently to men's, in particular to be able to 'multi-task', which is a daily necessity after childbirth if not before.

Psychologists have done research into this: women bank tellers can count money accurately while carrying on a conversation, men bank tellers can't.

Please note that I am not arguing that anyone should talk on mobile phones at the same time as driving!!! Just because we can do something doesn't make it safe or sensible to do it!

> particularly just after childbirth.

The capacity to multi-task is diminished immediately after childbirth and may take some months to return to 'normal' levels. Postnatal depression will hinder return to 'normal' levels, but sitting at home waiting for this to happen probably isn't a good idea. Huge amounts of constructive support from the father in the form of cooking, washing up, changing nappies, laundry, shopping and cleaning is the best therapy, and if this continues until the children leave home recurring depression may be lessened or even avoided ;-). Failing that, similar support from understanding friends and family will help.
Re: Hands free - no great improvement - Phil Goodacre
Sorry, I don't hold with the 'hands free is fine' or a quick, 'I'm on my way' call, being acceptable. I've witnessed numerous near misses where someone has obviously been trying to make a call with a hands free set at which point they divert their concentration to the phone for too long and start drifting across lanes, or look up to see the traffic stopped in front of them. The phones to the ear brigade are obviously worse. There is no way you can properly control a car with a manual gearbox across a roundabout or when making any manouevre requiring the use of steering and gearchanges, we do not have enough hands. The reaction of some offenders when you 'give them a look', having just taken avoiding action to prevent a collision when the car to the right of you has suddenly changed direction because the driver has let go the steering wheel while they change gear, is worrying. They glare at you with that @what's your problem' expression. Frightening.
Re: Hands free - no great improvement - Mark (Brazil)
Whether or not "handsfree" is ok while you're driving wasn't my point.

Simply that the normally earphone magnifies the radiation to your head 10 fold, which may or may not be harmful, where as the new type reduce it to 0.

Value my car