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Old August 10th 09, 07:30 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

The ARRL seems to be taking a fairly strong position with regards to
amateur mobile operation in the face of a mountain of evidence
suggesting that texting or cell phone use while driving is as
dangerous, or more so, as drinking and driving:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/08/09/11012/?nc=1

No matter your position on the mobile issue, does it seem to you that
by taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of
liability the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into
someone on the Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a
primary cause for the accident?

--
73 de Jeff


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Old August 10th 09, 11:08 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

Jeff Davis wrote:
The ARRL seems to be taking a fairly strong position with regards to
amateur mobile operation in the face of a mountain of evidence
suggesting that texting or cell phone use while driving is as dangerous,
or more so, as drinking and driving:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/08/09/11012/?nc=
No matter your position on the mobile issue, does it seem to you that by
taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of
liability the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into
someone on the Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a
primary cause for the accident?


I think you said it all when you pointed out that there's a boatload of
reliable data indicating that it's dangerous to use a cell phone while
driving. Trying to operate a transceiver while driving certainly can't
be any less dangerous. In spite of the fact that licensed amateur radio
operators think they're completely capable of operating and driving at
the same time, hams are people just like the rest of the population.
Obtaining a license from the FCC does not improve ones ability to drive
while distracted.

Trying to justify an exception to these laws based on emergency
communication is simply ludicrous. Only a tiny fraction of in-motion
mobile is actually related to an emergency. I think that this stance by
the ARRL is simply wrong.

Yes, it fly in the face of years of tradition that one should not
operate in-motion mobile. But when data showed that seat belts save
lives, we started using them. When data showed that smoking was bad, we
stopped smoking. For folks who are still driving without a seat belt,
smoking, and ragchewing all at the same time, nothing I say is going to
change your mind.

73, Steve KB9X

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Old August 11th 09, 12:31 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted


In article ,
Steve Bonine wrote:

I think you said it all when you pointed out that there's a boatload of
reliable data indicating that it's dangerous to use a cell phone while
driving. Trying to operate a transceiver while driving certainly can't
be any less dangerous.


Although I think there's some merit to the League's comment about
hams not talking and listening at the same time.


Patty

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Old August 11th 09, 12:51 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

In Jeff Davis wrote:

No matter your position on the mobile issue, does it seem to you that
by taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of
liability the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into
someone on the Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a
primary cause for the accident?


I doubt that any liability could extend to an organization that simply
advocated a position.

Besides, this business of passing laws outlawing or allowing individual
activities, one at a time, is silly.

Any driver who contributed to an accident by being "distracted" or
"impaired" for any reason should be culpable.

If you're able to drive safely while talking on your rig while shaving
while eating a sandwich, well, more power to you :-)

--
Bert Hyman W0RSB St. Paul, MN

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Old August 11th 09, 07:16 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted


"Patty Winter" wrote in message
...

In article ,
Steve Bonine wrote:

I think you said it all when you pointed out that there's a boatload of
reliable data indicating that it's dangerous to use a cell phone while
driving. Trying to operate a transceiver while driving certainly can't
be any less dangerous.


Although I think there's some merit to the League's comment about
hams not talking and listening at the same time.


Patty


Holding a cell phone to your ear keeps you from being able to turn your head
to check your blind spots. This is the #1 thing I watch out for when I see
another driver is on the phone and it has saved me again and again. A mic,
you can just drop in your lap when you need to. Most people I have seen
driving with hands-free systems and voice recognition dialing on their cell
phones drive no worse than they normally do.

Aside from that, people who have problems with keeping their attention span
primarily to the driving, shouldn't drive. You don't have to look at the
mic, so it is actually potentially safer than having a passenger in the car.
It is that simple. Would you outlaw passengers? This always seems to be
goal of any discussions like this.

Some people seem to be intent on outlawing every thing that somebody else
does because they know they can't do it right themselves. The insurance
companies would have nothing to do if people got their license pulled for
getting in wrecks rather than outlawing everyone else.

