Bikers Rights - Cell phone users are as dangerous as DUI drunk drivers.Motorcyclist Safety can only be acheived if we can outlaw driving under the influence of cell phones. Bikers Rights are Human Rights.Contact Motorcyclists Against (Cell Phone Impaired) Dumb Drivers
Motorcyclist Safety is a matter of Bikers Rights which cannot be achieved without a ban on cell phone use while driving.Cell phone use while driving is as dangerous to your health as DUI Drunk Driving.Cell Phone use while driving and DUI Drunk Driving.
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Driving under the influence of cell phones is as dangerous as DUI drunk driving and may be even more dangerous to motorcyclists.Bikers Rights to Motorcyclist Safety includes Riding Free of the Cell Phone Impaired.
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Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Scientific Review Article Demonstrating That Driving Under the Influence of a Cell Phone is Epidemic and as Dangerous as DUI Drunk Driving; Handheld and Hands-Free Cell Phones Result in Identical Impairment. We Urge Comprehensive Ban On All Cell Phone Use While Driving.

Open Letter to the American Motorcyclists Association, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Mortorcycle Riders Foundation to Take Stands For Comprehensive Cell Phone Bans.

Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Calls on All Bikers to Urge Their Senators And Governors to Enact Comprehensive Cell Phone Bans, Prominent Bikers Rights Advocates Join In Urging Cell Legislation in Florida.

Our Motorcyclist Safety Position For Law Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving, "Through the Prism of Libertarianism."


Bikers Rights - Motorcycle Safety - Cell phone Use Must Be Outlawed While Driving.

Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers Position Paper to Florida State Senate Transportation Chairman Baker In Support of Initiative for Comprehensive Cell Ban Legislation

Subj: Cell Phone Legislation Pending in Transportation Committee - Position of M-A-D-D
Date: 3/23/2007 2:41:34 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: RARELY L84AD8
To: baker.carey.web@flsenate.gov

Honrorable Senator Baker:

I want to congratulate you and the Florida state legislature for entertaining Senate Bills S620, S2372, and S1944 which I understand are currently pending in the Transportation Committee. I am informed that the distinguished Robert Conroy has presented a position paper urging the adoption of comprehensive cell phone legislation. I respectfully offer our Joinder in the positions expressed by Mr. Conroy.

We consider that the most significant threat to the safety of all who use our highways is the current epidemic of driving under the influence of cell conversation. The abundant and consistent lesson of both the pertinent epidemiological studies and experimental studies is that driving under the influence of cell conversation results in a DUI level driving impairment and a four fold increased likelihood that the impaired motorist will cause an accident. Redelmeier and Tibshirani (1997) “Association Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor Vehicle Collisions.” New England Journal of Medicine, 336, 453; McEvoy, Stevenson, McCartt, Woodward, Haworth, Palamara and Cercarelli, "Role of Mobile Phones in Motorvehicle Crashes Resulting in Hospital Attendance; A Case-Crossover Study,” British Medical Journal (July 12, 2005); The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, Phase II," DOT HS 810 593 April, 2006; Strayer, D. L., & Johnston, W. A. (2001). “Driven to distraction: Dual-task studies of simulated driving and conversing on a cellular phone. Psychological Science,” 12, 462-466. McCarley, J. S., Vais, M., Pringle, H., Kramer, A. F., Irwin, D. E., & Strayer, D. L. (2001). “Conversation disrupts visual scanning of traffic scenes.” Paper presented at Vision in Vehicles, Australia. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., Albert, R. W., & Johnston, W. A. (2001). “Cell phone induced perceptual impairments during simulated driving.” In D. V. McGehee, J. D. Lee, & M. Rizzo (Eds.) Driving Assessment 2001: International Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A. & Johnston, W. A. (2002). “Why do cell phone conversations interfere with driving?” Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A. & Johnston, W. A. (2003). “Cell phone induced failures of visual attention during simulated driving.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 23-23. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Johnston, W. A. (2003). “Are we being driven to distraction? Public Policy Perspectives,” Vol. 16, 1-2. (Published by the Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Utah) Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (2003). “Effects of cell phone conversations on younger and older drivers.” In the Proceedings of the 47nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp.. 1860-1864). Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. & Crouch, D. J. (2003). “Fatal distraction? A comparison of the cell-phone driver and the drunk driver.” In D. V. McGehee, J. D. Lee, & M. Rizzo (Eds.) Driving Assessment 2003: International Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design. Published by the Public Policy Center, University of Iowa (pp. 25-30). Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., & Drews, F. A. (2004). “What do drivers fail to see when conversing on a cell phone?” In the Proceedings of the 48nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp 2213-2217). McCarley, J.S., Vais, M.J., Pringle, H., Kamer, A.F., Irwin, D.E., & Strayer, D.L. (2004) “Conversation disrupts change detection in complex traffic scenes.” Human Factors, 46, 424-436. Strayer, D.L., & Drews, F. A. (2004). “Profiles in driver distraction: Effects of cell phone conversations on younger and older drivers.” Human Factors, 46, 640-649. Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. Crouch, D. J., & Johnston, W. A. (2005). “Why do Cell Phone Conversations Interfere with Driving?” In W. R. Walker and D. Herrmann (Eds.) Cognitive Technology: Essays on the Transformation of Thought and Society (pp. 51-68), McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC.)

