Distracted drivers a stubborn problem

Despite all of the warnings, the accidents and the talk of new laws, people continue to send text messages while driving.

The latest victim became 18-year-old Erika Jolie, who was seriously injured last week when her car crossed the center line on I-295 and slide sideways into the path of another vehicle in Yarmouth.

A state trooper investigating the accident found her phone and the partially composed text message at the scene.

As if texting at highway speeds isn't foolish enough, troopers report it was raining heavily at the time of the crash.

The accident comes on the heels of an insurance industry report showing laws against texting while driving have been ineffective.

Accident rates actually increased in a handful of states that adopted specific laws and penalties for texting while driving.

Experts theorize that people go right on texting, they just use the devices below window level to avoid detection by police.  This actually increases the time period that their eyes are not on the road, causing more accidents.

It's hard to see how the researchers established this, but the fact remains that laws alone are not enough.

Experts have compared the risk of texting while driving to drinking while driving. The likelihood of an accident is roughly equal, they say.

Yet, over the years, we have managed to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. That has taken a combination of laws, enforcement and public education to work.

It will take the same combination to dissuade distracted drivers.

Editor's note of Oct. 11, 2010: Erika Jolie died of her injuries Sunday, after the editorial above was published.

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 's picture

right its the laws fault?

yup those stupid people breaking the law if we just got rid of it then there would be no problems? the law was put in place because of those stupid people in the first place. your really advocating that a law is to blame for the way people act?

 's picture

I believe it should be slid

I believe it should be slid sideways, not slide sideways.

 's picture

i have written to our

i have written to our governor a few times and asked that something more should be done i.e.: public service announcements, awareness at schools, driver's ed, and bureau of motor vehicles. the sad thing is that people want to believe that they're invisible. the brain no matter who you are-male of female-young or old does NOT allow you to text/cell phone use while driving. it physically will NOT allow you too... its called 'inattentional blindness' people LOOK it up. the thing that gets me-its being a wreckless driver-and they DO NOT have a right to risk my life while they're on the road.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well then, as Tron would say,

Well then, as Tron would say, stay home.

 's picture

Pucker Up Antedeluvian

I don't like broad strokes either but I like less the thought that people challenge others without just doing the research themselves.

There are studies and research that indicates that cell phone use whether hand held or hands free can be as dangerous as driving while under the influence. The studies seem to indicate that it's all about distraction.
I have provided some links relative to studies that support Tron's assertion.
The interesting thing to notice is that the studies also seem to indicate that cell phone use may be a factor in more fatal accidents than driving while intoxicated.
For those who only believe it to be true if it comes from Fox News I have included a news story from them that supports Trons blanket statement.


 's picture


OK tron, bend over

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez you won't do

The parrot sez you won't do it.

Mark Elliott's picture

unfortunately TRON has a

unfortunately TRON has a history of making comments based on the "grapevine" instead of seeing the evidence with his own eyes so he is rarely believable. Remember the story about the boy that cried wolf? Antedeluvian, my suggestion to you is go as far to the left or right as you can because if you get too close to the middle you'll just get more of his crap!

 's picture

Distracted driving...culture?

Business people need to 'hit the ball over the net'. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. Anyone can win an argument in a forum like this by saying "Just put the phone away" - but we can see its just not happening.

I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more 3000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver . Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

Erik Wood, owner

 's picture

The victim is the person who

The victim is the person who Jolie crashed into. That person may now have injuries and definitely has a demolished car and endless insurance, financial, and replacement-car-hunting headaches, all caused by a foolish texting incident. You can feel sorry for the girl's injuries but her license should be pulled for at least a year. Small consequences for the harm she caused the other driver.

 's picture

tron, are you serious??

...hands free talking is as dangerous as drunk driving??? Produce just ONE of those MANY studies to back up THAT claim and I will gladly kiss your backside.

 's picture


he's right. I don't remember where I read it. Didn't think I'd have to. For what purpose? But I do remember reading it.

 's picture

the REAL problem here...

... is you, and others like you, have the right to vote. It's no wonder we are in such a mess.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

lAww, here we go.. you can't

lAww, here we go.. you can't get into a meaningful discussion without getting into the "right wing wacko" name calling. I wondered just how long it was going to take you to get down to your usual subterranian level. Didn't take long at all. Nice going T...

 's picture

Wait. One. Minute.

The "editorial" refers to her as a "victim". She was texting while driving in heavy rain and lost control of her car. That's a victim? Like, that wasn't her fault? I'm certainly sorry to hear she was injured, but it's not as though some thug from the dirty Lew attacked her, yanked her out of her car and viciously beat her. That would make her a victim. What happened to her was just dumb. Hopefully, with no long term consequences.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I agree with most of your

I agree with most of your post, tired, but I take exception to your "dirty Lew" reference. Lewiston, by no means, has a monopoly on senseless homicides. I can recall a few years ago when a drunken young man in the Old Port was pushed through a plate glass window to his death by some cowardly thug because he had urinated on the sidewalk.
Try to lighten up on Lewiston; it ain't perfect, but it's a lot better than 40 other cities I could name.


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