I have seen boatloads of data that gets overturned by boatloads of different
data all the time. After 40+ years in the land-mobile industry, and rubbing
elbows with many others in the community, experience with the real thing is
a lot more telling. I can tell you that "texting" and typing on a computer
keyboard certainly needs to be the job of the co-pilot.



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Old August 11th 09, 07:17 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

On Aug 10, 2:30�pm, Jeff Davis wrote:
does it seem to you that
by taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of
liability the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into
someone on the Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a
primary cause for the accident?


Not really. All the ARRL is doing is advocating that amateur radio not
be lumped into the same category as cellphones or texting.

More important, consider that amateurs have been operating mobile rigs
for at least 75 years (including WERS mobiles during WW2). In all that
time, can anyone cite a case - just one - where amateur radio operation
was cited as a primary or even a secondary cause for an accident?

Meanwhile, consider that while cell phones have only been common for
about 15 years, if that, the documented cases where cell-phone-use-
while-driving has been a major contributing factor to accidents are so
numerous that several states and municipalities have banned their use
while driving, or required hands-free operation only.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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Old August 11th 09, 10:28 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

Jeff Davis wrote:

The ARRL seems to be taking a fairly strong position with regards to
amateur mobile operation in the face of a mountain of evidence
suggesting that texting or cell phone use while driving is as dangerous,
or more so, as drinking and driving:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/08/09/11012/?nc=
No matter your position on the mobile issue, does it seem to you that by
taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of
liability the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into
someone on the Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a
primary cause for the accident?


Disagreement? Bad press? Hard feelings? Quite possibly.

Liability? No, I don't think so. All they're doing is advocating (as
in "free speech" and "lobbying"), and in fact they're specifically
advocating that hams who do operate mobile do so only in ways which
don't put others at risk.

Granted, anybody can sue anybody for anything for any reason in this
country... but I think it'd be a very long stretch for someone to
succeed in winning a case against the ARRL based on their position and
statements.

Steve Bonine wrote:

I think you said it all when you pointed out that there's a boatload of
reliable data indicating that it's dangerous to use a cell phone while
driving.


True.

Trying to operate a transceiver while driving certainly can't
be any less dangerous.


Well, it *can* be less dangerous (or so I believe). I think that this
is a good area in which to base actual legislation (or a decision not
to have legislation) on actual research and facts, rather than on
guesses and conjectures and opinions.

My guess (grin) is that it depends very much on what you're doing with
the ham radio.

If you're just listening - it's probably no worse than listening to
the car FM or AM radio.

If you're tuning around - it's probably about as dangerous as tuning
your car FM radio, or trying to put a different CD into the player.
Could be dangerous.

If you're talking on the mike - you're more distracted then when
you're just listening, but unlike the tuning-around situation (or
changing a CD, etc.) you don't have to take your eyes off of the road.
Might be very distracting, might be no problem at all, depending on
how engaged you are in the conversation. [The same is true with
conversations with passengers in the car, by the way... anywhere from
no-problem-at-all to OK-now-look-at-the-tree-you-made-me-drive-into.]

If you're trying to dial in a message to be transmitted via APRS, it's
probably about as dangerous as cell/SMS-texting while driving (i.e.
insanely dangerous IMO, please do *not* do this!)

Obtaining a license from the FCC does not improve ones ability to drive
while distracted.


Granted.

The real question is, just how *much* distraction actually results
from various forms of equipment usage?


Trying to justify an exception to these laws based on emergency
communication is simply ludicrous. Only a tiny fraction of in-motion
mobile is actually related to an emergency.


If ham radio transmitting while driving is to be outlawed because it's
inherently too distracting and dangerous, then (as the ARRL points
out) one should outlaw *all* similar transmission behavior by *all*
drivers who are not actually involved in an in-progress emergency.

That would include public-safety land-mobile (i.e. most police radio
use by the driver), private land-mobile (e.g. cab drivers, business
radio use by delivery trucks), CB (truckers), FRS (by families in
convoy), and so forth.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Yes, it fly in the face of years of tradition that one should not
operate in-motion mobile. But when data showed that seat belts save
lives, we started using them. When data showed that smoking was bad, we
stopped smoking.