The magnitude of this highway safety issue is a function first of the magnitude of the impairment, and second, the magnitude of this epidemic of cell phone use while driving. More than any other driver distraction, driving under the influence of cell conversation grown has exponentially over the past several years. In the year 2000 two percent of all American motorists on our roads and highways at any given daylight moment in time were observed actively involved in cell conversation. As of December 2005, ten percent of all American motorists were observed to be actively involved in cell conversation at any given moment in time. NOPUS, National Occupant Protection Use Survey (a probability based observed data study on cell phone use performed by NHTSA)

Taken together these statistics demonstrate that one out of every ten of the cars we encounter on our highways at any given moment in time is being operated by a motorist who is DUI level impaired, and 4 times more likely to cause an accident. More than 20 percent of all highway related accidents and more than 20 percent of all highway related injuries and deaths result from this single source of driver distraction.

My particular concern is for the State of Florida's motorcyclists because motorcyclists are preferentially more likely to be seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by a motorist driving under the influence of cell conversation. Bicyclists and pedestrians are also preferentially more likely to be seriously injured and killed. But this is a safety issue which cuts across every segment of the Florida citizenry.

The State of Florida has the opportunity to be the first state in the country to adopt effective comprehensive cell phone legislation. If the State of Florida will accept this challenge it will be recognized across the nation as the state with the greatest foresight for recognizing accurately the nature and magnitude of the public health issue and for doing what is required to curtail what history will recognize as our most serious transportation related public safety crisis.

Every other state legislature which has considered adopting restrictions on the use of cell phones has sorely failed its citizenry. So far, the legislative response in the various states which have considered this public safety issue has been either to table cell phone initiatives, or to enact cell phone bans only for minors or school bus drivers, or worse, stooped to enacting handheld cell phone bans.

All motorists who engage in cell conversation while driving suffer the same driving impairment, minors and adults alike, and taking away cell phones from school bus drivers ignores that the school children are also at risk that their bus may be run off the road by any other motorist driving DUI impaired under the influence of cell conversation.

What we feel is most important to impress upon you, however, is that legislation which bans only the use of handheld cell phones is not merely useless, it is detrimental. First, as we will demonstrate immediately below, the abundantly documented DUI level driving impairment and four fold increased incidence of accidents associated with driving under the influence of cell conversation has nothing to do with "holding" the cell phone, it is an inattentional blindness resulting from the diversion of the motorist's limitied capacity for conscious attention to the cell "conversation" away visual tasks essential for safe driving. Second, handheld cell phone bans will not reduce the magnitude of the epidemic of cell phone use while driving. Motorists will simply purchase a hands-free cell device for use while driving. Indeed, following the most recent enactment of a handheld cell phone ban in the State of California, Governor Schwarzenegger turned to the television news cameras as he was signing the bill and told the California public "Don't worry, the law will not come into effect until 2008, plenty of time to purchase a hands-free device for use while driving." This comment will certainly, soon enough come back to haunt the California Governor, but the Florida legislature need not make the same mistake. Handheld cell phone bans clearly will not reduce either the numbers of motorists on the road driving under the influence of cell conversation, nor can such bans reduce the magnitude of the motorists' driving impairment.

