Results of Study on Cellphone Use Surprise Researchers

…laws banning cellphone use while driving has not resulted in a reduction in car crashes…

And this surprises anyone?

As any Whitehorse resident is aware, laws and bylaws in and of themselves are completely irrelevant: dog shit is everywhere around here and traffic lights are routinely ignored, despite laws and bylaws that threaten punishment.

Laws and bylaws are merely a guide, a suggestion, for social behaviour, they are by no means representative of reality, and they do not by default force behaviour.

Whitehorse is a city or people that generally accept dog shit in public places, and that do not condemn people who run red lights. In other words, both behaviours are socially acceptable here.

Just because bylaws exist that make such acts illegal, does not mean otherwise.

So it is with cell phone use while driving: it is a socially acceptable behaviour. No amount of laws will make it otherwise.

Authorities and government would do well to understand this and start applying some creative thinking that would enact social change to the problem.

via Results of Study on Cellphone Use Surprise Researchers – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com.

5 thoughts on “Results of Study on Cellphone Use Surprise Researchers

  1. I think your over simplification mischaracterizes the results of the research. The study looked at reductions of hand-held cell phone use, not, as you imply, all cell phone use.

    I don’t think many people are suprised that hand-free cell phone use while driving is not much(if any) safer than hand-held use.

    • Hi Lee, thanks for your comment. I didn’t, in fact, characterize the research at all, actually. I was commenting on the fact that researchers found the results surprising. My point was simply this: laws have little impact in and of themselves. They require social stimulus to enact change.

    • Hi Andrew. Though it’s not your main point I still find the selective nature of the excerpt undermines the point you are making.

      About that main point, I agree that laws, in and of themselves do little to influence our behaviour and that those advocating changes would do well to look at public education, advocacy and such. Still, there have been some situations where laws lead the social change.

      Cheers, Lee

    • I just re-read your comments and I’m not sure why you assumed I was implying all cellphone use. Was it just because I didn’t say “handheld”? That article and the laws both pretty clearly deal with handheld use of cellphones and other mobile technology, so I felt my commentary carried that meaning implicitly. Either way, my point still stands: cellphone use in motor vehicles, handheld or otherwise, is socially acceptable behaviour, regardless of laws.

  2. This doesn’t surprise me either. On a recent trip to Ontario, where only hands-free devices can be used, the driver of a car I was in nearly sped off the road while yelling at the person on the phone.

    While we think we are fine to talk on the phone, it’s not the looking at the phone and touching the buttons, it’s attending the conversation, you’re not really paying attention to the road anymore.

    And your right Andrew, just because a law exists, doesn’t mean it’s enforced.

    Cellphones are small and hard to detect from the outside of the car, which makes enforcing the law difficult. Perhaps the lack of fear of being caught is a factor.

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