is texting+driving pushing people toward transit?

Starting, perhaps, with the most vulnerable?

I used to ride a motorcycle to work. Cyclists and motorcyclists are extremely aware of driver behavior because we’re so much more vulnerable than drivers if we crash. I can tell you from personal experience that the amount of distracted driving going on now has just become too much; its gotten much worse in the past five years as mobile technology has become more advanced and more engaging. If I saw a distracted driver, 95% of the time if I would also see that little bright phone screen being held and read. I had one too many close calls even as a very defensive rider, so I just stopped and today I take the bus.

A commenter at Andrew Sullivan's post today on texting and driving, where
others display high-denial about the issue.  (A study on the supposedly low
impact of cellphone use on driving safety
is clearly about phone calls, not
the intense screen interaction that characterizes phone use today).

6 Responses to is texting+driving pushing people toward transit?

  1. Jim Moore August 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    I think it’s more the other way i.e. the desire to use a smartphone whilst commuting on transit is a key factor in reducing car commuting and even drivers licence takeup of young adults. There’s quite a bit of research available on this issue. Car manufacturers are already responding with dashboard social media buttons and screens.

  2. Eric August 13, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    “Car manufacturers are already responding with dashboard social media buttons and screens.”
    As if there weren’t already enough distractions.

  3. Chris Bradshaw August 13, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    From the point of view of younger people, driving IS the distraction. Life consists of staying in touch and available to lend assistance to friends and family via smart devices; driving gets in the way of that.
    I know many human-transit followers will say, “OK, we got another transit patron.” But it is the texting driver who should be on transit, relieving many road users, including those in cars, from their selfish endangerment. And remember, distaction comes from not just typing up a hand or the eyes, it also involves occupying the brain.
    What is endangered is self-driven cars, piloted by people who think driving doesn’t require much attention and motivated to rush by schedules and boredom. The literature of self-driven cars (as being tested by Google) is gaining a great deal of positive reaction by way of much greater road safety (e.g., insurance premiums dropping to 1/10 their present levels?).
    The ultimate way to move by car is what is used by the ultra-rich: chauffeured cars. For the rest of us, that becomes transit and taxi rides. At least transit requires some use of walking and cycling for the last-mile, keeping our streets and avenues convivial and walkable.

  4. Nate Wessel August 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    That would indeed be a sad state of affairs. Personally, I’m sometimes happier when drivers are a bit distracted. At least they aren’t in a rage if they’re occupied with more than waiting on a light(or me)…but that is also a sad state of affairs.
    People in cars are monstrous to all people outside of those cars.

  5. Al Dimond August 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    That’s pretty anecdotal, isn’t it? Cycling, at least, is on the rise in many cities.

  6. Nathanael October 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s distracted driving — and I’m pretty sure a lot of it isn’t, because that doesn’t account for speeding, passing on the right, cutting in front of people, etc. etc. — but I’ve seen more really dangerous driving in the last 3-4 years in the US than I’ve seen in decades. There are BAD BAD BAD drivers on the road. I’m not sure why. The worst are the expressways, which are simply not safe to drive on any more.
    My working theory is that not enough of the dangerous drivers are being ticketed.

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