The reason we urge that handheld cell phone bans are worse than no ban at all is that in addition to providing no positive safety benefit, handheld bans also contribute to still popular misconception that motorists can somehow engage in hands-free cell conversation and drive safely.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As noted, the abundant and consistent body of scientific studies has demonstrated those who drive under the influence of hands-free cell conversation suffer the identical DUI level impairment as do motorists who drive under the influence of handheld cell conversation. Each group is also 4 times more likely to cause an accident. The nature of the impairment while driving under the influence of all cell conversation is an "inattentional blindness" which results from the shifting of limited conscious attention to the internal-cognitive tasks associated with the give and take of the conversation away from the external-visual tasks essential for safe driving. By "innattentional blindness" the authors of the extensive experimental studies refer to the facts that while engaged in cell conversation motorists fail to consciously "see" changes in traffic signals, fail to consciously "see" cars stopping a head of them, fail to consciously "see" sudden onset changes in their driving environment which would ordinarily result in automatic conscious recognition, and indeed, the motorists fail to consciously "see" even what their eyes are fixed upon. It is the cell conversation, not holding the phone which results in the DUI level driving impairment. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., Albert, R. W., & Johnston, W. A. (2001). “Cell phone induced perceptual impairments during simulated driving.” In D. V. McGehee, J. D. Lee, & M. Rizzo (Eds.) Driving Assessment 2001: International Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A. & Johnston, W. A. (2002). “Why do cell phone conversations interfere with driving?” Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A. & Johnston, W. A. (2003). “Cell phone induced failures of visual attention during simulated driving.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 23-23. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Johnston, W. A. (2003). “Are we being driven to distraction? Public Policy Perspectives,” Vol. 16, 1-2. (Published by the Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Utah) Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (2003). “Effects of cell phone conversations on younger and older drivers.” In the Proceedings of the 47nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp.. 1860-1864). Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. & Crouch, D. J. (2003). “Fatal distraction? A comparison of the cell-phone driver and the drunk driver.” In D. V. McGehee, J. D. Lee, & M. Rizzo (Eds.) Driving Assessment 2003: International Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design. Published by the Public Policy Center, University of Iowa (pp. 25-30). Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., & Drews, F. A. (2004). “What do drivers fail to see when conversing on a cell phone?” In the Proceedings of the 48nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp 2213-2217). McCarley, J.S., Vais, M.J., Pringle, H., Kamer, A.F., Irwin, D.E., & Strayer, D.L. (2004) “Conversation disrupts change detection in complex traffic scenes.” Human Factors, 46, 424-436. Strayer, D.L., & Drews, F. A. (2004). “Profiles in driver distraction: Effects of cell phone conversations on younger and older drivers.” Human Factors, 46, 640-649. Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. Crouch, D. J., & Johnston, W. A. (2005). “Why do Cell Phone Conversations Interfere with Driving?” In W. R. Walker and D. Herrmann (Eds.) Cognitive Technology: Essays on the Transformation of Thought and Society (pp. 51-68), McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC.)

Professor Strayer, the most respected scientist in the field, and the one who has published the greatest number of the experimental studies, has made plain not only that driving under the influence of hands-free cell conversation is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of handheld cell conversation, he has stated time and time again, for all of the above stated reasons, that handheld cell phone legislation will not reduce the dangers posed to the public by the use of cell phones while driving.

“These data call into question driving regulations that prohibit handheld cell phones and permit hands-free cell phones because no significant differences were found in the impairments to driving caused by these two modes of cellular communication." Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Johnston, W. A. (2003). “Are We Being Driven to Distraction?” Public Policy Perspectives, Vol. 16, 1-2. (Published by the Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Utah). Strayer has indeed made this clear at least since 2001:

“Our data imply that legislative initiatives that restrict handheld devices but permit hands-free devices are not likely to reduce interference from the phone conversation, because the interference is, in this case, due to central attentional processes.” Strayer, D. L., & Johnston, W. A. (2001). “Driven to Distraction: Dual-task Studies of Simulated Driving and Conversing on a Cellular Phone.” Psychological Science, 12, 462-466. See also, Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A. & Johnston, W. A. (2002). “Why Do Cell Phone Conversations Interfere With Driving?” Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC.

There is converging neurological evidence from investigators at Johns Hopkins providing additional support for Stayer’s conclusion that the driving impairment derives from the "attentional" interference of auditory cell phone conversation on the motorists capacity to detect visual stimuli in the driving environment. Shomstein, S., Yantis, S. “Control of Attention Shifts Between Vision and Audition in Human Cortex.” The Journal of Neuroscience, November 24, 2004, 24(47):10702-10706. And Professor Yantis also questions the utility of handheld cell phone legislation to reduce the driving impairment resulting from the diversion of motorist attention to the tasks associated with the cell conversation away from the visual tasks essential for safe driving.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Stromstein and Yantis recorded their experimental subjects’ brain activity while involved in shifts back and forth between visual and auditory activity. Significantly, they noted that when attention was shifted to one, either visual or auditory stimuli, the parts of the brain associated with the other demonstrated singificantly reduced activity. They concluded that this finding implied a zero sum trade off between auditory and visual attention. Stromstein and Yantis found that there was indeed an additional attentional cost associated with "switching" between the auditory and visual. Specifically, Shomstein and Yantis observed a separate, "transitional" brain function evident in bursts of activity in certain aspects of the brain as attention was redirected. The Shomstien and Yantis research provides neurological support to the experimental evidence of Strayer et al. that the mechanism of cell phone driving impairment is a form of “inattentional blindness."