And, *if* actual *data* shows that typical land-mobile radio use does
result in a high enough level of distraction to significantly raise
the accident rate, then I'd agree that legislative action is called for.

I don't feel that simply taking data on cellphone usage effects, and
applying these data willy-nilly to land-mobile/CB/ham use, is
justified. I've seen some discussions which indicate that there are
valid psychological reasons why cell-phone conversations are
*extremely* distracting during driving... and that these factors do
not necessarily apply to typical land-mobile / ham usage.

--
Dave Platt AE6EO
Friends of Jade Warrior home page: http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior
I do _not_ wish to receive unsolicited commercial email, and I will
boycott any company which has the gall to send me such ads!

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Old August 11th 09, 11:04 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

On 2009-08-11 01:28:09 -0400, (Dave Platt) said:

Disagreement? Bad press? Hard feelings? Quite possibly.


Good point about the bad press. I suppose if it were ever to happen
that a person plowed into a school bus (heaven forbid) because they
were distracted by operating their ham radio equipment, and the
mainstream media got hold of the public letters sent by the president
of the ARRL to the National Safety Counsel explaning how radio hams
should be exempt from any laws preventing their use of radio equipment
while driving ... it could get fairly ugly.

And I still wouldn't rule out financial liabilty, especially since
these things tend to follow the money. And while suing the bejeezus out
of WD9GCT might not yield much dough, suing the ARRL just might and of
course that is the way lawyers think.

The points made about 'simplex' operation versus 'duplex' may very well
be valid, but it's also a bit of a red herring since other modes of
operation are available to the radio amateur.

A few years ago I was having an enjoyable CW QSO with a fellow in
Wisconsin who had a great fist but every now and then it would fall
apart. Eventually he apologized for his "bad" fist explaining that the
highyway he was driving on had a lot of chuck holes and was in need of
repair.

He was operating CW with a key strapped to his thigh -- while driving to
work.

I like ham radio, and I like that guy ... but I don't want him
operating a moving vehicle anywhere within a hundred miles of me or my
family... even when all else fails...

73 de Jeff

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Old August 11th 09, 02:13 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

Jeff Davis wrote:

He was operating CW with a key strapped to his thigh -- while driving to
work.

I like ham radio, and I like that guy ... but I don't want him operating
a moving vehicle anywhere within a hundred miles of me or my family...
even when all else fails...


You have captured the essence of my feelings in two sentences.

There is a body of reliable data that indicates that distraction during
driving causes accidents, no matter what is causing the distraction. It
is obvious that operating a ham radio causes distraction. You can argue
that the amount of distraction depends on what you're doing, or that
similar distraction is caused in other services like public safety or
land mobile, but the fact remains that operating a ham radio while
driving increases the probability that you'll have an accident.

Does it increase the probability enough to lump it in with cell phone
use and discourage the behavior by passing laws? I think that it does;
I recognize that there are dissenting opinions.

But for the ARRL to defend the right of hams to distract themselves
based on emergency communication is not logical. If they want to make
the case that operating a ham radio is sufficiently different than using
a cell phone that such laws should not apply, I still wouldn't agree but
at least the premise would be logical.

I have seen several close calls related to people chattering away on
cell phones while driving. I am convinced that the issue of distracted
drivers having accidents is real, and I support laws that prohibit that
behavior because I believe it to be dangerous both to the person who is
doing it and to me. I don't buy that operating a ham radio is
sufficiently less distracting that it should be exempted.

73, Steve KB9X

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Old August 11th 09, 02:47 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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"Jeff Davis" wrote in message
...


No matter your position on the mobile issue, does it seem to you that by
taking such a stand the ARRL is exposing itself to a boatload of liability
the first time a mobile operating radio amateur plows into someone on the
Interstate and the amateur operation is cited as a primary cause for the
accident?


I don't think ARRL would be liable for the action of any individual ham.

But I do believe two things:

1) Operating an amateur radio rig while driving is every much a distraction
as talking on a cell phone.

2) Amateur radio operators should not be eligible for "exemptions" not
available to the general public.

73, de Hans, K0HB





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