In an interview, Professor Yantis made plain the significance of his findings on the specific issue of cell phone driving impairment, and called into question the potential utility of handheld legislation: “Our research helps explain why talking on a cell phone can impair driving performance, even when the driver is using a hands-free device ... Directing attention to listening effectively 'turns down the volume' on input to the visual parts of the brain. The evidence we have right now strongly suggests that attention is strictly limited -- a zero-sum game. When attention is deployed to one modality -- say, in this case, talking on a cell phone -- it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality -- in this case, the visual task of driving." Consumer Affairs, June 22, 2005.

The challenge for the Florida legislature will be to achieve legislation which is consistent with the science and consistent with its public trust to provide for the safety of its citizenry. Handheld cell phone legislation is consistent with neither. The duty of the Florida legislature is clear. It must enact legislation which will effectively curtail all cell phone use while driving, without exception, or with the sole exception being emergency 911 calls. The laws must be capable of enforcement by the police and capable of just adjudication by the Courts. We would urge that no exception be permitted. But certainly no other exception than a 911 emergency call exception should be recognized. Law enforcement will require clear legislation permitting the officers to ticket all those who engage in cell phone conversation while driving. The only exception that is amenable to clear cut judicial determination is the 911 call which can be demonstrated as a defense by anyone claiming the exception simply by presenting the cell phone bill.

Finally, in order to be effective, the legislature must take into consideration that simple fines have proven ineffective even in curtailing handheld cell phone use where the drivers had the opportunity to switch to hands-free devices. We consider that curtailing DUI driving under the influence of cell conversation should be viewed as just important as curtailing driving DUI under the influence of alcohol. The impairment is identical in its magnitude, the risk both groups pose to others is identical, and appropriate penalty legislation to effectively curtail driving under the influence of cell conversations is just as essential to public safety as is penalty legislation to discourage DUI driving under the influence of alcohol.

We suspect that nothing short of drivers license suspensions for first time offenders and more serious penalties for repeat offenders will be effective at curtailing the use of cell phones on our highways. This is hardly draconian given that the dangers posed by motorists DUI level impaired by cell conversation and DUI impaired by alcohol are the same. But more important, it would neither serve the public safety purpose of the legislation nor would it be egalitarian to enact legislation providing mere monetary fines for violations of the comprehensive cell phone ban.

For repeat offenders we would suggest more lengthy drivers license suspensions and 16 hour court ordered driver education courses. Indeed we would urge that the curricula for all driver education courses be modified to include education specifically about the dangers associated with driving under the influence of cell phones.

We realize that this it will be difficult for many legislators to rise up to this challenge to fulfill their public trust, particularly given the intense lobbying against comprehensive cell legislation which we can expect from the cell phone industry. The cell phone industry favors handheld cell phone laws because the laws require motorists to purchase additional hands-free cell phones. We sympathize that many legislators may fear voter reprisal for enacting a comprehensive cell phone ban which will effectively deprive the public of the use of their cell phones while driving. But you must appreciate that to cave in to short term public objection is shortsighted politically. Every day that motorists are permitted to drive under the influence of cell conversation the convalescent center beds continue to fill with the catastrophically injured, and every day those who are killed are buried. Soon enough the public will come to be educated on the nature and magnitude of the driving impairment associated with driving under the influence of cell conversation, the broken bodies and graves will then be counted, and the public will demand to know what was in their legislators minds when they resisted enacting effective cell legislation in the face of the overwhelming science. Indeed, those legislators who urge handheld cell phone legislation as a "compromise" must be doubly concerned that their position will be seen soon enough as political deceit given that all the extant science demonstrates that the impairment and dangers associated with handheld and hands-free cell phone conversation are identical.

Every week another article is published the lay media making plain the significance of the scientific evidence, and it is inevitable that the public will, soon enough, become aware of the facts demonstrated above. Many thousands will have had loved ones seriously injured or killed by the cell phone impaired. This fact is inescapable from the above cited statistics. The Florida legislature has the opportunity now to get out ahead of the curve of public opinion, rise to its public trust, and enact landmark comprehensive cell legislation. If the the legislature fails, those legislators who resist fulfilling their public trust will find themselves in the untenable position of having to explain why they failed to fulfill their public trust.

Please consider that this letter puts you on notice of the science cited above and on notice of the conclusions of the preeminent scientists. If prior to this date you might have claimed ignorance of the science or ignorance of your duties to the citizenry of the state of Florida, that time has passed. We will support you with all our strength if you choose to seize for Florida this historic opportunity to enact the first comprehensive cell phone ban in the United States. But please understand that if you fail to meet your public trust we will be there when the public will, soon enough, demand an accounting for their crippled and killed.

Respectfully submitted,
Raymond L. Henke, Esq
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers

 
Contact Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers if You Were In An Accident With a Cell Phone Impaired Driver.